The Cooler Master ControlPad is one of the most interesting analog keyboard accessories we’ve come across.
Although it might look like any old PC keypad, it features unique pressure-sensitive technology known as Aimpad, which detects how hard you are pressing on each of its keys. Cooler Master’s idea here to give mechanical keyboards the same level of precise control you’d only get with a driving wheel or flight stick.
Whereas a traditional keyboard simply sends an on-off digital signal, the ControlPad allows users to further the pressure on their keys. This should come in handy in games wherein you want to slowly peek around corners in Counter Strike GO or simply have your character walk instead of run all the time.
Alternatively, Cooler Master is also targeting creatives with the ControlPad. Adobe Photoshop users, for example, could apply differing levels of pressure to change the thickness, brush size and opacity of brush strokes and other tools. Video editors may find the analog keys useful to carefully scroll through footage.
Cooler Master plans to offer four different packs of extra keycaps designed around specific use cases, including gaming as well as Adobe Photoshop, Premiere and Illustrator. The company has also shown us other key sets designed around some more unique uses, such as radiology.
The new analog era
The ControlPad features 24 of these Aimpad keys and, though they're pressure sensitive, the underlying key switch is still mechanical (either Cherry MX Red or Gateron Red). The keyboard accessory also features two precision scroll wheels, a magnetic wrist pad and customizable RGB lighting.
Interestingly, Cooler Master is launching the ControlPad on Kickstarter, with units due to ship in May 2019.
Folks interested in backing the ControlPad can get one with a pack of extra keycaps of their choosing for as little as $75 (about £60, AU$105) in the early bird tier that's nearly sold out – at the time of writing. A $150 (about £110, AU$210) pledge will get you the ControlPad and all four sets of extra keycaps.
The final retail price for the ControlPad will be $99 (about £75, AU$140) with Cherry MX Red key switches and $79 (about £60, AU$110) with Gateron Red, so jumping in on the Kickstarter adds a welcome pre-order discount.
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