Cooler Master MK850 Review

By: Jonathan Kwan
February 28, 2019

In the computer gaming world, the genre of racing games exists in a league of its own. Most other genres of games -- first person shooters, role playing, sports, construction and management simulation, you name it -- can be played well with a keyboard and mouse. In fact, I would argue games like first person shooters are best played with a keyboard and mouse as opposed to a gamepad. But when it comes to racing games, playing with a keyboard is possible, but you are going to be missing out, whether it is on the simulation experience or simply the feasibility of doing so. Since I like driving in real life, it should come at no surprise I am a big fan of racing simulators as well. When I saw the Logitech G920 racing wheel on sale for half price at a popular online retailer recently, I simply could not pass up the deal and snatched it up immediately. The Logitech G920 is regarded as one of the best racing wheels in the market today; combined with Project Cars 2 and my TV-as-a-monitor setup in my basement, the racing experience was very commendable. But what about those people who only play racing games casually and are not dedicated enough to own a racing wheel? A company called Aimpad proposes a solution. It works by adding an infrared LED sensor underneath the switches on a standard mechanical keyboard and measures how far down a key has been pressed; effectively turning regular Cherry MX switches into an analog-capable input button. The best part is it does not change the functionality or feel of the keyboard at all. Aimpad has also signed an exclusive two-year contract with Cooler Master, and one of their first keyboards as a result of this partnership is the MK850. How is this keyboard, and is it as awesome as it sounds in games like Project Cars 2? Read on to find out!

Our review unit of the Cooler Master MK850 came in a large brown corrugated cardboard box from Cooler Master's American headquarters in Brea, California, USA. Cooler Master sent us such a large package because they also threw in the Cooler Master SK630, CK530, MK730, and MasterMouse MM830; all recently released products. Using FedEx International Ground, everything arrived in great condition to us here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for our review today.

The retail box design for the Cooler Master MK850 is an updated interpretation of the company's "Make it Yours" campaign. The black background is complemented by mainly white text for maximum contrast along with a burst of purple to help you remember who made it. Cooler Master's logo and slogan is at the top left corner, backlight activated image of the keyboard is printed across the center, and the model name and product description are located at the bottom left corner. On the opposite corner, three icons indicate its Aimpad technology, RGB backlighting, and Cherry MX switches, respectively. Our particular unit has Cherry MX Red switches. Feature highlights can be found on the remaining sides of the box.

Before we move on, let us take a look at the specifications of the Cooler Master MK850, as obtained from the press material:

The embargo date of this review has been changed to February 28, 2019.
Editor's note: There was a miscommunication on the embargo date. Due to our non-disclosure agreement, we will restore the rest of this review when the embargo lifts. We sincerely apologize this change.