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Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard Review

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Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard Closer Look:

Pulling the keyboard and goodies out of the box, we indeed have a little more than a keyboard on hand. We have a unique key-puller, one I have not seen included yet, that seems to take a little more effort to use, but does a great job. I do find it to be a little easier on the keycaps as there's no extra force to get it to clip on to the keys and I don't feel like I'm breaking things as with the classic key-puller. Included, though I only threw a few in the picture, is a full set of O-rings for dampening the sound on the keys. I've purchased these myself in the past from WASD to dampen the sound of my keys. While they don't change the feel of the keys, they do remove that bottom out sound that tends to drive many of you and/or your roommates nuts. This is quite the addition – I hope to see them included for everyone. I did notice in the leaflet that it wasn't listed in the list of items "Included in the box". Nonetheless, it appears to be a good start for the NovaTouch TKL.

 

A top down look at the NovaTouch reveals a near plain Jane keyboard. There really are no additional flairs. There are no macro keys, no discrete media keys, and again there is no number pad (which is clearly denoted by the TKL part of the name, need I say again). The keys are in your standard layout with everything where you normally might expect it. The Windows keys have shifted to the style of the new Windows logo, but other than that, she is your standard keyboard. I also should point out at this point, if you hadn't already noticed, there is no lighting on this keyboard; no backlighting or even indicating lights for the caps lock, screen lock, and num lock (for obvious reasons). The back of the keyboard shows off four thick rubber feet, which I must argue work exceptionally well on a glass desk. The thickness ought to hold up over time and provide resistance against slide. The kick feet to add a bit of height in the rear also have added rubber padding, which you'll see up next. We finally find some branding here on the back with a large Cooler Master logo and again large letters for "NOVATOUCH TKL". Your serial number and model number are conveniently back here for future reference.

 

 

Taking a closer look at the feet folded in you can see they sit nice and flush with the keyboard. The hinges are tight enough to hold them in and keep them from falling down when you pick up the keyboard. Folded in, the keyboard has a nice angle to it already; a slight upward rake from the front to the back. With the feet extended the back half of the keyboard raises up a bit, providing a larger angle of rise to the keyboard. Personally I found the added slope to be a bit annoying, but really it is just nice to be able to change it depending on your style. For me I prefer a lower profile; others of you out there I know appreciate the added height bump in the back.

 

 

 

The connection to the keyboard itself is a removable micro USB. The previous CM Storm keyboards have featured the mini USB plug, so we are seeing a slight change from the norm here. Whether it is a good move or a bad move, it is hard to say. All I can say is that its form is a bit more frequent these days with several Android phones/tablets being charged with the same plug. So in a way, I guess there is a positive; you could charge your phone with your keyboard cable if you really had to, though I'm sure that wasn't the intention of such cable. The other side of the keyboard rear sports the CM STORM logo in all caps. It is about the only visible logo when the keyboard is being used, and honestly you likely won't ever see it yourself. It is nice and subtle, just as it should be.

 

 

Looking again, the micro USB end of the cable is actually formed at a right angle. This is not really a big deal, but if your computer is on the right side of you, you might find an awkward bend to the cable to get it to go in that direction. I don't see this being an end all problem, just a bit strange. I'm guessing the majority have a computer to the left – so perhaps some study shows the reason for this change. But I'm going to leave it at that, just pointing it out, and moving on.

 

 

So I played with the keyboard for a while while writing up this review and decided about a paragraph back to take a break and change into the O-rings for the keys. I have to admit it did make a difference in noise. The tone is much deeper and there is a lot less clack on the rebound. Most of you are probably used to the typical plastic key-puller that clips down onto the key to pull it out. This time CM has included a strange wire puller that I found to take some time to get used to using. Perhaps this isn't a new tool, just new to me, but I found it rather strange to use. It seemed easier on the keys at first, but I did notice it left slight notches in the keys just as any other key-puller; not a big deal. I will say it made getting some of the bigger keys off a bit easier. It stretched wide for the keys, as wide as the Shift key, and then was easy to pop the spacebar one end at a time. There were enough O-rings to do all the keys, with a few left over (which I used to double up on the spacebar).

I did ultimately remove two of the three off the Backspace and Return key as I found myself missing a few deletes while typing. The added quietness was well worth the effort of putting them all on. The switch beneath is purple, but only looks a little different than what you might be used to seeing beneath a Cherry MX key. The plus portion is still there to handle the MX keycap, thus allowing you to customize as you wish, but has an additional round portion from the original plunger style. Perhaps you can also use the original plunger caps, but I honestly don't have any laying around to prove/disprove this.

While we're here on the switch let us talk a little more about it. It's purple! Okay, well that isn't important. As I've mentioned before CM worked closely with Topre to produce these switches in modern day for gaming keyboards. It was designed specifically to be able to carry the Cherry MX switch with the plus shape you may see beneath your keys. This allows you to customize key caps both from aftermarket sellers and perhaps from another favorite keyboard. The biggest question on all of your minds is what does it feel like? Well it's hard to describe. The pressure has been described close to the 45g of your Cherry MX Reds. Reds have a linear feel; I find that to be the biggest difference. The capacitive switches on the CM NovaTouch have a very obvious "ka-chunk" feel to them. I'd say maybe a third of the way down you get your actual actuation of the key and the onscreen display is updated accordingly. From there it is the "chunk" to the bottom out phase where you hit bottom and rebound. It's an interesting feel that is different than what you find in the non-linear Cherry MX keys (Blues, Greens, and Clears). This is really a feel you won't know until having it yourself.

 

 

 

For those of you who have never dealt with O-rings on keys before, I took a couple extra shots to show you exactly what they are and where they go. The O-rings I have ordered from WASD cost about $20 for a full set with ten key, so for them to be included it is a big deal. These are a little thinner than the red O-rings from WASD, which are designed to not change travel length, but make keys quieter. These seem to have a quieting effect without a change in travel or feel. They do take a bit of time/effort to put on all the keys, but they do have a nice dampening effect. It's a nice option to have included with the keyboard.

 




  1. Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard: Introduction
  2. Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard: Closer Look
  3. Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard: Specifications & Features
  4. Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard: Testing & Results
  5. Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Keyboard: Conclusion
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