CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Mechanical Keyboard Review

BluePanda - 2013-05-30 12:20:50 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: June 11, 2013
Price: $89.99

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Introduction:

These days the idea of having anything but a mechanical keyboard is just silly. Having to type on an old Dell rubber dome at work only makes me more ready to go home to my dear mechanical at the end of the day. We've taken a look at quite a few different options in the mechanical world here at OCC and today we'll take a look at a rather familiar friend with a twist. Today we'll be taking a look at the CM Storm QuickFire Stealth, which was revealed back in January at CES 2013. Personally I've played with almost the full line of keyboards from Cooler Master, including the CM Storm QuickFire TK, the CM Storm QuickFire Pro, and still my favorite and in use, the CM Storm Trigger; but I find the Stealth to be its own breed.

The QuickFire Stealth, which you can guess by its name, has something a little different about it. The keys don't light up, and actually, they don't even have letters on them (at least not on the tops of the key caps). This awesome design, for those of us fortunate enough to touch type, provides a complete blacked out look from the top down (quoted "hidden and dangerous" from the website). Only from a lower angle can you see the careful markings on the front sides of the key caps to help you locate the keys you just can't remember. This keyboard surely isn't for the light hearted computer fans – if you can't navigate without chicken pecking, you won't get anywhere with this. This keyboard is truly for the pros – are you self-conscious about your typing abilities yet?

 

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Closer Look:

The CM QuickFire Stealth mechanical keyboard comes in one of the smallest keyboard boxes I've seen yet. Despite my anger toward the lack of a numpad (I'll rant later), the size of this board is incredibly "cute". The box overall follows the usual format from Cooler Master with the red and black theme and CM Storm logo. The keyboard image on the front of the box looks almost Photoshopped; but really it's more the fact that the keys have no writing on the tops. The image nonetheless registers "keyboard" to the brain, despite this fact. The back of the box goes on to spout off the "stealthy" features in eight different languages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a quick look at the front of the box again before we open it up, there is a quick sticker to identify what keyboard switch you have received. In this case, I've been lucky enough to get some Cherry MX Blues. Although I've become a diehard fan of the Cherry MX Greens, I'm pretty happy as long as it's not Reds or Browns (personal choice). Opening up the box, you won't see the keyboard yet, but a manual is packed neatly with a PS/2 adapter and some hidden away bonus items for your eyes to see on the next page...keep reading!

 

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Closer Look:

Getting everything out of the box, there's a bit more to find than just a keyboard and paper manual. There is also an included PS/2 adapter, WASD red arrow keys, two CM badge logo keys, a key puller (I really needed one of these), and of course the USB cable to plug things in. The keyboard itself looks rather sexy with the black tops, but if you look closely you can see the white lettering peek out just a little from the front edges. Again this keyboard is rather small in all directions and keeping tight to the keys provides for a minimalist style setup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking straight down on the keyboard, you can barely make out the markings on the keys. This will in turn change as you sit down to actually use the keyboard. The white lettering is surprisingly easy to read when seated typing. I really like the all black look – it's both clean and what my boss would call "simple, stupid". Like I previously mentioned, and likely will again, there is no number pad on this keyboard. I would normally say [/INSERT RANT HERE] but I'll leave it simple and [/END RANT] now. I'll leave a copy-paste of this rant for later.

The back of the board sports the seemingly common feature among CM keyboards: the triple routing groove for the detachable USB cable (oh yeah, did I mention it is 100% detachable?). This cable is a little thinner than the previous keyboard cables I've received from CM and a little more shape holding as well. It doesn't like to fit the grooves all too well, but as with many other things, a little force goes a long way. There are also four thick rubber pads to keep you from sliding too much on just about any surface.

 

 

The first few pictures below show off that nifty cable routing ability I mentioned above. The little mini-B cable plugs into a sunken portion of the back of the board leaving it flush to surface. It's a little hard to plug in, but looks super nice once you get it and makes it nice to route. There are a couple flipper feet on the bottom for those of you who like a little added height in the back.

 

 

 

Taking a closer look at the keys you can see exactly where the writing is for the letters, just below the bottom edge of the top of the key. The number row has both the number and symbol marked to the left and right of the keys. Looking at the entire board, the writing is nicely spaced and very uniform across – it just looks good. If you recall from the first page, CM actually includes some extra keys for your fun; red arrow WASD keys and 2 Cooler Master logo caps to put them on the windows keys or the CTRL/ALT key sized keys. I put the red ones on for fun, but really, I like the complete blacked out look – so they didn't stay around very long in my case. I will still say it's a neat addition to the whole package.

 

 

The keys are all labeled well; even the Scroll Lock with a light indicator is marked well. Looking down with the keys at eye level you can see how well they are printed. This writing is tough and being on the edge doesn't have much a chance to ever rub away. I'm just happy/impressed with how clear the text is and how easy it is to read even at a distance.

 

 

As I stated earlier, this particular CM Stealth has the Cherry MX Blue switches – shown below. It does however come in Green (my favorite), Red, or Brown switches. So if this isn't the switch type for you, let it be known that it is not the only option.

 

With the red keys "installed", it looks pretty slick. The arrow keys, though obvious in direction, add a bit of a gaming ambiance to the room. The red and white CM Storm and logo on the back edge of the keyboard rounds off the feel – though the only one who will likely ever see this is your monitor(s), it is still neat. I like that it's not stamped all over the keyboard screaming out what it is. It's truly a nice undercover beauty.

 

 

Overall, only pictures can speak for how awesome this board really is. My pounding on it over the next week or so will speak for its ruggedness; but with the CM name backing it, where it has been proven a car driving over it won't kill it, I have good faith. The CM Stealth is small and cute, and despite having no number pad, has fit in just right on my desk.

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Mechanical Keyboard Specifications :

 

Model:
SGK-4000-GKCR2 (CHERRY Red)
SGK-4000-GKCL2 (CHERRY Blue)
SGK-4000-GKCM2 (CHERRY Brown)
SGK-4000-GKCG2 (CHERRY Green)
Key Switch:
CHERRY Blue /Red / Brown / Green
N key Rollover:
N key in PS/2 mode
Repeat Rate:
4 levels (PS/2 mode ONLY)
Extra Keys:
6 pcs
Keycap Puller:
YES
USB Cable:
Removable
Dimensions:
355 (L) x 135 (W) x 35 (H) mm
Weight:
940 g
Warranty:
2 years

 

 

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Mechanical Keyboard Features:

 

 

Information provided by: http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=10035&product_name=CM%20Storm%20QuickFire%20Stealth

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Mechanical Keyboard Testing & Results:

The CM Storm QuickFire Stealth keyboard was put through over a week of use and testing. During this time, it was used in everyday use, surfing the Internet, working, and of course some gaming. As a keyboard is personal to each and every individual, how it responds in these various tasks is important in different ways to everyone. This rather subjective review is meant to provide you the feedback from use rather than assigning made up numbers trying to compare one board to another. It's pretty easy to distinguish the likes and dislikes of a keyboard through words rather than leaving it to you to decide what a 7 or 8 really means. No guessing game – here's what I liked, and here's what I hated.

 

Testing Setup:

 

 

Everyday Use:

Everyday use for me seems more important than just having a gaming keyboard. Even if it is specifically designed for gaming, it needs to function as a keyboard outside of gaming. The CM Stealth by no means is designed for a pure gaming use, but rather as an everyday keyboard that also satisfies occasional gaming. As an everyday keyboard, I can't complain about this keyboard one bit. I touch type so looking at the keys isn't something I need. That being said, I do find the labeling pretty easy to glance down at and find what I need – so if I'm struggling to find the right symbol along the number line, I can quickly look and find it. They keys clack as much as the next mechanical and at this point is just a sound I'm used to. Some of my friends can't stand the sound, but that's what damper O-rings are for. It's definitely easy to type with and very easy to feel the mistakes you make while typing. It scores high marks on everyday use.

 

Working:

Working with a keyboard can depend a lot on what profession you work in. If you do a lot of Excel work or lots of number crunching, you'll probably hate this keyboard. Again, INSERT RANT HERE about keyboards with no number pad – it's an obvious answer, it just wasn't designed for that. But if all you do is write up some Java scripting or write letters or novels, the CM Stealth easily gets you through. Work isn't really an issue here – unless you need a number pad.

 

Gaming:

Gaming-wise, I can't say this keyboard stands out beyond any other CM mechanical keyboard, or really any other mechanical keyboard on the market. Yes, the extra red keycaps are a nice touch, but they don't really add any performance other than being able to quickly find your WASD keys (for you noobs, haha). This keyboard doesn't have any software or any built-in macros – it's just your standard keyboard. But ultimately, unless you are a big MMO player or really need the extra macro keys, you'll be fine. It is just important that I point out that this keyboard doesn't really have anything specific to contribute to gaming. Just think of it simply as a nice mechanical keyboard – that's what it is.

CM Storm QuickFire Stealth Mechanical Keyboard Conclusion:

In the end, after using the CM Stealth for over a week, I'm still using it at my desk. Its predecessor, the Trigger, which held the longest term at my desk, is just waiting for its turn back at home. If you know me well, or at least have read a few keyboard reviews from me, then you know it is a pretty big deal for a numpad-less keyboard to still have a spot at my desk. I'm a big one to complain about not having my numbers, but something about this Stealthy board makes me happy. I love the look, especially without the red caps – just all blacked out. I do like how small it is; I can move it out of the way and use a much larger portion of my desk than I'm used to. It's not Green switches – but knowing the option is out there keeps me happy and I am honestly considering buying one with Greens to be a full time unit at my desk.

In general, the keyboard is just easy to type on. I can get out what I'm trying to write and know immediately when I've made a mistake (well as long as it's a word I can spell or actual punctuation I intend to use – editors, I know you are laughing). It's not the perfect gaming keyboard, but it satisfies my occasional need and since I'm not a big MMO player and don't tend to use macro setups, I'm not too bothered by this. The price is right and the quality is suburb. If you're in the market for a new keyboard and don't mind a missing number pad, the CM Storm Stealth is definitely what you should be looking to order; it is truly another BluePanda Gold member.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: