- Specifications/Features and Packaging
- Closer Look, User Experience and NKRO Testing
We will be seeing companies releasing new series of mechanical keyboards: well atleast from Coolermaster and Corsair for starters. Speaking of Coolermaster: they sent 2 Quick Fire mechanical keyboards: Black and Red. This is the review for Quick fire with the Cherry Red keys.
Specifications/Features and Packaging
Do note: Unlike the picture on the box, the board is black in colour with red finish inside for Cherry Red keys. The board with Cherry Black keys that I’ve received are with gunmetal grey finish board with black keys.
Straight forward packaging with the usual illustration one would expect from CM storm series. The rear shows that you get few extra key caps (couple of “Coolermaster” logo and Red coloured WASD Arrow keys), a key cap puller. This is a wired board but you will need to connect a USB-to-mini USB cable i.e. provided with the board. The cables are braided, with gold plated connectors and more than 2 feet long. Coolermaster also provided a USB-TO-PS2 converter with it. As you can see on the rear box picture, the board comes with 3 grooves, this way you can fix the cable as you see fit. Simple and efficient.
But they did forget to mention the warranty period on the box. The board mentions that its NKRO mode with the PS/2 adapter, but via USB, its can do 6KRO.
Closer Look, User Experience and NKRO Testing
The board is no bigger than 14"x 5 1/2" in dimensions. The only reason this board looks small is due to the absence of numpad and nothing more. For gamers (and for many other users) absence of numpad is not really a con especially if you don’t use it at all. Rather its a blessing for those with lesser width on their table- and they want to use most of the space for their mouse.
The board uses Cherry MX keys and as you can see that there is an access to install LED light, but the board unfortunately for some type of users doesn’t come with LED keys. The LED key indicator for scroll lock and caps lock are on the keys itself.
I found that the longer keys on the right of the QWERTY board (backspace, shift enter) develops a squeak sound, especially if you’re using them a lot. Not something you want to see- and hear.
There are 4 pieces of rubber case feets on the base of the board. There are couple of retractable elevated keyboard feets. The top shell of the board feels bit smoother than the keys itself. Something like how the top/front panels of Coolermaster Storm Trooper uses. What would have been more helpful is the rubberised wrist rest area for your palms- some might like it and some might not. The board comes with a function (FN) button too as you can use the Function toggle buttons F5-F12 with the basic media buttons and to lock Windows key. You don’t need any software for this. It works out of the box with USB and P/S2. As a nice touch, the windows lock key comes with an LED indicator too.
Now coming to the feel of the mechanical keys. This is the first time with a Cherry RED keyboard. But compared to Cherry Red, Blue and Black keys, these keys feel very light even if you press them halfway (or you can say: the tactile feedback is much lesser- as mentioned on the box). The tactile response is sort of comparable to Cherry Black as you need to hit all the to the bottom but the tactile bump/feel is completely different. This is because the spring on Cherry Black keys has lot more coil than Cherry red.
Some of the most commonly key combinations worked well with BOTH USB and via PS2 converter. However do note: In USB mode, you can hold upto 6 keys together. For NKRO, you need to use the PS/2.
Note that I am rating this board based on the build quality, the idea behind it and overall experience.
It all comes down to personal preference when it comes to choosing between Black and Red. If you prefer a lighter tactile feel/much lesser resistance feedback on the keys, you can shortlist this. Mostly it appeals to those who want the basic QWERTY board for gaming with keys that feel lot lighter than Cherry Black and don’t really need LED lights- mostly like should appeal to LAN gamers. That being said, since there’s no way for buyers to try out and press few keys to know if they will be comfortable with this key, its difficult for users to know. I am lot comfortable with Cherry Black keys for gaming. The "bounce" that I get from Cherry Black, even if its half-way, gives me the satisfaction that I’ve pressed the key. However, there should have been a cut-out. Not really a good of words to describe such keys, but it should give you a good idea. Built quality is pretty decent.
No LED backlit and No wrist rest add-on will turn off few people. But other than that, this is a well thought board. Why would you pay for gaming keyboards with mechanical buttons on the numpad that you’re not going to use in the first place? Besides, it occupies lesser space. I would have preferred backlit LEDs and/or Wrist rest pad. I seriously doubt Coolermaster will go down the same road as Razer and have different “editions” with few add-ons…..or will they in the near future????
Just keep in mind that mechanical keyboards perhaps can not necessarily be everybody’s cup of tea. I use TVS Gold which comes with Cherry Blue so that’s good enough for typing. CM QuickFire with Cherry Black keyboard (review will be up soon) is something that I love for gaming. Red, for gaming it does the job since I don’t hit the keys all the way to the bottom but when I am typing with red, it takes me some time to get used to the absence of the tactile bump that cherry blue keys have. Again, its my preference. So its best if you try out few keys before making a decision on mechanical boards- and that’s why anyone who makes mechanical keyboards should have some cut-out on the package so that the buyer knows if its good enough for him. There are even those who even prefer Cherry Blue for gaming irrespective of the genre they play.
Keeping that in mind, its a board you can keep in mind if your budget is well under $100. Anyone can make a $100+ board and fill it with features, but not many have made one for under $100 with mechanical keys and few add-ons like WASD keys and Windows-lock button. The board comes with 2 years warranty period.
Edit: Coolermaster updated that they haven’t released the board with these keys yet but they are aimed for Rs 7,750 (MOP) & Rs 8,999 (MRP). That’s takes a point behind, especially when K60 comes well under this. There will be one more edit for this, especially when/if I get to review the K60 from Corsair. There’s also a Ultimate Stealth board that I’ve reviewed before.
That’s not the reason I am cutting it out. The reason is the squeal that I can hear from some keys (mentioned on previous page) on the right. The space bar not only makes a squeal but also has some friction doesn’t feel the same. But it doesn’t create so much issue, mostly because of the Cherry MX red keys- and maybe you won’t even notice it.