Here’s an early Black Friday deal for anyone still prodding at a mushy membrane keyboard: in the UK, you can get the all-mechanical Cooler Master SK652 for just £45. If you go for the black model, that’s a £65 saving off the RRP, and it’s £95 off if you opt for the white version, which is £45 as well.
£45! And it's full-size to boot. There are always nice savings to be had among Black Friday’s gaming keyboard deals, but even then, the only way you’d normally see a mech board this cheap was if it was secondhand. And had keycaps missing. And was haunted, possibly by some kind of dismembered hand ghost.
I had mixed feelings about the SK652’s predecessor, the Cooler Master SK650, so it was a welcome sight when Cooler Master ditched the flat keycaps in favour of more comfortable concaved ones. The SK652 will still feel a tad different to most gaming keyboards, mind, as it uses low-profile mechanical switches that have a shorter travel distance than most other linear switches. The ubiquitous Cherry MX Red, for instance, has a travel depth of 4mm; the SK652’s switches bottom out at 3.2mm.
Cooler Master's preferred switches also have a shorter actuation distance, meaning you don’t need to push them in as far to register an input. And you may well appreciate that extra speed when playing certain games, even if fully depressing each key more often than not can cause finger fatigue when typing. They’ll also have the standard linear switch benefit of quieter tapping.
You don’t get any dedicated macro keys, and media controls are built into the Function keys, but those are not harsh drawbacks to such a low price. If anything, there are still an impressive range of perks, including macro recording, per-key backlight customisation, a sleek brushed aluminium top plate, and N-key rollover, which prevents the keyboard getting confused when you press a few different keys simultaneously. Ridonkulous value.