Zalman ZM-K900M Keyboard Review

The ZM-K900M replaces the ZM-K700M (which we reviewed earlier) as Zalman’s flagship keyboard. Adding in more lighting options and switch choices, the K900M expands on the market that the K700M targeted. The keyboard is still obviously aimed at gamers, with flashy visuals and gamer-typical marketing features such as n-key rollover (NKRO) and a high polling rate, but the addition of clicky (Blue) and tactile (Brown) options may actually please gamers disappointed at the Cherry MX Red-only K700M.

Although in many ways the same, the K900M also includes some small (and big) changes, including a case redesign. The relatively restrained look of the K700M had been replaced by a more aggressive-looking, gamer-oriented design. The suggested retail price ($100) is actually lower than that of the K700M ($139).

Specifications

Being Zalman’s flagship keyboard, a fair amount of extra features are present. Apart from fairly standard options such as media shortcuts, shortcuts to applications and websites (including, somewhat strangely, Zalman’s own website), volume controls, and a gaming lock, the K900M also features an adjustable repeat rate, a PS/2 option (via the included adapter), and eight programmable macro keys. These macro keys offer several customization options such as an adjustable output rate (so keys can be reproduced at the same speed as entered or faster), and even the option to include right and left mouse buttons and the clickwheel into the macros.

Note that there are no separate buttons for any of these features; all are present on a function layer over the keyboard’s normal keys, shown as tertiary legends.

As we found with the K700M, the manual included with the keyboard is useful for discovering all the features (and mandatory for understanding all the sub-legends), but, again, several features (in this case the email, media player, and calculator shortcut buttons) never worked.

An old-fashioned, but very useful feature is the inclusion of a cable gutter that can lock the cable in one of five positions. This means that the lead will be much less in the way and will not flop around as much. On a personal note; I wish more manufacturers would re-introduce this feature on their keyboards.

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14 comments
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  • Lucky_SLS
    Why does a flagship gaming oriented Keyboard come without macro keys ?!
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  • Lucky_SLS
    ^ meant the dedicated ones in the side
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  • FelixtheCat
    These switches are not Cherry - wtf?
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  • scolaner
    Anonymous said:
    These switches are not Cherry - wtf?


    ...what do you mean?
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  • scolaner
    Anonymous said:
    ^ meant the dedicated ones in the side


    Well, not everyone wants a ginormous keyboard.
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  • Lucky_SLS
    a single extra column of 6 keys wont make a big difference[it does in pro gaming XD]. anyway u r missing my point of that being a flagship. all flagship boards from logitech, corsair, razer come with them ;)
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  • scolaner
    Anonymous said:
    a single extra column of 6 keys wont make a big difference[it does in pro gaming XD]. anyway u r missing my point of that being a flagship. all flagship boards from logitech, corsair, razer come with them ;)


    I hear what you're saying:

    flagship = extra bank of keys
    one step down = numpad only
    next step down = TKL

    I don't disagree that it's a good strategy to have those options. But the extra bank of keys PLUS the numpad...ugh, that's so wide... you might like a TKL + detachable, programmable numpad, like the Asus Claymore. Gives you more flexibility, plus more keys to program.
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  • Lucky_SLS
    ^ if it comes in the same price range gamers would be happy ;)
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  • brucewithatemper
    Does this keyboard light up like the razr blade pro?
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  • Cindy White
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    a single extra column of 6 keys wont make a big difference[it does in pro gaming XD]. anyway u r missing my point of that being a flagship. all flagship boards from logitech, corsair, razer come with them ;)


    I hear what you're saying:

    flagship = extra bank of keys
    one step down = numpad only
    next step down = TKL

    I don't disagree that it's a good strategy to have those options. But the extra bank of keys PLUS the numpad...ugh, that's so wide... you might like a TKL + detachable, programmable numpad, like the Asus Claymore. Gives you more flexibility, plus more keys to program.


    While it may be handy for MMORPG games, macro keys could be rage inducing when playing fps games and accidentally hitting the macro key -- and now you are dead. I've also experienced phantom typing only to discover that my pinky was slightly pressing one of the macro keys.

    Nowadays game developers are courteous enough to include built-in macro feature that allow players to bind actions to any key they prefer, thus removing the necessity of having separate macro keys. This seems to be consistent with logitech's direction as well (i.e. removed macro keys from their high tier line up). It is also important to note that macro keys on mouse is superior to macro keys on keyboards.

    Macro keys are now a thing of the past.
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  • Lucky_SLS
    i still find it useful cuz i play dota 2. and honestly, u would be constantly using ur mouse left and right click[and the other 2 side buttons], it makes it difficult to click others[those crazy 6+ side button mouses] in intense moments. keyboard dedicated macro is useful there. no need to move ur hands from the hot zone[very critical].

    Logitech g910 and G710 have them. g810 and g610 dont. all higher models in razer, thermaltake have them. i think thats a cost reducing way and so companies them in lower models. "Macro keys are now a thing of the past." would say otherwise ;)
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  • WyomingKnott
    Isn't anybody going to make an ergonomic keyboard with mechanical switches? Or have I missed one that goes for less than 435 British pounds?
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  • scolaner
    Anonymous said:
    Isn't anybody going to make an ergonomic keyboard with mechanical switches? Or have I missed one that goes for less than 435 British pounds?


    This: https://input.club/devices/infinity-ergodox/

    And this: https://ergodox-ez.com/

    And this (soon): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keyboardio/the-model-01-an-heirloom-grade-keyboard-for-seriou/posts/1877871

    But yeah...pricey pricey.
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  • scolaner
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    a single extra column of 6 keys wont make a big difference[it does in pro gaming XD]. anyway u r missing my point of that being a flagship. all flagship boards from logitech, corsair, razer come with them ;)


    I hear what you're saying:

    flagship = extra bank of keys
    one step down = numpad only
    next step down = TKL

    I don't disagree that it's a good strategy to have those options. But the extra bank of keys PLUS the numpad...ugh, that's so wide... you might like a TKL + detachable, programmable numpad, like the Asus Claymore. Gives you more flexibility, plus more keys to program.


    While it may be handy for MMORPG games, macro keys could be rage inducing when playing fps games and accidentally hitting the macro key -- and now you are dead. I've also experienced phantom typing only to discover that my pinky was slightly pressing one of the macro keys.

    Nowadays game developers are courteous enough to include built-in macro feature that allow players to bind actions to any key they prefer, thus removing the necessity of having separate macro keys. This seems to be consistent with logitech's direction as well (i.e. removed macro keys from their high tier line up). It is also important to note that macro keys on mouse is superior to macro keys on keyboards.

    Macro keys are now a thing of the past.



    I agree with you to an extent. You're right that key bindings/macro programming both in a keyboard's proprietary software (if it has any) and in game bindings more or less obviate the need for dedicated macro keys. And I too have found that it's sometimes more handy to bind actions to a multi-button mouse than having a whole bunch of extra keys programmed.

    But this is all super subjective. Eg, I personally have no use whatsoever for a numpad. Just none at all. But others would never ever consider buying a keyboard without one. I recall another commenter once saying that they don't want any mouse with fewer than like 13 buttons, because they did 100% of their macros & key bindings on the mouse instead of the keyboard.

    Tldr, there's more than one way to skin a cat. ;)
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