• Keyboard Switches: Cherry MX Brown/Blue/Red
  • NKRO: 6
  • Interface: USB
  • Dimensions: 439.23 x 41.95 x 130.32 mm
  • Weight: 1.09 kg
  • Pros:
  • Great for typing
  • Not too loud
  • Even RGB lighting
  • Cons:
  • Price
  • Poor software

Key Mastery

Having ditched the CM Storm moniker in its product rebrand last year, Cooler Master dove right into a new philosophy of modular peripherals. The brand’s latest mechanical keyboard isn’t actually modular, but we were eager to try out the Masterkeys Pro L anyway.

The Masterkeys Pro L’s packaging comes with a very handy keycap remover to go with the keyboard itself. It also has a detachable USB cable and a simple guide inside. Cooler Master went with the standard 104-keys layout for this keyboard, with the addition of four extra buttons for profile swapping. At the back, we found four rubber feet that keep the keyboard from sliding around, as well as the plug point for the braided cable. There’s also a groove to tuck the cable into, which is great for those who are fussy about cable management. Lastly, there are two elevated feet to angle the keyboard should it be needed.

Underneath the keycaps, there’s a supporting plate that’s semi-transparent. This combines with large LEDs on the Masterkeys Pro L for a more even lighting across the entire keyboard. It doesn’t look as bright as some keyboards can be even in daytime, but for those who like to game in the dark then the RGB lighting looks great.

We thoroughly enjoyed using this keyboard as our daily driver, particularly for typing. Our unit comes with Cherry MX Brown switches, which are the quietest of all tactile Cherry MX switches, yet maintain that satisfying ‘clicky’-ness. It’s got a lower actuation point than the other Cherry MX switches and doesn’t have ‘bumps’ that slow down the switch, so typing on it is fast and smooth.

To compensate for the lack of extra keys for multimedia and more, many of the keys on this keyboard can be pressed in combination with the FN key for a variety of functions. This includes changing the lighting mode on the fly, multimedia playback, and macro recording.

What’s disappointing when using this keyboard is the software. While it’s possible to do something like completely customise the lighting of each individual key, the software doesn’t help us program or manage our macros. Instead, macros are recorded manually using the keyboard itself. It doesn’t help that doing so isn’t intuitive at all and there’s no help or guide to do this, besides a single video that can only be found on Cooler Master’s YouTube channel.

Considering its price point, Cooler Master could have offered more with the Masterkeys Pro L. In our opinion, there should have been a wrist rest included and the software could definitely be improved.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Excels overall but feels best when used for typing. Our only gripes are the high price and poor software, but otherwise this is an excellent mechanical keyboard for those who are on the look for a new one.

(previously published in issue May 2016)

Masterkeys Pro L