Cooler Master CK720 review: A keyboard lover’s paradise

Cooler Master CK720 mechanical keyboard

suggested retail price $99.00

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

Advantages

  • Top-level hardware customization options

  • Numerous software changes

  • Robust, space-saving design

  • Includes volume knob

  • Great gaming performance

cons

  • Alt text on keycaps not illuminated

  • Pretty thick design

Some prefer to keep it 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 customization 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.

Design

Cooler Master CK720 disassembled.

The CK720 is a 65% keyboard that is refreshingly compact yet robust. It’s not a thin keyboard per se, and it weighs about 2 pounds, so it’s rather chunky. However, I think this gives it a certain quality that you can be sure will last for a while.

Cooler Master expects users to fully customize this to their heart’s content, so there’s a removable metal top plate that lets you take the keyboard completely apart if you so choose. Cooler Master says they will sell other colors for the top plates if you don’t like the standard. There’s a lever on the side that lets you pull it off, exposing the mechanics underneath.

At the bottom are two-stage stands that allow you to control the angle if you prefer to hold your keyboards at an angle. The kickstands are adjustable from 5 degrees, 8 degrees and 10 degrees.

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

Cooler Master CK720 with braided cable.

Despite being compact, it still has a few quality-of-life features, such as a volume knob that can be customized for other functions (more on that later). The Delete, Page Up, and Page Down keys are on the side, though it’s a pity Cooler Master doesn’t fit a dedicated Home key.

If you like keyboard shortcuts, this keyboard has plenty of them. Almost every key has an alternate function that can be accessed by holding down the function key (with the Cooler Master logo) and pressing the appropriate key. Cooler Master calls it its “On-the-fly” system and also allows you to adjust settings such as backlight and RGB lighting modes, and even record macros without having to use the Masterplus software.

The CK720 is a robust keyboard that saves a lot of space on your desk.

The CK720 is compatible with both Mac and PC and includes a dedicated key to switch between Windows and macOS formats.

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

This is a gaming keyboard, so of course it has a good dose of RGB lighting per key that can be customized with different colors and effects, like many of its competitors like Razer and Logitech.

Nevertheless, the CK720 is all in all a robust keyboard that saves a lot of space on your desk.

Customization and Software

The real star of the show is the sheer customization on tap. This is why you buy this keyboard. Not only can you replace any keycap, you can replace all switches. Whether you like Cherry, Gateron or Boba switches, they will all work on the CK720. The CK720 comes with durable PBT double-shot keycaps, but you can easily replace it with something from Drop or other keyboard manufacturers.

Full customization is the reason you buy this keyboard.

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

The CK720, of course, comes with a tool that functions as both a key puller and a switch puller. Like the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless, any 3-pin MX compatible switch will work in the CK720. One advantage of using whatever keys/switches you want is that because the keyboard can switch between Mac and Windows layouts, you can buy Mac-specific keys.

Like the hardware, the Masterplus software also offers more customization options for those who really want to make the CK720 theirs. Unfortunately, Masterplus is only available on Windows at the time of writing. 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 adjust all RGB lighting per key and apply effects such as a rainbow wave or “crosshairs”. In addition, you can remap each of the keys and create custom macros that you can save in profiles.

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

Performance

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

I’ve complained about the sound some keyboards make, and Cooler Master apparently agrees. The CK720 has two separate silicone pads to dampen sound and absorb the force of keystrokes. Typing on the CK720 is indeed pleasantly understated and I certainly saw this used in a quiet office environment.

Cooler Master CK720 angled.

Typing performance for the standard brown switches is generally quite good. I could type long stretches without errors. The keyboard 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 1000Hz and a response time of 1ms. 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’re a hardcore mechanical keyboard enthusiast and like to modify every keycap and switch, this is the keyboard for you. At just $100, this is an excellent value considering the level of customization available. Other keyboards offer the ability to disable keyswitches, but not for $100.

Note my first caveat, though. If you just want a basic keyboard that works and don’t plan on disabling the keys or switches, this might be overkill. You will find much cheaper mechanical keyboards that get the job done.

That said, the overall performance of the CK720 is fantastic and could be worth a look if you want a compact keyboard, you just wouldn’t get the full value if you don’t really customize it.

There are other options, of course, such as the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless that lets you stay untethered to your computer. However, the Pro Mini Wireless is about $80 more expensive, and since it’s a 60% keyboard, you’re missing some utility keys.

However, if you don’t mind a wired connection, the Cooler Master CK720 is hard to beat.

Editor’s Recommendations






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