Cooler Master's ultra-compact mechanical keyboard is now available for $119

Last week we told you about Cooler Master's new SK621, a mechanical keyboard with low profile keys, an ultra-short footprint, and Bluetooth connectivity. It wasn't available at the time, nor did Cooler Master say how much it would cost or when it would launch. We know have answers to those questions.

The SK621 launched today on Amazon and is available for $119.99. That's a premium price for sure, especially when there are 'tenkeyless' planks like Cooler Master's own CK530 that sell for $69.99.

That said, Cooler Master's latest offering is certainly unique, and is an intriguing option for LAN party goers. It's actually smaller than most tenkeyless keyboards—not only does it ditch the dedicated number pad, it also squishes the arrow keys into the main section, and integrates the ones that typically sit above them (Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, and so forth) as secondary functions on other keys.

The result is a compact plank that measures 293 (L) x 103 (W) x 29.2 (H) mm, or around 11.53 x 4.06 x 1.15 inches. For comparison, the CK530 measures 380 x 135 x 40 mm (~15 x 5.31 x 1.6 inches).

We generally prefer mechanical key switches over spongy membrane keyboards, and in this case, Cooler Master opted for Cherry MX RGB low profile switches in Red form. Unfortunately, there are compromises that come with such a tight design. Alan Bradley spent some hands-on time with the SK621 and found the typing experience to be "much less satisfying" than a typical mechanical keyboard.

"Because the deck is so compressed and the keys are flat and positioned so close to each other (a mere 2mm separates the keycaps, as opposed to the 5mm - 7mm on most full boards), I found myself frequently mashing two keys at once. There's also something mushy about typing on the SK621, likely a combination of the Cherry Red switches and their low profile configuration, but the force required to actuate the keys is far too high for a chiclet-style driver," Alan wrote.

While not exactly a glowing endorsement, Alan did note that the typing experience is still better than virtually any laptop keyboard, and is "perfectly suitable for gaming as long as you're not in a hyper-demanding esports environment."

For those of who are interested, the SK651 is available now. For other options, be sure to check out our roundup of the best gaming keyboards, along with the best mechanical keyboards. We also have picks narrowed down to just wireless gaming keyboards, if that's what you're after.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).