Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
When I think of mechanical keyboards, there is always one company that comes to mind. While I'm not sure if it is because of them delivering my first mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX green switches, or if it is the fact that we have seen so many successful designs that these boards tend to stay on our desk longer. The fact is, however, chances are, if you were to stop by, a Cooler Master keyboard is likely to be on the desk. Ever since we got our first look at a Trigger keyboard, all the way through to the Rapid-i we saw last, Cooler Master seems to be a step ahead of the game, and has delivered solid keyboards that we have used for many years.
As you can imagine, with as many designs and offerings as we have seen over the years, we have our choice of any keyboard on the planet pretty much. For any one company's product to spend many years under our fingers, it says a ton about a company and their products. Not only do you get a very solid product, which has even been seen being run over by trucks in the past, with the newer releases and the advent of RGB lighting, but modes of lighting and options therein have also always been at the top of the game as well. From any angle of attack, any way you want to try and discuss them, the team at Cooler Master, to us, has their ear firmly in the mechanical keyboard scene, and can do things that many other companies only dream of.
Today we bring the latest in their keyboard lineup. We are no longer in the Trigger, QuickFire, NovaTouch, or the Suppressor series of products, because Cooler Master is now offering a whole new line of MasterKeys products to coincide with the Maker movement of products they have been releasing this year. We have been delivered the MasterKeys Pro L and the MasterKeys Pro S, two takes on a similar configuration. This is an evolution of the Rapid-I design in our minds, but don't let that fool you. There is a bunch more being offered via software or keyboard control, and this is also the first time we have seen Cooler Master use Cherry MX switches with clear bodies, just to name a couple of major selling points. Stick with us as we take you on a journey of two similar keyboards that are bound to make any Cooler Master keyboard fan drool, and just may change the way other companies think about designing their next solution to vie for your hard-earned dollars.
We were provided a chart with some of the early release information, as with this pair of keyboards, the MasterKeys Pro L has been released today, and we are told the MasterKeys Pro S will release three weeks from now. The images at the top explain the naming simply with the longer keyboard being named the MasterKeys L and the shorter TKL version being delivered as the MasterKeys Pro S. Both designs offer a two-part plastic frame that provides structural rigidity, and a sleek and simple design. Inside of the shell, there is a steel plate that is painted white to reflect the LED coloration and PCB containing clear-bodied Cherry MX switches in red, brown, or blue.
Getting more specific to the design, we are shown that there is an ARM Cortex M3 MCU at the helm; a 32-bit processor that runs at 72MHz and is twenty-five percent faster than the Cortex M0. The LEDs are moved to the base of the switch and are SMT RGB LEDs. These LEDs are also three drive LEDs, which means there are various power systems in control of making sure the LEDs can essentially dance when told to do so, without hesitation, and these are also PWM controlled in 12 steps to the brightness of each LED. There is a default polling rate of 1000Hz, the keyboard offers four repeat rate options, and delivers anti-ghosting and a combination of NKRO and 6-Key at the same time. This is done to ensure not a single press is missed, not matter how fast the commands may be. While you don't necessarily need software to reap the benefits of this design, it is offered to simplify controls and show visually what it is you are trying to set on the keyboard. This is also how you would update the firmware if that is desired. Lastly, we see that the Pro L is a full 104-key layout and that the Pro S is a Tenkeyless offering of the same idea.
As we write this review, there are no current listing to go by on any site we tend to haunt normally, but we are privy to locations and pricing information. We were told that Amazon, Newegg, and MicroCenter are all in line to supply stock of the MasterKeys keyboards, first the Pro L, and later we will see the Pro S hit the shelves. The smaller MasterKeys Pro S is said to be released with an MSRP of $139.99. As for the MasterKeys Pro L that is releasing as you read this, Cooler Master is asking $169.99 for the larger design. Compared to previously released Cooler Master mechanical keyboards, you are getting a lot of bang for buck. Even when widening the spectrum to other RGB offerings we have seen previously, these solutions are right on par, and we feel, very much worth the investment to get what this pair of mechanical gaming keyboards are bringing to the table.
Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS X99-E WS - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H100i GTX - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: KLevv Cras DDR4 3000 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Intel 730 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: SilverStone TJ11 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
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