Cooler Master is releasing two new QuickFire keyboards under its CM Storm brand, both aimed at FPS games. In this article, we’ll review the QuickFire XT, that comes with a choice of four Cherry MX switches, depending on the region the consumer is in. We got the Cherry MX Blue; we’ll talk more about its characteristics later on. Let’s first describe the product.
The QuickFire XT has 140 mechanical keys with no illumination over an embedded steel plate. The keyboard does not feature programmable keys, but it has a separate numeric pad and multimedia controls. A function (Fn) button beside the Right Ctrl disables both Windows keys and engages the multimedia controls (F5-F12). Laser-marked keycaps ensure that the letters and numbers will not erase over time.
The body is slim and compact around the keys. On the upper side, there is a USB port that connects the keyboard to the desktop through a detachable cable, which makes it easier to transport. There is no wrist rest.
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Flipping the keyboard over, we see two retractable feet to alter its height and four rubber feet that keep the QuickFire XT very steady on the table.
The gadget comes with a key puller and four extra red keycaps for the WASD cluster, the most used on FPS games, plus two other decorative black keycaps. It also comes with a detachable USB cable and a PS2/USB adapter to activate the N Key Rollover (NKRO) function for unlimited simultaneous key presses.
As we said before, the model we got came with a Cherry MX Blue mechanical switch.
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The QuickFire XT is a mechanical keyboard based on the Cherry MX technology, which is the market standard. 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. The Cherry MX Blue is noisy with a light tactile response; in general, it means the key requires very little pressure on the part of the user’s finger to be pressed; therefore, he or she wastes less time pressing the key, and the typing gets faster and smoother. The audible click reassures the user that the key actually got pressed, which is useful during a game match. If the user needs to press several keys simultaneously, it is only a matter of connecting the QuickFire XT to the PS2 port (using the adapter included) to active the NKRO (N Key Rollover) function.
Since it does not feature programmable functions, the QuickFire XT is a plug-and-play device, requiring no specific software to record macros. It also goes against the common trend of having illuminated keys.
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Without programmable functions, the QuickFire XT is indicated for FPS games, which require less special commands and macros (those can be relegated to a good gaming-grade mouse, for instance). In terms of stability, the weight of the embedded steel plate beneath the keys and the rubber feet underneath it left the keyboard rock-steady on the table, even during the most heated moments of gameplay.
Bear in mind that its clicking is very loud; therefore, if you are playing online with friends chatting over a teleconference, it’s likely the microphone will pick up your typing. On the other hand, the audible clicking puts the user’s mind at ease that he or she really threw that grenade on his or hers virtual enemies. The QuickFire XT is very agile, and the keys immediately respond to swift touches, making typing long texts less tiresome. Because of that, the model is also a good keyboard for work.
We missed a wrist rest and, most of all, illuminated keys. Like any new keyboard, the user has to take some time to adjust to its size and the arrangement of the keys, and some users like to play with the lights out.
CM Storm managed to make a full 104-keys keyboard within a compact body design, ideal for users who look for a product that does double duty as a gaming-grade device and work keyboard, without having a big clunky thing on the table.
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The main specifications for the CM Storm QuickFire XT keyboard include:
- Mechanical gaming-grade keyboard
- 104 keys
- No illumination
- Report rate: 1 ms
- Switch: Cherry MX Blue
- Connector: USB
- Detachable cable
- Dimensions: 17.3 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches (440 x 132 x 29 mm)
- Weight: 2.453 lbs (1.1 kg)
- 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.
If the purpose is having a simple mechanical keyboard for FPS games without some extras that increase the cost of the final product (like illumination and programmable keys), the QuickFire XT is a great choice of a keyboard both complete and compact that is also agile, very stable and good for work-related tasks.
- Cherry MX Blue switches provide agile performance
- A full keyboard within compact dimensions
- Nice laser-marked letters and numbers
- Extremely stable
- Extra removable keys
- Detachable cable
- No illumination
- No programmable keys
- No wrist rest