Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The construction of the new XT is the same as the rest. There is the plastic top half of the casing, and the lower section, and both are snapped together around the edges with only two screws holding the keyboard assembly together. On the inside you will find a thick steel plate that keeps the PCB from warping and also keeps the switches very still as it makes the keyboard very rigid. On the top of the XT you are given a 104 key layout, and each key cap is laser etched rather than being painted to give the users much, much longer before there are any signs of wear. Another nice thing about the QuickFire XT is that you have the choice of switches. While the version I was sent offers Cherry MX blue switches, you also have the option to buy a green switch version, one with red switches, or yet another with Cherry MX browns. This way you can get a custom feel to go along with the new purchase.
Where many keyboards these days offer anti-ghosting and NKRO over USB, with the XT, things are a bit different. To take full advantage of those features with this example, you need to install the USB to PS/2 adapter that is included with the hardware kit. You can still use it via USB, but the transmission of too many keys, too fast, may show signs that you would want to swap over to PS/2 just so that this keyboard can keep up fully with your fingers. The XT does offer Windows lockout keys, eight multimedia keys, and even comes with Windows keycap replacements, as well as a set of WASD key caps in red. One thing I noticed right out of the box is that this is the first CM Storm keyboard I have seen that uses a full sized USB connection on both ends of the cable.
Looking around for pricing and availability, I ran into what I will call a pricing anomaly. Unless I am missing a major feature with the new QuickFire XT, you are actually paying more to obtain this keyboard than some of the more feature rich solutions. Of course there is one major factor coming into play here as well, and that is that the XT is brand new, where other CM Storm models have been out for some time and are already seeing price drops with the older designs.
Pricing for the QuickFire XT is pretty flat with little deviation from location to location. I am seeing that it is listed for $89.99 at both the Cooler Master Store and Amazon at the time of writing. Is the QuickFire XT worth an average of $10 more than say the Rapid or the Pro? Is it not worth the extra $10 to step up into the TK, or even just $5 more for the Stealth? These are the type of questions I plan to investigate and hopefully by the end of this review, I can tell you where I would spend my money. On its own, the pricing of the QuickFire XT is reasonable to get many people interested, but I think there might be competition amongst its own brethren that will put the XT in a dim light as far as pricing is concerned.