Cooler Master is a company generally known among computer heads for their PC components. However, the company also produces several PC peripherals, including gaming keyboards. Today, we’re going to check out the Cooler Master CK721 mechanical keyboard.
The CK721 is a new wireless gaming keyboard with a 65 percent layout. The 65 percent layout means that the keyboard is missing some keys on the right side, including the number pad and the top row function keys.
The CK721 is the latest gaming keyboard from Cooler Master and you can find it on Amazon for $119.99. I’ve been using this keyboard for gaming and for work for a couple of weeks now.
Design, Construction And Overview
In terms of the design, the Cooler Master CK721 offers pretty much a familiar design language that we’re used to when it comes to their peripherals with a clean, sleek, somehow minimal design, partnered with a neutral grey colorway. I really like this colorway and I hope Cooler Master sticks with this rather than going after the typical gamery aesthetic other mainstream brands have.
As for the build construction, aside from the ABS keycaps, it is pretty well built with a combination of solid aluminum top cover partnered with a hard plastic bottom chassis.
There are three different ways to connect the Cooler Master to your device. Probably the easiest method uses the braided, detachable 1.8M USB-C cable that comes with the keyboard. Alternatively, there’s a 2.4GHz dongle cleverly hidden in a port on the side of the peripheral; that makes a quick connection once a switch on the right side of the keyboard is slid into position. Finally, there’s Bluetooth 5.1 support, allowing the CK271 to pair with Android and iOS phones and tablets.
Lighting And Battery Life
There’s only one issue with wireless modes: to get the 70 hours of claimed battery life out the unit’s internal 2000 mAh battery, you’ll have to turn off the LED lighting. With illumination on, you’ll get less than half of amount.
Something that is very noticeable on this keyboard is the RGB lighting, which is sublime. While I’ll always support function over form, the lighting on the CK721 is very bright, with a bunch of customization options in the Cooler Master+ software to make it shine in the way you’d like it to, or even not at all.
This is present even if you’re using the keyboard with another device, so it’s nice to see you don’t lose your personal customization choices just because you want to use it away from your desktop and the software. There’s also plenty of macros and of course you can change every key press if you want, so being able to set things up your way works amazing.
Across a week of work usage, I gradually adapted to the CK721’s diminutive size. What assisted with the acclimation was the quality of the mechanical keyboard. My unit shipped with linear switches that provided smooth actuation and just a hint of noise. But if you prefer clicky or tactile switches, Cooler Master has you covered. In tests, typing speeds with the Cooler Master were quite comparable to full-sized keyboards.
But that’s not to say the keyboard will please power users. For one, there are no dedicated function keys, obliging users to use a single dedicated function button that’s also shared with customization features. As such, the CK721 was fine for basic typing, but performing tasks like opening the thesaurus in Word, felt a bit unwieldy. Sure, you can use the macros and key remapping to create some shortcuts, but seldomly used keys are a scarcity.
For those who do use the traditional top row of function keys frequently, a larger keyboard would be a better investment. And hopefully, Cooler Master works the kinks of out its MasterPlus companion app. I repeatedly received an error message when starting it up.
As a fan of mechanical keyboards in general, I really like the CK721. The tactile feel of the keycaps and the feedback from the mechanical switches are up there with any other keyboard I’ve tried.
And the sleek, minimalist design is incredibly appealing. I love the 65 percent layout. It has all of the buttons that I regularly use and doesn’t feel cramped at all. And the customization and versatility of the keyboard are very impressive.
At a price of $119.99 it might be slightly more expensive than most people will want to pay for the features and such that you get. I feel it’s just barely in the right price range, and anything higher wouldn’t make it worth it. In the end, worth it to me for what I want and need as well as how I would use it on a daily basis.