Cheap; slew of hotkeys; rubberized WASD and arrow keys; macro-recording software.
Membrane keys feel mushy; power and sleep too easy to hit; media keys only work with WMP.
Sharkoon has stepped into the gaming-keyboard ring with its new budget plank called the Sharkoon Skiller , which is loaded with hotkeys and a macro-recording software suite. Those of you not familiar with Sharkoon should know that the company started out making cold-cathode PC lighting a decade ago, and has since expanded its offering with keyboards, mice, and other PC peripherals.
The Sharkoon’s Skiller keyboard comes with almost every hotkey imaginable.
Sharkoon’s newest keyboard manages to include some high-end features but ultimately has too many flaws—most notably a less-than-optimum typing experience—for us to recommend it.
On the plus side, Sharkoon includes rubberized WASD and cursor keys on the Skiller out of the box, making it easy to locate these gaming keys without taking your eyes off the screen. Rubberized WASD keys aren’t a new thing, of course, but they’re generally found on far pricier planks, such as Corsair’s K60. For folks who don’t care for the rubberized surface, Sharkoon includes a set of standard keys, as well as a tool for replacing them.
The right side of the Skiller has volume and mute keys, above which are the media controls, including pause, play, and stop. Sadly, the keys only work with Windows Media Player—we had no joy trying map to them to work with Pandora, VLC, or iTunes.
At the top of the keyboard there are wake, sleep, and power keys—the Skiller actually lets you power off your PC, put it to sleep, and wake it up using the last three buttons located in the top right-hand corner of the keyboard. Unfortunately, the power and sleep buttons cannot be disabled, which means an accidental tap of those keys during gameplay will put your machine to sleep or shut it down. We recommend changing these functions in the power options of your OS before you put the board into action.
The top left of the keyboard is rounded out with shortcuts to My Computer, Email, Windows Search, Windows Calculator, and Windows Media player. While useful to some, these dedicated keys seem out of place on a gaming keyboard.
Most budget keyboards don’t include macro-recording software, but the Skiller does, which is a plus for folks on a tight budget who want big-dollar functionality. Sharkoon’s software makes it quick and easy to create macro sets and it also makes the Skiller MMO- and RTS-friendly.
When you take into account the Sharkoon Skiller’s $30 price, the inclusion of rubberized and textured WASD keys and macro software might make it seem like a steal, but the one deal-breaker to us is the keyboard’s mushy feel. It’s just not that pleasant to type on. Yes, we’ll acknowledge that you won’t get a more satisfying mechanical plank in this price range, but Sharkoon’s Skiller is notably mushy by even mushy-membrane-key standards.