The Arctic Cooling K381 is a sleek keyboard with office and basic computer use in mind. It seems fairly simple at first glance, but like most things the first impression is not always accurate. It is thin, smooth, and discussed in greater detail after the break.
I think Arctic Cooling has a winner with the K 381. I think my favorite aspect of the K 381 is key design. The keys are a good size and have a nice feel to them. They are well spaced and stiff enough that mistyping is rare for people like me with large, stubby fingers. Not only do the stiff keys prevent me from typing even worse than normal, they also provide good tactile feedback. I think a lot of people underestimate how the feel of a keyboard affects your ability to type. Though it may not be quite as true for everyone else, I cannot type quickly or accurately on a touchscreen keyboard.
Though not as important to me as the keys, the rest of the keyboard is also well designed. It has your basic QWERTY setup with the associated numpad and function keys. When you press the special function key,
the function keys become shortcuts for common window functions. F1 is Help, F2 is New, F3 is Open, etc. This is nice for programs with the common hotkeys, but the special functions wont work for every program. In reality, these special keys are just the common combinations used as shortcuts. For example F2, when the aforementioned special function key is active, is really just ctrl+n. That combination is commonly "new" so that button will work in most programs, but some of the other special keys are less standard. In some programs "redo" is ctrl+y, while in others it is ctrl+shft+z. Though useful in a lot of programs, the special function keys have limited utility in others.
The K 381 is very thin and it only weighs 550g, which for a keyboard is quite light. The K 381 is thin enough that it allows your wrists to sit comfortably on the desk when using it. The small size and light weight make traveling with this keyboard fairly easy. It seems very durable and could probably survive many trips. No keys or scratchs got on it during several days worth of travel. Since the keys have a low profile and fit snugly into the base, traveling with the K 381 is unlikely to cause dirt/dust to build up in the cracks.
I think the Arctic Cooling K 381 is a nice convenient keyboard that has a great price. It is certainly not a gaming keyboard, but more than sufficient for everyday. I could really see it being great for use with your main work machine or with something more mobile, like a laptop with a crummy keyboard(most laptops).
[Arctic Cooling K 381] – $22.47