Cooler Master SK630 review: Low-profile gaming keyboards are officially a trend

Here’s the rule with peripherals: Once is a gimmick, twice is a trend, and thrice is a category. And our latest category? Low-profile mechanical keyboards, which bring elements of the laptop typing experience to desktops. These hybrid keyboards started to show up late last year, first with the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo, then with Corsair’s K70 RGB Mk.2 Low Profile.

Now we have a third contender, Cooler Master’s new SK630. With a tenkeyless design and detachable cable it’s certainly the most mobile of the bunch, though a few odd choices may prove polarizing.

Note: This review is part of our best gaming keyboards roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Chiclet champ

Cooler Master’s fast becoming one of my favorite companies, from an aesthetics standpoint. Those who’ve read my keyboard reviews for a while know that I’m a sucker for a minimalist design—one you can use in the office without feeling embarrassed, really. And while most companies have improved on that front in recent years, Cooler Master is just nailing it.

Cooler Master SK630 IDG / Hayden Dingman

Like my beloved Mionix Wei, the SK630 is a gaming keyboard that doesn’t look the part at all. The brushed aluminum backplate, wedge-shaped chassis, and clean sans-serif lettering are lifted straight from the enthusiast keyboard boilerplate. It’s very pretty, and clearly someone at Cooler Master has been keeping an eye on trends outside the gaming bubble. The SK630 even uses a detachable USB-C cable instead of the MicroUSB used by (for instance) HyperX. Again, ahead of the curve here.

And perhaps that’s because the SK630 appeals more to a non-gaming audience. It doesn’t split the difference between a laptop and desktop typing experience really. This is a laptop keyboard, packaged for a desktop PC.

It’s an important distinction. Corsair’s K70 Low Profile, for instance, still rounded the edges of each key to add space between them, and staggered the rows vertically to provide better ergonomics. Roccat’s aforementioned Vulcan 120 Aimo had less vertical displacement, but keys were widely spaced and the caps still had a defined curve to them.

Cooler Master SK630 IDG / Hayden Dingman

Not so, on the SK630. When I say it’s flat, I mean it’s flat. The whole field is tilted slightly forward to allow better access, but the edges of each key are squared off and level with its neighbors. This also minimizes the amount of space between keys, which makes the keyboard feel more cramped than usual—enough so that I brought out a HyperX Alloy FPS to compare the two side-by-side. The SK630 isn’t actually any smaller than a standard keyboard but it feels smaller, and I found the lack of delineation between keys resulted in more typos.

It also made it a bit harder to play games. Is the SK630 a gaming keyboard? Only insofar as there’s a significant overlap between “keyboard enthusiast” and “gaming enthusiast.” But hey, it comes from a gaming peripheral company, is decked out in RGB lighting, and the product page references gaming, so we should address that aspect.

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