Per-Key Quality Testing

In order to test the quality and consistency of a keyboard, we are using a texture analyser that is programmed to measure and display the actuation force of the standard keyboard keys. By measuring the actuation force of every key, the quality and consistency of the keyboard can be quantified. It can also reveal design issues, such as the larger keys being far softer to press than the main keys of the keyboard. The actuation force is measured in Centinewton (cN). Some companies use another figure, gram-force (gf). The conversion formula is 1 cN = 1.02 gf (i.e. they are about the same). A high quality keyboard should be as consistent as possible, with an average actuation force as near to the manufacturer's specs as possible and a disparity of less than ±10%. Greater differences are likely to be perceptible by users. It is worth noting that there is typically variance among keyboards, although most keyboard companies will try and maintain consistency - as with other reviews, we're testing our sample only.

The machine we use for our testing is accurate enough to provide readings with a resolution of 0.1 cN. For wider keys (e.g. Enter, Space Bar, etc.), the measurement is taking place at the center of the key, right above the switch. Note that large keys generally have a lower actuation force even if the actuation point is at the dead center of the key. This is natural, as the size and weight of the keycap reduces the required actuation force. For this reason, we do display the force required to actuate every key but we only use the results of the typical sized keys for our consistency calculations. Still, very low figures on medium sized keys, such as the Shift and Enter keys reveal design issues and can easily be perceptible by the user.

Cherry’s MX switches are of excellent quality and very consistent. We always had great lab results with them and the MX Brown switches that Cooler Master is using on the Master Keys Pro L keyboard are no exception, with an imperceptible disparity of just ± 3.04% across the main keys. The average actuation force is 46.5 cN, just a little higher than the rated 45 cN. This difference is very small and reasonable with tactile switches that have a significantly stiffer pressure point.

Examining the Keyboard Final Words and Conclusion
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  • versesuvius - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Cooler Master products are always mediocre devices with the highest possible prices. The quality of their products is just about average and for the asking prices there is invariably a better product in the market. So, just look at the price and start looking for something better at that price. There is a 100% chance that you will find the ideal product at that price or even lower. The same is true about Logitech as well. Reply
  • Inteli - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    The Quickfire Rapids were always the best deals on mechanical keyboards, and were available for very reasonable prices. From the looks of it, the Pro S with white LEDs runs $100 on Amazon, which is still very reasonable. Maybe their MSRP is unreasonable, but market prices are generally very good. That also goes for Logitech (or at least the only Logitech products I care about) Reply
  • b4bblefish - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Well.. MSRP is always a joke, but the CM keyboards are great on sale. I got a TKL quickfire for $60 and a logitech G303 for $24.99. Definitely not complaining Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Both are good buys, and it's nice you got a flawless sensor above anything else here. Too many people fall for the "gaming mouse" advertising but don't investigate as to whether the mouse sensor is flawless from acceleration, angle-snapping and other such things. Reply
  • Omega215D - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Yeah it's a shame but it sells. The good thing is that Razer, CM and Logitech use good sensors in their mice (well now they do thanks to more enthusiasts especially those at Overclock.net) and Logitech heard the feedback and took it to heart this time around. Reply
  • 3ogdy - Sunday, October 23, 2016 - link

    I was going to agree with your comment...until I read your last sentence. That's where I completely disagree. I've owned a lot of Logitech products in my life from mice to keyboards, speakers, remotes, adapters, webcams, headsets...and what not. The quality of their products is top-notch. Full stop. If that's your opinion on Logitech, you're probably wrong about Cooler Master as well. Reply
  • hughlle - Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - link

    So you never came across any stories of the abysmal failure rates of mice like the G5 or G7 (regarding the mouse buttons executing a double click for a single click due to poorly designed mechanisms within), or perhaps the dodgy mouse cables that fray and fail, or perhaps their "flasgship" keyboard, the dinovo edge, costing well over £100 which can't even hold a bluetooth connection for 5 minutes without requiring you to unplug and re-plug the dongle?

    Logitech certainly make some good products, and have certainly improved, but they have a far from top-notch track record. And it is not like we're talking about budget peripherals, we're talking about their top of the line models.
    Reply
  • Silma - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    I beg to differ.
    I've been using -daily and for the entire day - a Quickfire Pro for a few years, and it's a fantastic keyboard, whose sole inconvenient is that not all keys are backlighted.

    At the time of the purchase, it was by far the best price for a mechanical keyboard in my region
    Reply
  • Wwhat - Sunday, October 30, 2016 - link

    Logitech prices are always twice as high as cooler master though. Reply
  • Grimmm - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Wow, the design is extremely reminiscent of my CODE keyboard (which in turn is based on a WASD keyboards design). Seems like they took the minimalist design of the CODE, dropped the backplate, swapped the Cherry clears for browns, and added some basic macro functionality. All in all it seems like a decent drop in price for folks not interested in the $150 range CODE/Ducky/Das models. Reply

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