Coolermaster Masterset MS120 Review
Published: 29th August 2017 | Source: Coolermaster | Price: |
Keyboard switches are a complicated business. At the one end you have scissor switches, the laptop style, which are quiet and nice to type on if a little bit uninvolving. At the other end we have mechanical switches, usually of the Cherry MX type, which are a little louder but come in enough variants that you can find one which suits your preference. Whether that preference is for tactile bumps, linear pushing or even the microswitch click of the Blue versions. In between those two bookends are 'all the rest'. Usually this means a membrane keyboard which has neither the light touch of a laptop style nor the crispness of a mechanical switch.
Coolermaster have sought to straddle the gap by using a hybrid switch. There is a membrane base, but a microswitch built in which provides more of a crisp click - and definitely an audible one - to bring the worlds of affordability and tactile response together.
The keyboard definitely feels much nicer to type on that a straight membrane keyboard. Squishiness, whether in mouse buttons or keyboard ones, is something to be avoided like the plague and the "Mem-chanical" switches in the MS120 have a distinct click. This also has been placed very early on in the actuation depth. With membrane keyboards you can fatigue during marathon typing sessions due to how far you have to press each key. On itself it doesn't really notice, but it has a cumulative effect. The MS120 actuates really early in the throw which, coupled to the audible and tactile click, helps you type quickly without growing weary.
The mouse is, without wishing to seem like we're damning with faint praise, fine. Perfectly servicable. The Avago sensor might not hit the ludicrous DPI settings of more focussed offerings, but it's plenty good enough for the average user. Equally the use of Omron switches helps keep the main buttons crisp. The side buttons aren't quite as nice, and the lack of rubberised grips is a quibble, but it's fine as a step above a boring two button pile of nothing but below a more dedicated gaming rodent.
Lighting is a real highlight, if you'll pardon the expression. Both the mouse and keyboard work really well with richly saturated colours. Naturally there is a slight fall-off in the more obscure shades, but for the majority of people who want a colour from the rainbow, you'll be happy. There are enough fancy options to show off, and enough brightness and colour depth to be usable in more standard modes.
How successful the switches are, to some degree, is a matter of personal taste. We've never been massive fans of the noise that a Cherry MX Blue switch supplies, especially given how much typing we do as part of our daily work, and the click that the 'Mem-chanical' switches on the MS120 gives has an air of fakery to it too. They are really quite loud indeed, but not in a satisfying click way as you might get from your mouse buttons, but in a tinny echoey style as if the important part is the click, but not how genuine it sounds. The nearest we can approximate it to is a microswitch on an old computer joystick, or perhaps a HOTAS hat switch. You're very aware that the noise isn't a result of a switch doing its job of providing a keypress, but of a microswitch simulating the click you'd get from one.
However, that's a small point and one that is, as we say, a matter of personal preference. Otherwise you're getting a good quality, robust, keyboard and mouse that ticks an awful lot of desirability boxes for not too large an entry fee. It's the perfect step up from a basic peripheral set without committing to the expense of premium models.