MasterKeys Pro M and Pro L keyboards shine with a pure white light

When I write about a glowing computer peripheral these days, I usually have to describe how many millions of colors it's capable of producing. Today's products have the distinction of only glowing in one color. Cooler Master has released two updates to its MasterKeys keyboard line: the MasterKeys Pro L White and the MasterKeys Pro M White. The company suggests these boards offer a cleaner white backlight than what's possible with RGB LEDs.

We reviewed Cooler Master's MasterKeys Pro L and Pro S keyboards in detail last March, and found them to be worthy competitors to Corsair's K70 RGB keyboard. The new models have similar hardware. Buyers can pick between Cherry MX Brown, Blue, or Red switches. The switches are mounted to a metal plate, but the rest of the keyboard is constructed of durable plastic. An ARM Cortex processor inside the keyboard handles the keyboard's independent functions, like the lighting effects and macro recording. A braided, detachable 1.5m cable connects the keyboard to your rig.

The Pro L White and Pro M White distinguish themselves from the earlier models with their lighting effects. Instead of an RGB LED under each key, these keyboards have bright white LEDs. Cooler Master provides five basic lighting patterns, including breathing, wave, ripple, and rain modes. Additionally, there's a mode that only activates a key's LED when a key is pressed. Users can also create profiles that only light up the keys relevant to their current application.

With the MasterKeys Pro M White, Cooler Master offers a different keyboard layout than available with the previous models. The layout splits the size difference between a full-size keyboard and a narrow tenkeyless keyboard. At 380mm wide (14.96"), the Pro M White is 60mm narrower than the Pro L White, but 20mm wider than the tenkeyless Pro S. To slim down the keyboard, Cooler Master combines the arrow keys and numpad into one 18-key grouping.

Availability will start in Europe this month. The MasterKeys Pro L carries an MSRP of 119€, while the MasterKeys Pro M has an MSRP of 109€. Cooler Master hasn't yet announced availability for other regions.

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    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    But will they come with a Cherry MX Clear switch version???

    • SonicSilicon
    • 3 years ago

    While looking up other info about this keyboard’s layout, I found it’s a successor of their roughly four year old QuickFire TK :
    [url<]http://gaming.coolermaster.com/en/products/keyboards/quickfiretk/[/url<]

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    How hard is it to use Shift-Ins and Ctrl-Ins with this new format?

    I use it a lot when saving, uh, research files.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Additionally, there's a mode that only activates a key's LED when a key is pressed[/quote<] Which also activates the built in speaker to make a pleasant 'bling!' sound.

    • BillyBuerger
    • 3 years ago

    Hmmm, that tenkey/navigation key combination is kind of interesting. I assumed at first it was the normal numpad layout but it leaves the navigation keys in their normal position when num lock is disabled. And only one extra column compared to tenkeyless. I like it.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 3 years ago

      Although I’m sure putting the insert key where delete normally lives is going to cause lots of frustration.

      Personally I’m waiting for keyboard manufacturers to make the twenty year overdue change and move the numpad and arrow keys to the left of the keyboard where they belong. The stuff you use less should be on the outside of your workspace. You wouldn’t put a joystick or controller pad inside your mouse.

        • RAGEPRO
        • 3 years ago

        I would -love- a mouse with a hat switch on it. 🙂

        • SonicSilicon
        • 3 years ago

        Layout inspired by Dell’s two-column abomination?

        Left-handed keyboard’s have the numeric pad and or navigation cluster placed opposite of usual.

        • BillyBuerger
        • 3 years ago

        Seems I missed that. Yeah, having the insert/delete shifted down like that would throw me off.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      I’m amused that they split the normally double-wide zero key to get left and down arrows, but then were stuck as to what to put on the key when it wasn’t in arrow mode, so apparently they said “What the hell, it’s a double zero!”

        • SonicSilicon
        • 3 years ago

        It’s fairly common on numeric keypads to have a double zero, though more are now opting for triple zero.

      • Smeghead
      • 3 years ago

      I have one of CM’s Quickfire TK keyboards (cherry browns) that has the same layout. I’m in two minds about it.

      I bought it because I needed something the size of a tenkeyless for space reasons, and it was one of the few white-backlit keyboards available for a reasonable price (it was in the low $70’s at Amazon at the time) rather than the blue or red nonsense that’s usually available.

      Having the numeric keypad is handy. However, switching between the numerics and the cursor keys & ins/del/home/etc. block is a bit clunky, and the lack of space between the cursors and the other keys is something that I still haven’t really adapted to too well. It works, but it’s not quite as easy for my fingers to find they cursors with the surrounding keys.

      Build quality is good. While I prefer typing on a Model M (I have a stash at work that were headed for the bin) I can’t justify that amount of noise at home; the missus would garrote me with the cable after half an hour. The browns have a pretty nice feel, the backlight is a nice, even white and is flicker free even at the lowest level.

      For the price, I can’t really complain. There aren’t too many options out there for compact keyboards with cherry browns and white backlighting, especially under $100. I had been looking at WASD’s code keyboards, but they’re roughly double what I paid for the CM.

      As an aside, I find it pretty hilarious how CM are touting how the Pro S’ Cortex M3 is that much faster than the competition’s typical M0. What a world we live in where the computing power of a keyboard is a selling point…

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]What a world we live in where the computing power of a keyboard is a selling point...[/quote<] My mouse (a Roccat Kova) has a faster CPU and more RAM than my first computer (an Apple II). What a world we live in indeed.

      • thedosbox
      • 3 years ago

      I’m not a fan of mechanical keyboards (burn the heretic!), but do wish more keyboards have that layout.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Pure white light from keyboards!! I’m telling you guys, [b<] THIS WILL REVOLUTIONIZE THE WAY WE USE COMPUTERS!!!![/b<]

      • Wirko
      • 3 years ago

      But is must not be the same shade of white as on MacBooks, or else someone will sue someone!

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Just remember, when RGB are all turned on at once, you get white light.

    So this is like an RGB keyboard that crossed the streams.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      That could be bad. Egon said so.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      Not the same. There can be some edge bleed in RGB leds, leading to colored fringes. The RGB lighting on my Gigi GTX 1070 has some fringing when I set the logo to white, for instance. And there are some shade/hue transitions on my Kova when it’s pulsing.

      I don’t particularly need a backlit keyboard right now, but if I were to get one, this would go nicely with my white-themed build.

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