Review: Cooler Master CK721 gaming keyboard
Minimal in style and size with an emphasis on performance.
Cooler Master is a company generally known among computer heads for their PC components. However, the company also produces several PC peripherals, including gaming keyboards. Today, we’re going to check out the Cooler Master CK721 gaming keyboard.
The CK721 is a new wireless gaming keyboard with a 65 percent layout. The 65 percent layout means that the keyboard is missing some keys on the right side, including the number pad and the top row function keys.
The CK721 is the latest gaming keyboard from Cooler Master and you can find it on Amazon for $119.99. I’ve been using this keyboard for gaming and for work for a couple of weeks now. So, let’s see what it’s all about.
Cooler Master went with a subtle design for this keyboard
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As with just about any tech product, the initial unboxing of the CK721 tells a lot about the product. The first thing I noticed was how simple, yet absolutely gorgeous the keyboard looks.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on the keyboard, and that’s what makes it look so good. I got the Silver White version with the white keys and sandblasted aluminum back plate. The design is incredibly simple and would look good in just about any setup.
The keys themselves feel really nice, as well. They have a tactile etching where the letter or symbol is on the key which is actually pretty helpful when typing. It’s a small thing but helps to better locate exactly where my fingers are on the keys.
Even though this is a small form-factor keyboard, the keys don’t feel cramped. An issue I had with a previous Cooler Master keyboard, the SK622, was that some keys were oddly shaped to fit in the small chassis.
That’s not a problem with the CK721 and all of the keys feel like they are in a natural position. There’s even a multimedia knob that you can adjust to do different functions. I use mine to mute my sound and adjust the volume up and down.
Typing on the keyboard feels great
Of course, a great-looking keyboard is still useless if it doesn’t perform well. Fortunately, that’s not a problem with the CK721.
Typing on the CK721 feels really nice. The keycaps, as I noted earlier, are tactile and grippy, which is super helpful in both gaming and typing.
Cooler Master’s keyboard comes with red, blue, or brown switches which are linear, clicky, and tactile, respectively. The version I have has the red linear switches that have the least amount of resistance.
The switches themselves feel a lot like the Cherry MX switches found commonly in other gaming keyboards, like my old Corsair K95. I’m a big fan of the switches in the CK721. They provide a good amount of feedback without being overbearingly loud.
It’s versatile and customizable
Despite its compact size, the CK721 is a pretty versatile keyboard. It can be connected wirelessly, either via Bluetooth or a USB dongle. I find the additional 2.4GHz wireless dongle to be really nice, especially considering my ancient PC doesn’t have Bluetooth and would need a dongle to connect anyway.
Or you can hook it up wired via USB-C if you don’t want to worry about the battery. Although, I have been using it wirelessly for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve only had to charge the battery once.
It goes into a sort of sleep mode after a few minutes of not being used. It automatically turns off the LED lights, which helps save battery life.
And speaking of LED lights, the CK721 features a full range of 16.7 million RGB backlight colors. You can customize the LEDs with the Cooler Master MasterPlus software or onboard using the function keyboard shortcuts.
The function key can be used for a variety of different shortcuts and commands. Most importantly, you can use this function button to activate keys that aren’t on the board. For example, pressing FN + O simulates the Screen Lock key on Cooler Master’s keyboard.
And lastly, who said that this keyboard was made just for Windows? Another command, FN + Shift, will change the keyboard’s layout from Windows over to Mac. In fact, the Bluetooth capabilities help make the CK721 incredibly versatile across multiple devices.
Should you buy the Cooler Master CK721 gaming keyboard?
As a fan of mechanical keyboards in general, I really like the CK721. The tactile feel of the keycaps and the feedback from the mechanical switches are up there with any other keyboard I’ve tried.
And the sleek, minimalist design is incredibly appealing. I love the 65 percent layout. It has all of the buttons that I regularly use and doesn’t feel cramped at all. And the customization and versatility of the keyboard are very impressive.
The only thing that I can think of that might be a negative with this keyboard is its price. $119.99 feels a bit steep, but it’s definitely not the most expensive keyboard in the world. Razer’s Blackwidow V3 Mini offers similar features at $179.99.
But Corsair also offers a similar option with its K57 at only $99.99. The keyboard business is all about brands. And Razer is a brand that can afford to charge a premium price for its products.
Cooler Master is more known for its PC components than it is for keyboards. Some gamers might not want to pay that much for a brand that they are unfamiliar with in the PC peripherals space.
That being said, I personally believe that the price of the CK721 is not bad at all. It offers the premium quality and performance that you’d expect from more popular brands in a compact and stylish gaming keyboard.
If you’re looking for a wireless keyboard that looks good and has tons of customization and versatility options, then the CK721 is perfect for you.
You can get yours in either Silver White or Space Gray on Amazon for $119. You can also snag it directly from Cooler Master for a little cheaper (but it is currently out of stock). If you prefer shopping in a store, you can look at Cooler Master’s website to find a retailer near you, as well.
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Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.