Novatouch TKL “Hybrid Electrostatic Capacitive Switch” Keyboard
One of the most interesting new designs shown off by Cooler Master is that of their new Novatouch TKL Keyboard. Upon first glance, I didn’t think the keyboard was anything new because it looks very much like a Quickfire TK. After further inspection, however, and some help from the Cooler Master reps, I discovered the difference is actually under the keys. I guess I should have pushed some of them. The thing that sets the Novatouch TKL apart, aside from some cool lighting tricks we’ll talk about, are the switches. The Novatouch TKL was described to me as having a “Hybrid Electrostatic Capacitive Switch”. That confused me, but when we pulled of a key I could see that they were Japanese Topre switches.
If you look up Topre Corp, you’ll find that is actually how they describe their switches. I won’t get into details on Topre switches here, but they have a low actuation force and some people like them more than mechanical switches. The cool thing that Cooler Master has done with these Topre switches, though, is put a Cherry MX fitting onto them. That means that if you’ve found some cool, custom Cherry MX keys that you want to fit onto the Novatouch, you can.
The Novatouch also integrates some interesting new lighting functions. Most LED backlit keyboards now come with a few different LED presets including a gaming preset with WASD and some other keys lit. The Novatouch certainly includes this function, as well as a full-lit function. The Novatouch also has a few lighting schemes that you probably won’t find many other places. The first is a touch-lighting scheme that lights up a key when you touch it. The light turns off when the key is no longer depressed. This function can also be extended so that the light stays on for a short while after the key has been depressed and then fades out. It makes for a pretty cool lighting effect. The other interesting function is the ability to light up any key that you want lit. By simply holding down the lighting key and pushing the individual keys, you can choose which keys you want lit and which ones you want dark. You can then save that profile for use later. Don’t go spelling any dirty words now. The Novatouch was also shown off with the key labels in front of the keys rather than on top. It made for a interesting looking keyboard that I found somewhat appealing.
Mizar and Alcor Gaming Mice
In addition to the Novatouch Keyboard, Cooler Master also showed off a pair of sleek gaming mice at CES 2014. These two mice are a clear throwback to the Microsoft Intellimouse and get rid of a lot of the bulky features of some gaming mice in an effort to bring back a smaller, more ergonomic and lightweight design.
The Mizar Gaming mouse is a laser mouse that uses the Avago 9800 laser sensor for up to 8200dpi. The resolution can be adjusted on the fly. The Mizar has seven programmable buttons, although two of those are really only useful as dpi adjusters. That’s fine by me. I used the 5 button Intellimouse until it died because it felt perfect. I’m excited to get my hands on the Mizar and Alcor to compare.
Both mice are fully customizable through LED lighting and macros programmable in the software. The Alcor is an optical mouse, rather than a laser mouse, and uses the Avago 3090 sensor for up to 4000dpi.
Speaking of the software, this seems like a good time to talk about Cooler Master’s intent to bring together all of the individual peripheral software pieces controlling their devices. I recently reviewed the CM Storm MECH keyboard and was impressed by the ability to pair a saved profile with a program so that it would change to that profile upon launch. That’s great, but then I also have to go in and change the profile for my CM Storm Sentinel Advance II mouse and my CM Storm Pulse R Gaming Headset.
Cooler Master wants to take care of that by integrating all three of those peripherals into the same piece of software. I checked out an early working version of the software while I was at Cooler Master’s suite and it seems like a great solution. At the time I played with it, though, it only supported the keyboard and mouse, with a third, empty tab waiting for a headset icon.
Sirus S2 Headset and Aurus Gaming Earphones
The final piece of the Cooler Master puzzle lies in their audio products. I currently use the CM Storm Pulse R gaming headset and I like it a lot. At CES 2014, Cooler Master showcased two more audio peripherals; the Sirus S2 Headset and the Aurus Gaming Earphones.
Now, you may not immediately think of earphones as a gaming audio solution, but don’t be so quick to judge. If you’ve ever watched a first-person shooter gaming tournament, you might change your mind. A lot of those gamers use earphones and then put shooting earcups on over the top to shut out the sound. The Aurus gaming earphones build upon your typical earphone by adding a bass dial for each driver. You can order up the perfect level of bass by tuning the dial on the back of either earphone. The Aurus earphones use flat cables to avoid tangling, are encased in an aluminum housing, and sport a breakaway splitter for easy use with multiple devices.
The Sirus S2 Gaming Headset is more of what you might think of when looking into a gaming audio solution. The Sirus S2 houses both a 40mm and a 44mm driver in each ear for robust 2.2 channel sound. The Sirus S2 also has a built-in hi-fi amplifier to add power to the drivers. The ear cups on the Sirus S2 are interchangeable to your desires, whether you prefer mesh or leather, and the headset uses an inline remote for control.