By: Hai Wang
December 29, 2017
Most of the time, things can be done by in more than one way. In other words, no one can really claim his or her method is the only way unless he or she wants to show some kind of authority over others. Well, there is something in this world can only be done in one way, and that is more related with our spiritual needs. However, considering this article is a keyboard set review, let us not carried away by other subjects, haha. Speaking of using different methods to achieve one goal, as a huge car fan, how can I come with an example by not talking about cars? Basically, in order to increase horsepower of an engine, two ways can be applied: One is to keep the engine naturally aspirated but with a higher redline; the other is to rely on forced induction such as a turbocharger to increase power. Both ways have its pros and cons. Higher RPM engines have no turbo lag and they all sound very good, while manufacturing costs are also usually high due to the requirements of low friction and vibration control. The forced induction method is relatively cheaper and easier to do. Aftermarket turbo kits can easily be purchased anywhere, and the installation can even be done in your garage. The downside of a turbocharged engine is the turbo lag, which makes the car very slow before the boost builds up. We can see a similar thing for keyboard design. Different ways can be used to deliver a good typing experience. For today’s review unit, the Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 keyboard and mouse combo, the keyboard uses an unconventional design to achieve the "being tactile and clicky" design goal. Cooler Master’s innovation is referred to as "mem-chanical" switches. How do those mem-chanical switches feel on the MS120? Let us read on and find out!
The Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 arrived via FedEx to us here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As you can see from the picture, the parcel is quite big. This is because the keyboard and mouse combo requires a long box. The package was shipped from Chino, California, where the headquarters of Cooler Master are located. I was not the person who received this parcel in the first place, but the cardboard came with pretty good shape and there were very few dents on the surface.
Peel the shipping package off, we can see the retail packaging of the MasterSet MS120. The background color is in accordance with the Cooler Master website’s theme color. In the middle of the cover lies the top view of the keyboard and mouse combo. From the picture, we can see the RGB lighting on the keyboard is pretty fancy. The company logo is at the top left of the box, while a "Make It Yours" motto sits right beside it. The name of the product, "MasterSet MS120", is proudly located below the picture of the mouse, and it follows with a sentence that indicates the key feature of this product. The key features include the use of mem-chanical clicky switches and the RGB lighting. The overall design of the package is simple, compact, and precise. It does not reveal too much of the mouse.
Before digging into details, let us take a look at the specifications of the MasterSet MS120, as borrowed from the manufacturer's website:
-Switch Type: Mem-chanical Clicky
-Switch Lifespan: 50M+
-LED Color: RGB
-Lighting Mode: Per-key full backlight, multiple modes and reactive effects. Controllable through FN key combo.
-FW Updates: Yes, online updates for LED modes
-Polling Rate: 125 Hz
-On board Memory: 32KB
-Multimedia: Through FN
-Connector Cable: USB 1.1
-Dimension: 441(L) x 132.5(W) x 38(H) mm
-Weight: 1041.5 g
-Interface: USB 2.0
-DPI: 4 levels (500, 750, 1500, 3500)
-LED backlight: RGB
-Lighting mode: Three Zones, Single Color or Pulsating Effects
-Dimension: 118 (L) x 78.5 (W) x 39.5 (H) mm
-Weight: 105 g
Flipping the cover of the retail package over, we can see everything inside of the box, which includes the keyboard and mouse plus a user's manual. There is not a lot of stuff in there, which really makes unpacking easy. The manual indicates the specifications of the MasterSet MS120 and how to change the RGB lighting effect without using GUI. It is interesting to see there is also a table of hazardous materials contained in the product. I think the reason to provide such information is for regulatory compliance rather than to prevent people from putting it in their mouth. Unsurprisingly, a driver disc is not provided, since everything in this combo is plug-and-play and additional software is not required.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests