CM Storm QuickFire TK Keyboard ReviewBluePanda - December 6, 2012
Category: Input Devices
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Clicky clacky, clicky clacky, another mechanical keyboard has arrived at my desk for review. Cooler Master has added yet another member to the QuickFire lineup – the CM Storm Quickfire TK. It's a shortened up version of the Pro with a more compact layout to fit where ever you may go with it. The TK comes in three Cherry MX switches so you can pick exactly what "click" you want: red, blue, or brown. Each switch does ultimately decide what the exterior of your keyboard looks like as well – red switches come with red LED keys, blue with blue LEDs, and brown with white LEDs. A steelplate insert behind the keys also comes in those respective colors. Ultimately either your choice in appearance will choose your key type, or your choice in key type will choose your appearance.
Cooler Master gave me my choice – and the Blue in BluePanda won out. Not only did I want the blue appearance, but I did also want the blue switches. I've used both the Cherry MX reds and browns in the past but haven't yet had the opportunity to try out blues. Today that changes. For those of you who don't know much about the different mechanical switches I'll give you a brief run-down (though I do recommend some Googling to get some pictures on how the switches work). Cherry MX Red switches aren't the most loved switch as they are linear in motion, requiring less force to actuate, but easier to make typing errors with. Browns are light tactile switches – they split the field between typing and gaming. You can double tap fast and still feel the click while typing to avoid errors. Blues, what I'm trying out today, are known as the "Clicky" switch, literally because they have a clicky bump when the activation point of the switch is reached. The only down side is that the switch must fully return to be pressed again – making double tapping a little more of a challenge. It's really up to you what you want in a key. There are companies out there you can purchase sample kits from to really get a feel for what is best for you.
Back on track with the CM Storm QuickFire TK, it's about time we get looking at what this keyboard has to offer. We know it's smaller than your typical keyboard sporting the "Serious Firepower in a Compact Size" slogan, however, it still has media keys as well as a full number pad. How this all works out – well, I guess you'll have to do some reading…
The CM Storm QuikFire TK got here just a little after the release date and thus lacked the actual packaging. So, instead of the usual box pictures, you get a little relief this time with me not talking all about the packaging. Instead, the keyboard came in a simple cardboard keyboard box with some numbers and letters written on the outside. The box opens up and the keyboard is safely inside with a foam bag wrapped around it to keep it warm.
Now, if you buy one, you'll get a typical flashy Cooler Master CM Storm box much like the one shown below. These pictures are courtesy of Cooler Master and show off what you will see in stores or on your door step. However, after playing with the keyboard – I must say the box is a bit misleading with the coloring on the keyboard. The box shows the keyboard with blue keys – but red lights for the toggled NUMLK , etc. The real keyboard actually sports blue all the way - Photoshop oops?
Moving right along, pulling everything out of the box you have a keyboard, a cable for your keyboard, and a key puller (I'm assuming you'll have a quick start guide with the normal packaging as well). Right away you can see the blue steelplate peeking through from behind the keys. This keyboard looks pretty sweet even without any lighting turned on; the keys are also very readable with no lighting, unlike some lighted keyboards that can only be read when lit up.
Focusing on the keyboard alone, it doesn't really look too different from a normal keyboard or too small without something else for scale. However, look again and you'll notice the arrow keys and INS, END, HOME, PGUP, PGDWN, and DEL keys hanging out with the numbers. The NUMLK key actually toggles when these keys can be used, and when the number keys can be used. You get one or the other – not both. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I'm guessing it isn't something I can't get used to…
The back of the keyboard, as expected, isn't too complicated. There's a big sticker on the back with a S/N for ownership and some quick labeling to tell you it’s a CM Storm QuickFire TK. There are rubber grips on all four corners to help keep your keys under your finger tips and two rear feet to give those of you who prefer a higher angle a lift. You can also see the grooved channel to allow your cable to be routed best for your desk setup.
Looking from the side profile of the keyboard you can see that it tries to take up the minimum amount of space by only being just wide enough to place all the keys. The natural angle is about average for a keyboard but props up to stand quite a bit higher. You can also see the rounded cut out that allows you to pass your cable out the left side to keep your desk tidy. It has a nice simple look without trying to be over styled.
Turning the keyboard around and taking a look from the back side there are no annoying USB hubs or headphone jacks hiding on the back. I've never liked when companies thought I needed to plug things in here when the front I/O panel of my case is only a little further away. Instead we find just a simple CM Storm logo, rather subtle – and something I'll never see day to day. Turning it over with the feet up you can get a better idea of how robust these two feet are. They snap into place and besides jumping on the keyboard feel ready to hold up whatever weighted typing you may have. The tips of the feet also have rubber to again maintain placement of your keyboard.
If you didn't think about it in the first few pictures, the keyboard doesn't have a cable attached. The CM Storm Quickfire TK sports one of my favorite CM Storm keyboard features – the removable cable. One end is a mini-USB to plug into the backside of the keyboard, while the other end is your standard USB to plug into your rig. The cable is nicely braided making it easier to route your cables and avoid the "stick" between cables.