Cooler Master CK721 keyboard review: So close, yet so far

Cooler Master CK721Dexerto

The Cooler Master CK721 is a gorgeous 65% mechanical keyboard. But, the whole experience needs quite a bit of work to be worth its $99.99 price tag.

Over the last few years, more and more manufacturers are turning towards the ever-popular 65% keyboard size. It saves space, and provides users with arrow keys, unlike smaller 60% keyboards.

Cooler Master is no stranger to smaller keyboards, after releasing the SK622 a number of years ago. The CK721 is one of the only big-brand keyboards that comes equipped with a programmable rotary knob. Rotary knobs have been popular in the keyboard community for some time. It appears that Cooler Master is taking notes.

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With an MSRP of $99.99, the CK721 underwhelms, with a variety of design issues and a dreadful software experience.

Key Specs

  • Switch type: TTC Red (Linear)
  • Keycaps: 1mm thick ABS
  • Connectivity: Wired, 2.4ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Form factor: 65%
  • Lighting; RGB, configurable via keyboard and Masterplus+ software
  • Features: Three height levels, cloth wrist rest, rotary dial, removable top plate, 2000mAh battery
  • Price: $99.99
  • Where to buy: Amazon US

Included in the box: Braided USB-C to USB-A cable, keycap puller, USB dongle extension, keyboard, wrist rest, quick start guide, faceplate removal instructions


Cooler Master CK721 with wrist restDexerto
The rotary knob and wrist rest are the highlights of the CK721.

When you first open up the Cooler Master CK721 box, you’re greeted with a gorgeous keyboard. It’s covered by a hard plastic shield with the branded cloth wrist rest sitting right above it.

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The CK721 doesn’t have any branding aside from an elegantly placed logo placed on the function key. We’re big fans of minimal branding, and Cooler Master clearly understood the assignment.

The aluminum top plate and plastic bottom just oozes quality. There is a hidden compartment on the left side that hides the wireless USB dongle. The right side offers the ability to switch between wireless, Bluetooth, and wired modes.

Unfortunately, as soon as we began setting it up, the CK721 began showing its flaws.

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The issues begin with the hardware

Being a wireless keyboard, we wanted to immediately jump into testing. We left the Cooler Master branded USB-C cable in the box, and used another we had on hand. This proved to be a mistake, as the cable we used for the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro did not fit.

The recessed slot on the back of the keyboard is specifically designed around the size of the included cable. It would have been nice to only have a single USB-C cable on our desk, so this is pretty disappointing.

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Unfortunately, the trend continues atop the board. Betraying the excellent build quality of the body, the keycaps are sub-par. They are only 1mm thin, and the ABS materials began showing shiny fingerprints almost immediately after starting to use them.

Setup and Features

After a full charge, we began checking out some of the onboard macros hidden under the function layer.

Everything from the RGB controls to the media buttons and Bluetooth profile keys are easy to identify on the board. So, we had little to no issue customizing the keyboard without the Cooler Master MasterPlus software.

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However, once you install MasterPlus, the problems begin. we quickly navigated through UI to the CK721 and found all of the options we were looking for.

With five different tabs (Wireless, Lighting, Key mapping, Macros, and Profiles), MasterPlus offers pretty much everything you need to get started.

Cooler Master Masterplus software showing the CK721Cooler Master
As soon as I opened the Masterplus software, I regretted installing it.

The entire experience needs a ton of work to become even remotely competitive with other brands. The wireless menu shows the keyboard’s battery life alongside sleep mode and low-power mode options. However, it doesn’t show the specific battery percentage or explain what happens during low-power mode.

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There is a distinct lack of detail on each menu, however. This is one of our biggest pet peeves with the keyboard. The Macro editor is simply a series of boxes beside each other, with little signposting. Alongside other issues with the software, we didn’t have a good time. You can’t adjust the size of the window and there is no software-based low-power warning, either. It makes for an abysmal software experience.

The CK721’s battery life is rated for 70-hours with RGB off. We anticipated a slight decline with a simple LED configuration. However, the small 2000mAh battery is just not up to scratch.

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We experienced 16 hours of battery life while connected via 2.4 GHz wireless during our testing. On Bluetooth, we managed to get around a day’s usage. With such low battery life, we wouldn’t recommend trying to use the keyboard in wireless mode full-time. It would be great, however, as a travel keyboard for occasional use with a laptop.

Typing experience

Cooler Master CK721Dexerto
Cooler Master’s CK721 uses non hot-swappable TTC switches.

The CK721 isn’t the worst keyboard to type your next school essay on, but it’s also far from perfect.

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The TTC Red switches sport 4mm of travel with the actuation point halfway through the key press. This gave us more than enough confidence that we wouldn’t double press or completely miss a letter while typing. However, we found the switches to be oddly mushy, and tiring to press during long typing sessions.

By far the worst part of the typing experience is the extremely thin ABS keycaps. They go against the CK721’s high build quality with tons of stem wobble, and we found them to be pretty noisy, too. You can switch out the keycaps for a nicer Doubleshot PBT set, owing to the Cherry stems on the switch. However, you’ll lose the function layer legends — effectively pushing you into having to use the MasterPlus software.

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We’d love to see Cooler Master redesign the CK721 with hot-swappable switches and Doubleshot PBT keycaps in the future.

Gaming performance

There’s not a lot to say about the Cooler Master CK721 when it comes to gaming. But, we did make sure to test it in gaming scenarios. The 2mm actuation point was the caveat in games like Warzone and Apex Legends, as we struggled to make the quick moves we needed during active shootouts. It’s a far cry from the Steelseries Apex Pro.

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In games like Disney Dreamlight Valley and Two Point Campus, however, we had no issue completing tasks and navigating the map, however. So you may find it more suited to slower titles, rather than competitive games.

Should you buy it?

Honestly, we can’t fully recommend the CK721. Between the ABS keycaps, mushy typing, low battery life, and abysmal software experience, it’s not worth the $99.99 price tag.

For the same price, you can buy the much higher quality HyperX Origins 65 and for just $35 more, you can buy a Higround Basecamp keyboard, which we consider one of the best options available in its price range.

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The Cooler Master CK721 has all the makings of a great 65% keyboard. Maybe Cooler Master needs to take some notes from the likes of Higround to step up their game.

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