Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware
The last combination set I reviewed was also from Cooler Master, which was the MasterKeys Lite L Combo RGB, but you can see Cooler Master has done a few things to modernize the successor of the last set, at least when we look at the keyboard first. While the last combination keyboard utilized a standard plastic shell design, this one takes cues from more recent keyboards in its island-style keys. This exposes the sides of the switches and the plastic base underneath to let light through. The entire casing is still made out of a hard plastic with a matte black finish and some clear elements found around the area. Otherwise, it is nice to see Cooler Master keep even their budget boards updated in terms of styling. Unfortunately, one thing they did not include is a wrist rest, which is not too surprising at this budget.
As for measurements, the keyboard is approximately 440mm in width, 134mm in depth, and 40.3mm in height. While this just looks like a light keyboard, this actually weighs quite heavy at 980g. This is close to a mechanical keyboard in terms of weight and this is due to the metal plate inside to make the keyboard feel solid. Weight does not always translate to good build quality and unfortunately, we have quite a bit of keyboard deck flex, exhibited when pressing or torquing the shell. There is also quite a bit of plastic flexing noise created, even when we apply just a little force. Overall, this is not too surprising for a budget keyboard.
As expected, the layout on the Cooler Master MS110 keyboard is a standard 104-key ANSI layout with a standard bottom row. The indicator lights for the different locks can be found on the top right corner, marked N, C, S, and G for number, caps, scroll, and gaming lock. Most of these are self-explanatory, but the gaming lock illuminates when the keyboard locks are active. Speaking of which, Cooler Master has secondary function keys on the keyboard to let you execute many actions without needing software. As with most keyboards, these secondary functions can be executed using the Fn key in conjunction with the marked key. F1 to F5 and the arrow keys are used for the backlighting, so I will highlight these later on. Functionally, we have F6 and F7 to lock down the entire keyboard and the Windows keys, respectively. When the entire keyboard is locked, the G in the corner glows blue, and when the Windows keys are locked, the G glows red. Finally, the six keys above the arrow key can be used for multimedia actions, including Play/Pause, Stop, Next track, Previous track, Volume Up, and Volume Down.
As for key rollover, the Cooler Master MS110 keyboard offers 26 key anti-ghosting mode over USB. In essence, this feature resolves ghosting issues found in cheaper and/or laptop keyboards. While ghosting is a marketing term, there are cases where keyboards will not be able to recognize more than one keystroke at a time, causing for missed keys. This can be frustrating when you are playing games or even if you are just a very fast typist. On an aside, the original usage of ghosting in keyboards actually referred to a third key being registered when two other keys were pressed, which thankfully is not a problem with most modern keyboards.
Before continuing on, one of the selling points of the Cooler Master MS110 is their "Mem-chanical" key switches. There are three main types of keyboards in the market today. The cheapest but most common is the membrane keyboard, which is the easiest to make, but also has poor typing feel and response due to squishy keys. Next is a scissor switch keyboard. This can be thought of as an enhanced rubber dome with two extra interlocking plastic pieces connected to the key and the keyboard. This creates a better tactile response and typing experience in comparison to the aforementioned membrane. Mechanical keyboards cost the most, because each key switch is an independent part. These switches are generally composed of a base, stem, and spring, with varying degrees of tactile and audible feedback.
Our unit of the Cooler Master MS110 features linear Mem-chanical switches. While they do technically have mechanical parts on top with a base and stem, these are placed on top of a membrane switch, hence the merging of the two in its name. They are supposed to also have mechanical like qualities, including a mostly linear travel. These are rated to last up to fifty million keystrokes, which is pretty good considering these are still membrane. They have a 45g actuation force, a travel distance of 3.6mm, and actuation distance of 1.2mm. Otherwise, you can see there is a clear enclosure for each switch, allowing the RGB lighting to spill out. As for the keycaps that sit on top of these switches, these are standard ABS keycaps. While they are the more economical option of keycap materials, they are easily stained and can also fade easily. The font itself is laser etched and UV coated, so it should not fade as easily as font that is printed on top. On the other hand, these are using standard Cherry MX stems, so you can theoretically swap out these keycaps.
Finally, flipping over the Cooler Master MS110 keyboard over shows not a whole lot else. A Cooler Master logo is engraved in the middle, hidden from daily viewing. There is a total of four rubber pads with two rectangles located on the bottom of the keyboard and two more integrated into the flipping feet. Thankfully, this means the rubber grip is always on the surface at all times, whether the feet are extended or not. Due to this, I never found the keyboard to accidentally shuffle around and it stayed in place like I would have expected. At the back near the middle is a USB cable and it measures approximately 180cm in length. The cable is not braided, but I would be surprised if it was at this price point.
Moving to the Cooler Master MS110's mouse, this one is quite simple in design. The coating is a hard, smooth plastic, which is pretty average in allowing users to get a good grip on their device. There does seem to be a slightly rubbery feel to let users get a grip, but it is not the best. Worse yet, this matte finish does nothing to hide any oily marks your digits may leave behind. I still think Cooler Master could improve upon this surface to let users grip their mouse, especially since it is so small. Even placing side grips as they did with their older Devastator mouse would have been appreciated. As for other styling elements, the MS110 mouse has some RGB areas, including the sides of the primary buttons, the scroll wheel, and the hexagon outline of the Cooler Master logo near the palm. Cooler Master has kept branding to a minimum and the hexagon logo is clean even when the lights are turned on.
When we look at dimensions, the Cooler Master MS110 is a pretty small mouse. With a measured length of 116.7mm, width of 62.8mm, and height of 38mm, this mouse is compact in all directions. For comparison, my daily driver, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 is larger in all dimensions, and I already consider that mouse to be small for myself. Obviously, this will vary with your hand size and how you hold your mouse. The peak height is situated nearer to the rear of the mouse with a gradual slope up from the front and a smoother, rounded curve down near the back. As for the scales, the mouse weighs in at a light 86g without the cable. The weight is balanced to the middle of the mouse, lining up with the sensor. As you can tell from the photos, this mouse is an ambidextrous mouse in terms of shape, which is good for both left-handed and right-handed users. However, the button placement is not, as we will see soon enough. Otherwise, a 1.8m rubber cable exits out from the top of the mouse. It is pretty flexible but does create some drag when moving the mouse around.
From this angle, you can see all of the buttons that are on the Cooler Master MS110 mouse. The primary left and right buttons are in their typical place. Unfortunately, we were unable to find out the manufacturer for the switches, but they feel relatively crisp in their response, making me believe these are still Omron switches. I also like that the buttons are separated from the rest of the mouse. In between, we have a translucent scroll wheel that is notched. As such, steps for each scroll is well-defined. Pressing down on the wheel is also pretty good as the wheel has enough friction to keep it in place. Underneath the scroll wheel, we also have a sensitivity switcher which cycles between four DPI levels. It would have been nice to be able to customize these steps, but unfortunately, we do not have any software support for the MS110. This means you are set with using a sensitivity of either 400, 800, 1600, or 3200 DPI. While the rest of the mouse is ambidextrous in shape, the side buttons are only found on the left side with forward and back buttons located close by for easy thumb access. These buttons are a bit stiffer to press, which could be a good or bad thing.
Cooler Master has also implemented some secondary keys to customize your mouse appearances in the form of lighting. Pressing the DPI switch followed by the middle scroll wheel lets you change the color of the side stripes. Meanwhile, the Forward and Back buttons can be used with the middle sensitivity switch to change the pattern of lighting and the direction of lighting, respectively. Unfortunately, the only way to change the lighting of the middle scroll wheel or the Cooler Master logo are to change the set sensitivity, as these colors are linked and cannot be altered.
At the bottom of the Cooler Master MS110, there are a few things to take note of. Firstly, we have the PTFE mouse skates at the front and at the back left and right sides. PTFE is more commonly known as Teflon and is often found on the bottom of mice. Unfortunately, they are not necessarily the most durable of skates, as even an hour of usage has left many marks on the bottom. In the middle, we have the Pixart 5050 sensor. We have not really seen this sensor before on other mice, but from what I can tell, this is more targeted to a budget audience. Specifications show an acceleration of 8g and a speed of 30ips. According to the datasheets, the Pixart 5050 is capable of sensitivities from 125 to 1375 DPI, which is much lower than the maximum 3200 DPI advertised with the mouse. Polling rate of the mouse is set to 1ms or 1000Hz in terms of frequency. Otherwise, I also want to point out one thing, which is the small plastic protrusion at the front side of the MS110 mouse. I am not entirely sure why Cooler Master decided to leave these protrusions, especially since they do not seem to serve any purpose and actually get in the way, as we will see later on.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Performance Tests