click to enlarge
Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard
Retails for $80-$90. Frequently on sale for $55
I'll preface this review by saying this was my first mechanical keyboard. I've had it for about 8 months now.
First of all, what's the big deal with mechanical keyboards? Why are they suddenly so popular? Is it just a fad? I'm not here to answer those questions, so you'll have to look somewhere else for that.
What I am going to answer is how well the QuickFire Rapid (which I'll call the QFR from now on) works, how nice it is for the price, etc. The usual review stuff.
As you can see in the above picture, the QFR is a tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard. That is, it's missing the numpad. This was initally offputting to me, as I come from the old school full-size rubber dome keyboards. The only non-full-sized keyboards I'd ever used were laptop keyboards. Adjusting to not having a numpad took a bit more time than I'd like to admit. But that is a problem you may encounter on any TKL keyboard, so I'll leave that point be. If you took off the keycaps, you'd also see that the QFR has Cherry MX Blue switches. This also doesn't affect the quality of the keyboard itself, but I think it deserves mention. Blues are thus far my favorite switches, though I am also partial to Greens and Whites.
Onto things that do make a difference now. One complaint that many people had about the original CM Storm keyboards is that they were packed with branding. That is, the logo was freaking everywhere. Thankfully, this is one of the newer ones, where CM Storm did what is seemingly impossible from some other companies, and actually listened to their customers. So this keyboard is nice and plain with only one tasteful logo placed on the back edge of the keyboard. However what hasn't changed is the sci-fi-esque font used on the keycaps. It's not ugly, per se, but I feel like there could have been a better font chosen. This one, to me, doesn't scream so much as speaks loudly and awkwardly from the other corner of the room like some weird salute or in-joke, "Gamer!" which I feel is pandering a bit to the 1337hax crowd.
The keyboard is otherwise fairly solid. It's naturally heavy due to the switches themselves, which lends it (and most other mechanical keyboards) an air of durability. The keys feel very, very light, though, almost like they could break. They are cheaper ABS pad-printed keys. You can see on the left shift and control keys that the lettering is wearing off already after only 8 months. Astute observers will also notice that my escape keycap is non-standard. I got that key for free as a souvenir for touching one of the last remaining unsold Ducky 78 keyboards. That key is actually much tougher than the standard keys the QFR comes with. The QFR comes with media keys, which you can activate with the function key next to right-alt. It also includes Windows-lock to prevent you from opening the Start menu while gaming.
I prefaced this review saying that this was my first mechanical keyboard, and I think that this is the perfect starter mechanical. It's relatively cheap with no frills, bells, whistles, or kitchen sinks. It is what it is, and that's an entry-level TKL mechanical keyboard. I think paying $80-$90 is a bit iffy, as you can net yourself a more functional keyboard at that price range, but I would say it's certainly worth the $55 I paid for it while on sale.
Buy it if it's on sale; you'd be crazy not to. Look around if it isn't.
Alok, Nov '13