I’ve always been a little dubious of the advantages of a gaming keyboard. I think part of this is that it’s more difficult to see what advantages you could gain from keyboard such as the MK-85 without trying one. With a gaming mouse we expect more accuracy which will obviously help gaming. With a gaming headset we can either hear our in game surroundings better or just enjoy higher quality audio. Surely with a keyboard if I’m pushing W to go forward that’s it isn’t it? How can that possibly be improved?
The MK-85 has 6 key features that, to me, make it a pro-gaming keyboard. Gold plated USB connectors provide low latency, reducing the time from keystroke to computer recognition. Each and every key has its own LED backlight, which is actually quite useful in a dark environment – probably not an entirely unfamiliar setting for someone considering this keyboard. You get programmable macros and 5 profiles to switch between if you really want to go pro, completing complex tasks at the stroke of a single key. The MK-85 also comes with a handy key remover tool and 4 orange keys for WASD.
Handy though those features are the final two are the important ones. First of all the MK-85 has full N-Key roll over. This means that the MK-85 is designed so that each key is processed completely independently of each other at the hardware level. No matter how many keys you press at once they will each be recognised and processed separately, and correctly. Most keyboards don’t have this functionality to keep costs down, but there are quite a few games where you may need to hold down many keys simultaneously.
Last, but certainly not least, are the Cherry MX mechanical switches. I know, great isn’t it? Well actually it is because it means the MK-85 is a mechanical keyboard. Rather than compressing layers to complete a circuit like most keyboards, each and every key has its own physical switch.
In real world terms this makes several important differences. Mechanical keyboards are loud. Ever missed that lovely clicking sound when you’re typing away? Well that’s what you’re going to get with a mechanical keyboard. In particular the Cherry MX switches used in the MK-85 are actually made to intentionally make noise to provide feedback. Add to that an increased tactile feedback and much more sensitive keys and you can glide around the keyboard effortlessly. This speed and responsiveness combined with the added feedback is a real advantage when gaming.
Having said that the MK-85 is also good for typing, or anything else you do on your computer for that matter. At first I imagined typing might be a problem because the keyboard was too sensitive. But after about 20 minutes using the MK-85 I started to notice that the increased responsiveness and feedback was actually allowing me to type faster (and no-less accurately) than on my old, non-mechanical, keyboard. One thing that may be an issue to some with a mechanical keyboard is that they are very heavy, the MK-85 weighs 1.27 Kg. It’s not the kind of keyboard you can really move around a lot but at the same time it’s never going to slip on your desk unless you pick it up either.
As soon as you get it out of the box you can see and feel the quality of the MK-85. It’s clearly built to last with an expected lifespan of 50 million keystrokes (and a 2 year warranty) and more than lives up to the expectations of a professional gaming product in both style and substance. The MK-85 makes a great addition to any serious gamer’s kit. And when you’re done gaming its double USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, programmable macros, LED lit keys and responsive keystrokes will continue to impress. Even given its high price the MK-85 is well worth a buy.