Swedish manufacturer Qpad is a company that we've always associated with mouse mats as we've owned several over the years, and they've all been of excellent quality. However, we're not as accustomed to their other products, and with MK-30 we got a chance to take a closer look at what they have to offer when it comes to keyboards.
MK-30 is their most basic mechanical keyboard and you'll notice straight out of the box that savings have been made both when it comes to materials and design. It looks a little cheap and as we lifted it out of the box some of the keys fell off a bit too easily. No big deal as you can attach them again, but it felt a bit sloppy and we haven't had this happen to us with other keyboards. The design comes across as a bit unfocused with the brushed black plastic and the silver log on the front; a logo they could have skipped as it doesn't add anything to the scaled-back design and the lit logos on the sides would have sufficed. A positive is the wrist support that comes with the keyboard as it's needed to reach the keys with comfort as it is an unusually high keyboard.
There is no software that comes with MK-30 and the few extra features are triggered via buttons. It's a smooth solution and you can easily switch the background lighting with the help of a few button presses. There aren't many features to be found here, and the only customisation you've got is switching between a few presets. It has static lighting and it's lit with a specific colour on each row, and the only option is to switch between modes. The mode we preferred was when the lighting was turned off and each key is lit on touch as it makes it feel a bit more alive. We'd rather set the colours up ourselves, but as that's not possible this is the mode we prefer.
Qpad has opted to make use of the blue switches from Kailh here, and they're not our favourites as they come with a bit of resistance and the sound they make as they register a press is way too loud. They aren't that fast either, something we value as we try and sidestep behind a corner in Counter-Strike or want to shoulder peek to draw a shot from the enemy. The response needs to be lightning fast and it happened on a few occasions that we didn't press hard enough, we meant we mistimed it, and died as a result. It is entirely possible that it was mainly to do with the fact that we've grown used to more responsive keyboards, and partly it can also be the fact that it is nice to blame your death on an outside factor.
Now it should be noted that this is a cheap keyboard that still comes with mechanical switches, something that is preferable to membrane keyboards. However, there are better options out there. Corsair's K66 MX Red, for example, comes with German Cherry switches and delivers a more stable feeling with each press of a button and it's also a bit quieter.
MK-30 is a keyboard Qpad could have skipped in their product line as while it's not poor, there are other competitors in the same price range that are simply superior. The idea was most likely to broaden the potential audience as not all gamers wish to spend several hundred quid on a keyboard, but they should have offered something a bit more, an added USB port or better switches. The wrist support is a nice inclusion, but in spite of the low price point, we can't give this more than the score you can see below.