Back in October of last year, Cooler Master took to Kickstarter to crowdfund a 24-key control pad with built-in Aimpad support for precision control. Now three months later, it's launched a full contendor for the best gaming keyboard title with pressure-sensitive keys.
Cooler Master's new MK850 (not to be confused with Logitech's MK850 (opens in new tab) keyboard and mouse combo) is an analog plank that uses Cherry MX key switches capable of sensing the entire 4mm range of a key press. Traditional mechanical keyboards can't do this—the switches simply register a press at the actuation point.
"The MK850 is the world's first mechanical keyboard, using Cherry MX switches, capable of sensing exactly how far down you press the key," says Lance Madsen, Aimpad principle engineer. "It provides unparalleled control in even the most demanding PC games."
Aimpad technology is already found in other peripherals, such as aviation joysticks, steering wheels, and game controllers. By implementing pressure-sensitive input into a keyboard, gamers have more fine-grain control over movements.
"During driving games Aimpad can be used to make smooth turns on the fly or ease into gentle curves by simply changing the distance of the keypress," Cooler Master explains.
Beyond the pressure-sensitive keys, the MK850 features a brushed aluminum deck with keys that appear to float on top, as we have seen in various other models. There is a row of dedicated macro/gaming keys on the left, and two "precision wheels" to adjust things like volume RGB illumination, dpi, and so forth. It also comes with a magnetic wrist rest.
It's an interesting keyboard, though by no means cheap—it's available on Amazon (opens in new tab), Best Buy, and Newegg for $199.99 (€199.99). We'll try and get one to test, to see if it belongs among the best mechanical keyboards on PC, or if it's just an interesting side-project for CM.