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Arctic Cooling K381 Keyboard - Page 2
Written by Scott Harness   
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 00:00


In Use



Testing the K381 was done in the only way possible; by using it. I've used the board on a few different surfaces and with a few different PC's.

For surfaces, I've tested on wood, laminate worktop and glass. On all surfaces there was no slipping due to heavy handedness although it can be slid across all surfaces quite easily. Unless you are very heavy handed, it's not going to move under you typing or gaming.



The keys themselves are quite responsive, but it's quite a 'digital' response. That is to say that you must tap firmly but tap too light and the key will not move. The keyboard is slim, and the key height is very low, so naturally the key travel is minimal. This means you get an on/off key press which does have you pressing firmly to ensure you've actually pressed the key. This also means you get a definite clicking sound when you type, although that appears to have been kept at a minimal decibel level.

A maximum of 4 keys can be pressed at once, which should be enough even for gamers. Speaking of gamers, since the keys are so on/off in nature, using the keyboard in games should be quite natural for everyone. And with less travel, in theory you won't get tired as quickly. I certainly had no problems playing Left 4 Dead 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 for hours on end and since these are quite aggressive games, I of course had no issue with pressing the keys down firmly.

I'm not a fan of laptop keyboards, which I've compared the K381 to a couple of times during visual inspection, but in use it's much more comfortable. The back is raised just enough to bring the top most keys within reach without you needing to lift your palms up. The minimal key travel and low height of the keyboard is actually far less fatiguing than I expected. Your palms can rest on your desk just below the keyboard (unlike a laptop where you need to stretch over the touchpad) which provides just enough of a balance with the key height to provide a comfortable typing position.

I'm not a fan of non-natural style keyboards but I have to admit I could happily type on the K381 for quite some time without issue.



Final Words

I won't lie; I wasn't expecting much from the , but I've been pleasantly surprised by it's style and comfort. In use, you will find that the keys need to hit a little more aggressively than most, but the build quality of the certainly seems to up to the abuse.

The slim space saving nature is certainly handy if you are the sort of person who needs to type while reading from a book sat in front or behind the keyboard. It also adds a minimalist styling appearance to a desktop that many will find appealing.

The multi-function function keys are a nice touch and would be more descriptive of the keyboard than multimedia; while there are volume and sleep keys, there are no play or pause or stop keys you would normally associate with a “multimedia” keyboard. But I guess Multimedia sounds more attractive than Multi-Function.

Price wise, it's actually pretty good value for money. It is more expensive than your average basic keyboard, but the slim design and build quality are worth paying the slight extra for. According to the Website, the MSRP for the is $24.95.

I believe this is 's first keyboard (though I could be wrong). It's certainly the only one they have listed on their website. After seeing the first hand, I really hope that expand their line up as the is certainly a nice keyboard to use on a daily basis.

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