It's a dilemma we've all faced and I'm sure is familiar to all: 'Which Cherry MX switches should I get in my next keyboard, red or blue?'* Swedish peripheral designer QPAD understands the agony of being forced into the wrong decision for your fingertips, and is giving you the freedom to choose your own key types next time you buy a 'board.
There's been a marked improvement in the availability of mechanical keyboards as of late - just the other day Razer's Battlefield 3 branded Black Widow turned up in the PCG labs, and Corsair's K60 and K90 are due any day. Don't rush out and grab one just yet, though: QPAD's brace of new designs to consider is launching over at Dreamhack this weekend.
The MK-85 Pro and MK-50 Pro are very similar – the main difference is that the former has backlit keys while the latter is all dark. The MK-85 Pro also has an audio lead extension and USB hub built in.
Both feature Cherry MX red switches, which have a lighter and slightly quieter action than the more common Cherry MX blues of the Razer Black Widow, and are the same switches Corsair has settled on for the K60. For the truly discerning typist, QPAD is apparently allowing an unspecified number of customers to customise their own key type from the full range of Cherry MX choices.
The real selling point, however, is that QPAD claims to have solved the problem of n-key rollover (NKRO) on a USB keyboard. Often referred to as anti-ghosting, this is the ability to press every key button simultaneously without the keyboard returning an error. Most USB keyboards marketed with 'anti-ghosting' can only manage six or so keys at a time before they lock up, which may not be accurate enough if you're playing Starcraft at 300apm.
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The clickety click of mechanical keyboards does sound unnervingly like a cash register, though, especially when the MK-85 Pro is being priced at EURO 149. The MK-50 Pro is a far more reasonable EURO 79.
Be sure to check out our list of the best gaming keyboards.
*Well, some of us have.