Product: Cooler Master SK653
Intended Use: Gaming
Manufacturer: Cooler Master
Cooler Master tends to fly a bit under the radar when it comes to most PC peripherals. You may only see their power supplies, but they offer a wide variety of products. One category is Keyboards, and the SK653 Bluetooth is here to make your desk a little “cooler.”
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
Out of the box, the Cooler Master SK653 is sleek with its metal face. It’s also relatively compact, leaving just about no negative space on its sides. I want to mention off the bat that this Keyboard does not come with a wrist rest, so if you like those types of things, know that this Keyboard is super compact. Other than that, the keys feel smooth and flat to the touch and not in a cheap way. I almost wish they were even flatter to the face, for less distance between presses. I just feel like it would look and feel nicer given this presentation.
Overall, the click and tap experience was quite enjoyable, and the mechanical aspect of this Keyboard shines through for sure. I was also pleased with the size and distancing of these keys when compared to other boards. So far, I feel like I am at my best when typing without looking at my keys. This Keyboard comes with a USB-C charging cable and connection cable for wired use, which I basically use all the time. I never use Bluetooth, which I will get into later. A 4000mah battery is featured, which can last many, many…many hours. Its charge time is about 5 hours, and you should charge it before using the wireless functionality.
The cable is thick and durable, and I like what I see from the lord USB-C Cable on this one. Additionally, the SK653 does not feature any native media keys or dials of any sort. This is somewhat of a bummer given the price, but most of us can get over this. I often use the play, pause, and volume dials, so my biased brain says no, but I lived on without it just fine. Honestly, too much branding is a turn-off, but there is no logo or anything on this Keyboard other than the bottom, and I found this “kinda” lame. Maybe some sort of metal imprint of Cooler Master would have been “cool.” Take notes, people.
The Number, Scroll, and Caps lock area has customizable indicator lights to match or contrast your color scheme. Luckily, the SK653 is a medium-sized board featuring a number pad. Sometimes no number pad is scary, and I’m not ready for that kind of change. It also has flip-up feet to support the Keyboard upward for a better angle. It is not adjustable, though, and simply has one height.
One noteworthy quick build feature is hotkey ability on both Mac and PC. Although it may be a little bit of a pain to read on the board, it still features markings such as commands like a Mac does and multi-key sequences to change brightness, volume, media playback, and other things. Unfortunately, it’s overly complicated because it’s trying to pack all of these features into this small, compact set of keys. Not for me, to be honest, and I don’t know who else really.
Further, it has a logo toggle button for even more layers if you want to go that far. Lastly, there is a Bluetooth toggle switch on the left side of the Keyboard. If you need to connect to a Bluetooth receiver manually, you will have to use the manual to multi-press another sequence of specific keys to make it work. It’s awesome that this Keyboard can be used for basically everything, but it’s just confusing. Hopefully, these instructions are available online because I know I will lose the manual at some point.
That’s enough of a rant for the hardware and build section. Onto “cooler” things.
Performance / Hands on Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
When breaking down the SK653’s performance, I’m pleased with the responsiveness and click experience. Using the Keyboard while wired will give the lowest latency, where Bluetooth will have lossy latency if you are nitpicky about niche speeds. I tend to also want the lowest latency, so Bluetooth doesn’t intrigue me. I say plug that cable in. Honestly, why would you buy this if you want a high-performance wireless keyboard? There are other options with a dongle. Still, I try to take it without bias and understand who might be interested in this product. I would say not many people given the price.
I’m stuck using wired, on a wireless Keyboard, at least with my outlook. Anyway, I was able to type like a beast with this Keyboard. I rarely look at the Keyboard now, and I appreciate it for opening my eyes in that regard. I do have to mention that my unit has a faulty spacebar, with the left side being severely sticky most of the time. I don’t want to assume all of the manufactured units are like that, but mine does have a defect out of the box. The Keyboard’s software experience is quite lovely, hosting various features such as the traditional worm game. It’s like a mini-game whenever you want to play. You can reprogram your keys and make profiles to maximize your gaming experience.
You can make macros, have individual keys lit with RGB to match your game or change how the Keyboard reads the key presses. When going into the wireless mode, a light flickers on the caps lock when the correct key sequence of keys is pressed to activate Bluetooth. You only need to do this sequence one time to connect to a device. Then, when connecting to a new device, you must do this sequence again. It will automatically remember the last device it was connected to. The Bluetooth is less complicated than I thought, but the sequence is somewhat easy to forget, so don’t lose the manual.
Cooler Master’s SK653 Wireless Keyboard left me with mixed impressions. If I weren’t reviewing this, I probably wouldn’t pick it up because I have no reason to use Bluetooth, nor does my PC have Bluetooth. Besides that frustration, I thought the set of keys performed like a charm, improving my typing, responding quickly mechanically, containing bright and sharp RGB colors, and providing a host of customization options that I hadn’t seen before. It’s just a fun product, but an expensive one that makes its intended audience questionable.
Gamers want low latency, so if you are buying a wired keyboard, I would look elsewhere. However, if you want a universal keyboard that can work with anything, this is honestly a great choice. It does cover a lot of ground, and if you like Cooler Master, it will integrate into their product software ecosystem. Throw in a cheaply made wrist cushion, if anything, next time, and consider that dongle lifestyle as well.
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