Arctic K381 Keyboard Review

Posted Oct 14, 2010
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Arctic Cooling recently made a transition from making CPU / GPU coolers to making computer peripherals, today I will review the Arctic K381 which is a Keyboard and I have to say that this is one of the slimmest and most comfortable keyboards I have ever used (in the available price range anyway) what really was useful about this keyboard was the USB interface which meant I can use it with my PC and my PS3 as well. The keyboard is also very light and comes in Black and White variants, although the black variant would have been a much better match for my PC/ PS3 the white version still looks very good and is amazingly very dust resistant and very good quality keys.

Unlike the standard keyboard the keys aren’t huge infect the keys are similar to that of a MacBook pro there is a little space between them so you don’t accidentally press two buttons together if you have fat fingers and this keyboard also has function keys as well so that you can use the Function keys on top of the keyboard as short cuts to open applications and such without the need of any drivers or third party software from the company, this was a particularly useful feature because I HATE installing all those applications that come with gaming mice now days such as the Cooler Master Sentinel. I just want straight up plug and play and no software configuration in between.

Specifications

Specifications

Connectivity


USB

Dimensions


430 (L) x 115 (W) x 18 (H) mm

 

Weight


555g

Features

    • 12 office function keys – one-touch access to different features
    • Keys for volume control and standby
    • Low-profile layout and key structure – perfect for comfortable typing
    • Low resistance switches allow continuous typing without fatigue
    • Sharp and clear pressure point
    • Save space with ultra-slim design

Packaging and Design

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As I mentioned earlier the design of the keyboard stands out from the other keyboards available in this price range, while other keyboard have their keys cramped together causing seldom typo’s and such this keyboards keys are SUPER flat and are a bit separated from each other, which sort of reminds of me a MacBook Pro’s keyboard look. The keyboard is super light and not a burden on your lap, and aside from weight this thing is also SUPER slim which is again a plus point.

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The box it came in is standard packaging and didn’t come with anything special aside from the keyboard in plastic cover and an instruction manual. Although one thing I didn’t like about the keyboard was that it lacked the snap stands by which you can give your keyboard an elevated angle so that your keyboard isn’t completely flat, the bad thing about the flaw is that you have to get used to a lower angle if you were using an elevated keyboard before, but for me it wasn’t really a problem.

Usage

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The separated keys were a bliss to use for once I have met a keyboard which can finally do the fast typing I need, while on my previous keyboard I would accidentally press P or O together when trying to do a really fast message to someone in steam while in a round of Modern Warfare 2 but with this keyboard my typing errors fell from 3/5 all the way to 1/5, in a whole sentence only one letter would sneak its way into a mispronunciation or something else but on my old keyboard I would seldom misspell two or more words in the rush.

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The flat buttons are really comfortable and go easy on the fingers, eliminating the need for hammering a button continuously if it doesn’t respond. The shortcut keys which are bound with the function keys are very useful too. Although the high point of this keyboard, for me at least was the super slim design and the light weight this may not be a hardcore enthusiast keyboard or anything but it still is a good keyboard for anyone who is tired of big bulky close key keyboards and want something more unique in their peripherals.

The function keys on the keyboard did standout a bit from the other keyboards which I have used, above backspace there is a F button which you have to press prior to performing an option here is what pressing the Function key does for the other function buttons:

F1 – Help

F2 – New Page (it works in Firefox, Internet Explorer and all office applications)

F3 – New File (again worked with media player and office)

F4 – Save File

F5 – Replace Text (normally this option is a hot key in Word but this makes it a lot more useful in other applications such as Notepad or Word)

F6 – Spell check (another neat feature which again has a hot key in Word but this is much faster and just as accurate as the word one)

F7 – Undo (although CTRL + Z is a classic undo button this was still a good option)

F8 – Redo

F9 – Reply to email (this worked for me in Firefox and Chrome while I was using my Gmail.)

F10- Reply to all recipients (again same as above and it does work)

F11 – Forward email / find word ( this button serves 2 purposes it can either choose to forward an email or it can help you find the word in a Document)

F12 – Send Email (again another useful shortcut which works with all browsers and mails)

These keys are truly unique normally on such keyboard I see buttons for next track / previous track, and increase or decrease volume but these buttons were also great placement and really proved useful.

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The USB interface was a huge upside for me, it enabled me to use the Keyboard with my PC / PS3 and even my laptop without any problems what so ever this is especially useful to those with PS3’s who like to do messages to their friends and HATE the on screen keyboard, and it also works with XBOX 360’s of course and will again help save you the trouble of navigating the on screen keyboard. I can use the keyboard in my XMB of my PS3 so I can turn off my remote and use the keyboard to surf the net and chat with friends instead of navigating with the controller.

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Although the windows buttons are replaced with “AC” instead it was still excusable but I would have preferred the windows buttons over the AC letters any day, if I wanted to show the make or model of the keyboard to any one I would simply flip the keyboard over and show the make and model but the “AC” logo did make the keyboard look a little odd but I was able to look past it and still appreciate the keyboard.

Conclusion

Well what can I say about a keyboard? I have mentioned countless times on how unique it is compared to other keyboards in the market and how it stands out from the rest in so many ways, the design alone is reason enough for any non hardcore gamers to own this keyboard, otherwise if you’re a hardcore game then the Logitech G15 is the ideal keyboard for you otherwise if you want something affordable, slim and very unique this keyboard is the ideal purchase for you.

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