Trending Games | Black Desert | Chronicles of Elyria | World of Warcraft | Elder Scrolls Online

    Facebook Twitter YouTube Twitch.tv YouTube.Gaming Discord
Register
Quick Game Jump
Members:3,920,743 Users Online:0
Games:785 

Cooler Master CK530 & MK730 Keyboard Review

By Joseph Bradford on February 04, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Cooler Master CK530 & MK730 Keyboard Review

I’ve always been one to skimp when buying a keyboard. Call it what it is: I’m super cheap. For years I would buy “gaming” keyboards that really weren’t just because I felt mechanical switches didn’t offer enough of a performance gain - plus the noise might wake my wife since at the time my bedroom was also my office. However, a year or so ago I was able to try out a mechanical keyboard - not high quality, but definitely a clear upgrade over the cheap membrane keyboards, and even some sub-$100 Razer keyboards I was using. Cooler Master is not a brand I would have originally associated with keyboards, however, so I was pleasantly surprised when they sent me their new CK530 and MK730 Ten-Keyless mechanical gaming keyboards to review. Using them for the first time felt amazing, though not without some draw backs.


Specifications

MK730

  • Switch Type: Cherry MX (Reds (reviewed), Blue, Brown)
  • Material: Plastic / Aluminum / PU Leather
  • Color: Smoky Gunmetal Aluminum Brush
  • LED Color: RGB, 16.7 million colors
  • Polling Rate: 1000Hz
  • Response Rate: 1ms / 1000Hz
  • MCU: 32bit ARM Cortex M3
  • On Board Memory: 512KB
  • On-the-fly system: Yes, for Multimedia, Macro Recording and Lighting Control
  • Multimedia Keys: Through Function (FN) Key
  • Smart Cable Manager: Yes, 3 Ways
  • Wrist Rest: Removable Magnetic with soft PU Leather
  • Cable: Detachable Braided USB Type-C
  • Software Support: Yes, Portal
  • Connector Cable: USB 2.0
  • Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions: 360 x 192 x 41.5 mm; 360 x 183.5 x 41.5 mm (Without Wrist Rest)
  • Product Weight (without cable): 698g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: $119 per Amazon

CK530

  • Switch Type: Gateron (Red, Blue (reviewed), Brown)
  • Material: Plastic / Aluminum
  • Color: Gunmetal
  • LED Color: RGB
  • Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
  • Response Rate: 1ms: 1000Hz
  • MCU: 32bit ARM Cortex M3
  • On Board Memory: 512KB
  • On-the-fly system: Yes, for Multimedia, Macro Recording and Lighting Control
  • Multimedia Keys: Through Function (FN) Key
  • Smart cable manager: N/A
  • Wrist rest: N/A
  • Cable: Fixed Rubberized 1.8mm
  • Software Support: Yes, through Portal
  • Connector Cable: USB 2.0
  • Cable Length: 1.8mm
  • Dimensions: 380 x 135 x 40 mm
  • Product Weight (without cable): 749g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: 69.99 per Amazon

At first glance, both keyboards look incredibly similar. Both have a gunmetal finish and are both Tenkeyless models, making them much smaller than the other keyboards I’m used to using. The function keys are laid out almost identically on each keyboard, making going back and forth between the two relatively simple.

It’s in the aesthetics and small features that really start to set these two keyboards apart, however. The CK530 is heavier, but actually feels less durable compared to the MK730. While they are made out of the same materials, the MK730 just feels like it has more stabilizing the keyboard. That’s not to say, however, the CK530 feels cheap, either. Both have the look and feel of a high quality gaming keyboard. But the slightly larger size of the MK730 lends to this feeling.

Using the keyboards shows off which one is truly the higher calibur model, however. The PU Leather wrist rest on the MK730 easily attaches to the keyboard via a magnet, and I have to say it’s one of the most comfortable rests I’ve ever used. Moving away from that with the CK530, which does not include a rest whatsoever, was incredibly difficult. I actually found myself taking the rest from the MK730 and using it with the 530, even though it didn’t really fit the profile of the keyboard.

Additionally, the Cherry MX switches on the MK730 making typing on it an absolute joy. Each keystroke feels absolutely rock solid and precise. While the LightStrike optical switches on BloodY’s keyboards feel more responsive overall, I really love the solid feel of the Cherry MX’s. The CK530 uses Gateron switches, which are not bad, but pale in comparison to the feel of the Cherry MX switches. While the Gateron switches I used were blues versus the reds found in the MK730, and as such are a very different feel overall, they just did not feel as responsive or satisfying as the MX’s. I will say though, the Gateron switches in the CK530 really feel better than the Kailh blues I use in the Acer Aethon 500 keyboard, and that model is over double the cost in some instances.

Both keyboards sport some incredibly robust RGB features, all of which are useable right on the keyboard. You can adjust the colors, animation, speed, brightness and more thanks to a function key. However, if you really want to tweak with it, Cooler Master has a program as well to download, making it a bit easier. Each keyboard would be saved as its own profile in the program, which is nice, especially if you have more than one keyboard for your set up.

Pricing is the main question in my mind: Would I pay for a keyboard like these at their respective costs? The MK730 is the more expensive of the two, which makes sense as it has the better overall switches and the wrist rest included. At $119 on Amazon, it’s steep, though that price is cheaper than it would have been if it included the extra number pad - which I didn’t realize how often I used it until it just wasn’t there any longer. It’s honestly not a bad price for the quality you’re getting. And for smaller spaces, or if you’re looking for a great travel gaming keyboard, you could do much, much worse at that price.

The CK530 is a bigger question in my mind. Is the keyboard worth $70? For me, yes and no. I really do enjoy the feel of the keyboard, and while I know the 730 feels better, it’s also more expensive so you expect that to be the case. However, I cannot look past the lack of a wrist rest. Yea, they are pretty cheap on Amazon or Office Max, but having a bespoke rest that fits with the keyboard makes a world of difference. I’ve been using the CK530 to work the last week (I’m actually typing this review up on it) and I have to say the strain on my wrists has been intense. While not every keyboard on the market comes with one, I totally understand that, it’s just a shame a product like this, designed for gamers who we know spend a long time in front of screens enjoying the hobby we all love, a wrist rest wasn't’ included at all. Part of that could simply be to bring the cost down, but I would be more willing to pay an extra $20 for a wrist rest than an otherwise stellar offering without on.

At the end of the day, both keyboards are fantastic in their own rights. The CK530 feels like a pared down version of the MK730 - and that’s largely okay. The MK730 definitely has a premium feel, and honestly, though I do miss the number pad on both. Both prices are pretty fair for their offerings too, and I’m hoping Cooler Master brings a CK530 model with a wrist rest, even if it is a bit more expensive. Either way you go though, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Pros

  • Cherry MX Switches on the MK730 really make the product feel premium
  • MK730 Wrist Rest one of, if not the best rest I’ve ever used.
  • Both keyboards feel solid and RGB offerings are fantastic

Cons

  • Gateron switches just don’t feel as great as Cherry switches
  • Lack of wrist rest on CK530 is a huge miss
  • I really miss my number pad
Joseph Bradford / Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he''s not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don''t get him started on why Balrogs *don''t* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore