Cooler Master MK850 AIMPAD Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
Published: 28th February 2019 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: |
The packaging for the MK850 is a great indicator of where it fits in the Cooler Master keyboard range. It is a huge box, with a high gloss finish and a clear product image. We've often mentioned that the amount of stuff on a box grades on a bell curve if price is on the x axis and features on the y, and the MK950 is no exception. Being a flagship model it contains the bare essentials only.
This is even the case around the back. Normally when there are this many elements to a keyboard the reverse side is awash with tiny arrows and dense text, but the MK850 retains its clear layout whilst also giving a lot of space to the purple colouring that is Cooler Masters hallmark.
Inside we find a comprehensive set of extra keycaps, should you wish to have a few purple keys on your board, as well as a detachable USB Type-C cable, manual, dust cover and probably the finest wrist rest we've ever seen included with a keyboard. Normally they are plastic, and if you're really lucky then they are plastic with a slight rubberised top. The MK850 AIMPAD has a premium fabric covered foam wrist rest which is easy to attach - magnetic - and supremely comfortable to use.
The MK850 AIMPAD itself is a full size keyboard with additional macro keys on the left hand edge and space at the top for dedicated macro keys and two configurable wheels. We'll look at those in more detail in a moment. The black key caps stand out against the brushed aluminium finish on the top side, and the whole thing both looks nice and has a reassuring weight to it, without being heavy.
On the underside we find the cutaway that accepts the detachable cable, as well as three routing spots for it to go. Perfect if you need your cable to exit in a particular manner. The feet are both large and robust. It seems crazy to focus upon the quality of the feet on a keyboard when all the money is in the switches and lighting, but it's usually indicative of the overall quality of the product. Flimsy feet can let the side down, but there are no such issues here.
As well as being able to control the keyboard using their software which we will have a gander at in a moment, the MK850 includes full onboard control via a combination of Fn key and F keys. From lighting to macros it can all be done at a hardware level. Behind the colour controls we have two wheels. One is set to control your volume by default whilst the other can be anything you desire. Of course they both can be anything you wish, but it's nice to not have to give up your volume just to be able to scroll through massive documents, or weapons caches.
In the middle we have dedicated controls for any media. It's always nice to have specific ones rather than requiring a key combo. Below those are the adjustments for the lighting effect, and there is even a demo mode if you want to show your partner why you absolutely had to blow your wad on this premium keyboard.
Finally on the right there are three keys which control the AIMPAD technology. From left to right they are : AIMPAD toggle, sensitivity reduction and sensitivity increase. With any technology that involves reprogramming your muscle memory it's nice to have the ability to tweak it on the fly, rather than endlessly toggling back into the software to make tiny adjustments.
Here is where the magic happens. These are Cherry MX switches, in the super popular Red format, with the clear surrounds for their excellent RGB lighting. Where these differ though is in the use of an infrared LED to measure exactly how far you have depressed the key which forms the basis for the analogue AIMPAD technology.
As well as showing off the two USB 3.0 ports included on the MK850, this gives you a clear view of the point mentioned on the previous page. By having a fully opaque stalk that goes deeply into the switch there is no possibility of any light pollution affecting the measurement of your key depression. Accuracy is the watch word.