Cooler Master CK720 Mechanical Keyboard Review
For many of us, keyboards are a device that we don’t think about much. We find one we like, and except for cleaning out the snack debris or the cat knocking it off the desk, it just fades into the workflow. For others, though, keyboards are a really big deal. These folks want a keyboard that not only feels and sounds great, but has a feature set that allows for deep customization. That is obviously the target audience for Cooler Master’s new CK720 keyboard. It’s both affordable and flexible.
The CK720 is a wired-only version of the CK721 mechanical keyboard. At 65% size the key spacing is almost identical to Cooler Master’s compact SK 622. The difference in form factor is the added row of dedicated arrow keys and a programmable dial. The main selling point of the CK720 is customization, starting with the hot-swappable keys. That’s a super important feature for those gamers and enthusiasts who want to change out keys to make them higher, lower, clickier, or reconfigured for specific uses. It’s super easy to use the included pulling tool to pop keys off and replace the switches.
Right out of the box, the CK720 is equipped with pre-lubed Kailh Box V2 switches. They’re not nearly as clicky as some, but have a weightier, damped sound that still provided plenty of tactile and auditory feedback. For me, no matter how many bullet points a keyboard has, it has to feel great and allow me to be accurate. I’ll admit, my typing position is “unique,” but after many decades it’s not likely to change. I don’t want to spend time retraining my finger muscles. I felt right at home almost immediately on the CK720.
The CK720 weighs in at 950 grams. It feels super-solid and very well built. It’s incredibly stable on the desk. It’s not light enough to throw in a bag, but that’s not its purpose. The fit and finish on the plastic and aluminum body is excellent. The folding stands allow for two alternatives to laying flat, and I found the steepest angle most comfortable.
There are those for whom programmable RGB LEDs aren’t just (literal) eye-candy, but essential to competitive gaming. On the CK720, the lights can be programmed either using Cooler Master’s software or via the keyboard. The Master+ software is also used to configure key assignments and macros. While much of the programming can be done from the keyboard itself, Cooler Master’s software is Windows only. A final note on the RBG lights. There are a lot of fanciful patterns, but at least on the gunmetal (i.e. black) version of the keyboard, they’re pretty dim. I assume that the white model — or swapping transparent keys — would boost the brightness.
Cooler Master included their coiled cable add-on with my review unit (the keyboard itself comes with a standard, plastic cable). The Cooler Master coiled cable comes in a variety of colors, and is made of braided nylon. It’s made in two sections, with a 5-pin connector in the middle. The big feature here is the flexible coil of cable at the keyboard end that reduces snakes of unsightly cable cluttering up the desk. And, as Cooler Master says, it gives you “300% more cred on keyboard subreddits.” Uh huh. Unfortunately, I received the white cable. It not only clashed with the keyboard color, but stood out glaringly on my desktop. Bottom line, it’s a well-made piece of gear but detracts from a minimalist aesthetic, if that’s your thing. If you’re into steampunk, go for it.
Click and Clack and Don’t Look Back
My workspace is filled with keyboards that I’ve reviewed and never used again. It’s usually because I rarely find one that feels better than my long-time, default favorite, a generic Logitech full size keyboard that’s not built for gaming. However, the CK720 feels great and has the right amount of satisfying auditory feedback. Best of all, it has the flexibility for those looking for easy modification. At around $100 US, the CK720 is a good fit for gamers and tech enthusiasts looking for a reasonably priced platform for customization.
***CK720 and coiled cable provided by Cooler Master for review***
- Solid construction, clean design
- Mid-size and comfortable
- Hot-swappable keys
- Lots of programmable features
- Default switches aren’t very clicky
- LEDs are fairly dim on the gunmetal model
- Too heavy for portability