Cooler Master CK721 Gaming (Mechanical) Keyboard Review

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Cooler Master CK721 Gaming Keyboard
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In recent years, mechanical keyboards have been a fascination for many and while I had heard about them, I knew nothing about them. So, I researched and asked friends and family all about them to see what the hype was about. Like building one’s own PC, mechanical keyboards are fully customizable with so many various options, with the boards themselves, switches, to key caps. The great part is how they can vary in size, just like the 65% Cooler Master CK721 Gaming Keyboard.

The design of the board was minimalistic and is built solidly. The aluminium frame and strong plastic base was quite hefty, said to weigh around 1.68 lbs. While the heft was evident, I could tell it was made to last and not easy to slip around my desk. The 65% board size was perfect for my small pull-out tray part of my desk, it left so much extra mouse space. Plus, it substituted buttons I needed with smart alternative ways to use the keys that I typically used on a full board.

The CK721 came with a 2.4GHz dongle, a keycap puller, a wrist rest, a USB Type-C to Type-A cable and an extension adapter. Some key takeaways from these included items were the keycap puller and wrist rest. It is common for the keycap puller to be a janky piece of plastic, but Cooler Master included the wire version that made pulling the keycaps off seamless. The wrist rest was comfy and firm—it slightly reduced and fixed my wrist fatigue from using other keyboards.

Cooler Master Ck721 Gaming Keyboard

The CK721 features three ways to connect: wired with the Type-C connectivity, wireless using the dongle, and through Bluetooth 5.1. At first, the experience of connecting the board to my PC was disappointing because it wanted me to install the app first. Typically, the keyboard could be plugged in or be able to connect wirelessly in an instant by automatically installing the drivers so the user could use it immediately or the app would automatically install itself to get the board working quickly—this keyboard could do neither at first.

Through multiple attempts of plugging in the dongle into multiple USB slots, I finally managed to get it to work. One of the tips I would recommend for users connecting this keyboard to their PC (device) for the first time, it would be to learn patience. We can all get caught up with quick delivery times from Amazon, or quick access to entertainment streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+ on a whim. Overall, the whole process of connecting the board took about 10-15 minutes due to trial-and-error of plugging the dongle and USB-C wire in multiple slots.

“The CK721 features three ways to connect: wired with the Type-C connectivity, wireless using the dongle, and through Bluetooth 5.1.”

Once the MasterPlus+ app was installed, the fun began. I tried every way of connecting the keyboard across my PC and laptop—all experiences were equally good. Connecting through Bluetooth was probably the fastest and easiest way to connect the keyboard, strangely faster than a wired connection. Usually, I am not surprised with the RGB lighting palette available, but Cooler Master had a lot of uncommon lighting styles.

Cooler Master Ck721 Gaming Keyboard

One of the most important parts about this keyboard is experience of the keycaps and switches themselves. As a disclaimer, this was my first mechanical keyboard and had to do a lot of research to understand the fascination and attention to details that went into them, in a general sense. The CK721 was not necessarily the most extravagant board I have seen, but it has the refined feel for a newbie getting into mechanical keyboards.

It contained ABS keycaps with TTC linear red switches. At first, I thought it could have stood out more with PBT keycaps, the price would have increased significantly as the material would be harder to source. I would have liked to see thicker keycaps since there were moments of uncomfortable rattling and the sound was not as crisp. Additionally, I think it would be icing on the cake for Cooler Master to have some exclusive, collaborative keycaps as they have been popular with many mechanical keyboard sellers (i.e. Demon Slayer and Kirby-themed keycap sets).

“The CK721 was not necessarily the most extravagant board I have seen, but it has the refined feel for a newbie getting into mechanical keyboards.”

After more careful examination and background research, the website mentioned how a “braided coiled cable, PBT keycap sets and coloured aluminium top plates” would be coming soon for more customizable options. I am not a fan of “coiled” cables, but the option for braided wires and the option to swap PBT keycaps would be awesome. As for the aluminium plates, I would like to see some variety of colours that consider the colour range with the RGB lighting. 

Cooler Master Ck721 Gaming Keyboard

The same could be said about the TTC switches since it would be budget-friendly to the overall production of the board. Compared to the feeling of Cherry switches, each click felt smooth and I found the experience more enjoyable than the common tactile and bouncy feeling. For gaming, this was a smart move to use TTC switches as they are known to have better durability, especially when gaming—more specifically, FPS gaming.

Not sure if it was the board or placebo effect, but I had climbed a lot in Valorant and Apex Legends competitive play since switching to the CK721. I am really excited to see how this would fair when I get back into the Overwatch world when Overwatch 2 drops. The combo with the wonderful switches and comfy wrist rest made my long grinding sessions more bearable—as my wrist would usually hurt a lot after two or three games. Also, the board has two different angles for the kickstand. Essentially, the ergonomics of this whole set was very thought out.

Looking back at this month-long swap from my membrane Razer Cynosa V2 keyboard, this first, in-depth experience with a mechanical keyboard was really fun. The journey was amazing, the clicky sounds were abundant, and I think I may have joined a keyboard cult through connections with my friends. While it does not have the option for customizable Attack on Titan keycaps like other sellers may offer, it is easier to purchase versus searching for parts that could take years to ship (keyboard enthusiasts know the struggle). I have learned so much and I would recommend the CK721 for anyone looking to begin their adventure in the world of mechanical gaming keyboards.

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