A Tiny Fraction of the Cooler Master CK552 Keyboard’s Pre-Loaded Lighting Modes
GIF: Corey Foster

The CK552 keyboard is Cooler Master’s answer to PC gamers who dare to ask for an abundance of flair, customization, and quality without compromises or a high price tag.

Available exclusively through Best Buy in the US, the Cooler Master CM552 presents potential users with a $70 keyboard value that’s difficult to believe. Long life mechanical switches, per key lighting, and a styled aluminum chassis are just the start of its bullet points. I was skeptical to give it a go, but I allowed a full week for my muscle memory get a feel for it during both work and gaming. Fast forward more than a month later and it still graces my desk.

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Unboxing the CK552 was without fanfare. We get only a USB keyboard and a cheat-sheet of customization and macro controls. The only visible Cooler Master branding on the CK552 is a single function key etched with CM’s rounded hexagon mark. The minimalist black brushed aluminum design evokes its primary purpose as a tool for gaming.

Cooler Master CK552
Image: Cooler Master

The aluminum deck and Gateron Red key switches make typing on the Cooler Master CM552 rock solid. Even with the riser feet extended, typing on this keyboard is as concrete as if the keys were mounted directly to my desk surface. I (and those around me) especially appreciate that Gateron Reds don’t sound like gunfire while I’m typing, yet still produce a very satisfying “clack.”

On-the-fly control
Image: Cooler Master

Per-key lighting is where the refined design of the CK552 bends to whatever flair you might prefer instead. Cooler Master’s Portal customization software gives you complete and precise control over all the lighting and Macros of the keyboard. However, I admire that the CK552 keyboard’s lighting, macros, and even profile presets can be commanded using only the CM function key combined with other keystrokes. I respect the available software, but I’m glad I wasn’t forced to install it in order to fully enjoy this peripheral.

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Despite using a full desktop keyboard for most of my work and PC gaming, I’m not typically a mechanical keyboard advocate. A keyboard is quite personal to me. Several have consumed space on my desk over the past few years, but I just couldn’t get to a “like” point with any of them. The Cooler Master CK552 is the first mech keyboard to last longer than a few weeks on my desk, and I expect it to be here through the foreseeable future.