Finding the right keyboard isn’t easy. Factoring form (do you want a full keyboard or tenkeyless?), switch type, and most importantly RGB capabilities are simply a few of the decisions you have to make when buying such an integral part of your gaming rig. Think about it - practically everything you do on your PC is through the keyboard: from sending an email to outmaneuvering a Hanzo-main - making sure your weapon of choice is comfortable and of high quality can invariably affect your whole experience.
Recently we’ve had the chance here at MMORPG to review a few of the new keyboards in Cooler Master’s line of tenkeyless: the CK530, MK730 and the SK630 keyboards. While some people might prefer having the number pad on the end of the keyboard, others with either limited space or just those who don’t mind saving a few bucks might give these a look. But how do you choose the right one, and what are the differences?
All three keyboards are as stated, tenkeyless, but what differentiates them is, in some cases, subtle. Each keyboard is mechanical, though the CK530 uses Gateron switches while the MK730 and SK630 both use a Cherry MX switch - the latter of which is the preferred switch for most gamers.
While the CK530 and the MK730 are your standard keyboard design, the SK630 is more of the Chiclet style of keyboard: it’s small and most importantly low profile. Using low profile Cherry MX switches, the SK630 provides a very unique feel compared to the other two keyboards - one that if you really enjoy chiclet style boards, then the SK630 is one you’ll enjoy.
While all three keyboards are wired, the MK730 and SK630 both have braided USB-C connections - something all companies should really be doing nowadays.
The build quality on all three keyboards are great too - none of them feel flimsy with their aluminum and plastic construction. However the MK730 does feel a bit more premium over the other two. And it’s also the only one to sport a wrist rest with the keyboard, adding an extra layer of comfort to using the board.
While you can download Cooler Master’s Portal app to customize the RGB on your keyboard, each board mentioned here can also use a series of hotkeys to control the RGB patterns and speed without ever needing to download anything. It’s an extremely nice feature - one more manufacturer’s need to implement. It’s cool knowing that if I get board of the rainbow wave design I’m currently using, I can easily swap to a breathing pattern without ever needing to load up bloatware for my PC.
So which one should you choose? Well, that’s where it gets tricky. It all comes down to budget and preference. Do you want a wrist rest and your choice of Cherry MX Red, Blue or Brown switches? Then the MK730 is your choice. It’s hardly the budget option - at $119.99 you’re paying for that choice in switch and the addition of a wrist rest. But it’s a solid keyboard choice for those who want control over their switch type as well as a great, compact keyboard.
Maybe you want a slightly smaller board with a lower profile. The SK630 is a fantastic choice. The higher actuation point of the low profile switches on the SK630 really make it feel responsive, even if the profile takes some getting used to. It’s also not a budget board, though, also at $119 on Amazon at the moment. But, the USB-C, Cherry MX switches and overall build quality make it a solid choice for those looking to shake things up.
Lastly, the CK530 is a great choice for the budget gamer. The Gateron switches aren’t a bad alternative to the Cherry MX, and you still get your choice of Red, Blue or Brown, depending on your preference of feel. Unlike the detachable USB-C cables on the former keyboards, the CK530 sports a fixed rubberized cable. But for $69.99 on Amazon, it’s not a bad price for what is one of the better budget boards I’ve used throughout the last year.
Each keyboard mentioned has its pros and cons - but one thing is certain: the MK730, SK630 and CK530 are all quality keyboards worth a look the next time you’re in the market for one.