If you work in an office space where a finger-amputating circular saw regular appears three inches above your desk or... you just like the look of low-profile keyboards, Cooler Master's upcoming SK851 could be your next keyboard obsession. Due out in January for an estimated price of $169, the Bluetooth-enabled SK851 uses a new type of Omron low-profile switch to make it even slimmer than the company's super-svelte SK600 series keyboards.
Cooler Master SK851 Bluetooth Keyboard. (Credit: Tom's Hardware)
I had a chance to check go hands-on with the SK851 at Cooler Master's Computex booth and was intrigued by the tactile feel of the switches. These new Omron B3KL switches are just 7.4mm tall as opposed to the 18mm Cherry MX low-profile red switches on the SK600 series. We didn't get precise dimensions from Cooler Master, but the SK851 appeared quite a bit slimmer when I lined it up next to an SK621.
I found the SK600 series keyboard a little difficult to type on, because its linear switches were hard on my fingers so this seems like a big improvement, in terms of both comfort and slimness. However, if you prefer linear switches to tactile, Cooler Master will also offer a version with those.
The SK851 is a full-size keyboard with plenty of keys and one version of it -- the version that was on display at Computex -- is made specifically for Mac users. That means it has the appropriate symbols for a Mac keyboard, including a power on/off button on the upper right side. Cooler Master said that there will also be a PC version with different markings.
Both versions will have an additional set of keys above the function row that you will provide media and RGB lighting controls. On the SK600 series, you can access these features by hitting the fn key plus a function key, but here you don't have to do that.
In addition to the SK851, there will also be a tenkeyless version dubbed the SK831 and a 60-percent size called the SK821. These sizes were not on display at the Cooler Master booth.
The Cooler Master SK851 will come in two different colors: silver with white key caps and space gray with black key caps. It will have a full array of RGB lights that you can control via software or the hot keys.
Cooler Master estimates that the SK851 will last 15 hours on a charge with its backlighting on, but for several if it remains off. You charge the SK851 using a removable USB Type-C cable.
Overall, the SK851 and its smaller siblings sound like they will have more appeal for typists and creative professionals than the SK600 series does. But to really judge, we'll have to wait for the final products to arrive.