I assume that a good portion of you either came across on Cooler Masters very affordable line-up of gaming keyboard and mouse set called the Devastator either by looking at its reviews or actually owning it. The new Cooler Master MS120 which I today have in front me aims to do exactly that, but with a little bit of expanded feature set and different design approach compared to those. Opening up the box, there’s not that much to it, expect the user manual, you’ll, of course, be greeted by the keyboard and mouse itself.
Clean looks for Cooler Master MS120
As you can see both of them support a very clean looking and simple design approach, which is a pretty common trend nowadays, not to complicate too much, and a step away from the Devastator and Octane series. The build quality of the MS120 combo is pretty good, especially considering its price tag, the keyboard feels very sturdy and heavy, with a decent build quality to the touch, although it’s completely made out of plastic. On the back of it, you’ll find a completely clean surface with two rubber padding on the bottom edge and two rubberize standoff feet on the top edge.
The mouse is a bit lighter, weighing in just above 100 grams, but it also doesn’t feel cheap in hand. It also gets to be a bit out of the ordinary and not being just your plain cursor dragger on a count of its protruded and contoured right side for resting your ring finger onto it. Based on that, a non-symmetrical design, and having the side-buttons on the left side, this model with its physical characteristics only support right-hand use. One place where they’ve made some obvious save in terms of production cost is with cables, where have this pretty plain rubber and thin looking ones, but at least with got this cool little-colored USB connection detail.
Keyboard’s layout is as common as you can get it, Cooler Master played a bit with design of LED indicators for caps looks num lock and other, above the numpad portion, while although we don’t have any dedicated multimedia keys, we do have a Function key which in combination with top row keys lets you do your basic actions among other stuff, more on that later on.
Cooler Master MS120 combo mimics mechanical keyboard
What’s most interesting about the Cooler Master MS120, keyboard in particualr, is that it has a hybrid type of switches, which a combination of mechanical key actuator and a member surface which registers the key press. This kind of setup mimics a mechanical clicky sound and feel of a true mechanical keyboard, while Cooler Master actually calls them mem-chanical switches. This particular solution is very clicky and loud, it reminds me a lot of the Cherry MX blue switch, and yes, it really gives you that feeling of using a mechanical switch.
Speaking of the cherry, as you probably noticed, the key-cap design is the same as the Cherry ones when it comes to mounting, so you can use any cherry support key-cap if you want to. The travel distance of the keys is 3,8 mm, with 1,8 mm actuation point, while the actuation force is very similar to Cherry MX Red switch, maybe a bit more force is needed, 50 grams instead of 45 grams, but overall very easy to press down, so it gives it a so to speak fast feel. The keys themselves are not recessed into the housing of the keyboard, so the white membrane surface is picked up really easy from the outside, giving it a little bit of a contrast in terms of the design and letting the keys get a really noticeable under-glow.
When it comes to real use, gaming wise I’ve found the MS120 combo to be very good, no complains what so ever, it does it job as it should, while supporting up to 24-keys anti-ghosting. Although at first, I thought it will sometimes be too sensitive for typing, just like the Cherry MX Red’s, it actually wasn’t. I never had an accidental key press because of leaning my fingers onto them, which is something that can’t be said for the Cherry MX Red’s, so overall I was happy with that bullet point, especially since I love its very clicky sound when typing, just wish it was a bit quieter.
As listed by the Cooler Master, the mouse holds Avago’s 3050 optical sensor which goes up to 3500 DPI through four levels, with an in-between level of 500, 750 and 1500 before it. It’s not flawless in terms of competitive gameplay, but it’s more than god sensor for casual gaming, 90% of users will be happy with it. Tracking faster movement is not that good at 3500 DPI, but 1500 DPI will do just fine, while It’s very accurate at 500 and 750 DPI, and It also has low lift-off distance. The build-in Omron switches bump up the user experience for sure with their firm and very responsive design. Overall, it’s an average performing mouse when it comes to it having a sensor from a more familiar manufacturer.
MS120 combo looks to be a non-brainer choice
As with pretty much all of the Cooler Master’s combo mouse and keyboards models, there isn’t any software utility as everything is controlled using the function key in terms of activating the different features, like in the case of the Cooler Master MS120 model, being able to change the color of the back-lighting. As you probably noticed by the B-roll, the keys have a full per key RGB backlighting and the range of the possible adjustments is really broad, starting with the brightness of course to you regular working modes, like solid, rainbow effect, breathing effect, ripple effect and so on. You can change the color by adding and combing 5 levels of red, green and blue color, which can sort of be a difficult process when trying to get the right color, but bottom line there’s a total of 9 different colors and not 16,8 million as you would expect from RGB spectrum. Two additional keys let you set the speed of certain effects and change its flow direction.
As for the mouse, you have three different illuminated zones and they can be changed using the combination of the top DPI switch and other switches on the mouse. The scroll wheel and the ring around the logo can’t be controlled in the same way as this bottom line, they only change color with changing the DPI. On the other hand, the aforementioned bottom line can be controlled in a way that you can set up different types of effects for it, color cycle or solid, change the speed of color cycle and of course change the color. You can also turn it off completely, but just it and not the rest of the glowing parts.
Overall, the backlighting both of this keyboard and mouse set is pretty good as you can see it here for yourself, very bright and with evenly dispersed, even with this more open style keys. I know that they aimed for it to be driver-less, I still really wish they made some kind of software control for it, especially since this combo is maybe not that cheap compared to other models in their combo gear line-up and since it has a lot of choices when it comes to backlighting. Yes, this is a great gaming keyboard and mouse combo deal for 80-90$, no doubt about it, but beside the integrated on keyboard control, an option of additional software control would mean a lot and justify its price, even more, easier in my opinion.