Cooler Master CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

 

Design


 

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The first thing you'll notice is the lack of keypad, which greatly reduces the footprint of the Quick Fire Rapid.  As a purpose-built peripheral for gamers, the keypad probably isn't a necessity (I never go near it when gaming), and the reduction in size certainly makes it a great fit for LAN gamers, or those with a small keyboard tray who still like their mouse on the tray next to the keyboard.  The build and profile of the Quick Fire Rapid is clean, simple, and functional.  The CM Storm and Quick Fire emblems appear subtly in various places to break up an otherwise completely bare keyboard.

It's also worth noting that the "Caps lock," gaming mode, and "Screen Lock" buttons are illuminated on the key itself with a red LED, so a quick glance at the lock setting of interest quickly shows you what's enabled, and what's not.  This is also nice since they didn't have to add space on the keyboard for those LEDs, which keeps the footprint minimal.  The Quick Fire Rapid has a surprising heft to it as well, given its size.  It's very solid, the plastic is well-molded and doesn't creak, and the mechanical hardware adds a bit of the extra weight to it.  The plastic also has a coating similar to soft-touch, which gives it a very smooth feel.

Media functions are performed by holding the "Storm button" and then pressing any one of the labeled media function keys.  The gaming mode, which deactivates the windows key, is performed by pressing the function ("FN") button, and then pressing the labelled windows-key lock button on F9, which has a red LED indicator when it's active.

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The bottom of the Quickfire shows retractable feet which enable two different angle positions for the keyboard to rest on.  When retracted, four rubber square feet prevent the keyboard from sliding around, and the retractable "legs" also have a rubberized end to hold the Quick Fire rapid firmly in place.  It's also apparent that there isn't a cable connected to the keyboard.  Cooler Master has included a removable mini-USB cable with gold-plated connectors which attaches on the mini-USB port on the underside of the keyboard.  The USB-cable has a nice, smooth sleeving which prevents tangling.

The removable nature is nice for two different reasons, one is that it makes transport organized and easy, and the other is that if something were to happen to the included cable, or if a longer one is necessary, it would not be difficult to replace it.  There are also grooves for cable management to route your cables to the left, right, or straight our, depending upon your setup.

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Included with the keyboard are the replacement keys which may be used as arrow keys for gaming, with the letter labels on the side of the keys, as well as "Cooler Master" labeled keys to replace the windows keys.  They contrast against against the other black keys nicely, befitting to CM Storm's color scheme.  The included keycap puller makes changing out the keys very easy, and once removed reveal the Cherry MX Blue switches.  You may also use the keycap puller to remove unneeded or undesired keys during gaming to prevent accidentally hitting them, or to make it easier to hit keys which you may often miss.

Cooler Master also offers the Quickfire Rapid with other Cherry MX switches with varying feedback characteristics.  The Cherry MX Blue switches have audible feedback, so they have definitive "click" when actuated.  The blue switches are rather soft, offer a tactile "bump" in their actuation, as well as the audible click.  Other switches, such as the brown switches, offer a tactile "bump" feedback with varying resistance to provide feedback of actuation, and the black switches, and they linear blacks which have linearly varying resistance as they're pressed, and offer very rapid actuation.

 

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