In the lab: Zalman’s K900M mechanical gaming keyboard

It used to be that each company in the PC world had its own thing. One company was known for memory, another for coolers, and another for peripherals. These days, though, everyone's broadening out, and that includes Zalman. Zalman has a whole slew of peripherals, but right now we're taking a look at the Zalman K900M mechanical gaming keyboard.

We're just starting to play with the unit itself, but we wanted to get it out of the box and take a look before we got started. At first glance, the K900M is a pretty standard RGB LED mechanical keyboard.

Look closer, though, and you'll notice a Function key and extra labels on a good portion of the keys. Where other keyboards ask you to install software and do a lot of manual configuration, Zalman's configuration utility is built into the hardware. You can do things like toggle between lighting patterns, enable activity-based lighting profiles, and disable certains keys, all with just a few keystrokes. If you switch between different machines with any regularity, you can move your keyboard without worrying about losing your settings—they're all right there in the board.

Under the hood, the board sports Kailh Blue switches that Zalman says are ideal for typists, providing an audible click and a bit of feedback. You can plug the keyboard in via USB or PS/2, and it sports N-Key rollover regardless of which port you choose. That software-free configuration looks to be this keyboard's ticket to fame, so we're looking forward to see how Zalman's implementation works under our fingers.

Comments closed
    • BillyBuerger
    • 3 years ago

    It’ll be interesting to see your review. I remember this keyboard showing up on MassDrop not too long ago. I think in the end nobody bought it. I felt bad for it. But then it showed up again and at least a few people got it, I think.

    • drfish
    • 3 years ago

    I had to do some research to fill in the details because this is a story I haven’t thought about in 20 years…

    When we got our first home computers (my dad and uncle bought identical systems so my uncle could teach my dad), they were 486 DX2/66 Gateway PCs (16MB RAM!). They came with the Gateway Anykey that had hardware macro functionality built in. I didn’t appreciate it at the time (was probably only 14 and just getting my feet wet with PCs) but that was a pretty neat feature.

    Anyway, it didn’t matter, because one day, one of the cats walked all over the keyboard and remapped the keys to hell. It became totally unusable and we never could fix it.

    Of course, today, a quick Google explains what I should have done. We probably also could have found the info in a manual or from calling Gateway, but we didn’t and we had no internet back then. Funny how things change.

      • Anovoca
      • 3 years ago

      that and the primary prerequisite of using google is the ability to type……so

        • drfish
        • 3 years ago

        Ha, excellent point. 🙂

      • just brew it!
      • 3 years ago

      I remember having a similar issue with an Anykey keyboard back in the day. And yes, the system manual had a section about the keyboard, with instructions on how to reset it.

    • The Egg
    • 3 years ago

    Software-free is nice for sure. You wouldn’t expect it to be difficult to include a couple hundred kilobytes of non-volatile storage in some of these expensive devices (looking at Corsair, Razer, et al.) but it’s probably done intentionally to get their software installed.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      The irony is that the ability to save the presets to the onboard ROM is a headline feature on most of these devices, yet they still require you to install the software.

      With that said, I’d rather use software than function keys to try and define these functions any day of the week. It’s just that the software is so BAD most of the time.

        • The Egg
        • 3 years ago

        Ideally, you could make the settings via software and then have them stored in hardware. This would mean the software is only needed when making changes.

        Every time I reboot, I watch my Corsair keyboard and mouse reset to their default brightness/color settings, and then change once the software loads. They really couldn’t have included 16kb?

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          Cooler Master burns things in hardware so once it’s set, no software needed.

          It is Windows only though…I have to fire up a VM to change anything on my CM Storm Trigger at work (Mac Pro).

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