The gaming division of legendary component manufacturer Coolermaster, CM Storm, has made some great peripherals over the years. Their gaming keyboards are certainly worthy of your attention, not only because of their smart designs and flawless performance but also because of their incredibly durable build quality. It’s with this in mind that I’m very excited about our latest product review, the brand new Quick Fire XTi mechanical keyboard, which comes packed full of cool features that are no doubt going to appeal to a lot of people.
The new keyboard features genuine Cherry MX switches, so you know you’re getting great quality right there; we have MX Greens at our disposal today. The keys feature a rather funky lighting system too, which has both red and blue backlights, so while not full RGB, you do still get a range of 35 colours per key. On top of the lighting colours, you can use ActivLite per key illumination, with a range of presets, 4 profiles and brightness options, giving you plenty of fun customisation options. There’s also macros, repeat rate adjustments, NKRO, 1000Hz/1ms polling and more!
The packaging is pretty straight forward, with the switch type detailed and a lovely image of the keyboard on the front.
Around the back, a run down of the features, although we’ve already listed these above and will take a much closer look in a moment.
In the box, I’m very happy to see a detachable micro-USB braided cable,
A Closer Look
First impressions of this keyboard are very promising, it feels rock solid and heavy, giving a great sense of premium build quality. It’s also surprisingly refined, with a tidy bezel frame keeping it from taking up too much desk space, as I know many mech keyboards often has larger chassis designs.
The keys are set nice and high on the thick frame. It’s low enough at the front for use without a wrist rest and high enough at the back to provide a comfortable typing angle. You can, of course, raise it further with kick-stands, but that’s down to your own personal preferences.
The keyboard is a pretty standard layout, albeit we have the US model here, nothing wrong with that, I’m just in the UK, but it’s not exactly hard to adjust to the minor differences. Along the top keys, you’ll find all the main functions, as well as a secondary set accessible via the FN-Shift button.
F1 – F3 has a lighting control button, allowing you to switch the level or red and blue, allowing for per-key customisation. Polling rates across from that, then macro settings. Overall, there isn’t a setting you can’t quickly modify from directly on the keyboard and that’ll be a big win for those who play competitively, as you don’t need software, which is often banned in tournaments.
The function keys keep on rocking their way right across the top, with more lighting functions and the P1 – P4 for profiles, perfect for switching up your macros and lighting designs. This is a full-size keyboard, so you will of course find a fully featured number pad too.
The MX Green switches are quite rare, few manufacturers offer them, so I’m glad to see Cooler Master are still stocking this colour. The switches are very much like MX Brown, as the bump is a little higher than MX Blue, albeit they have a light click, much like the MX Blue switch; it’s quite unique compared to the other switches, but it’s easy to fall in love with. Typing on this keyboard is gorgeous, if a little noisy, but that’s a given for most mechanical keyboards. While many gamers may prefer the faster MX Red style switches, there’s a world of benefit to be had with a more tactile switch, as your fingertips get a solid feedback when you’ve actually entered a command, helping improve accuracy.
Gaming on this keyboard is a lot of fun, it’s well spaced out, there’s a Windows lock function, multimedia shortcuts to control your music without leaving the game, macro functions and more. It has pretty much everything you could want from a gaming keyboard and it’s certainly got enough thrills in the performance department. Of course, this will all depend on your switch preference, so it’s worth seeing if your favourite switch is in stock before you place your order.
Around the back, there’s not really anything to see, just that neatly finished outer chassis.
The base of the keyboard has four thick rubber grips, which combined with the weight design help keep the keyboard firmly planted on your desk; even when you’re giving the keys a serious thrashing.
There’s a pair of durable kickstands on the base, with added grips on the base of each.
Having a keyboard wire jamming up your mouse is never any fun, so you’ll be happy to see a three direction cable channel and a detachable cable, allowing you to get quick and easy control over the cable management.
The included key-cap puller is a welcome addition, as it’ll make cleaning and maintaining the keyboard a whole lot easier; it also gives us an easy way to show off those switches
The colour options aren’t huge, but the impact and vividness of the colours certainly is! The brightness and tone is amazing, easily the best I’ve seen and it’s beautifully uniform across every switch.
Red and blue lighting can be tweaked, offering a range of the obvious, red and blue, but also everything in between, which is basically a lot of shades of purple and pink.
A deep purple certainly looks nice!
Even better, you can dial in a colour, then hit which keys you want to have that colour, allowing you to create beautiful effects such as this!
There’s a powerful under-glow to each key too, giving a great lighting effect. It look especially nice with the colour cycle mode enabled.
As this keyboard has only just been revealed, it’s not available in stores at the time of writing. Retailers should start taking pre-orders soon and you should expect prices to be closer to the MSRP of £139.99.
So many keyboards come and go, but very few of them are memorable. Fortunately for Cooler Master, the CM Storm Quick Fire XTi is far from forgettable. The first thing that really stands out about this keyboard is the build quality. Of course, anyone who’s handled a CM Storm mechanical keyboard in the past will know their build quality is always durable, so I’m happy to see the XTi doesn’t disappoint in this respect. Little add-ons also boost the quality of the package, such as the key cap removal tool, a removable braided cable and Cherry MX switches.
The design is pretty much what you would expect, for the most part, it’s a full-size keyboard and that’s what you get. Of course, minor refinements are what set each product and brand apart and I love the slim chassis around the edge of the keyboard. The backlighting is sublime, while I’m sure some people would love full RGB, RB is perfect for me, as I generally set mine to purple and just least it there anyway, although your preference will no doubt vary. What does stand out is how bright, clear and uniform the lighting is, it looks incredible even in a bright lit room. Being able to turn any key to any of the available colours is nice too, perfect for laying out gaming profiles or highlighting your macro keys. Then we have the fact that absolutely everything can be configured directly on the keyboard, eliminating the need for additional software and storing all your macros and lighting functions onboard, meaning they go wherever your keyboard goes.
Performance is exactly what you would expect, this is a premium grade mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches, if you’ve used the same switches before, you know exactly what you’re going to get, flawless performance and uniform actuation and response from every key for years to come. Gaming, working, typing, playing QWOP, it just doesn’t matter, the keyboard puts a big smile on your face and feels great under your fingertips.
- Exceptional build quality
- Durable design
- All functions can be configured directly on the keyboard
- Stunning and vivid lighting
- Per-key lighting with effects
- Detachable braided cable
- Key-cap puller included
- The price is high, but other than your own personal budget, I see no issues with paying for premium quality
“The CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Another welcome addition to the mechanical keyboard market, bringing some of the best build quality, performance and lighting available today; highly recommended!”
Thank you CM Storm for providing us with this sample.