CM Masterkeys Pro L RGB hits the mark for daily typing

The CM Masterkeys Pro L RGB has N-key roll-over anti-ghosting feature, so that each key press is correctly detected no matter how many keys are pressed.
The CM Masterkeys Pro L RGB has N-key roll-over anti-ghosting feature, so that each key press is correctly detected no matter how many keys are pressed.PHOTO: COOLER MASTER

Better known for its cooling systems and gaming PC chassis, Cooler Master (CM) actually has a very sleek mechanical gaming keyboard in its Masterkeys Pro L RGB.

This keyboard is available in Cherry MX Blue (version tested), Brown and Red switches. Each switch is individually backlit, with up to 16.7 million colours to choose from. The build is quite solid, thanks to the metallic casing.

The Masterkeys has the N-key roll-over anti-ghosting feature, so that each key press is correctly detected no matter how many keys are pressed.

Design-wise, it is as minimal as it gets. It is built just enough to accommodate all the keys. Other than the four profile keys on top of the number pad, there are no fancy key caps or extra macro keys.

There is no wrist rest or extra casing to show off a CM logo. The CM logo is displayed on the two Windows keys. The minimal design means there is no room for a USB pass-through port or audio jack.

I like the minimalist design, as it means more real estate on the table top. But it means the hassle of having to press the Function key and another key for certain tasks.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $239

    SWITCHES: Cherry MX Blue, tactile and clicky (60g actuation force)

    FEATURES: RGB lighting up to 16.7 million colours, N-key roll-over anti-ghosting

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

For example, the keyboard does not have dedicated media keys. So, to control volume or music playback, you need to press the Function key and the corresponding Insert, Delete, Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys.

The Masterkeys' software is good for updating firmware and letting you save four profiles with different lighting modes. However, you cannot use it to map macros to a certain button.

Being able to do so would have helped to compensate forthe lack of dedicated macro keys.You can still record one macro on-the-fly. But you have to press the Function key and one of the Print Screen, Screen Lock or Pause keys to activate the macro. Quite a chore.

For first-person-shooter games, where pressing of several keys simultaneously is a common occurrence, the keys all responded quickly. I didn't experience any ghosting.

The keyboard is also generally good for real-time strategy and multiplayer online battle arena games. But again, I wish there were dedicated macro keys that I can tap on when playing these games.

However, in terms of daily typing use, it hits the mark perfectly. I also like the loud clicky noise from the Cherry MX Blue switches, as it feels like I am typing on a typewriter. In fact, I would buy this keyboard just for typing.

•Verdict: If you want a more affordable RGB-backlit mechanical gaming keyboard for both gaming and daily use, the Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro L RGB is a great option to consider.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'CM Masterkeys Pro L RGB hits the mark for daily typing'. Print Edition | Subscribe