MasterKeys PBT Keyboards Overview
As I mentioned Cooler Master will be releasing two versions of their MasterKeys PBT keyboards. The first is their full-size “L” version, which has the typical 104-key layout you are used to seeing, so you have a full compliment of keys as well as a full number pad.
The second is the very small “S” which conforms to the tenkeyless form factor. This size is extremely popular with gamers and typists alike as it is very minimal and the actual keyboard itself is not all that big. As I mentioned there is no “M” version for the PBT decks like we saw with MasterKeys Pro line. I do have to say that both decks feel very sturdy and well built. I do believe they are based off the same design as the Pro line, just with different key switches and the PBT keycaps of course.
The star of these keyboard are the PBT keycaps. These keycaps are made of PBT plastic as opposed to ABS plastic that most keycaps are made of these days. They are thicker, more durable, and more shine resistant than standard keycaps. Because they are more durable they maintain their initial texture over a longer period of time. The keycaps have a sort of dark gunmetal color that contrasts off the black color of the chassis of the keyboard. The numbers, letters, and symbols on the keycaps are white and easy to read.
Under those keycaps you will find Cherry MX Green mechanical key switches. These are a more stiff version of Cherry MX Blues, which are a little more common. Cherry MX Greens are both tactile and clicky with an actuation force of 80 cN. I feel these, much like blues are a mix between a gamers switch and a typists switch. Cooler Master will also be offering their PBT keyboards with Cherry MX Speed Silver switches as well. You’ll notice there are no LEDs embedded with the switches. This is because the PBT keyboards are not backlit at all.
Both keyboards have a few different function buttons that can be used for different tasks. They are enabled by pressing and holding the “FN” key and then pressing each button. The F5-F8 keys control your repeat rate so you have 1X, 2X, 4X, and 8X. F9 is the Windows lock key, which is always good to have if you are gaming. F11 allows you to record a macro and F12 will delete the macro.
Moving over there are more keys that have to do with macros. Print screen is for a single macro loop, scroll lock is for repeat macro, and pause is for an infinite macro loop. Below that you have multimedia controls that include play/pause, forward, backwards, stop, volume up, and volume down.
Looking at each deck from the side we can see that the keys are designed in such a way that the first three rows are angled down and the last three angle up. This should give you a very comfortable feel when typing. Both keyboards offer pop-out feet to give you an even more extreme angle.
If we flip both decks over we can also see that both offer four rubber feet on the bottom, which will keep them in place when you are typing. The “S” version has its USB connection on the underside and offers channels to route your cable. The larger “L” version has its USB connector on the top edge and does not offer and cable channels.