A solid keyboard and mouse are great for improving your PC gaming set up , but stepping up to said peripherals can get expensive, especially when you add a mechanical keyboard to the mix. Cooler Master has always been one to set the game straight with affordable mechanical keyboard and mouse combos, but now it has something for even lower budgets with its MasterSet MS120. In this article we will be reviewing Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 .
For $89 (£67, AU$99), Cooler Master’s combo includes a mem-chanical keyboard and an ergonomic gaming mouse. That’s a solid deal, especially when some mem-chanical keyboards, like the $79 (£99, AU$169) Razer Ornata and $89 (£89, about AU$115) Roccat Horde Aimo cost the same amount of money on their own.
Value aside, the MasterSet MS120 simply comes with such a spectacular gaming keyboard that we would go for this combo just to have it on its own.
Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 : Design
The MasterSet MS120 comes with a compact and sharp-looking keyboard and an ergonomic, right-handed mouse that’s sure to please palm grip users.
Firstly, in a word, we would describe the MasterSet MS120 keyboard as being ‘tight’. The keyboard features a frameless design that’s on par, if not smaller, than other compact peripherals, like the Logitech and HyperX Alloy FPS. Cooler Master also incorporates an aesthetic all its own, with angular lines to give it a more interesting shape than just a plain rectangle.
Surprisingly on a combo this affordable, you also get full RGB illumination with per-key customization – which is all done through keyboard shortcuts with no software in sight. What’s more, the hovering keycaps and white baseplate beneath the buttons both help this keyboard truly shine.
Of course, for those not crazy about patterned RGB lighting, you can set the keyboard up with simple static lighting or switch it all off completely. Aside from some light-up letters to denote gaming mode as well as the Num, Scroll and Caps Lock keys, this is a very straightforward and modern peripheral.
The MasterSet MS120 mouse is a right-handed, ergonomic pointer that looks like the spitting image. Aside from the side grip being a smooth piece of plastic – as opposed to a honeycomb design – it’s practically the same mouse down to the same cheap, hollow feeling
As we’ve said in our previous review, we appreciate the mouse’s extended frame that adds support for our ring finger and a comfortable gripping point for our pinky, but it simply feels too hollow for its own good.
Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 : Performance
The MasterSet MS120 keyboard might not feature real mechanical key switches, but Cooler Master’s Tactile Hybrid mem-chanical switches come damn close to emulating the experience. Every keystroke creates the same satisfying click we associate with Cherry MX switches, meanwhile springs beneath each key offer the perfect amount of resistance and an almost instantaneous reset we love on a premium keyboard.
It also helps that the Tactile Hybrid mem-chanical switches offer a deep 3.6mm of travel distance paired with an ultra-short 1.2mm actuation point. The only negative thing we have to say about the MasterSet MS120 keyboard is that it’s a little too loud, with a sharp squeak likely caused by the the plastics of the key switches rubbing against each other.
Unfortunately, the MasterSet MS120 mouse is a little less to write home about. It offers completely serviceable accuracy and responsiveness. However, the Avago 3050 Optical Sensor inside is only able to reach up to 3,050 DPI. This is a mouse you’ll eventually grow out of even if its Omron micro switches are rated for 10 million clicks.
The MasterSet MS120 mouse surprisingly achieved a high sensor performance considering the A3050 sensor. We noticed minor spikes a few times but they weren’t big enough to affect the scores. The performance is persistent at all the CPI levels on the mouse except at 3,500 where it loses tracking at speeds above 1.8 m/s. Hence, it’s advisable to play on the other CPI levels where it manages to continue tracking even above 2 m/s. We didn’t notice any acceleration on the mouse but angle snapping kicks in at 1,500 and 3,500 CPI. Apart from performance, it’s a barebones right-handed mouse with an average build quality and a resting area for your ring and little finger on the right side.
Cooler Master upgraded their older 2016 mem-chanical design by adding a spring and tactile plunger in the MS120 keyboard. Essentially, this design will offer better tactile feedback. For us, the actuation force was considerably heavier, almost close to Cherry MX Greens. Hence, we didn’t really enjoy the experience of typing on this keyboard. But this is completely a personal preference coming from an experience of using keyboards with lighter actuation forces. If you’re coming from membrane keyboards, you will actually enjoy the tactile feedback. The RGB backlighting on the keyboard looks wonderful and overall, the build quality is decent. There’s no software support and everything can be controlled by modifier keys on the keyboard. Compared to the other combos that we’ve tested, if you have a budget of about Rs. 6,000, then you can go ahead with the MS120. However, if you have a lower budget, then the Gamdias Ares Essential Combo is still worthy at Rs. 3,000.
Cooler Master MasterSet MS120: Specifications
MasterSet MS120 Keyboard
Keyboard size: Standard, Numpad included
Keyboard backlight: RGB LED
Switch type: Cooler Master Mem-chanical 2017 (50-million keystrokes)
Polling rate: 125 Hz (8 ms)
Interface: USB 1.1
The combo isn’t meant to be a powerhouse in features, especially the mouse. It does cover all the features required for gaming and typing. The top highlight of the keyboard is the new mem-chanical switch design from Cooler Master. Earlier, the switch had the tactile component situated on the base in the form of a tactile dome. When the key was pressed, the plunger would push on the dome and give you the tactile feel. The updated design brings the tactile component to the plunger itself and a spring is also added below it. The tactile feedback component is almost similar to the design in mechanical switches, and it can be seen in action if you remove the keycap. This entire assembly does manage to offer the same feedback present on mechanical keyboards but if you’ve used one before, you would be able to make out the difference instantly. Coming to the illumination of the keyboard, it packs RGB backlighting which can be controlled using modifier keys. The direction and speed of the eight lighting modes can be changed easily. In the static colour mode, you can switch through different levels of Red, Green and Blue, individually so that you can have different colours. It includes a Windows lock and a Full Key lock. The keyboard will be able to register up to 26 key presses at once so you don’t need to worry about missing out on keystrokes. There isn’t much to talk about the mouse apart from its four DPI levels that can’t be changed. The scroll wheel zone is said to support RGB lighting but it only lights up in four colours based on the four DPI levels.
Just $89 (£67, AU$99) for a gaming keyboard and mouse combo is an amazing deal, especially when the keyboard is as good as other mem-chanical peripherals, like the Razer Ornata and Roccat Horde Aimo. The included MasterSet MS120 Mouse isn’t the best, but whether you take it or leave it, the mouse does a decent job and adds to the package’s overall value.
If you’re looking to level up your gaming setup, the Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 is a great way to start with a combo that’s among the most affordable of options.