Cooler Master’s SK series low-profile keyboards show promise

Cooler Master figured out a tweener solution that, upon first impression, is ideal: It kept the chiclet-style caps but simply make them thicker, and added a very (very) gentle scoop to them. I’ve never typed on caps like these before I put my fingertips on the SK series at CES, and it took me aback for just a moment, like walking in sneakers with a double-thick sole. But just as quickly, I could tell that the thicker caps offered a much better typing experience than some of the thin chiclet lowpro keyboards I’ve used. I need much more time with one of these keyboards before forming a complete opinion, but I’m optimistic that these thick chiclets will prove to be palatable.

Cooler Master makes these keycaps, so they’re an exclusive option. Because the switches are Cherry lowpro, though, you can drop aftermarket keycaps on the SK series keyboards.

What’s the strategy, Kenneth?

If you’ve been following the months-long progress of Cooler Master’s lowpro keyboards and are now scratching your head about these SKU numbers, you’re not alone. At Computex last summer, the company teased three different SKUs–the SK620, SK630, and SK650, all of which are wired. But at CES, Cooler Master was only showing the versions with a wireless option–the SK621, SK631, and SK651.

As far as I can tell from sleuthing, the SK620 is canceled, and Cooler Master will produce only the wireless SK621 in the 65% layout. However, the SK630 (wired, TKL) and SK631 (wireless/wired, TKL), and the SK650 (wired, full size) and SK651 (wireless/wired, full size) will all eventually be produced and sold.

The wireless models are coming, but their releases will be staggered. The SK621 is coming in March, the SK631 is coming sometime in Q2, and the SK651 will arrive in Q3. The reason for this sort of rollout escapes me.

A twist: The SK630 and SK650 have been released, but they’re hard to locate, at least in North America and Europe. They’re not on Amazon or Newegg. You can find the SK630 on Dell’s website, of all places, as well as on Tiger Direct and a couple of other outlets like Next Warehouse. The same is true of the SK650. Neither SKU is actually on Cooler Master’s NA or EU product pages.

It’s also not abundantly clear why there are both wired models and wired/wireless models, other than some price play. Judging by the posted and promised costs, the wired SK630 is $120 versus the SK631’s $140 price tag. The SK650 is $140, and the SK651 will be $160. In other words, you’re paying a $20 premium for the wireless capabilities. Given that the SK621 will cost $120 when it launches, a wired-only SK620 (which, again, appears to have been killed) would have been $100.

We’ve reached out to Cooler Master for some clarity and will update if and when we get answers.

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