Ah, Aimpad technology! I have been wanting to try it out for a while now, having read references of the Aimpad analog control input mechanism with mechanical keyboards over three years ago. I referenced it in my review of the Roccat Isku+ Force FX as well, a membrane keyboard that used pressure sensitivity to drive a rudimentary form of analog control. Then came the very impressive Wooting One with optical switches for a satisfactory analog control experience on the entire TKL form factor keyboard. That required new switch designs, however, and Aimpad's compatibility with many existing switches offered a viable alternative as well. Cooler Master partnered with Aimpad, first via a working prototype using their erstwhile Rapidfire keyboard and then for more proofs of concept at CES 2018. Well, it is now 2019, and we are finally here with a retail keyboard. Say hello to the Cooler Master MK850, and thanks again to them for sending us a review sample.
The MK850, also referred to as the MasterKeys MK850 in some documentation, was originally not supposed to have Aimpad tech in it at all. There were still lots of bells and whistles in the keyboard, as we can see from a mere glance at the preview image above, and a separate SKU, the MK851, was to build upon this base and offer analog control via Aimpad technology. Somewhere along the way, Cooler Master must have decided to keep things simple and go with a single offering as a full keyboard to then do a smaller Aimpad-centric ControlPad instead. Time will tell if this was the right move, but what we do have now is an extremely feature-rich keyboard in the new MK850. In fact, there is so much going on that this might well be the most detailed keyboard review I have ever written! The review still begins, as always, with a look at the specifications below.
|Cooler Master MK850 Keyboard|
|Layout:||>104-key US ANSI layout, other languages supported based on your region|
|Material:||ABS plastic case and keycaps, aluminium frame, PU leather wrist rest|
|Weight:||0.86 kg/1.95 lbs. (without wrist rest or cable)|
|Anti-ghosting:||Full N-Key rollover|
|Dimensions:||268 (L) x 495 (W) x 55 (H) mm|
|Cable Length:||6.0 ft/1.8 m|
|Switch Type:||Cherry MX Red RGB mechanical switch; Aimpad technology on eight switches|
|Backlighting:||Yes, 16.8 M per-key RGB backlighting|