The days of the 104 key beige keyboard are over. This is evident by the amount of dust they accumulate at the surplus stores and are about as exciting as a stop sign. Comparing just about any of today's elite (and far more colorful) keyboards to one of these just isn't fair. They simply reflect all the things you can do on a computer, from web surfing to gaming to watching movies. Thus it's not surprising to see the vast numbers of different Multimedia keyboards on the market.
I've been using just one of the many new multimedia keyboards available from GIGABYTE. The GK-K6800 (as they call it) not only has decent features, but the price really can't be beat. Read on to find out what I thought of it.
Specifications and Features
The GK-K6800 is all about style and a little refinement. It offers a glossy appearance designed around its Multimedia and Internet Hot-Keys giving it a soft, soothing shape. The Hot-Keys allow you to get to your Window's functions quickly without the use of your mouse and include email, browser, folder access desktop, calculator and full multimedia control.
There are a few other smaller features commonly found on keyboards like the silent key action and feet to prop up the keyboard if flat bothers your wrists. It also connects via a USB port which means you'll need an adapter if you're on a much older system. Otherwise, everything is pretty much standard and is fully compatible with both 32 and 64 bit versions of Vista.
Checking the Keyboard out Thoroughly
As you can see, it has a rather glossy border wrapping a matt black, lightly textured series of keys. What I like about the keys is that they are laser engraved. This means you won't be wearing any paint or stickers off the keys like you would some other regular and more expensive keyboards. If you've owned a Logitech DiNovo Edge, you'll know what I'm talking about.
GIGABYTE seems to have found a happy medium between placement of the keys and ergonomics: they didn't bother and just made them all straight like you remember them in keyboarding class. The keys are quite beefy and don't have that annoying click when pressed. It has a rather fluid feel which feels more refined and less mechanical. This can be a benefit for audio guys in the studio since you can't have keyboard making noises of any kind when you're "throwin down mad notes!"
You'll find five glossy Hot-Keys on the left and right of the keyboard. Each one is pretty well labeled by the little picture on each key. They feel especially well designed for the obvious repeated pressing it will face over the next few years. All the keys worked just fine in both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista configurations.
The Multimedia buttons (my favorite feature) can be found in the upper right hand corner. They're smooth and silent when pressed. The chrome volume wheel is equally silent and just looks cool. Using a single finger, you can feel an ever so slight feedback as the wheel rotates notifying you of volume increases or decreases.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
We know there's not a lot of engineering that needs to go in to a multimedia keyboard to make it a good one. However, there are quite a few things you can leave out for whatever reason that would kill it before it even launched. There are no real short comings here given the purpose of the GIGABYTE GK-K6800 Professional Multimedia Keyboard. They kept it simple, made it feel good, gave us ten extra Hot-Keys, and got the multimedia functions just right. The wheel placement is perfect for using any finger especially the thumb.
The best part is the price: $14.99 US as found at NewEgg as of this writing. It's definitely a "professional" keyboard at a "pauper" price. More pictures are on the next page.
- Super Affordable at $14.99
- Multimedia Functions
- Classy Little Chrome Volume Wheel
- Quality Design & Components
- Hot Key Functions
- Works Right Out of the Box
- Silent and smooth typing feel
- At this price, not one!
Overall Rating: 9.0 / 10.0