QPAD MK-95 Opto Mechanical Switch Keyboard Review
Published: 20th January 2020 | Source: QPAD | Price: |
We're not too sure exactly what we expected from the QPAD MK-95. On the one hand the idea of swapping the switches around without having to physically do so is one that is attractive, but on the other we were curious as to exactly how that would be implemented. Would it be a pseudo click made by an onboard speaker? Would it be a button that somehow electronically changed the switches? In the end the solution is all to do with the giant toggle switch on the top right of the keyboard. More on that in a moment though.
The first thing that strikes you about the MK-95 is the weight. This is a hefty keyboard. One of the heaviest we can recall reviewing in some time. It's not that it's heavy for the sake of it though. Instead that weight speaks of solidity, robustness. It puts us in mind of the weight that you used to get on old machinery or engineering works. That 'last a lifetime' durability of old products, before the world became obsessed with thinness and weight saving. That comparison to old engineering is most appropriate as soon as you flick the switch to change the MK-95 from Red style linear switches to the Blue style clicky ones. There is a fair bit of resistance and you get the feeling that you've mechanically moved a lot of elements within the case to apply the change. If, like us, you have a slight fetish for big old relays, or the toggle switches that you got on old tube-based technology, then you'll get a small shiver of pleasure when changing the mode of the MK-95. It feels analogue, mechanical. You're almost tempted to shout "pull the lever Kronk" each time to manoeuvre it.
How effective is that transformation though? We reckon pretty spot on. In 'red' mode the typing experience is probably nearer to the Cherry MX Silent switches than anything, with a relatively short throw, light touch, and crisp linear feel. In 'blue' mode the switches don't click as loudly as the blue models they are attempting to ape, but there is a noticeable click nonetheless. It's a perfect choice if you love the tactile click you get with a blue switch, but want one which is more of a subtle click than a replica of a football rattle.
Away from its party piece the rest of the QPAD MK-95 is what you would expect from a modern mechanical keyboard. There is RGB lighting aplenty and the font choice is excellent, really letting the LEDs shine through. There are no dedicated macro keys to assign, but the software is very easy to use whether you're simply customising your lighting or wanting to implement complicated macros onto existing keys. As you would expect you can change delay timings - vital for those skills on cooldown - but the feature we like a lot is the ability to turn off lock state lights. Too often in stealth mode we have a numlock light beaming away, not with the QPAD MK-95. Lastly the supplied wrist rest is soft and supportive, with a simple magnetic attachment letting you change it on a whim without needing to turn the keyboard upside down and detach some plastic latch mechanism as is the case with certain others we could mention.
The only negatives we can find is the lack of a USB pass-through port, the appalling proof reading/spelling of the manual - something that should be much better for a keyboard in this price range - and the texture of the key type change dial is so rough that if you used it a lot your thumb would look like it had been hit with a steak tenderiser.
However, there isn't another keyboard that offers quite what the MK-95 does, and very few that feel as well put together. We half expected a "designed by Brunel" logo on the bottom. If you desire the unique feature that the MK-95 has then you won't be disappointed with your purchase, even if the underlying engineering enforces a price tag that places it at the very top of the market. The QPAD MK-95 wins our OC3D Innovation Award.