ASUS ExpertBook B9

Cooler Master. They have been making keyboards for quite some time already. I’ve heard lots of good things about Cooler Master’s keyboards, but I’ve never owned or tried any of them extensively before. That has changed, and now I’m bringing your my full review of the MasterKeys Pro L RGB mechanical keyboard by Cooler Master. Thanks to Cooler Master too, for giving us this opportunity! 😀

Unboxing

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro
Yes, there are two! Review for the MasterKeys Pro L White LEDs will come soon!

Nothing too fancy regarding the box itself. It has a pretty standard cardboard box with all the highlights at the front.

Acer Nitro 5
Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L
16,777,216 colors, to be exact.

As we have both the MasterKeys Pro L RGB and Intelligent White LEDs together, we get to compare the boxes too – which is mostly identical, actually.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

Opening the box show the keyboard itself wrapped in a fabric sleeve – which is the next best thing compared to a hard plastic shell to cover the entire keyboard. I mean hey – at least it’s something to cover the keyboard during transport.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

Digging out all the accessories reveals the usual contents of a mechanical keyboard – a cloth braided micro USB cable, the user manual, and in this case, there’s another wire keycap puller which I did not capture in this picture.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L
Apologies for my dusty room.

Anyway, I hope this picture does the wire keycap puller some justice – because I think it’s a really nice addition by Cooler Master. Wire keycap pullers are just way more superior than those awful plastic keycap pullers.

Design

The MasterKeys Pro L RGB has the typical aesthetic that a mechanical keyboard has. I mean, looking at it screams “I’m a mechanical keyboard!”, but that’s a good thing. This design works, so why fix it?

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

Underneath the keycapss are genuine Cherry MX RGB switches, with surface mounted RGB LEDs. Underneath those switches is a large piece of white backplate for RGB light reflection. Let me tell you this keyboard is quite bright.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

Enclosing all of the key switches and white backplate is a black piece of smooth plastic. There’s something about this piece of plastic that paired with the keycaps, look and feel extremely satisfying.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

The underside reveals some other additional features. It’s quite plain-looking with a matte finish, and has a cable routing system similar to the one found in all Ducky One family of mechanical keyboards that we’ve reviewed here.

Cooler Master did the cable routing slightly better overall, thanks to the extra headroom between the cable header and the 90-degree angle.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

However, the cable holders at the back can’t really hold the cable nice and snugly. After stuffing the cloth braided cable inside, it can slide back out pretty easily. Ducky One’s cable route holds the cable too tightly. Something in between should be fine.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

Again, there’s just something on the MasterKeys Pro L RGB that screams comfort and elegance. It looks and feels smooth. Might be due to its UV coating, actually. It’ll recommend you that to do next and how and where to proceed. It even recommended me to update the keyboard’s firmware instantly, too – which I truly appreciate!

The software is really simple to get started with, and easy to master its usability. I started tuning the RGB lighting effects like a pro after a minute or two of messing around with the interface. I also like the fact that Cooler Master made the changes appear on the keyboard itself in real-time, which means I didn’t have to hit Save or Apply every time I make any changes.

Review - MasterKeys Pro L RGB by Cooler Master 1

Being an RGB keyboard, the software is a necessity to fully realize the MasterKeys Pro L RGB’s full potential. I do appreciate Cooler Master’s effort to bring driverless RGB color configuration to the keyboard, but I just don’t see how it’s viable. At least Cooler Master provides a software, else it’ll suffer the same fate as the Ducky One TKL RGB. Cooler Master did make an extensive video on how to set everything up without the software.

Also, the MasterKeys Pro L RGB has an extensive number of lighting effects built-in, and can further be customized via the software. If those lighting effects aren’t enough, head on over to Cooler Master’s Maker Hub to download more advanced custom lighting effects.

Head on over to the Maker Hub and start looking for more lighting effects – or create and upload your own to share with the community!

By the way, with Cooler Master’s new Portal software, the RGB between different products can be synced together. Easy to use too, but there are limitations when trying to pair some advanced lighting effects – like color wave – with the mouse.

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After customizing the RGB light, I realize two things. Firstly, the keycap legends are lit in a very biased manner – where the upper side is lit up brighter than the lower side. It’s understandable, since the surface-mounted LED is biased to the upper side anyway.

MasterKeys Pro L RGB
This is a view on how the keycap legends light up. Not really good. The color syncing is nice, though.
Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L
Take a look at the number row. Lighting is uneven across the legend.

However, the second issue is the lack of further customizability on the keyboard through the software. There is macro recording and playback feature too, where the manual does walk you through on how to record them, but it’s nowhere to be found in the software itself. Quite a bummer for me, actually.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L (35)

On a smaller side note, the MasterKeys Pro L RGB doesn’t have any sort of key remapping feature, as well as the replacement of the often-neglected Menu key with the Fn key.

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Wrapping up the MasterKeys Pro L RGB review

The Cooler Mas MasterKeys Pro L RGB is a beautiful keyboard, in my opinion. It looks great, feels better, and coupled with the right Cherry MX switch of your choice – it’s fantastic. However, the MasterKeys Pro L RGB has a thick body, so you might need a wrist rest for a more comfortable typing or gaming experience.

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L (35)

I like that Cooler Master incorporated driverless RGB controls in the keyboard – albeit a little less flexible. The software can offer a much more flexible RGB configuration, but lacks further customizability like recording macros or remapping keys through the software itself.

Is the MasterKeys Pro L RGB for you? I’d say, if you’re into the whole RGB fiesta, then yes. The MasterKeys Pro L RGB is available in the market today, and I’m impressed by how it performs.

And Cooler Master has a 2-year warranty too!

The Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L is priced at RM 599, but you can find some of them at RM 555 over at Lazada here.
Also, click here to have a look at Store Uni for more exclusive deals and bundles for the MasterKeys series of keyboards. Currently, they have an exclusive MasterKeys Pro L RGB bundled with a custom-crafted wooden wrist rest for RM 569!


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