In my foray into gaming mouses, one interesting discovery is the “Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard”.
After reading the many reviews and going to a local shop to see it, i think this is fantastic. Not just for gaming, but most importantly, it has 22 programable keys. The greatness of the programable keys isn't just from the company's spin-doctors, but highly liked from user reviews. The software is actually quite good, and comes with a programing language using Lua. So, if you are a emacs user with its 3 thousand commands, and or 3D modeler, Second Life player, this extra keypad will be extremely useful.
There are many gaming keyboard out there. For example, the most popular ones are:
They have all many programable buttons and keys and some has displays and knobs. I LOVE these extra buttons and knobs.
However, they all have one major usability problem: They are not ergonomic keyboards. So, if you type few hours a day, for chat in games, or programing, or for writing, blogs or emails, these keyboard are pretty unusable. Because of this, i have little interest in these gaming keyboards.
Gaming Keyboards for Programers (Emacs, Linux, Blender, …)
In my research, i haven't came across any so-called gaming keyboard that are ergonomic. For example, curved or split into 2 sections. There are fringe gaming keyboards that are split, but isn't really ergonomic at all. This brings up the question: “How do you define the term ‘gaming keyboard’”? Basically, a keyboard designed more or less for playing games. The problem is, some keyboards not branded “gaming” are in fact much better for gaming than dedicated “gaming keyboards”.
The most important element of gaming keyboard in terms of functionality is re-programable keys. Secondarily, with many extra keys, buttons, knobs, and in some cases a LCD display. Many keyboard are actually better for gaming than the so-called gaming keyboards. For example, i use Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for my Second Life and other gaming.