On Today’s table we have a rather interesting piece of gaming hardware; a mechanical keyboard. As any gamer knows, good accurate feedback from peripherals is of utmost importance when gaming, and today’s review focuses on a top end gaming keyboard: the MK-85,from the Swedish peripheral outfit QPAD.
In the arena of peripherals, QPAD is definitely a veteran, with their introduction to the market in the early the 90s and a drive to bring top gaming grade gear to the aspiring and professional Quake gamers, QPAD have made themselves rather prolific with their high quality peripherals. What I have today however is their current iteration of fruits of QPAD’s labour over the years: The MK-85. The MK-85 is their top end mechanical keyboard, boasting a rather long list of features and perhaps more intriguing, holds claim to the “worlds first NKRO keyboard via USB only”.
Coming in at £100, the MK-85 is certainly a threat as far as competitors in the mechanical keyboard business are concerned. For anyone unfamiliar with ‘mech’ keyboards, they tend to command a higher-price than your average keyboards due to the higher standard of build quality, the use of individual switches as opposed to the singular PCB “rubber-dome” keyboards, a sturdier construction and usually boasts a higher degree of tactile feel depending on the switch type. In other words, mechanical keyboards are technically a luxury item, but one that can definitively enhance the experience behind a desk.
N Key Roll over:
|Cherry MX mechanical switch technology
Full N-Key roll over via USB
Individual LED backlight on every key for enhanced visuals
Four levels of brigthness allow you to locate keys easily
Gold plated USB connectors for extremly low latency
Media keys for volume control, play, pause and skip tracks
Two high speed USB 2.0 ports
3.5mm headphone-out and microphone-in jacks
1.8 meter braided cable
4 extra orange key caps and key cap puller
Keyboard: 44,8 x 14,9 x 3,5 cm (17,6 x 5,8 x 1,37 inch)
44,8 x 6,6 x 1,7 cm (17,6 x 2,48 x 0,66 inch)
1.27 Kg (2.8 LBS)
Customizable profiles, programmable keys and macro recording
One may wonder about why the price tag of a mechanical keyboard is rather high. That question of course lies in the use of individual Cherry MX switches, which incidentally is the focal point of this keyboard. Due to the rather varied nature of Cherry MX switches this review will focus on one type of switch instead of the wide varieties that range from: Blue (tactile+clicky), Brown (tactile), Black (silent + heavy), Red (light + silent). There are other variations as well but for now we focus on the switches used in the MK-85 – which I will try and briefly elaborate further.
This particular model (3202-MK85-NO-Red) of the MK-85 comes with Cherry MX Red switches. MX Red switches, for the sake of simplicity, are the most ‘gamer orientated’ mechanical switches in common circulation. The key presses with red switches require the lightest force in comparison to other switches and so are ideal for quick and multiple key presses.
For those interested in extra information, a good run-down and comparison of switches can be found here and anyone considering a mechanical keyboard should check it out.
With the introduction out of the way let’s take a closer look at the MK-85 itself.