CM Storm QuickFire Rapid Mechanical Keyboard
Mechanical keyboards are slowly taking over the top spot of the keyboard game with more and more gamers’ preferring to choose a better typing experience than flare and flashy features (ehem Logitech ehem). With its recent entry in the gaming peripheral scene, its not surprising that CM Storm would want to establish itself quickly [...]
Mechanical keyboards are slowly taking over the top spot of the keyboard game with more and more gamers’ preferring to choose a better typing experience than flare and flashy features (ehem Logitech ehem). With its recent entry in the gaming peripheral scene, its not surprising that CM Storm would want to establish itself quickly and they have done fairly well so far with their casing and mice line up. They’ve recently released their first venture into the keyboard market with the QuickFire Rapid, a compact mechanical keyboard that ditches features for feel. Does CM Storm have something worth having here or is the quickfire more of a spray and pray? Let’s see and as usual, let’s maked this showy!
CM Storm is a subsidiary of Coolermaster that focuses on the gaming scene. A while back, CM Storm was but a sub-genre of casings with the Scout and Stealth being so successful products. Coolermaster is looking to extend to this success by expanding its CM Storm franchise. We’ve recently seen one of their products, the Spawn mice, and we came out satisfied but CM Storm isn’t stopping there and their first venture into the keyboard market, they immediately go after some high-end appeal with the QuickFire Rapid: a mechanical keyboard intended for gamers.
The QuickFire Rapid package includes a manual, replacement keycaps, a keypuller, a USB cable and USB-to-PS/2 adaptor. Pretty bare-bones right there but so are other mechanical keyboards.
PERFORMANCE, COMFORT, FUNCTIONALITY
I’ll be very honest, I like mechanical keyboards. And so will you once you use one. One thing that’s not really to everyone’s liking is the sound they make. CM Storm offers multiple variants of the QuickFire Rapid featuring the famed Cherry MX switches and its blue, red and black offerings. The one we have here features the Cherry MX Blue switches, again similar to the BlackWidow. Do check the model code and front cover which has a sticker of which model you’re getting.
So on to performance, we have a nicely laid out keyboard here minus a number pad. Having been used to Cherry MX Blues, I can say right off the bat that the feel of the QuickFire Rapid is still the same though at close observation, the keys feels a bit heavier to press than on the BlackWidow and since the keys are uncoated has a normal feel to their texture. Barring all those, you still get a high performing typing experience that is very solid and highly responsive.
For comfort, we’ve already mentioned how good it feels to use a mechanical keyboard but the sound is just a hit or miss to everyone. The layout is very standard so it feels just like any other keyboard but with its dark gunship grey coloring and black keys it looks like any old keyboard also. It won’t win any style award with this look. Putting the Caps/Num/Scr Lock lights on the keys themselves is pretty much been adopted by laptops for a while now and though it might seem sensible most users will most likely never notice it so making them highly illuminated should’ve been skimped out in favor of more discrete lights since they kind of make you want to ask for individual key lighting. No hand rest included but that’s understandable given the QuickFire’s placement in the market.
Functionality and features though you won’t get much from the QuickFire Rapid. No macro functionality, USB and audio passthroughs, no key lights, no nothing. This is as straight and real as it gets. Such is the sad reality of mechanical keyboards. We do expect more from manufacturers in the future though. Right now, you only get media keys in the QuickFire.
So does CM Storm’s first keyboard make it a stand-out competitor or just another kid on the block?
You’re getting a solid keyboard at a fraction of the size of other offerings but considering the market that this kind of keyboard targets, rarely do you see users opting for compact and discrete. Flashy is the name of the game and looks will always count for you.
Performance and feel was straight up and no nonsense. It delivered well as a mechanical keyboard but I really gotta stress the importance of the number pad here. When Razer decided to chop off the number pad on the marauder, they had the decency to at least compress it to the navigation keys. With CM Storm, they decided to just do away with it. A mechanical keyboard isn’t all about the WASD key, its still a keyboard and is by all means will be used as one. We can understand that they had to make sacrifices to lessen the cost but at the cost of a core functionality it has become a dire flaw.
So in closing, it boils down to price. There is no news yet of how much the QuickFire is locally but we can see online prices hover around USD100. That is USD20 more than a Razer BlackWidow, a Rosewill, TtEsport Meka or a Das keyboard. Those keyboards feature full layout keys and are more established in the game. So why would you still buy the QuickFire? Well if you’re looking for a compact mechanical keyboard to carry around, you won’t get anything more compact than the QuickFire Rapid. We’re seriously convinced that the QuickFire Rapid is a good mechanical keyboard but its identity crisis of being a compact offering versus a gaming product is hurting its true purpose.
EDIT 2/17/2012: The QuickFire Rapid is now locally available for around Php3,300 making it compete against the Tt eSports Meka who is at the same price point. This reviewer feels the good price brings the CM Storm Quickfire Rapid to a more comfortable zone for gamers especially the ones who prefer portable or compact keyboards. This is still the most compact mechanical keyboard out there.