For a gamer, there are many considerations when buying a keyboard. The design, the switch type, their sound and speed, additional functionalities, the RGB, and much more. Most of the time, when committing to purchase, some features ultimately need to end up on the chopping block. But what if they didn’t have to? It’s a question the Swedish company QPAD has asked themselves and decided to answer in the form of one of the most unique and versatile gaming keyboards on the market – the MK95. What makes it so unique and why should QPAD even be on your radar? Read on for the full breakdown.
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At first glance, QPAD MK95 is a regular old, 104 key, full-sized keyboard. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that there’s very little that’s regular about it. On the build quality front, this keyboard is an absolute tank. It’s a bit chunky even for a full-sized keyboard but that’s because there’s something special happening under the hood. More on that later.
The top panel is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum with a matte grey coating while the back is made out of high-quality plastic. Overall, the keyboard is noticeably robust and quite heavy. There’s absolutely no flex to it and it’s probably one of, if not the most sturdy keyboards we ever handled. Its design is not over the top and you’d be hard-pressed even calling it a gaming keyboard at a first glance. Sure, the branding above the arrow keys is somewhat of a giveaway but otherwise, the keyboard is very minimal with the only standout feature being the switch and the volume dial in the upper right corner.
The keycaps are probably the weakest link when it comes to the design since they are made out of somewhat lower quality ABS plastic. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker as they do have a positive effect of making the RGB light shine brighter but it’s a shame QPAD didn’t go with PBT, especially considering the premium materials on the rest of the keyboard. Something I highly appreciate is that the font of choice doesn’t scream “gaming” and is instead nice, clean, and simple. The keyboard also ships with an additional set of silver caps for WASD and adjacent keys with a nice texture similar to what you can find on the switch and the volume dial.
When it comes to switches the QPAD MK95 uses the fairly unique Opto Q optical switches, meaning they use a sensor and light to read the position of the keypress. This immediately places it in front of many gaming keyboards with traditional mechanical switches as optical ones tend to be faster and more durable, these ones being rated for 60 million keystrokes. But, that’s not all.
The main selling point of this keyboard comes in the form of the aforementioned switch in its upper-right corner. You can adjust it to one of two positions and this will entirely change how your keypresses feel. Flicking it to the left, you get this blue RGB wave to signify the change that will make your keystrokes become loud, tactile and clicky while flicking the switch upwards gives you a red RGB wave, which signifies switches and keystrokes becoming silent, smooth and linear. This essentially makes the MK95 like two very distinct keyboards rolled into one and is an amazing feature to have.
It achieves this by having small mechanical stems underneath the circuit board. These either aren’t in contact with the switch at all when it’s in linear mode or insert into them to create the bumpy feeling of the clicky mode. The change occurs instantly and I found myself often switching between the two, using the clicky mode for a satisfying typing experience and linear mode for fast and responsive gaming.
While in both cases switches feature a 2mm actuation point with 4mm travel distance, the difference in performance is quite noticeable. The tactile bump of the clicky mode requires more pressure in order for the key to actuate while the linear one predictably smoothly bottoms out with very little pressure needed.
Since we are talking about a fairly thick keyboard with feet that only ever slightly angle its position, it’s great that QPAD decided to include a wrist rest. Not only is this wrist rest magnetic and extremely easy to snap on and off but it’s also extremely comfortable. The faux leather features the QPAD branding but is otherwise seamless, smooth, and very soft, making prolonged usage of the keyboard a complete nonissue. The wrist rest does have a consequence of making the already large keyboard take up even more space but it’s a trade-off that’s well worth it for that added bit of comfort.
Something I have to mention is that the braided cable is quite thick and hardwired in a central position on the back of the keyboard. This is something of a pet peeve of mine and is a problem that other high-end competitors gracefully handled by either having the cable be detachable or by at least having cable management channels on the underside of the chassis.
The last thing, of course, is the fact that you have the per-key RGB lighting. The LEDs are situated in the switches themselves so the effects are a bit more subtle but still very beautiful thanks to the fairly thick font. It’s also nothing wild in terms of presets since there’s only 8 of them, all of which can be further customized in terms of brightness, color, and speed of the animation. Like your media, these can be controlled directly from the keyboard using the function key or from the QPAD software on your PC.
The QPAD MK95 is a strange hybrid of sorts and I don’t mean that as a negative. The keyboard is undeniably fast and highly versatile depending on what you want to use it for. The unique mechanic of changing how the switches behave means you have the best of both worlds whether you want to use it for typing or gaming.
The clicky switch mode is best compared to how the Cherry Blue or Razer Green switches behave and feel. They are a bit less noisy than those two but not by much. The linear mode, on the other hand, makes the switches equivalent to something like Cherry Red or Cherry Black switches.
This versatility means that one second, you could be writing something using the clicky mode, and another one fire up a game and quickly switch to linear mode to get the best performance speed-wise. Of course, you can use either for both typing and gaming, but the point is that you have the amazing option to switch things up without buying another keyboard or a new set of switches.
QPAD also pulled all the stops that you’d expect from a premium keyboard like full n-key rollover and a 1000 Hz pooling rate which will ensure you get the fastest and most precise experience possible. The last thing to talk about is the accompanying software which is not as robust as what you might get from something like Razer Synapse but it gets the job done. It might be somewhat visually uninspired but it’s very simple to use. You can easily switch between different profiles, customize the RGB, record macros, and lock certain keys to prevent messing up your game if you accidentally press them.
All things considered, the QPAD MK95 ticks a lot of boxes for anyone looking for a new keyboard. While it does have some minor issues, it’s definitely one of the best and most versatile keyboards we’ve ever had a chance of using. Its robust and sturdy build quality is paired up with excellent performance and the unique mechanism that removes the hassle of changing switches and essentially rolls two keyboards into one. Of course, something to be expected of such a package is a very steep price, and in this case, it’s a whopping 200 euros. While that’s definitely a lot, buying one high-end keyboard with an additional set of switches will cost you just as much, let alone buying two different keyboards. Despite the price being justified in some sense, it’s still a keyboard designed for enthusiasts that want a high-end performer with the durability of a tank as well as versatility that you’ll seldom find anywhere else.