With the CK530 V2, Cooler Master offers a TKL (tenkeysless) mechanical keyboard that goes to the essentials without driving up the price. A compact and customizable model designed for gamers.
Cooler Master is a manufacturer perfectly anchored in the gamers' hardware and offers various products ranging from cooling systems to chairs and of course keyboards and mice. Among the plethora of models that exist, we test here the CK530 V2, a wired TKL keyboard (tenkeyless, without numeric keypad) with mechanical switches and palm rests, all for a fairly light price for this type of keyboard. The price is only 90$ in normal time, but it can go down a lot more in promotion, and is thus close to the price of membrane keyboards. Doesn't this low price mean that the quality is not good? This is what we will see right away...
Since it is a TKL model, the CK530 V2 is a compact keyboard, as you can see. It occupies only 38 x 13.5 cm on a desk and allows you to use your mouse in a less off-center way. The chassis is mostly made of plastic, but it is covered with a brushed aluminum plate that gives it a solid and more upscale look.
The keyboard is 4 cm high, a marked thickness that is compensated by the presence of a palm rest. Here no magnet or hanging system, it is a simple block of dense foam that can be placed in front, covered with a thin layer of fabric. The material is perhaps a little too rigid and we doubt its durability over time. As for comfort, it is not really there, but it is always better than not having a palm rest; some competitors do not provide any.
A 1.8m USB-A cable allows the keyboard to be connected to a computer - which detects it directly. The retractable feet on the back of the keyboard come with only two non-slip pads, but the CK530 V2 won't slip on a desk. The height of the feet is not adjustable, however, and you have to make do with just one angle of use.
There are a large number of symbols on the keys that you will have to decipher, especially on the arrow keys and "F". These secondary shortcuts allow you to modify the keyboard backlighting (colors, lighting effects, speed of these effects) by activating the Fn key at the same time. In the same vein, the keys 1 to 4 are adorned with a 3rd function noted on the edge, which corresponds to the backlighting profiles that you want to save. The multimedia functions are not dedicated and are integrated on the right side of the keyboard on the "Delete", "Insert" keys, etc.
To get the details of all these shortcuts, you should refer to the guide that Cooler Master offers for download on its website, but we advise you to use directly the MasterPlus software that offers an easy to use and rather clear interface to apply the lighting effects, change the functions of the keys and assign macros.
The backlight customization is very extensive and can be adjusted key by key from a set of several million colors. Numerous effects are also listed for fixed, moving, keystroke responsive lighting, etc.
Cooler Master has chosen TTC switches here, equivalent to Cherry's and guaranteed for 50 million clicks. The CK530 V2 is sold with a choice of classic red, clicky blue (noisier) or brown switches (which offer tactile feedback). We test here the most common model, adorned with red linear switches, which are not the fastest available, but should be more than enough for most users. The typing is lively and precise, even if the keys are not perfectly stable.
Finally, mechanical switches are generally rather noisy, but here we have to add a very pronounced metallic resonance which is not very pleasant. Many mechanical keyboards have this problem, the fault of a not always well thought construction. Those who always play with headphones on their ears will probably not be bothered, but it is a point to be taken into consideration, especially if you use the keyboard in office. Note that a small key extractor is included with the keyboard, nice, but not essential, unless you want to replace the keys by competing models for further customization.
The CK530 V2 keyboard is a simple, but rather effective entry-level gaming model. Its compact TKL format and extensive RGB customization are appreciable. It also comes with a palm rest and a key extractor, which are welcome additions. At this price, of course, you have to make some concessions: the chassis resonates a lot when you hit the keyboard and there are no dedicated multimedia keys.