We first caught a glimpse of the Zalman Gaming Keyboard at the recent Computex 2016 Expo and it captured our attention immediately, so good were the first impressions of this keyboard that we returned for another go with it the next day.
What made the the Zalman Keyboard stand out?
– No drivers or software needed
– Solid build with a nice key layout
– Excellent features (especially the built in microphone, macro recording including mouse clicks and lighting options)
To begin with, the ZM-K900M has the ability to customise everything directly from the keyboard and will store your choices via the keyboards internal memory. This means that you can create a macro and save when connected to any computer without having to install dedicated software. It doesn’t end with gaming macro either, you can customize everything on the K900m from the keyboard and when you connect it to another system all your perfectly tuned settings will be ready to enjoy right away – no sync, no hassle.
For those of us that use macro while online gaming we can also quickly adjust the speed of the macros and utilize loop and timing as needed, this helps ensure our commands will work even if we end up in a match with a less than ideal internet connection.
The keyboard itself has some of the cleanest RGB lighting we’ve seen, it’s well constructed with very little flex when trying to bend, there are non-slip rubber feet on the kickstands and a cable management channel underneath allows you to direct the braided cable (which is also really high quality) out the left or right of the keyboard to suit your setup. The switches used are called Kailh and feel just like Cherry MX blue with quick press and satisfying click. The keyboard’s built in microphone adds a further layer of effects not often seen and with the EQ feature your RGB lighting can be used to provide some excellent visuals while you type, game or listen to your favourite tunes.
How is it in action?
Having no software makes this one very different from the other gaming keyboards we’ve used recently, usually we would talk about how what game configs were pre-available for download but seeing as this keyboard is really about doing it yourself for yourself we thought we would jump into a game to see what’s involved and how it really works.
When it comes time to customise things and create your perfect layout we recommend starting out by making our keyboard a uniform colour, we choose a deep blue as this would make it easy for the goto keys to stand out (to do this push Fn+DEL and then select your chosen colour from the RGB rainbow that has appeared on the keyboard).
We then highlighted the WASD keys in a vibrant white so they could always be found easily should our fingers wander away, this is done by first pushing Fn+7 to enter colour mode, then press Fn+= to enter key select mode, from here simply click the any of the keys you want to be a certain colour, then tap Fn to bring up the rainbow and select your preference. We continued to customise our 1,2,3,4 weapon keys in other colours so they would also stand out and finishing off the look with our interact, sprint, reload and melee keys. (on a side note, if you change your mind about the base colour and want to change your surrounding keys while leaving your custom ones set you can push Fn+INS to do this)
Happy with our basic layout it’s time to make some macros!
We wanted to create something that uses both mouse and keyboard presses to complete so we’ve streamlined the motion of switching to C4, throwing a charge and then switching back to our primary weapon. We then created a quick detonate charge macro and finally made a switch to pistol, unload the clip, and then return to primary weapon – this is possible on the ZM-K900M because its macro can include mouse clicks!
Making these was actually very easy, there are a bunch of ready to program macro keys around the middle of the keyboard so for our C4 macro we started out by pressing and holding FN+O for 3 seconds then release at which time the keyboard began recording which is signaled by a little blinking light at the top left – from here it was as simple as pushing 4 (for C4) then left mouse click (deploy a charge) and finally 1 (to switch back to primary) – we continued through in the same fashion to make our other macros – so much fun but it sort of feels like cheating!
We’ve done something a little different to show off how well the live macro recording works with timings 🙂 We thought it would be fun if we jumped on a Gaming PC and went for a little drive in Dirt Rally while recording, then restarted the race and had the keyboard macro do the driving for us – surprisingly it worked!
Although this one’s a bit harder to master than something with dedicated software that’s what sets this Zalman Z-Machine Gaming Keyboard apart from the rest, and with some very unique and excellent features we are happy to add this fine keyboard to our GGPC recommends list – the ZM-K900M Gaming Keyboard is GOOD!