- Standard ASCII Layout which means open for Customizability
- MasterPlus app to take advantage of the keyboard
- Available in three different switches
- Complete on-board control
- Comes with a Wrist rest
- Priced relatively alright
- A Step down from the switch with the first Generation
- ABS Keycaps has significant wear and tear
- Would be nice to have a detachable cable
If you saw our post a while back, Cooler Master sent few peripherals for us to review and one of them was their new Cooler Master CK550 V2 Keyboard which is a successor to the CK550 which made its debut last year. From the looks of it, it seems like not much has changed but when we do look closely, we noticed there’s more to it than it meets the eye. So, here’s our verdict on the CK550 V2, if you should get your own one.
Look and Feel
After unboxing, you’ll notice that the keyboard has an angular design which was brought forward from the CK550 announced last year. The keyboard has a skeleton based shell, which means the keys aren’t recessed into the body but rather has a very visible switch and you can see the switches from a side view. This is a good design because as compared to the Durgod Taurus we reviewed, which has a recessed casing and the key caps and the switch sits inside, is harder to clean and maintain as compared to the CK550 V2 which for users who are kickstarting their mechanical keyboard journey, should be alright. It has a gunmetal brushed plate on the body and the base of the body is plastic. So, you get a mixture of two materials fused into the keyboard.
In terms of weight, it’s a lot lighter and has slight heft to it. When you do type on it, you do get a bit of that hollow-ish feel but a lot of users who are starting up with the keyboard isn’t going to notice it. The cable on the CK550 V2 is attached to the body itself and it isn’t a braided cable which makes it questionable in the long run as its prone for an obvious wear and tear down the line. Just like what we said in the MM711 review a while back, having detachable cable would be wise as users could hot swap the cable if it gets worn out. Something Cooler Master can look into in the next generation, perhaps the V3.
The CK550 V2 is a full-sized keyboard and the only thing matters is the switch it comes with. Unlike the first generation which came with a Gateron switch, the new V2 no longer gets the Gateron treatment. Instead they have went for TTC’s Mechanical Switches. Right off the bat, it’s a brand no one has heard of and this does raise few questions on how durable the switches are and how much it can handle.
After doing some hunting, we found out that TTC, the brands full name is Trantek Electronics Co. Interestingly they have been around ever since 1998 – at least according to TomsHardware article, which you can click here to read more. But from reading that article, it seems like these are very affordable switches that cost relatively low and that gives an idea on why Cooler Master went for this switches as they are cheaper and keeps the cost lower. They are still rated for 50M Clicks and you can just take a look at the chart below which we found on Drop Site.
Other than the switch, the keyboard comes with an ABS Double-injection keycap. Initially I thought it was a Double shot PBT because the texture on top had a similar feel to it but once we took it apart, we noticed that the keyboard keycap is still ABS based. Which also means that in a long run, its prone to shine and wear out really quick. If you are particular about the keycaps then, you can always swap them for PBT which you can purchase online through Shopee or Lazada.
There are some good things to talk about this keyboard that’s worth mentioning. Along with the keyboard comes with a simple wrist rest – its basically a low-friction cloth for anti-irritations for longer gaming times. It had this softer but still hard enough material for you rest your palm and get some work done. Its thoughtful and I like it.
They keyboard has some serious customizability to it and I am not even kidding. On the keyboard there’s already plethora of ways for you to take complete advantage of it. That said, the Function keys triggers the functions like changing the colors of the RGB, Modes, use Macros and even multimedia keys which it has a complete range of them on the very right. If I have to put it simply, this is the only keyboard we have seen so far here to have these many options for shortcut. It does take a while to learn and when you do get the hang of it, you’ll be doing it on the fly. If you can’t, it’s okay – that’s where MasterPlus software takes complete advantage.
The typing experience on the CK550 V2 – we requested for the Blue Switch because personally I have used blue switch quite extensively and it’s easy to tell the difference. The experience is a little different from the Cherry switches I’ve been using for a while on the Durgod Taurus. With the CK550 V2 it isn’t entirely bad but it’s not good either – honestly, it’s okay at best. When you do look at the switch, it does have the traditional stem-based switch, but the actuation force is lower than a Cherry Blue. The sound of the switch is flat and the experience typing on it feels hollow. It does replicate the Clicky part on how a blue switch would behave but the hollowness is something I’ve noticed with the keyboard. We have reviewed some open styled non recessed casing based keyboards like the HyperX Alloy and the recently announce MSI Vigor – the experience was a little different from both as they do have a solid base and typing on them felt a little more nicer. Overall typing experience is okay – that’s all I could say.
Then there’s the question if the switch on the CK550 V2 is durable or not. We reached out to Cooler Master to get the reason behind opting in for this switch, but we think it’s because of the pricing. On the stabilizers for longer keys, the keyboard has Cherry Stabilizers instead of Co-star which is great and easier to deal with. If you have used one too many keyboard, you are going to realize that these aren’t the best experience you can get on a keyboard and it was disappointing – given that the first generation had a Gateron switch.
Cooler Master’s software is decked out and it’s one of the few software I have used which is light and still offers good amount of customization. In just lighting mode, you have lots of customizability. Not to forget that it has a Per Key RGB which means, your customization with the lights are endless. You can also perform Key Mapping; Macros and it has a built-in memory to save your profiles. So, you don’t have to worry about installing the MasterPlus app everytime on a machine and you could just bring it anywhere and jump between which ever profile you prefer.
The only thing that kind of makes me question is the switch but for what it’s worth, it’s an average at best switch as there are many manufacturers in the market has used TTC’s switch and still do. But if there’s one factor that makes the CK550 V2 stand out is the experience Cooler Master keyboard offers in the customizability department via software and don’t forget – not a lot of keyboard comes with proper ASCII layout for you to customize, which the CK550 V2 has.
Priced at RM 280 officially on Cooler Master Store on Lazada, it’s an okay keyboard with impressive customizability options. If you are new to the whole Mechanical Keyboard scene, it’s a good starter keyboard to begin with or if you are on a budget, sure. But if you have ever experienced Cherry quality switches, you may not enjoy this one.
Thanks to Cooler Master Malaysia for sending us the CK550 V2 for this review happen.