Cooler Master CK351 Optical Keyboard Review
Published: 11th March 2022 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: |
This is the third of a batch of keyboards from Cooler Master that we've reviewed recently and they all have a running theme through them that's nice to see. Firstly, they are very pleasing aesthetically. Whilst many companies are striving to add more and more tricks and twists to get you to part with your cash, instead Cooler Master are going down the road of simplicity. Don't confuse simplicity with lacking things though, it's just it's all going on under the hood. The brushed aluminium backplate might not be to your taste if you demand everything is in the black that has become so familiar to us, but if you've grown weary of all your peripherals resembling a dark night on the Death Star then perhaps, like us, you'll enjoy the burst of brightness that the light silver finish gives, and how much it helps pop the key lighting.
The lock indicator icons are similarly well designed. We appreciate that most of you will have seen two or three keyboards in your lifetime, whereas we've seen hundreds, and the lock indicators that could double as spotlights can become tiresome. This is especially true if you like your lighting subdued. The indicators are bright enough to be noticeable without becoming distracting during those late night sessions where none of us, despite the dire warnings in game manuals, play in a room as brightly lit as it should be. With the CK351 if your room is brightly lit it won't be because of your NUM Lock. The RGB lighting itself is good too, although as we mentioned if you like white or orange you might be slightly disappointed. But all other colours, as you can see from the top of the page, are well represented and the graduation is lovely if you're running multiple colours.
The star of the show though are the optical switches. They feel very familiar, particularly if you've spent a reasonable amount of time typing on Cherry MX Red switches which our model CK351 is designed to ape. The initial push is slightly lighter than the reds, but what really hits home is how shallow the actuation point is and how quick the key is to recover. On mechanical switches there is a noticeable moment where the key actuates, even on the linear ones, and any time you boing - to use a technical term - the metal to make that connection it takes a moment to recover. The old ruler on a desk edge thing. With an optical switch though the light is either broken or isn't, allowing for instant represses. When typing that isn't much of an issue unless you're one of those 200 WPM people, but in gaming where small repeated movements can be the difference between life and death it might, just, make the difference. Lastly, and perhaps most imporantly, because you don't have to press them so hard, and because there are no moving parts as such to make a noise, the keyboard is relatively quiet in use. The volume is around the level of the super-quiet model Cherry switches if run with the o-ring rubber dampers. It's not quite laptop key levels of quiet, but not far off at all.
Cooler Master's CK351 is a well built keyboard with spill protection courtesy of the IP58 protection which might just save your bacon, three cable routing positions and those aforementioned quiet, ultra fast optical switches and wins our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.