REVIEW Cooler Master CK552 : A wonderful RGB-backlit budget keyboard

Cost-cutting done right

Cooler Master’s done a rather fantastic task creating an entry-level keyboard that still looks premium. I’m incredibly excited with the CK552’s visual, which quickly takes on keyboards two times its cost. It’s easy yet trendy, including a revealed combed steel backplate and also a minimalist rectangle-shaped shape with the left and ideal sides sloped a little external.

Nothing fancy, yet that’s specifically what makes it function. It’s a timeless, stripped-down style, right to the easy sans-serif typeface utilized on the tricks. Other than the RGB lights, the CK552 appears like it ‘d fit in at the office equally as conveniently as the home, as well as would certainly look great in either setting.

It truly is an entry-level keyboard though, lacking most of the frills I typically try to find nowadays. There’s no wrist remainder, for example. Cooler Master sent us its WR530, a big rubber wrist rest that sets fine with the CK552, however it’s not a pack-in product. Those that bring their own wrist rest (or do not use one in any way) most likely won’t mind, but it indicates the CK552’s not rather as economical as it first shows up.

[It’s likewise worth keeping in mind that the WR530 stinks in the beginning. The odor’s subsided the longer I’ve invested with it, but for the first couple of days it released a frustrating rubber-tire smell that also ended up around my hands and also wrists. This isn’t a WR530 evaluation yet … gross.]

The CK552’s cable is thin and also fragile-feeling, which is maybe my greatest grievance below. I choose removable cords, as well as stopping working that, I choose a thick and durable, fabric-shrouded cable television with sturdy stress relief like the ones we locate on Razer and also Corsair items. The CK552 is plain ol’ rubber, as well as affixes to the key-board with a delicate-looking nub. It does not feel like it would certainly hold up to much misuse, and also I wouldn’t advise throwing the CK552 into a backpack or anything extremely typically.

It also lacks committed media tricks. That a person’s less unusual at this rate factor, but worth noting for any individual that’s grown accustomed to them. Media keys are double-mapped to the Home block rather, with quantity controls on Page Up and Page Down. It’s not my favorite placement, though I had the ability to utilize them one-handed at least.

Why not place the media tricks on the Function row? Well, the CK552 enjoys double-mapped commands. It’s absolutely packed with them. F1 through F4 enable you to adjust the backlight color, F5 with F8 allow you transform illumination impacts on-the-fly, F9 via F12 allow for macro recording as well as disabling the Windows trick, 1 via 4 on the number row let you switch accounts, as well as the arrowhead tricks additionally readjust lighting impacts on the zip speeding them up or slowing them down.

Point being: You have a great deal of control, all without the need for software application. Those who are tired of every peripheral being linked to a software application utility will probably be excited, though the bunch of second commands (and also even tertiary) does leave the CK552 looking a bit cluttered.

If you do decide to go the software program path, Cooler Master’s utility is rather straightforward and also instinctive. And also at 64MB, it’s additionally among the most light-weight programs I’ve seen for peripheral administration. Kudos to Cooler Master for that. Inside you can do all the typical tweaks, from per-key backlighting to basic results, macro recording, crucial remapping, and also profile management.

The CK552’s backlighting is the standard Cherry MX-style, with a single RGB LED put on top of each key as well as refracted via a clear button framework. It’s not one of the most sophisticated remedy, yet Cooler Master takes advantage of it. The CK552 is lively, with exceptional shade precision– though like any kind of Cherry-style board, the light does tend to diminish as it approaches the lower edge, many noticeable below on the Cooler Master logo as well as any kind of double-mapped keys.

You’ll additionally notice I keep saying “Cherry-style.” Yes, like lots of modern key-boards– particularly entry-level ones– Cooler Master’s opted for a Cherry-compatible rival, in this case Gateron. It makes good sense. They’re low-cost!

Yet as for cheap competition goes, Gateron’s are actually a rather lot. The CK552 I’ve been using is built around Gateron Reds, a Cherry MX Red clone. Gateron Reds feature the exact same direct action, the very same 45 gram pressure requirement, and also are normally smoother-feeling than Cherry MX Reds– though you ‘d probably have a hard time observing in a typical typing atmosphere. They’re well-regarded by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts however, as well as if you’re going to deviate from Cherry then Gateron is a superb phone call.

That claimed, the CK552 is loud. I don’t have another Gateron Red board to compare to so it’s difficult to state whether it’s an outcome of the button itself or the CK552’s construction– though I’m leaning in the direction of the latter. A great deal of individuals choose Red buttons because they’re quieter than the tactile Browns and also Blues, but the CK552 is almost as loud as some of the MX Blue keyboards I kind on. Each stroke hits the backplate with a hollow thunking noise that can be distracting also for me, a long time mechanical keyboard individual. If you’re looking to buy a CK552 with Reds since they’re promoted as “Silent,” just know this certain version is anything yet.

Bottom line
Cooler Master’s obtained a rather pleasant entry-level board on its hands however. Certain, $10 or $20 even more can get you the Cougar Attack X3 RGB, which has an extra conventional placement for its media tricks, a pack-in wrist remainder, as well as Cherry MX switches. But the wrist remainder is the only function I truly missed while giving the CK552 a spin, and that’s quickly fixed with any type of number of third-party alternatives (or Cooler Master’s, if you can stand the scent). Not to mention the truth that the CK552 is a whole lot prettier than the Attack X3’s faux-industrial appearance.

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