Honest Reviews: I will mostly be doing reviews about products which i myself am selling, so you might think that i am biased and….. i cannot refute that. However, i feel that my reviews will be more about what you will get if you buy these products, and less about OMFG THIS IS SO GOOD MUCH WOW PLS BUY. just sayin’.
Let’s get to it!
This time, we’ll be doing the review of the CM Storm Quickfire TK. I’ve had it for a relatively short period of time (~2 weeks), but in those 2 weeks, I’ve gotten to know this keyboard quite well as I’ve been using it quite often for the sake of Keyboard Science (thumbs up if you get that reference! :P).
Front and back of box, as well as the MX Switch sticker. MX Browns is the order of the day here.
Standard packaging for a keyboard, though the polyesterene (I assume) sleeve is a bit thin.
Our first look at the keyboard in all it’s glory. The font on this (and most CM Storm boards) is somewhat futuristic, and not everyone likes it. I’m somewhat impartial.
Closer look at the font.
Completing the unboxing, the remaining contents of the box. A gold plated USB plug with a braided cable, a keycap puller and a user manual.
First impressions are always important
Upon taking her outta the box, the first thought i had was how light it was and that it felt… (i hate saying this so much) “cheap”. Other users might, and probably will disagree with me, and that’s perfectly fine but….
I dont know how else to put it but somehow, it feels “cheap” compared to my Rosewill. For one, it’s much lighter than i expected it would be. I thought it was only because it was smaller, that’s why it was lighter, but was proven wrong when i had a look at an acquaintance’s Filco Majestouch 2 TKL. That keyboard was much much heavier than this. Another thing I didn’t like was that they keycaps felt.. “plasticky” or “finickky”.. However, i must put a caveat here that this is coming from using a doubleshot PBT set, but well.. I guess it’s just my opinion. Frankly, there’s nothing wrong with it, and the keyboard itself is perfectly fine as is.
The proof of the pie is in the eating
As is the proof of a keyboard is in the using. Here are some of my thoughts on this keyboard after using it.
One of the things I liked about this keyboard was the cable management system accomodating the detachable mini-USB cable. While this is present on most keyboards and most would consider this as nothing special, coming from a bare bones Rosewill board, I like it. Also, the recessed mini-USB hub is something I really like. This is because I plug and unplug the keyboard numerous times a day and the recessed hub holds the cable more firmly in place.
You can go straight out, left or right. Options are ALWAYS nice.
The recessed mini-USB port.
Besides that, this keyboard also has a standard US ANSI layout (as far as the lack of arrow and 9-key cluster goes). This a a definite plus for me as I switch between keyboard often and like using the same layout. For people who only use one keyboard, however, this would also be a plus for you as it is much much easier to find replacement keycaps for standard layouts as compared to non-standard layouts (Corsair Mechs). But if you have no intention on changing keycaps and are just sticking to one board, this wouldn’t really matter to you.
Another thing I like about this keyboard is the size. It is great for gaming, as it brings your hands closer, thereby reducing fatigue. However, when using the numpad/function cluster combo, I have to say this. I AM NOT A FAN OF IT. The reason being that when i do data entry on excel (the only time i use the numpad), I use BOTH the arrow cluster and the numpas numbers. On the TK, you have to hit the NumLock key when alternating between the 2 modes. It gets a while to get used to this, but if you don’t like it, you just dont. You can work around this by using the TK pad (let’s start calling it that) as the arrow and function cluster, and using the number row above your alphabets to key in the numbers, but you might as well get a true 80% TKL keyboard then.
One thing I would love CM Storm improve on this (and in fact, most of their boards), is to do away with the “rubberish” finish on their keyboards (Ultimate, Rapid, TK, XT) and use a smooth finish. The reason being that a smooth finish is considered by most to be superior as the “rubberish” finish tends to wear out after much use and it becomes a smooth patch. BUT, if you like it (and I know for a fact some people do), then this would be to your preference.
Having rubber around is always safer tho. ;P
Besides that, the TK pad can be a love or hate thing as I mentioned earlier, so if possible, try and imagine yourself using one before buying it so you don’t regret spending 300-odd ringgit on this. Do this by ONLY using the numberpad or ONLY using the arrows at one time. If you find you can’t help using both, then I wouldn’t reccomend this keyboard.
The TK pad in question.
Like your girlfriend, make sure you like her before committing yourself.
To each man his own, and what I don’t like might be something you guys love. Like I mentioned in the unboxing, I was surprised at how “light” this keyboard was, at “only” 800grams. While I personally like a heavy sturdy keyboard, I admit that it’s not conducive for someone who’s on the go. Thus, for those of you who bring your keyboards with you around like a lost puppy, you would definitely like it being not so heavy.
Besides that, another thing I’m not too fond of is the Cherry stabilisers being using on this keyboard. Personally, I prefer using CoStar stabilisers simply because they feel… different?
CoStar stabilisers above, Cherry stabilisers below.
CoStar wire stabilisers
But Cherry stabilisers are much much easier and convenient to swap keycaps on compared to CoStar stabilisers as you just remove the keycap without needing to push and prod and wires, so they have that going for them. But this is totally up to your preference, so read this with a pinch of salt.
Some background on this keyboard. This mech is one of, I would say, CM Storm’s “signature” keyboards as it features the TK layout. This TK layout combines the arrow cluster as well as the 9 function keys abv the cluster with the traditional numberpad as you see above and is generally not made by other people, exception being the Razer Marauder a few posts back. This makes the TK pad probably the ONE reason you might wanna get this keyboard (if you want a full sized board, get the Ultimate; if u want an TKL board, the Rapid). Knowing that, my one piece of advice is to make sure you like the layout before getting this. Quality wise, nothing much wrong with it. Solid backlit keyboard with Cherry MX switches. There are better boards out there, no doubt, but there’s worse as well. CM Storm makes some of the best value-for-money mech keyboards around, and that’s a fact you simply cannot run from.
Solid keyboard with Cherry stabilisers, MAKE SURE YOU LIKE THE LAYOUT BEFORE BUYING, if you do, no reason not to get it.
The CM Storm QuickFire Rapid is available from us at RM 339 for MX Brown switches, and RM 369 for MX Red (no stock – March 2014) switches.