First a big thanks to Arctic Cooling for providing the K381 Keyboard for this Review.

It’s been a while now since I did a Review on a keyboard, so today I take a look at the Arctic Cooling K381 Keyboard to see what it has to offer.

Before I get too far into this Review I should mention the features of the Arctic Cooling K381 Keyboard.

Compact Design

-With an overall height of only 28mm, the ARCTIC K381 is ultra-slim and space-efficient. The extremely flat design allows your wrists to rest comfortably on the desk while typing. The sharp and clear pressure point gives good feedback.

Easy to clean

-In contrast to most keyboards, the gaps between the keys and frame are tight so dust cannot build up in there. The surface is very easy to clean from dust or other particles.

Functionality

-The keyboard is equipped with 12 one-touch office function keys, including volume control, full-sized arrow keys and numeric keypad.

The first thing that ran through my mind when I opened the box for the K381 was I couldn’t believe how minimal it was. I have seen a variety of keyboards in my day and I have never seen a keyboard with such a small overall foot print.

One thing I should say right up front is, if you’re a person who has to have a keyboard that’s loaded with multimedia keys you won’t be happy with the K381. The K381 only has volume up and down and mute keys and that’s it for its multimedia functions. There is no play button or previous next track buttons that you would see on a typical multimedia keyboard.


Where this keyboard really shines is if you’re a person who isn’t big on tons of multimedia keys and you’re looking for a keyboard that looks slick and takes up the least amount of space on your desk. This is also a great keyboard to just sit on your lap and type out some documents in a word processor do to the fact that it’s so small and light. For those people who like to use word processors, the K381 comes with a Function key (above the backspace key) and when you hit that key it turns all the normal F1 – F12 keyboard keys into office function keys so that at the touch of a key you can open or save documents as well as do things like spell check and Undo. Note: when the Function key is pressed a yellow light beside your caps lock light will light up to notify you that the Function key mode is on.

The feel of the keyboard keys when typing is also something I like. The keyboard keys have good feedback on them in terms of the way they snap back after being pushed down. From a sound stand point this keyboard is a bit louder than some keyboards when typing on it but I don’t find this to be an issue for me.

The keyboard also doesn’t feel cheap at all. You would expect something this minimalistic to be fairly weak but overall the keyboard doesn’t really flex much when you’re typing away on it, even when it’s in your lap.

As for the software drivers there are none.:) You just plug the K381 in and it gets recognized as standard USB keyboard. The other thing I like about this keyboard is that it comes with a nice long USB chord.

The only thing I don’t like about this keyboard is where the Function key is placed. Because I’m use to using bigger keyboards with more space between some of the keys I expect the backspace button to be at a certain place on the keyboard. With the K381 I’m hitting that Function key all the time when I’m meaning to hit the backspace key and that drives me nuts at times. The way to solve this problem would be to remove the sleep key that’s above the number pad and make that spot the place for the Function key. Since I never use the sleep function on a keyboard I wouldn’t miss that key being removed.

In conclusion I think the Arctic Cooling K381 keyboard is a well built / slick keyboard at a very low price. At the time of this Review you could purchase the Arctic Cooling K381 for about $22.00 U.S.I should also mention that if you don’t like the black color of the K381 you can also pick one up in white and that’s the same price as the black one.

Below are a few more pictures of the Arctic Cooling K381 Keyboard Enjoy!

Note: some of the pictures shown here show the K381 along with a standard Microsoft keyboard and this was done to show you how much smaller the K381 is.