Recently, we reviewed the QuickFire XT keyboard from Cooler Master’s CM Storm line-up, and now it is time for us to review the QuickFire Stealh, a compact mechanical keyboard with a unique visual signature: the keys are labeled on the front side, not the top. So, from an upside view, the markings are almost invisible. We will talk about this design now and then proceed to evaluate its performance.
The QuickFire Stealth is basically a compact keyboard without a numeric pad on the right side. As we said, all the labels were applied to the front side of each key. Viewed from above, it is completely dark. It features neither illumination, nor programmable keys, but there is a function (Fn) button beside the Right Ctrl that disables both Windows keys and engages the multimedia controls (F5-F12). The product is sold with a choice of four Cherry MX switches, depending on the region the consumer is in. CM Storm sent us a sample with the Cherry MX Blue; we will talk more about its characteristics later on.
[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
Flipping the keyboard over, we find the mini-USB port to connect the mini-USB/USB detachable cable (that makes it easier to transport) and three grooves to better route the cable. There are also two retractable feet and four rubber feet underneath it. There is no wrist rest.
As with the QuickFire XT, the Stealth model also comes with a key puller and six extra keycaps: four red caps for the WASD cluster, the most used on FPS games, plus two other decorative black ones.
[nextpage title=”Main Characteristics”]
The QuickFire Stealth is a concept keyboard, with a design that alludes to a spy gadget or some kind of special operations gear – exactly the kind of product that appeals to FPS gamers. It is also based on the Cherry MX technology, which is the market standard. As we explained in other articles, the color of each switch indicates the type and force of the activation (the key’s feedback), and if the keys are silent or noisy. It is worth repeating what we said on the QuickFire XT evaluation: the Cherry MX Blue is noisy with a light tactile response; in general terms, it means the user can press the key applying only a little pressure, and then move on to the next one. So that makes for a faster typing and gaming experience.
As with the QuickFire XT, the Stealth comes with a PS2/USB adapter to active the N Key Rollover (NKRO) function for unlimited simultaneous key presses without missing a command. Since it does not feature programmable functions, the QuickFire Stealth can be used right out of the box, without the need of an application to record macros. Although it is not illuminated, there are two LEDs to indicate that the Caps Lock and the Scroll Lock are active.
[nextpage title=”Playing with the QuickFire Stealth”]
The product is recommended for users who know their way around a keyboard without having to follow the labels to look for the keys. A quick peek down might cost a virtual life or a mission objective during a game match. The QuickFire Stealth is best used on FPS games, because they usually do not require a lot of macros or special commands – those can be set on a good gaming-grade mouse.
The detachable cable is a great idea to make this compact keyboard even more portable; however, the niche that houses the mini-USB port is a little hard to reach to plug the cable in. The grooves help managing the cable in a more organized way.
Without a numeric pad, using the QuickFire Stealth for work (especially with spreadsheets) or even accessing websites that require entering codes and IDs is a little hard. Also, long writing sessions can be a drag if the user does not have a knack for typing. We missed a wrist rest.
As it happened with the QuickFire XT, we noticed the loud sound from the Cherry MX Blue switches. Our teammates, chatting over a teleconference, heard our typing loud and clear being picked up by the headset. The light tactile response made the keyboard very agile and trustworthy during several hours of virtual warfare.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the CM Storm QuickFire Stealth keyboard include:
- Mechanical gaming-grade keyboard
- No illumination
- Polling rate: 1 ms
- Switch: Cherry MX Blue
- Connector: mini-USB/USB
- Detachable cable
- Dimensions: 14 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches (350 x 135 x 35 mm)
- Weight: 2.1 lbs (940 g)
- More information: http://www.cmstorm.com
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 89.99
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The QuickFire Stealth is a good keyboard for those who seek a very compact and stylish model, but the user needs to feel comfortable typing blind. Depending on the viewing angle and some getting used to, the stealthy labels will not be a bother. The lack of a numeric pad, however, does make using the QuickFire Stealth for work a bit difficult. The keyboard’s response is very loud and agile. The lack of illumination and programmable keys might disappoint some users.
- Extremely compact body
- Cherry MX Blue switches provide agile performance
- Stylish design with front-printed labels
- Extra removable keys
- Detachable cable
- No numeric pad
- No illumination
- No programmable keys
- No wrist rest