Review: CM Storm QuickFire TK - Cherry MX Blue
Saturday, January 26, 2013
|My first mechanical keyboard|
This is more of my experience with this keyboard than a detailed specification of what this keyboard can do. You can find that detail anywhere online.
I got my hands on this bad boy roughly 20 days ago, as a present to myself.
I got the Cherry MX Blue switches mainly due to the tactile feeling you get. There are 4 main types of Cherry MX switches* on the market. Red, Blue, Brown and Black. Blues have the most tactile feeling to it, brown is tactile, similar to blues but quieter. Reds are linear, not much of a tactile response, Blacks are similar to red but quieter.
*the brand of keyboard switch used
I'm just going to put this out there first. A mechanical keyboard definitely enhances your computing experience.
As you can tell from the blue backplate colour inside the keyboard, I got the Blue version of the CM Storm QuickFire TK series. They produce red and brown version as well. Red having red backlighting, and Browns having white light.
This keyboard costs SGD $135 at the point of purchase. Which isn't cheap by any means, but is actually a very reasonable price for a mechanical keyboard that is fully backlit. However, this is a tenkeyless keyboard, which means that it shouldn't have a numpad, but it does as you can see from the pictures.
|tenkeyless design from Filco|
A tenkeyless design usually look like that. However, Cooler Master decided to shift things around and put the numpad in, and use the numlock button to change between numpad mode, or arrow keys and all the page up/down goodness.
It might not be very obvious in the picture but it is really really bright. I have owned a Razer Lycosa and a Logitech illuminated keyboard. Both are also full backlit, but this CM TK is in a league of it's own. It has 4 levels of brightness and when put to the maximum brightness, it is blindingly bright. You could probably use it under direct sunlight and it'll outshine the sun.
The down side of having such a design is that in order to use the arrow keys, it has to stay lit up. It's actually more of an annoyance than I initially thought. They should have given a software that totally shuts off all the light no matter what I do to it.
Speaking of software, there is none. The keyboard is just as it is. A simple, wonderful typing experience without all the extra bells and whistles. Downside? No macro keys, which is a shame as it is meant to be a gaming keyboard.
Does it matter to me? No so much. But the greatest point about this keyboard? NKO.
N-Key rollOver. Which means that you could press any amount of keys simultaneously and it will all register at the same time. This has often been touted as "anti-ghosting" by other companies. (razer). But usually they only go up to 10 keys at the same time. This? You can type with your face and it'll work perfectly fine.
Note: It is using a USB connection after all, so some motherboards might not support NKO. Some MOBO doesn't allow you to boot up when in NKO as well. Thankfully, mine worked without a glitch.
If you're thinking that the keys look great, I couldn't agree more. It feels good to the touch, not the actuation of it, but simple placing your fingers over them. It seems like the entire keyboard is made of soft touch plastic. Imagine plastic that feels slightly rubberized.
I have long wanted a Mechanical keyboard. I've heard many tales amount how it will increase your typing speed and how it just feels godly.
It will probably be true for 99.9% of the people out there. But I'm one the few people who can type over 100WPM on a membrane keyboard. Granted it was a really high end membrane keyboard, but I don't think simply changing a keyboard will allow me to type at an average of 150WPM.
Even though I really love the tactile feeling of the keyboard in contrast of the soft mushy feeling of membrane keyboards, I can't help but think that maybe blue switches isn't really the best for me. You really have to test it out extensively to know what's best for you. Try it out at a store if possible, I tried and thought that blue might be best for me because of how it feels. But I should've gone for something that requires less actuation force, like a red or black.
Cherry MX Blue switches requires 50g of actuation force, which doesn't sound like a lot. But I am one of those people who like to use as little force as possible when typing. So even though it feels great, it is definitely not perfect.
Not to mention that it is really loud. Check out some videos on Youtube, it'll give you a better idea.
In summary, the CM Storm QuickFire TK is very well built, sports a clean slate design, is fully backlit, and rather portable. Disregarding my nitpicking of mechanical keyboards, this definitely deserves my full recommendation.
But if you're looking for a full sized keyboard, you choices has vastly expanded. To companies like Rosewill, Filco, DAS, Ducky, Razer, etc. They also costs considerable more. This is a worthwhile investment though. As mechanical keyboards are pretty much to last a lifetime. I hope you'll find one that suits you the most.