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Cooler Master MK850 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

By Christopher Bowman on February 28, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | 0

Our site has reviewed many a keyboard, but as long as they make them we will review them, and we have a neat one here today. Cooler Master has launched its new flagship keyboard: the MK850. A culmination of gamepad technology, mechanical switches, and, of course, the ever-lovely RGB Lighting. Join us as we delve into a new world of keyboard precision in our review of the Cooler Master MK850.

Specifications

  • Model Name: Cooler Master MK850 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Switches, Aimpad Technology, Precision Wheels, and RGB Illumination
  • MSRP - $199.99 USD
  • Key Specs:
    • Keyboard Technology: Mechanical
    • Key Switch Type: Cherry MX Red
    • Wireless: No
    • Operating System: Windows
  • Feature:
    • Lighting Type: RGB
    • Numeric Keypad: Yes
    • Keyboard Type: Gaming
    • Palm Rest: Yes
  • Function:
    • Keyboard Technology: Mechanical
    • Dedicated Macro Keys: Yes
    • Key Switch Type: Cherry MX Red
    • Multimedia Keys: Yes
  • Connectivity:
    • Wireless: No
    • USB Port(s): Yes
    • Number of USB Port(s): 2
    • Interface(s): USB Type A
    • Cable Length: 5.91 feet
    • Detachable Cable: Yes
  • Compatibility:
    • Operating System Compatibility: Windows
    • Plug and Play Operation: Yes
  • Dimension:
    • Height: 6.07 IN
    • Width: 18.7 IN
    • Weight: 36.5 Ounces
  • Warranty: Manufacturer’s Warranty – Parts: 2 Years, Manufacturer’s Warranty – Labor: 2 Years
  • General
    • Color: Gunmetal Black
    • Color Category: Black
    • Model Number: MK850GKCR1US

Cooler Master has made a name for itself within the peripheral game, and they are showing no signs in slowing down with the release of the MK850 mechanical gaming keyboard. Equipped with something for everyone with their macro keys, media wheels and buttons, RGB lighting, and Cherry MX switches. The MK850 is meant to be the flagship keyboard for the company and we had a chance to test out what makes it good enough to be called as such.

Pure Gaming or Something More?

As we began our journey into testing the MK850, we discovered quite a few things about the keyboard that make it a definite competitor in this scene. The first thing I will say about it is the ease of typing. The setup of the keyboard gives enough space in between the keys to make them comfortable and not super tight, like other keyboards I have tested. Having enough space for your fingers to freely move across the board is essential for someone who writes a lot. Cooler Master decided to use Cherry MX Red switches which provides the great feel for typing as well as lends responsiveness in gaming. Reds are designed to be lighter and provide you with minimal spring force, and this produces faster response times along with smoother operation. As your fingers glide across the keys you will feel like a true master (and your ears will be happy to too!)

Another key feature that has been added to the keyboard is Aimpad Technology. What is Aimpad you ask? Well, Aimpad, in essence, tells the keyboard to pretend it’s an Xbox 360 controller allowing individual keys to offer a full 4mm of depth sensing. Think of how a controller’s joystick works; it’s not an off and on. It’s a smooth gradient that lets your character walk with a small push and run with a big one. Or a trigger in a racing game. A small pull and your car slows down gently. Pull it all the way and you’re slamming on your brakes. That’s the kind of control Aimpad allows.

Inside Cooler Master’s Portal software, you’ll be able see exactly how the controls work. QWER and ASDF are Aimpad-enabled and light up when you press the Aimpad button above the number pad. These are the keys that you can map to controller buttons. When they’re not mapped or you’re outside of Aimpad mode, they work exactly like normal keys.

The keyboard also comes with preset profiles with common settings for genres like FPS and racing that are mapped to the macro keys when you’re in Aimpad mode, allowing you to quickly switch between settings. If you play a game like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Forza Horizons and you will immediately realize the difference in control. Gone are the days of having to switch between keyboard and controller just because you’ve hopped in a car.

The keys enabled for Aimpad are normal Cherry switches with one main difference: they have sensors mounted underneath them. The sensors can tell when the keys are pressed down and how far. This is important for driving games especially. Unlike the only other analog keyboard we know about, the Wooting One, the MK850 allows for a full 4mm of travel instead of the 2mm we felt was so shallow previously. The last thing to know about Aimpad is the three keys above the number pad. These allow you to toggle this feature on and off and increase or decrease the dead zone of each Aimpad key.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow?

RGB is now a way of life for many of us who are building or updating our rigs. Cooler Master definitely hits the mark with the lighting and new lighting effects in the Portal software. It is wonderful trying out all of the different effects as well as going through and creating your own patterns. My normal setup for my entire pc from my motherboard to my keyboard is a rainbow effect. My wife likes it and I find it somewhat soothing seeing all the colors flashing before my eyes. If you want a static setup or something a little more specific to your rig or style, you have that option as well. With the Portal software, you can even decide which direction you want your LED colors to go. Left to right or up and down. There’s also a slick RGB light bar on the left, right, and bottoms sides which will be customizable in a future update.

Cooler Master doesn’t skimp when it comes to customizability. There are nearly 20 built-in RGB effects and full macro programming. What’s more, you can avoid the software entirely if you’d rather, thanks to easy key combination programming. Of course, making intricate changes is easier inside the software, but it’s great to see such programmability that can be taken on the go.

Nuts and Bolts

When you want to watch a movie or a music video on your PC, you don’t want to have to fuss about with the mouse. Enter the multimedia keys. Featured are two wheels at the top of the keyboard, one that is already preset for media volume and the other which can be set up as a macro key for anything else you want (by default it controls keyboard lighting). Then you are also given a play, skip forward, skip backward, mute, and brightness keys for use in these situations as well. All work very well with videos and music or anything else you choose to use them with.

Extra goodies included with the keyboard include a keycap remover and some extra PBT keycaps that you can use for your macro keys, Aimpad keys, and arrow keys. These are just an extra and you in no way have to use them, nor do they change how the Aimpad functionality works; they’re just something nice to have to give your keyboard a touch more flair. The MK850 also comes with a detachable Type-C cord that connects your keyboard to your PC. It makes it easier to store and also saves you having to buy a new keyboard if something inside were to break.

Finally, we have the padded wrist rest. It’s one of the nicest pack-ins we’ve seen. Not only is it comfortable, but it also uses stronger magnets than the MK750 which helps keep it in place better when it moves. It will still detach if you pick the keyboard up but otherwise stayed put. The only downside is it covers up the bottom light bar.

Conclusion

If you are someone who swaps between a keyboard and a controller, you’re almost sure to love Aimpad. It’s a great innovation in the keyboard world that allows the use of genuine Cherry switches and a full 4mm of travel. The RGB also hits home with its vibrant colors and excellent programmability. The MK850 is a solid addition to Cooler Master’s line-up and is a good choice for mechanical newcomers and pro gamers alike.

Pros

  • RGB Lighting
  • Aimpad controls like a gamepad
  • Responsive keys for typing and gaming
  • Looks great

Cons

  • Budget gamers may be left out due to the price

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.


Thawolf1

Christopher Bowman

Graphic Artist and Gamer all the time, graduate from Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors in Game Art and Design. Spends a lot of time in MMORPGs and First-Person Shooters.