I have been on the lookout for a mechanical keyboard for some time now. I ordered my late BlackWidow before Christmas last year – the pro version, but after not being determined to be launched – I switched to the standard version and got it in end of march or so. I liked the mechanical side of the Razer – but quality and gaming capability were seriously lacking. Quality wise the keys themselves weren’t that smooth and the flow interrupted because the keys stuck on each other and such. I learned that both Mionix and QPad were going to release keyboards and they both had backlit keyboards – something that had held me back from getting the Steelseries 7G or 6G.
In the end – after some e-mails to the both suppliers and weighing in size, profile, performance and price – my decision fell on the QPad MK-80. I don’t regret it but I have also to admit that I’m seriously tempted and wanting to try out the Mionix Zibal 60.
This will be a review of the keyboard so far. I’m not going to dwell on overly technical performance or such – and in the end I will point out some links that are helpful should you need more information regarding the keyboard. There will also be three videos and some shots from unpacking and running the keyboard. This review will also be about the ProKeys Soft-landing Pads Grey. Simply – because keyboards sounds a lot and my wife wants to be able to sleep while I type or play. So a quick check and my favourite place on-line got this solution so I decided to try it out.
So I have had this keyboard for a while now and continuing this post: https://sketchywolf.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/qpad-mk80-pro-keyboard/, I still feel that this keyboard has a really good sturdy quality. Delivers on the few things it promises and is a dream to type and game on. As I mentioned several times before – it is really important to get a keyboard with the right switches for your feel and purpose. Mine is a bit multi purpose – I wanted a keyboard to type well on but it should also deliver kick ass performance while gaming. I think I have that now. Simply put. I have had several keyboards before. Microsoft, Logitech, Razer by the more advanced ones are the Saitek Eclipse, Eclipse 2, Logitech illuminated, G15, G15 v2, Razer Tarantula, BlackWidow and Lycosa gaming keyboard. One thing with most of these keyboards – the things I used was Media quick keys, backlit and a helluvalot of WASD action. True – I also kicked the heck out of the arrow keys on the Saitek Eclipse – but during that time I went over to WASD. 😉
The programmable buttons, fancy extra keys etc – I haven’t used a lot for my mechanical keyboard – the mission was functionality on the core basics. Yepp – you looking to bind scripts, program your buttons and having an extra set of keys – keep looking. This isn’t the keyboard for you. If you like to type and play games – this however is a really nice keyboard. OK, I’m starting to repeat things too much – on with the review:
Blue cherry switches with a matte finish and really nice angle on the keyboard, two ways to tilt the keyboard and also a wrist support that is decent – makes the keyboard really nice. The switches are very responsive and gives a great feedback when typing and gaming so they are also light for the fingers and after long sessions of either typing or gaming – your hand feels pretty fine. It isn’t perfect however. The wrist support is bare minimum and not adjustable in any way. The tilt action is OK but the highest tilt is a bit much and one more option of tilt level would have been great. Otherwise I would have to say that the distance between the keys is great. There is also a sort of “wave” in the keyboard above the arrow keys leading down to the INS, Hom etc. button row. Great if you are keyboarding Street Fighter IV or something similar to rest and find your way between battles. It’s mostly a design thing I would suspect but I liked it.
This keyboard feels really solid. The weight is great adding to that feel. The entire keyboard is in a matte finish making it somewhat anti-slippery. The keys and switches are of high quality – its cherry MX blue. The back lighting is nice and the keyboard comes without drivers necessary – has PS/2 connector for full NKRO and also USB for 6 key NKRO is you don’t have a PS/2 connector on your computer. It doesn’t really add that much more – it is a simple keyboard so when coming to value – yeah this is a stretch – it cost you a lot but I figure this keyboard will last me great many years so I have to say that it is worth it.
How does this handle? Apart from the ergonomic aspect the keyboard is just wanting me to touch it, waiting for me to run my fingers across it. It is a hungry beast I tell you. Seriously – the mechanical keyboards really hit home with me. I love the feel and I love the soft “click” when the switch hits. One thing that I could be bothered with was that after some time I got a bit tired and heavy-handed. I now had not only the “click” from the switch but also a “clack” from when the key was pressed down to the plate. Installation was flawless – I mean plug it in and PS/2 not activated – reboot and your set. You have 4 lighting options, Off, dim, strong and shit strong! No really – shit strong light. I can scare away mosquitoes – not really but I wish – with the brightest setting. It is too strong. In short – handles great!
As mentioned above – no drivers so this is a tricky one. Would I have liked drivers? Hmm, not much to actually add in value to that since the only functions I could have is the brightness and the media keys and since they are simply mute, volume up, volume down, play/pause, previous and next – not much to do so I would say that not having any drivers is a great plus this time. The MK80 also sports a headset pass through audio option – you can simply plug your keyboard to your mic and sound out ports and connect your headset/earphones in the keyboard. There are also 2 USB2 ports on the keyboards – stealing one of your standards to supply them and well, I don’t use them but I guess they could be really nice if you have your case a far way from where you sit.
I can’t add much more praise – this is a great keyboards if you happen to like cherry Blue MX switches and if you like to type and play – it is great.
Final score: 90
EliteKeyboards soft-landing pads – firm grey.
I installed these pads to dampen the strike through sounds my keyboard made. They work pretty well and succeeds in damping the strike through sound a lot. They are easy to attach – if your keyboard is standard cherry keys – I hope you get a key remover tool – then you are set up within minutes. The dampening pads doesn’t impair much on the back-lighting. Some keys are not as bright as others most likely due to the pad being slightly more or less over the diode. Not a big issue IMO. When I crank up the back-lit keys – it is not evident. The pads are rather cheap and they add some nice feel to your keyboard.
Guides for understanding keyboards:
I did find this to be the best overall guide on keyboards. Nice work all over. Respects!
This is another keyboard guide overall explaining so to speak…