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Cooler Master CK550 Mechanical Keyboard Review

  1. About the Cooler Master CK550…
  2. Keyboard and Utility Impressions
  3. End-User Experience and Conclusion
  4. Online Purchase Links
  5. View All

Keycap Font Design

Unlike the old days, some keyboard brands used exotic font design to suit ‘gamers’ but thankfully that phase met with an infamous death. Some brands do have bold fonts, with an exception of some letters such as E and ‘&”. The media/LED controls on the Function keys could have been larger, just like alternate commands on the horizontal number bar. The first four digits on the horizontal num section have profile numbers written on the slope. The same could have been done for RGB/Media functions.

Pop-out Feet

The issue is when the pop-out feet are pulled out and typed on since the mid-section can bend during fast typing. This can be seen only if you actuate the keys all the way to the bottom with a lot of force. The midsection does flex more than the CM MasterKeys Pro L did.. The reinforcement of full-size keyboards with pop-out feet is usually an issue, but I thought it wouldn’t be the case with Cooler Master because of the MasterKeys L Pro.

Underbelly Area

The rubber feet does its job. But mechanical keyboards like the MasterKeys Pro L, GMMK and HyperX Alloy FPS Pro have a better friction on a glass surface.

Keycap Type

I am not sure why would Cooler Master stick with ABS keycaps when manufacturers like Motospeed with Kailh switches on the CK108 and Glorious PC Master Race keyboards use double die-shot.

Switch Type

This is the second Gateron switch based keyboard I have tested. Naturally, I will like to see if it has any relation with Chery MX brown.

The Cherry MX brown has a very subtle tactile bump, giving it a little bit of an actuation sensation mid-way against Cherry MX Reds. In my opinion, those who like Cherry MX Reds will like Cherry MX Browns- and vice versa.

About the Gateron brown switches…

Gateron Browns are just like that, but for some reason, the actuation feels lighter. These switches feel closer to Cherry MX Red with a more subtle tactile bump. Even more subtle than the Cherry MX Brown, and yet it has that very subtle bump which has a more pronounced sensation if you actuate the switches very closely. They feel hardly noticeable when you’re speed typing to playing an intense match.

Wibbly wobbly??

There’s also a habit I picked up since I am using it with and without a wrist gel- hitting the wall of the switches rather than the top. Usually border side keys such as space bar, L-SHIFT, LCTRL, TAB/ CAPS and ~ key for Overwatch’s voice chat. When you do this, typically to hit the stem against the rest of the switches’ frame. Gateron and Cherry MX are the ones have that seamless friction when you do so. There is a wobble between the stem and the body of the switch. It doesn’t affect typing performance nor it hits adjacent keycaps.

Just like the Gateron Red, Gateron Brown exudes confidence in typing.

 

On-the-fly Features

The added functions bound in the traditional keyboard aren’t anything out of the ordinary. It ranges from LED controls/brightness levels, Macro recorder and the media keys. There are no macro keys. The only way to do this is by assigning any one of the keys with the macro functions. The only way to go to the normal button mode is by switching to an empty profile mode. Since the profile buttons are hotkeys with the existing layout, there is no active profile LED indicator, nor that particular key’s light changes.

Cooler Master, you really need to add an audio mute function.

Illumination Impression

You’ll notice a diffused housing the for LED lights. Many keyboards use SMD LEDs which have flat mounted LEDs on the PCB which then reflects on the clear housing of every switch. Glorious PC Master Race GMMK, Motospeed CK108 and the Xanova Magnetar RGB Keyboard are such examples.

Because of the horizontal brushed aluminum plate, the illumination and the way its LED’s illumination is spread around is very balanced. This is great for keys like the 1-to-4 on-the-fly profile swap options.

Utility Impression

Cooler Master allows you to install its ‘Cooler Master Portal’ which then detects what Cooler Master detectable hardware is connected and highlights the products and option to download its utility. The lack of user sign-up/sign Like Razer Synapse is what makes CM’s portal more palatable.

After the download, it requires you to update the firmware before the CK550 utility can be installed.

This keyboard uses the utility made for the CK500/ CK550/ CK552. It does leave another icon on the desktop, but CM could have chosen a better default filename other than ‘CK500_CK552′.

Anyways…

The keyboard allows you to store up to four profiles which contain information for your custom LED, macro and key mapping. These are same controls as you will get with the on-the-fly functions. The difference is the ease of making the settings and reviewing the macro keys. You can also save profiles in your system or reset them. You can custom colour change as per your desires under the LED section.

If you map the keys, you do not have additional switches and therefore assign to one of the keys. As said before, if you want to move to a default keymap option, you’ll just have to keep one profile without the remapped keys.

2 comments

  1. You should review a keyboard according to how much it costs. This is why this keyboard is cheap because corners have been cut.

  2. Pricing is fine. Gaterons are considered to be equal or better than Cherry MX depending on the user’s experience and preference. I only wish for this keyboard to have a detachable USB cable. Mechanical keyboards like these last very long, so if something dies eventually depending on the wear and tear, a detachable cable makes it easy to replace a bad cable with a new one.

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