Back in November of last year, I had the pleasure of taking a look at the Masterkeys Pro M mechanical keyboard from Cooler Master and it even managed to pick up a couple of awards. Fast forward to today and Cooler Master has released their new Pro M RGB version. I am of course talking about the new Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M RGB mechanical keyboard which features a hybrid design meaning it’s a sub 100% keyboard (90%) with a fully functioning Numpad. On top of this, we have vibrant and bright RGB lighting with up to 16.7 million colours available, with each key featuring its own exclusive LED which is designed to make the colours and lighting ‘pop’ out of the keys.
Taking a closer look at the Masterkeys Pro M RGB mechanical keyboard, Cooler Master has gone above and beyond to make a unique product; they have achieved that due to the features crammed into such a small frame. The keyboard itself is classed as a 90% with the same sized frame as a natural tenkeyless board, but with the full functionality of a full sized keyboard due to the integration of the arrow keys into the numpad. This means the Masterkeys Pro M RGB is perfect for LANs as it’s very portable and light; it weights a smidge over 1kg without the cable, which is fairly light for a mechanical keyboard!
The Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M RGB completes the Masterkeys RGB range with the Pro S and Pro L models already having been on the market for a little while. The main differences between the Pro S, Pro M and Pro L are the Pro S is a true small tenkeyless model; the M is a hybrid in-between model with the L being a full-size mechanical keyboard. The Masterkeys Pro M RGB mechanical keyboard is available with 4 different switch types which give every type of user the ability to own this new model on their fave switch type; Blue (today’s model), red, brown and silver Cherry MX switches are available in the Pro M RGB range.
Aside from the RGB lighting on the Masterkeys Pro M RGB, Cooler Master has gone all out on features with this particular range and every Masterkeys Pro model (S, M & L) feature anti-ghosting technology which includes NKRO (nonkey roll over) and MacOS 6 key rollover. In addition to this, the Masterkeys Pro M includes an FN (function) key for multiple users and applications, which makes the Masterkeys range one of the most versatile models on the market; gamers, regular users, and programmers are catered for and with a solid on the fly system built into the Masterkeys mechanical keyboards, the limits are endless.
The Masterkeys Pro M RGB has the ability to record macros by using the FN key; this is a really good feature to include as macros can save a lot of time depending on the application. You can even single press, repeat loop or even set the macro to infinite loop so the possibilities are really endless on what you can do with them.
Below is the process in creating/recording macros as well as deleting them with the Masterkeys Pro M RGB:
How to record a Macro
1. Select the profile in which to record the Macro.
2. FN+F11 to start recording the Macro.
-All keys available as “Macro Key” will light up Blue
3. Select the Key requested to be the “Macro Key”
-The key selected for the Macro will flash Red
4. Now the Macro can be keyed in.
5. When finished select the mode (Single, Repeat Loop and Infinite Loop).
6. After that is done press FN+ESC to save and exit. Your Macro is now ready!
How to delete a Macro
1. Select the profile in which to record the Macro.
2. FN+F12 to start recording the Macro.
-All keys that have a Macro binded will light up Red
3. Select the Key requested to be the deleted
-The key backlight will then turn off
4. When finished press FN+ESC to save and exit. The Macro is now deleted.
RGB isn’t just one of the most ‘over’ features with consumers currently, but solid implementation can make or break a product. Cooler Master have gone all out with their unique method of implementation on the Masterkeys Pro M RGB and have included a large amount of pre defined LED lighting profiles. Here is a list of the preset LED modes as well as the defaulting colour on each profile.
Preset LED Modes:
- FULL OFF
- FULL ON (default color = white)
- Color Wave
- Cross Mode (active)
- On Touch with Fade (active)
- Gaming Mode, WASD
- Starlight Effect (default color = white)
- Raindrop Effect (default color = white)
- Color Cycle
- Breathing (Solid color. Default color = white)
- Ripple (active)
- Game: SNAKE
- Active LED modes speed can be controlled by Software
- Active LED modes direction can be controlled by Software
- LED Modes can be switches by FN+F4
- LED Color can be controlled by Software or On-the-fly by FN + F1 (Red) / F2 (Green) /F3 (Blue) for supported modes only.
- All 9 levels of brightness
Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M Software
To access the more advanced features and RGB lighting settings of the Masterkeys Pro M RGB mechanical keyboard, you’re going to need to install the software…
The Masterkeys Pro M RGB software has a very easy to use and basic graphical user interface which gives beginners and more software savvy users the chance to customize their keyboard to their personal preference. Like the above-mentioned lighting pre-sets, the software allows you to change the dynamic and direction of the moving moves such as having the colour wave going from front to back instead of its defaulted left to right settings. Here you can also change the speed at which the colours flash and cycle. The software allows for 4 separate custom profiles to be saved for on the fly changing depending on your taste, environment or setting.
On the second scree, we have the profile library where you can access your saved profiles, or back them up to allow you space to create even more.
Overall the software is basic enough and if you’re not bothered about changing the direction of the LEDs or saving/backing up profiles, you don’t need to install it to operate the Masterkeys Pro M RGB keyboard. One thing I was a little disappointed in however was the inability to set the colour on each individual key; that would have been amazing and allowed for the ultimate in customisation options.
Performance & Conclusion
Having previously reviewed the Masterkeys Pro M White LED keyboard back in November, I am all too familiar with the layout and the features; after all, the Pro M RGB is exactly the same albeit with RGB lighting instead of a solid white. The only difference is the switch type; the Pro M White had Cherry MX Browns whereas the RGB sample features Cherry MX Blue switches. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of Blue switches, but that doesn’t mean everything I say isn’t objective.
The thing with the different mechanical switch types is that some are better at different uses than others. Cherry MX Blue switches are more suited to typing than they are gaming and the reason for this is simple; tactile clicky switches such as the Cherry MX Blue have their release points higher than their actuation point which makes it harder to double tap keys than linear switches such as red or browns. The other caveat is the noise, as Cherry MX Blues are highly notorious for killing peoples ear drums when used in close proximity making them highly unsuitable to those who need to remain quiet. All this being said, the Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M RGB mechanical keyboard really does impress me a lot and I use the regular white LED model on a daily basis; albeit with Cherry MX Browns and not Blues…god forbid!
If you’re into programming and games/applications that use macros, then all of the keyboards function (FN) shortcuts are bound to be very useful to you. Cooler Master have also included media key shortcuts within the numpad to save space and I will go out on a limb here and say this, but for the size, this is definitely one of the most feature-packed non 100% sized mechanical keyboards on the market…and that’s impressive.
I think the obvious focal point here really is the RGB LED customisation which is nothing short of superb. The colours come through the ABS plastic keycaps with relative ease and are very loud and vibrant. The lighting pops out very well, but I will say that it’s no brighter in my opinion than other boards on the market, but even then, it’s still great and does exactly what it says on the tin. The presets are brilliant and with 12 different lighting modes, there is something for everyone. My personal favorites are snake and the equalizer mode inside of the system status setting; I absolutely adore it as it reacts to music and looks amazing.
For around £110 in the UK or $110-120 in the US, you can buy one of these cool, swanky and feature compact mechanical keyboards and for me, it does represent good value for money. If RGB isn’t your thing, there is a basic white LED Masterkeys Pro M model available which is around £30-35 cheaper; that represents amazing value for money. Of course, if RGB is a must-have for you, then £110 is highly competitive for a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches and what I said about the Masterkeys Pro M White still stands; the Pro M is a solid 90% keyboard with all the features (and more) of most full size 100% keyboards. The Pro M RGB improves (aesthetically) over the plain white LED version; a stunning and well-designed keyboard.
If you’re in the market for a high performance, stylish and RGB clad mechanical keyboard and you want a smaller than full sized option, but still require a Numpad, then make sure the Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M RGB at the top of your list! – If you want full size however, the Masterkeys Pro L (100% size) RGB keyboard is a steal for the price too!
Huge thanks to Cooler Master for sending a sample of the Masterkeys Pro M RGB in for review.
Check out our last 5 previous mechanical keyboard reviews (click on the name to open the desired review in a new window)