Cooler Master CK271 Mechanical Keyboard Impressions
Despite the prevalence of touch screen devices, controllers and other peripherals, keyboards still play a huge role in productivity. They’re still the way most of us interface with our computers most of the time. Finding the right keyboard isn’t simple when there’s a dizzying array of options and alternatives. What looks good on a keyboard’s spec sheet might not cut it when the product is on our desk and under our fingers. The Cooler Master CK271 checks a lot of boxes. It’s a compact, 65% size mechanical keyboard that’s easy to mod. It has RGB lighting effects, it’s easily switched between Mac and PC configurations, and connects via Bluetooth, wireless, or USB cable. It also has a special, programmable dial that can be used for a variety of purposes.
Sound, Feel, and Curb Appeal
How a keyboard sounds might seem irrelevant, but it’s one of the reasons people love mechanical keyboards. That feedback provides both aesthetic pleasure and a practical, aural complement to productivity. Every keyboard has a particular “voice.” In the case of the CK271, the click and clack of the keyboard is satisfying overall, though the spacebar bottoms out somewhat abruptly. Some other mechanical keyboards I’ve reviewed lately have very muted-sounding keys.
Aural feedback aside, the keys are accurate and responsive. They’re 1/2 inch wide but deeply beveled. The keys are a also little farther apart, which improves typing accuracy despite the overall reduced footprint. Nearly all the keys are multifunction depending on which OS you’re using. Most of the alternative functions are printed on the front side of the key. This does make them hard to read without having the RGB lights on.
The array of RGB options is impressive. The colors are programmable via Cooler Master software or on the keyboard itself. Without adjustment, the colors are vivid and bright, easily seen even in a lighted environment.
The CK271’s body is aluminum and plastic and feels pretty solid, though there’s a bit of flex. There is a removable aluminum faceplate with several color options available. For those into modding their keyboards, it’s easy to remove and replace the keys. It sits solidly on the desk, either flat or with the top feet open and the keyboard at an angle. The rubber no-skid strips do their job. The CK 271 comes with a substantial foam wrist rest. At 5/8 inches thick, it’s actually higher than the front of the keyboard, which might not be comfortable for everyone.
Gamers are obviously concerned with latency, and the good news is that either via Bluetooth or wireless USB, I had no issues with dropped or laggy inputs.
The Cooler Master CK271 has a lot of appealing features for the price. A mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting, lots of connectivity options, and comfortable spacing despite its compact size, the CK271 checks a lot of boxes. It isn’t the heaviest or most substantial keyboard on the market, and some of the alternative key assignments are a bit unintuitive. Anyone in the market for a compact mechanical keyboard should give the CK271 a test drive.
***Cooler Master CK271 provided for review***