I have been using rubber dome chiclet keyboards for about 12 years. I have used Microsoft, Circle, Dell and Logitech keyboards. My recent usage has been of Logitech MK345 for past 2 years. MK345 has been working fine till now and there was no real need of buying a new keyboard but I do a lot of typing and had read so much about mechanical keyboards being great for typing. I started reading and watching YouTube videos on various types of mechanical switches but no matter how much read or watch, unless we do the typing on a mechanical keyboard the difference cannot be described. But with whatever I had seen, I shortlisted a few keyboards like Gigabyte GK-FORCE K83 with Cherry MX Blue and Cosmic Byte CB-GK-11I have been using membrane keyboards for about 12 years. I have used Microsoft, Circle, Dell and Logitech keyboards. My recent usage has been of Logitech MK345 for past 2 years. MK345 has been working fine till now and there was no real need of buying a new keyboard but I do a lot of typing and had read so much about mechanical keyboards being great for typing. I started reading and watching YouTube videos on various types of mechanical switches but no matter how much read or watch, unless we do the typing on a mechanical keyboard the difference cannot be described.

I was initially inclined towards Cherry MX red switches but as it did not have tactile feedback I shifted towards brown switches as they are silent like red switches and have tactile feedback like blue switches. My logic was that if I am buying a mechanical keyboard and it does not have tactile feedback, what is the point of having it.

I even thought of giving blue switches a try but the reviews always had a complaint of loud noise which disturbs others. Still, I thought it would be fine with me. But with whatever I had seen, I shortlisted a few keyboards like Gigabyte GK-FORCE K83 with Cherry MX Blue and Cosmic Byte CB-GK-11 with Jixian brown switches. I shortlisted these as the pricing was decent for me and I never thought that the keyboards are worth more than a few thousands. That is why I never shortlisted a Cherry MX brown keyboard, as the cheapest one was by HyperX for about Rs. 7000 which was way too expensive for just a keyboard.

A sale was going on Amazon and Flipkart on 2nd week of August 2019 and there were some good deals on mechanical keyboards. K83 was priced at about Rs. 3250 at lamington road and CB-GK-11 was priced at about 2600 down from a normal price of Rs. 3400 on Amazon. I even considered buying Cosmic Byte CB-GK-12.

To my luck, I found Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L with White LED & Cherry MX Brown Switches for about Rs. 6000 which would have cost me Rs, 4950 on applying coupon and credit card discount.

Then I started looking at the details of Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L with White LED & Cherry MX Brown Switches and I love the features. LED was never on my wishlist but it was an added bonus. The biggest plus was this keyboard having genuine cherry MX brown switches. Also, this one had 2 years of warranty. cable management and a detachable cable with a micro-USB port. But how could I buy a mechanical keyboard without even trying it out once?

So I made a trip to Lamington Road in Mumbai from where I always buy computer hardware from shops like Maccann Infosys and store of PrimeABGB. I visited a few other stores who had stock of mechanical keyboards which I could try. I tried a keyboard from some brand I don’t remember the name of with blue switches. This was the first time I ever tried a mechanical keyboard and just when I started typing on these Chinese blue switches the loud sound immediately turned me off. The sound was audible even in a busy and noisy shop. The feel of the keys was great but I was going to use the keyboard at home where my family would have definitely got disturbed with that loud sound. Then I went to another shop where they had Redgear Invador MK881 with Kailh Brown switches. I l liked the feel of the keys without much sound and I thought of buying it but the guy asked for Rs. 3000 for the keyboard which was available on Amazon for about Rs. 2500.

I was not able to try out Cooler Master keyboard SGK-4070-KKCM1-US but still, I thought of buying it as I wanted to regrets. This was the cheapest Cherry MX Brown keyboard I had seen since past so many months. So I made the order.

Packaging

The keyboard came in a nice thick bow. On opening the box there was a nice cloth covering for the keyboard with a keycap puller and a braided micro USB cable ion the box along with a manual. The packaging was compact and perfect.

Design & Features

The keyboard looked awesome on just first look. On picking it up I felt the heavyweight of it which was great. The font on the keys looks very nice. Big keys were so much different than the Logitech MK345 keyboard I have been using. LED in my model only had a white color. Brightness can be adjusted with function key shortcuts. LED effects are plenty but I am not interested in practically using any of those after I showed off those to my family. I am only using all key light with brightness at level two from below. The micro USB port on the keyboard is difficult to reach if you want to unplug the cable which I was planning to. But the cable is even a bit hard to put in the port and I did not want to risk any damage being done to the port. A USB type C port would have made it so much better. Cable management channel is a good feature.

The height of the keyboard is higher than any chiclet keyboard I have used and using a wrist rest is necessary for someone who types a lot according to me.

Typing

Feel of the keys was smooth on touch and so was the pressing action. The Cherry MX brown keys did not make much noise compared to my MK345 and I was very happy about it. The travel of the key is very smooth and much different than the MK345. The famous tactile bump is not so much pronounced but it is noticeable and you can compare it to bump by a membrane keyboard but a bit more enhanced. I am typing this review on Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L and it feels great. Feel of the keys is having much more satisfying and consistent click and travel. Going for the brown keys was a great decision.

The resistance to keypress and the feel is very different on cherry MX brown vs membrane keyboards. The membrane keyboard is like pressing a key with more resistance. Just image if sides of the key are getting friction from the base of the keyboard and rubber dome giving an uneven bump. Whereas mechanical keyboard gives smooth keypress without any resistance and the only resistance you get is the tactile feedback. Also, the force required was more on a membrane keyboard with more fatigue.

Conclusion

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L with Intelligent White LED, Cherry MX Brown Switches is a great keyboard for someone who wants genuine cherry brown switches. Keys feel great on touch and on typing. Sound is not much and lighting effects along with a detachable micro USB cable are a bonus.

Update after 6 days of usage: The LED on the S key stopped working after 6 days on usage. As the product was in replacement period I have requested a replacement from Amazon and they have accepted. Other than that issue, I am totally satisfied with this keyboard with the click feel which is excellent. My typing has become better and faster.

On the replacement keyboard out of the box LED on V and G key remains on even after turning off the LED features and LED on T key has random blinking and brightness less than all the other keys. In a few hours, I also noticed that LEDs on G, V, 4, % and F5 keys remains on all the time. One more thing I noticed about the keyboard box was that the seal sticker on the box had very weak glue which could be easily torn off and put back on without anyone noticing if the box was opened by someone. I am not sure if this issue with the keyboard is because of manufacturing defects or if Amazon delivered a refurbished keyboard to me.

Amazon has replacement policy only once, so the defective replacement keyboard will not be replaced by them. Only options I had were either a refund or going to a service center. I was confused about what to do but the service center for RMA in Mumbai is at Goregaon and it is very far from my home. I eventually decided to take the refund. This is a pathetic service by Amazon. How can even Cooler Master make such pathetic quality keyboard which has LEDs which stops working either out of the box or in few days?

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