Arctic K381 Multi-function Keyboard
(4.0 star rating)
Keyboards aren’t the most exciting PC component – and they generally don’t get a lot of attention when you are considering upgrading. But along with the mouse, the keyboard is your primary method of input for your PC and so we feel it’s important to take a look at the models available on the market. Today we’ll look at the K381 Multi-function keyboard from Arctic Cooling to see if it’s a worthy choice for a keyboard replacement or upgrade.
Design and Installation
I used the keyboard as a regular typing keyboard on two systems and found installation worked just fine – with a few exceptions. My computer has the common United States layout and when the keyboard was installed automatically the keys are not what they show for the Pound and Euro keys.
I'm not quite sure how to use the Euro symbol that is on the 4 key and the Pound key, and given that I don’t use really these keys I did not try to re-assign them. The pound symbol commonly used in England is above the 3 key and used in conjunction with the shift so you have a keyboard perfect for use in England. The keys are set by the operating system and the keyboard layout can be changed to other country formats such as German, French, British, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Polish.
The K381 works just fine on my system and all the function keys and the few multimedia keys also work well, the keyboard has a partial set of multimedia keys with volume and mute along with a sleep key. There is a full set of function keys for opening and checking mail, new page, help, spell check and more along the top.
All these keys are related to either mail or word processor so the keyboard is designed more for general computer use and not entertainment or gaming. The K381 keyboard is 17 inches by 4-1/2 inches and about a ¼-inch to ½-inch tall from front to back. This flat design gives you is quite comfortable to use.
|Arctic K381 Box||Overhead view|
Features and Specifications
- 12 office function keys – one-touch access to different features
- Keys for volume control and standby
- Low-profile layout and key structure – perfect for comfortable typing
- Low resistance switches allow continuous typing without fatigue
- Sharp and clear pressure point
- Save space with ultra-slim design
- Connectivity: USB
- Dimensions: 430 (L) x 115 (W) x 18 (H) mm
- Weight: 555 g
|Side view||Bottom view|
The Arctic K381 is a very good keyboard for general typing with its low profile keys and has a nice springy feel that makes general typing and computer use easy. I do type pretty fast and the lower profile keys make fast typing a bit easier so the keyboard seems designed more for general computer use and business use.
I also tried gaming and found the K381 worked just fine and with the low profile keys you can easily and quickly move from one key to others without having to press further to register a key hit. The lower profile keyboards make gaming better in my opinion and I enjoy gaming on the lower profile keys.
I had no problems using the keyboard other than the pound sign not being marked on the keyboard but being there when I type using the shift and 3. The keyboard is fine for typing and gaming and pretty good for quick changes in volume or muting like when the telephone rings.
|Left side closeup||Right side closeup|
The variety of function keys makes general computer use, emailing and word processing great and the selection of keys is helpful. I had no problems using the keyboard and the small difference in the couple of keys was no big deal using it for the review.
Arctic K381 Multi-function Keyboard
With a MSRP of $25, the Arctic Cooling K381 keyboard is a good keyboard for purchase if you're in England or Europe for general computer use or gaming. I had no problems and the keyboard is very responsive and great for those quick movements required in today's fast paced games.
Pros: Function keys geared toward email and word processing; Good low format keys make typing fast and easy; Smaller size good for travel
Cons: European and England keys not useful for North American users; No height angle adjustment.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
UPDATE: Arctic wanted to clarify one point in the review, which we agree is important to note: Actually, the ARCTIC K381 is available in the different layouts for German, French, British, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Polish (US Standard). However, we sent the wrong version (British) to your reviewer. So, he thought it’s only available in UK layout.