Close-up view of the Cooler Masters CK550 keyboard with blue and purple LED lighting under the keys
Close-up view of the Cooler Masters CK550 keyboard with blue and purple LED lighting under the keys

Cooler Master's CK550 keyboard gets the job done with no extra frills

by Gabriel Ionica

I’ll never pass up an opportunity to review a new gaming accessory when the chance arises and thanks to my friends over at Cooler Master, the chance arose again. This time we’re taking a look at the full height, 87-key Cooler Master CK550 RGB mechanical keyboard and accompanying WR510 wrist rest.

Overview

From a purely aesthetic point of view, this is a very nice piece of equipment. The brushed aluminum finish and the gunmetal black paint job give it a very sleek and stealthy look. The quality is only accentuated by the sheer heft of this lad. You can be very sure that this keyboard won’t go anywhere anytime soon.

The RGB lighting is nice and bright with a number of different effects to choose from. Another nice feature that I personally haven’t seen on any other keyboard is the ability to have two different colors of your choosing active at the same time. For my tastes, I picked a neon pink and cyan with the rain effect and it’s very cyberpunk-like. All of these effects can also be set without the need for Cooler Master's software, although it does make life a tad bit easier. The one downside I’ve noticed with the RGB is that if you pick one of the presets, there’s no way to lower the brightness short of changing the amount of each individual color: red, green and blue.

The keys are full height and in the standard format, so if you’ve used a keyboard before, you’ll feel right at home here. One big mistake that Cooler Master made here is not including a full row of media keys above the Numpad. I would’ve been much happier with play, pause, fast forward/rewind and volume buttons rather than NumLock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock LED indicators.

The wrist rest is a very comfortable and welcome addition to the keyboard. Even though it’s advertised for low-profile mechanical keyboards like the SK622 I reviewed a while back, I find that it works just fine with the full height CK550 as well. The splash-resistant coating and rubberized base are also very nice to have on something that is likely to get wet with either wrist sweat or other liquids.

Photo credit: Gabriel Ionica

Typing

Being a standard keyboard, there isn’t much to say here. The keys don’t take much force to actuate, and the linear red switches, while not as clicky as I’d like them to be, provide a satisfying thunk when typing. I found that the lower actuation force actually allowed my fingers to glide more easily over the keys and, whether it’s a placebo or not, I think that I can actually type a bit faster than with my regular keyboard.

Gaming

In my testing, I played a few matches of CS:GO and Fortnite, and for the most part, it performed perfectly. One slight annoyance that came up has to do with the low accentuation force needed for the keys. While that’s actually a benefit when it comes to typing, I found that just resting my pinky on the A key slightly too hard resulted in the key being pressed and my character strafing in-game. While it didn’t actually get me killed, it did come very close to happening on several occasions.

Conclusion

You can buy the CK550 on Amazon along with the wrist wrest for a combined price of $90. The WR510 wrist rest alone can be bought for $10 which means the keyboard itself is $80. I personally think that’s a bit much for a down-to-earth RGB mechanical keyboard. That’s not to say that the keyboard being basic is bad -- quite the opposite actually -- it’s just that I think $50-$60 would be a better price for it.

Price aside, Cooler Master made a keyboard that will do exactly what you ask of it without any pointless extras. If you want a “no-nonsense” mechanical keyboard from a very well-known brand, the CK550 coupled with the optional WR510 wrist rest is a very solid competitor in the world of gaming keyboards.

Lead photo credit: Gabriel Ionica

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