Cooler Master CK720 review: A paradise for keyboard enthusiasts

Cooler Master CK720 Mechanical Keyboard

RRP $99.00

“At just $100, the Cooler Master CK720 is the best value compact, customizable keyboard.”

advantages

  • Premium hardware customization options

  • Numerous software adjustments

  • Robust, space-saving design

  • Includes volume control

  • Great gaming performance

Disadvantages

  • Alt text on non-backlit keycaps

  • Pretty chunky design

There are some who prefer to keep things simple when it comes to keyboards. They just prefer a no-frills, well-built keyboard that gets the job done.

Then there are those who want maximum customizability with the ability to make every part of the keyboard an expression of their creativity and personality. If the latter describes you, the Cooler Master CK720 is a mechanical keyboard worthy of serious consideration.

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Cooler Master CK720 disassembled.

The CK720 is a 65% keyboard that’s refreshingly compact, yet sturdy. It’s not exactly a thin keyboard, and it weighs around 2 pounds, so it’s pretty chunky. However, I think this leads to a certain quality that you can be sure will last for quite a while.

Cooler Master expects users to be able to fully customize this to their heart’s content. Therefore, there is a removable top metal plate that allows you to completely disassemble the keyboard if you wish. Cooler Master says they will sell other colors for the top plates if you don’t like the stock color. There’s a lever on the side that allows you to pull it off and reveal the mechanics underneath.

There are two-tiered stands on the bottom that allow you to control the angle if you prefer your keyboards at an incline. The stands are adjustable from 5 degrees, 8 degrees and 10 degrees.

Although this is only a wired keyboard, at least it comes with a detachable USB Type-C to Type-A cable. Cooler Master will also release a braided spiral cable in different colors as well.

Cooler Master CK720 with braided cable.

Despite being compact, it still has a few quality of life features like a volume slider that can be adjusted for other functions (more on that in a moment). The Delete, Page Up, and Page Down keys are on the side, although it’s a shame Cooler Master couldn’t include a dedicated home button.

If you love keyboard shortcuts, this keyboard has plenty of them. Almost every button has an alternate function, which you can access by holding down the function button (with the Cooler Master logo) and pressing the appropriate button. Calling it its “on-the-fly” system, Cooler Master also allows you to adjust settings like backlighting and RGB lighting modes, and even record macros, without having to use the Masterplus software.

The CK720 is a durable keyboard that saves a tremendous amount of space on your desk.

Compatible with both Mac and PC, the CK720 includes a dedicated button to toggle between Windows and MacOS layouts.

Speaking of lighting, the keyboard’s only major flaw is that the alternate functions don’t light up. The letters and other symbols at the top of the keys light up, but not the alternate symbols on the face of each key. So if you’re playing in the dark or in a dimly lit room, you won’t be able to see the alternate function unless you’ve memorized it.

This is a gaming keyboard, so naturally it has a hefty dose of per-key RGB lighting, customizable with different colors and effects, like many of its competitors like Razer and Logitech.

Despite this, the CK720 is overall a sturdy keyboard that saves a tremendous amount of space on your desk.

customization and software

The real star of the show is the sheer customization on tap, which is why you’ll buy this keyboard. Not only can you replace each individual keycap, but you can also replace all the switches. Whether you’re interested in Cherry, Gateron, or Boba switches, they all work on the CK720. The CK720 comes with durable PBT double-shot keycaps, but you can easily swap it out for something from Drop or other keyboard manufacturers.

Full customization is why you buy this keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards with hot-swappable switches are gaining popularity thanks to keyboards like the Asus ROG Strix Flare II and the Corsair K70 Pro Mini.

The CK720 obviously comes with a tool that doubles as a key puller and switch puller. As with the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless, any 3-pin MX-compatible switch will work in the CK720. An advantage of using any keys/switches is that you can buy Mac specific keys since the keyboard can switch between Mac and Windows layouts.

Like the hardware, the Masterplus software allows for more customization options for those who really want to make the CK720 theirs. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, Masterplus is only available for Windows. The Cooler Master representative told me that the team is working on new software that will be compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Cooler Master Masterplus software lighting

With Masterplus, you can customize the overall per-key RGB lighting and apply effects like a rainbow wave or a “crosshair”. In addition, you can remap all keys and create custom macros that you can save in profiles.

The rotary knob turns the volume up and down, and mutes it when you press it by default. However, Masterplus allows you to set other profiles that control media playback, brightness, and LED/lighting modes.

perfomance

The CK720 comes with Kailh Box V2 switches. My review unit has the tactile versions, although it comes with eight Cherry MX Green switches that have a strong click action. As I’ve said in other reviews, I tend to prefer linear switches (especially for gaming), but I can be persuaded to use tactile switches if performance is good enough.

I’ve complained about the sound of some keyboards and Cooler Master seems to agree. The CK720 features two separate silicone pads to dampen sound and absorb the force of keystrokes. In fact, typing on the CK720 is pleasantly muted and I could definitely use it in a quiet office environment.

Cooler Master CK720 right angle.

Typing performance for the standard brown switches is pretty good overall. I was able to type long stretches without making mistakes. The key travel was just right for me and I didn’t have to constantly readjust my hands.

In terms of gaming performance, I didn’t have any major issues either. The CK720 has a polling rate of 1000 Hz and a response time of 1 ms. This allowed me to practice quick reactions and movements Modern Warfare II. The keyboard works natively with the Xbox Series X and PS5 for console owners who prefer to use a keyboard and mice.

Wired to play

If you are a die-hard mechanical keyboard enthusiast and like to modify every single keycap and switch, this is the keyboard for you. At just $100, this is excellent value given the customization options available. Other keyboards offer the option to swap out key switches, but not for $100.

However, note my initial caveat. If you just want a basic keyboard that works and don’t plan on swapping out the keycaps or switches, this might be overkill. You’ll find much cheaper mechanical keyboards that will get the job done.

However, the overall performance of the CK720 is fantastic and might be worth considering if you want a compact keyboard. You just wouldn’t get the full value unless you actually customize them.

There are of course other options, like the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless, which allows you to stay independent of your computer. However, the Pro Mini Wireless is about $80 more expensive, and since it’s a 60% keyboard, you miss out on some of the utility keys.

However, for those who don’t mind a wired connection, the Cooler Master CK720 is hard to beat.

Editor’s Recommendations






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