CM Storm QuickFire Pro Keyboard Review
By André Gordirro on May 24, 2012
Nowadays, the gaming market is being flooded with mechanical keyboards. Following this trend, CM Storm, Cooler Master’s gaming peripherals subsidiary, has released the QuickFire Pro. It’s a model with a few illuminated keys (Cherry MX switches) on a robust body with a detachable cable. The keyboard is simple, lacking programmable keys or a USB port. Let’s describe the product prior to analyzing it.
The QuickFire Pro catches the eye with its sturdy body and unusual letter type applied to the 104 keys. Above the numeric pad are three LEDs for the Scroll Lock, Caps Lock and Num Lock keys. Next to the left Ctrl key there is a Function key that commands other special functions, about which we’re going to comment later.
The mini-USB/USB cable can be hooked to the mini-USB port on the underside. Three cut outs help route the cable to the left, right or up the keyboard. The underside also features four rubber feet and two plastic feet that can be flipped down.
The QuickFire Pro comes with a key extraction tool. Since it doesn’t offer any spare keys, one can only imagine the tool is there to help clean the keyboard.
The QuickFire Pro uses Cherry MX switches. The models can have one of the four types of Cherry MX switches available: Black, Blue, Brown or Red. We got the Cherry MX Brown on the model sent for our review. A sticker on the box indicates which type of switch the keyboard possesses. The different colors indicate the type of feedback (force or linear), the actuation force (from 45g to 60g) and if the keys are silent or make a clicking sound. Force feedback means your finger actually feels a small resistance when pressing the key; a linear feedback offers a smoother typing experience. The Cherry MX Brown has an actuation force of 45g, force feedback and silent clicks (in comparison, since it’s noisier than a membrane keyboard).
Although it’s a gaming-grade keyboard, the QuickFire Pro has no programmable keys or macro functions. The user can only adjust the USB polling rate (8/4/2/1 ms) and enter rollover mode to enable multiple key presses without ghosting (that is, the keyboard won’t mess up the signals). This would make more sense if the QuickFire Pro allowed macro recording. Those adjustments can be made by combining the Function key with the Insert, Delete, NumLock, /, * and - keys.
The Function key also controls the intensity of the illumination and can set the cluster of keys being lit (F1-F4), enable the multimedia keys (F5-F11) and lock the Windows button (F12). There’s only partial illumination available.
The first impression we got was how sturdy the keyboard was. Once on the table, the keyboard simply didn’t move. We missed the inclusion of a wrist rest, especially because the peripheral is so thick. The solution is to adapt a wrist rest from another keyboard (that’s what we did), or buy a separate gel-filled wrist rest. The detachable cable didn’t seem like a good idea. There’s not much space underneath, so it was a bit of an awkward operation to insert the mini-USB. At least the routing ducts helped secure the cable neatly. We also missed a USB port to connect another peripheral, either a mouse or a USB headset. It’s a useful feature, even if it’s not mandatory.
Those who enjoy programmable keys and macro recording may get frustrated with the QuickFire Pro. It’s better to have a good gaming-grade mouse around to complement the keyboard. The mechanical keys gave a precise response during our Battlefield 3 matches, being very quick to perform actions like ducking, stabbing the enemy and launching grenades. Despite receiving the model with quiet Cherry MX switches, the keys were still a lot noisier than a regular keyboard.
In practice, the adjustments offered by the QuickFire Pro were not very useful. Enabling the rollover is only useful if the user types really fast, because allowing more than six keys to be pressed simultaneously is no big deal if the peripheral doesn’t feature macro recording.
The user must choose which cluster of keys to light up, since the QuickFire Pro allows only partial illumination. The light is very bright and can be lit on the WASD cluster and some others, like the Space and the F1-F4 set, for instance. If the whole QuickFire Pro could be illuminated, it would be a nice choice of keyboard for those who like to type in the dark.
The main specifications for the CM Storm QuickFire Pro keyboard include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The QuickFire Pro is the ideal model for those who are looking for a (partially) illuminated keyboard and don’t care about function keys and other configurations. MMORPG players, however, will need a powerful gaming-grade mouse to complement this product. We believe the QuickFire Pro is indicated for FPS players with a good mouse who are looking for a quick response keyboard with a sturdy body. The partial illumination is very bright and answers the gamer’s needs, illuminating just the right set of keys. The product would be better with a USB port, as well as more space to plug the connector into the mini-USB port on the underside.