QPAD MK-50 Keyboard Review
Today I will be taking a look at the QPAD MK-50, this is the fourth product we have seen from peripheral manufacturer QPAD, but this is the first time we’ve see a keyboard. A mechanical keyboard at that; the MK-50 features Cherry MX Red switches and supports Full N-Key roll over via its optional PS/2 connector.
The QPAD Mk-50 came well packaged in a white box, with a large image of the Mk-50 on the front, images on the front confirm that the keyboard uses Cherry MX Red switches and that it is compatible with Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. In addition to this, on the left of the box, we find the following highlights:
The back of the box lists an array of features (see below) in various languages and an English description of the MK-50 Pro Gaming Mechanical Keyboard. In addition to this over on the left you can see that this review sample features both Cherry MX Red switches and has a United Kingdom layout. You can also see that the MK-50 is available in Cherry MX Blue, Brown and Black switch types. Note the descriptions for each switch type also…
On the side of the box we also see some further highlights of the QPAD MK-50 keyboard, this time I’ll let the picture do the talking (it will save me a little typing too!)…
Opening the inner black box allows us to see the MK-50 nestling within some nice soft foam, it’s certainly well protected.
Within the box we find the Mk-50 keyboard itself, a wrist rest, Quick Guide, PS/2 to USB adapter and a plastic bag with some (Orange/Red!?) key-caps and a key-puller. It is worth noting that Full N Key roll over is only supported via the PS/2 connection, not via the optional PS/2 to USB adapter.
At the time of writing the QPAD MK-50 is retailing for approximately £70 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of QPAD
N Key Roll over:
|Cherry MX mechanical switch technology
Full N-key roll over via PS2
PS/2 or USB (PS/2 to USB adapter included)
Media keys for volume control, play, pause and skip tracks
1.8 meter extra thick cable
4 extra orange key caps and key cap puller
Keyboard 44,8 x 14,9 x 3,5 cm (17,6 x 5,8 x 1,37 inch)
44,8 x 6,6 x 1,7 cm (17,6 x 2,48 x 0,66 inch)
1.27 Kg (2.8 LBS)
Removable for easy cleaning
First impressions are good, the QPAD MK-50 is a good size and a regular shape ensuring it has mass appeal, it comes with a good sized wrist rest and has some additional keys for the WASD area. There are Media keys (F1 – F6) invoked via a Function (Fn) key found to the right of the Space-bar. There’s also a 1.8 metre cable, it is quite thick but still nicely flexible, unfortunately it is not braided. I like the Q logo used on the Q key as well as on the Space-bar, it’s a nice simple touch! Let’s take a closer look around…
In the top right corner we find the three Lock indicators for Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock, they actually look kind of cool, a little like buttons (but they’re not). Each of the three indicators illuminate blue when in use.
As you can see this example of the MK-50 comes equipped with Cherry MX Red switches (Blue, Black & Brown also available). Red switches are often favoured by Gamers due to their low actuation force of just 45 cN, they are also linear in operation with no audible or tactile feedback, meaning that they are also relatively quiet. This means that the Red switches are often regarded as being the most responsive of the key types available.
QPAD also provide and additional 4 key-caps, Orange I think, maybe burnt orange is the colour, not sure why they’re not good old fashioned red but hey, I like orange luckily!
The QPAD Mk-50 comes with a full wrist rest that’s about 50mm deep, it’s also covered in a nice soft touch rubberised coating the same as the rest of the keyboard frame. The QPAD logo and the’ We Love Gaming’ moniker help lift the wrist-rest out of the boring and help provide the MK-50 with a little needed sparkle.
Fitting the wrist rest is a simple case of using a couple of in-built clips.
The back of the MK-50 is pretty boring as one would expect, but the keyboard does feature two front rubber feet and two tilt feet at the rear, also fitted with rubber tips. This should ensure that the MK-50 stays in position while in use.
Overall, everything I see here is good, there may not be much to see, but then the MK-50 is really designed as an entry level Mechanical Gaming Keyboard…
The QPAD MK-50 connects either by the PS/2 connector found at the end of the main cable, or via the optional PS/2 to USB adapter.
NOTE: You only get Full N-key roll over via PS2, so if you have a PS/2 connector I suggest that you use it, our test motherboard (MSI Z87 G45 GAMING) does, so that was what I used for testing.
The QPAD MK-50 was tested on my Intel Test rig and as the MK-50 requires no additional software or Drivers a new install of Windows 7 (Home Premium 64Bit) was not performed.
The following games were used during testing:
- Battlefield 4
- Assassins Creed Black Flag
- Far Cry – Blood Dragon
From a performance point of view the QPAD MK-50 doesn’t disappoint. To be honest though there’s not much else here other than the keyboard itself (i.e. no USB hub, no lighting, no software), but then of course you’re not paying for it either!
What is here is very good nonetheless. The Cherry MX Red switches performing their task perfectly in Game, without the feedback generated by other switch types. The keys can sound a little clattery in use though, more so than some of the other Cherry Red based keyboards that I have tested. But the difference is admittedly very minor. The wrist-rest is of a good size and coated in a nice soft touch material, meaning that Gaming for long periods resulted in very little discomfort. I must admit that I did use the Orange! additional key caps, as it helps to identify the keys a little more should your fingers get a little out of position. They also help to give the keyboard more of a Gamer look too…
One thing that I did notice toward the end of my review time (luckily we review products for a minimum of one week!) is that the key caps appear to not be etched (i.e. the letters/symbols seem to be printed). The end result is that after around 10+ days of use I began to see signs of wear on the Shift key. Suggesting that over time worn key caps is likely to be an issue, which is a shame…
Overall the QPAD MK-50 is a very good no frills mechanical keyboard featuring Cherry MX Red switches, which tend to be a favourite among Gamers due to their fast response time. The MK-50 was well packaged and comes with some interesting (but usable) additional orange key-caps, a key-cap puller and a very respectable 2 year warranty!
From a performance point of view the MK-50 performed its duties admirably, as one would expect from a Cherry MX based mechanical keyboard. The keyboard is a little noisier than a top of the line keyboard like the Gigabyte Osmium, but to be fair that keyboard costs £30+ more. The MK-50 also comes with a nice wrist rest that’s covered in a pleasant soft touch coating (as is the keyboard’s frame). This helps to ensure that the keyboard remains comfortable during those longer Gaming sessions.
You could bemoan the lack of a braided cable, lighting, dedicated media keys and software but that’s not the point of the MK-50 and to be fair you’re not paying for it. Therefore at around £70 the MK-50 represents decent value for money.
What’s here is all good, so it’s a shame that there is an issue with the key-caps, after only a couple of weeks the lettering is coming off the Shift key (very slightly, but noticeable) suggesting that over time the lettering is going to rub off the well used keys, not good! This is down to the fact that the lettering on the key-caps doesn’t seem to be etched but printed (this was once an issue found on the first Corsair keyboard the K60).
Overall a great keyboard from QPAD, but they need to look at the method used for applying their lettering/symbols to the key-caps…
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Many thanks to QPAD for providing this sample for review