Hey everyone, today I have a Cooler Master CK552 mechanical gaming keyboard to unbox and review. The CK552 comes in at $79.99 and it is exclusively available at Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada.
Unboxing the Cooler Master CK552
Like most keyboard unboxings, there isn’t a whole lot to the process of unboxing the CK552…
The box definitely looks nice and has the same feel (probably due to the purple and black color scheme) of the Cooler Master MasterSet keyboard-mouse combo that I reviewed a couple of months ago.
There’s nothing else in the box besides the keyboard itself, the cardboard that holds it in place, and a small spec sheet.
Overall, the unboxing process is about as simple as it gets!
Cooler Master CK552 Keyboard Specifications
Just a quick run-down of the specs on this keyboard…
Again, it is a mechanical keyboard and it comes with Gateron Red switches that have a lifespan of over 50 million clicks.
The board has RGB per-key lighting, it has on-the-fly controls to change your lighting or macro keys, and it comes on a black brushed aluminum curved top plate.
As an alternative option, Cooler Master also has the CK550, which you can buy at Amazon and Newegg. The differences between the CK550 and CK552, aside from where you can purchase them, are that the CK552 has a pure black top plate, and comes with Gateron Red switches, whereas the CK550 has a gunmetal-colored top plate, and comes with Blue, Brown, or Red switches.
The CK550 is also a bit more expensive at $89.99 compared to the $79.99 that this Cooler Master CK552 costs.
Both keyboards are wired and come with a 6-foot long cable and both offer a 2-year warranty.
Main Features of the CK552
Now, for some of the features that stood out to me in using the Cooler Master CK552…
First, the RGB customization options on the CK552 are pretty much endless. This is due to the per-key RGB lighting and Cooler Master’s dedicated software.
Essentially, with the per-key lighting and the software, you can assign a specific LED color for each individual key. And, with over 16.7 million colors to choose between each key can be assigned a completely different color.
There are also a ton of different preset LED options as well and you can cycle through them using the software, or you can use the on-the-fly controls on the keyboard.
For the Gateron Red switches, I’ve primarily used Cherry Blue switches in the past, so the Reds are a pretty different experience for me.
They’re not as “clicky” as the blues I’m used to, which means they’re much quieter. They’re also very soft to use.
For most gamers, reds are typically the switch of choice because they are lighter and therefore faster. For me, I’m not as serious of a gamer as I once was, so in terms of making me a better gamer—I don’t see much of a difference in using red switches over blue switches—or any other switch for that matter.
But, if you are a serious gamer and you’re looking for as much of an advantage as possible—the reds are probably your best bet.
Quick Note: Gateron Switches vs. Cherry MX Switches
Now, these are Gateron Red switches and not Cherry MX switches. Gateron switches are a fairly new alternative to the popular and more established Cherry MX switches.
The Gateron vs Cherry MX debate is a pretty popular topic among keyboard enthusiasts. Some of the main differences between Gateron and Cherry MX switches are…
Cherry MX switches are a bit heavier, whereas Gateron switches are a bit lighter
Gateron switches cost less to manufacture, and as a result, keyboards with Gateron switches are typically less expensive than boards with Cherry MX switches.
Gateron switches, despite being cheaper, do get a lot of praise for how smooth they feel.
On the other hand, Cherry MX switches have been around a lot longer and are considered to be more durable—but as Gateron switches are still fairly new, the verdict is still out on how well they will hold up over the long haul.
The CK552 (and CK550) Comes With Easy-To-Use Software
The other feature of this keyboard that stood out to me was Cooler Master’s software.
I’ve already touched on how many different customization options there are for the LED backlighting, but through the software, you can also customize the mapping of the keyboard—where you can reassign keys or disable individual keys altogether—and you can also use the software to set up macros, and create custom profiles, too.
Overall, the software has a really nice-looking interface, and it is easy-to-use as well.
Final Verdict: The CK552 is an Excellent Value for What You Get
Ultimately, I’ve really enjoyed using the CK552. Again, I don’t game as much as I used to—so from a performance standpoint, the keyboard alone isn’t going to help me win more of my matches.
But, the things I do really like about the CK552 are, first, its customization options—specifically, the ability to set each key to have its own backlight color.
Second, the softness of the Gateron Red switches. I have primarily used Blue switches in the past—which are typically considered to be better for typing, but these Gateron red switches are so light and soft, that I do enjoy typing on them as well.
I also think that for the price that the CK552 and CK550 come in at—that’s $79.99 and $89.99 respectively—both options offer really good value when compared to the competition.
For the CK552 specifically, there really aren’t any other options at $79.99 that offer the same features. Even some of the slightly more expensive competitors don’t offer full RGB lighting, don’t have as long of a warranty, or don’t come with a metal-based top-plate.
So, if you’re in the market for a mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB lighting and you’re really looking for something that will offer you good value for what you pay for it, I think the CK552 is one of the better price-to-performance options currently available.
Again, if you want to purchase the CK552, it is available exclusively at Best Buy in the United States and Canada for $79.99.
And, here’s a link to the CK550, which is available on Amazon or Newegg at $89.99.
That does it for this review, though. Thanks for reading (or watching)!