Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Cooler Master and the CMStorm team need no introductions at this point; really, if you do not know who they are, or have never seen their gear before, then you are either five years old, or you really should get out more. From what we have gathered from our own personal experiences, and from what we have seen on YouTube, when it comes to mechanical keyboards, CMStorm's are crazy tough. CMStorm is the only keyboard manufacturer I know of that runs their keyboards over with many different vehicles, and shows, without a video cut or edit, that these keyboards will indeed continue to work after a couple of tons tests every Cherry MX switch on their board to extreme levels.
It is highly unlikely that you want to take your new keyboard outdoors and run it over, as you may scuff the surface treatments. However, it is reassuring to know that if a 4X4 can run these over and they can take it, then they can take anything you can dish out. These keyboards will outlast heated game play, and even with a super aggressive temper, it is unlikely that slamming your fists or throwing this keyboard will cause any functional damage either.
It has been a while since we last toured a mechanical keyboard from CMStorm, but here we are again in the QuickFire series that originally took us from rubber dome keys into Cherry MX green switches in the Trigger. The Trigger was so nice, and so tough, that after three years of solid use, and a second set of key caps, the Trigger is still working great for our team. I have passed the Trigger along to another team member, and the reason I did so is that the full lifespan of clicks is nearly used up, and while everything remains completely functional, the springs have softened, and feel more like blue switches. Also, with so many new products arriving, I have made the move to TKL boards, but did not have the heart to toss the Trigger in the bin. After all of that time, CMStorm mechanical keyboards have found their way into a special place in our hearts.
Speaking of Ten Key Less (TKL) keyboards, we are here today to see one of the latest TLK keyboards from CMStorm and their QuickFire series, the Rapid-i. Of course, that means we lose the number pad, but we also lose the need for drivers in this instance as well. That does not completely take away from the Rapid-i and its optional functionality either. There are still some very cool lighting modes, you can adjust the repeat rate, there are profiles for lighting and key assignment, and there is a set of multi-media keys as well. There are a few other nice features to this latest design, and if you are in the market for a TKL, then the CMStorm QuickFire Rapid-i is a serious contender for your hard earned money.
Since the provided chart shows there are three models, we will start there. The Rapid-i comes with your choice of reds, blues, or browns, but no matter which switch you choose, all versions of the keyboard are backlit with white LEDs. Speaking of the LEDs, you can turn them off, or light the entire board in five stages of brightness. Taking it one step further, there are lighting modes as well. One such mode lights the WASD and arrow keys. Another mode will light as you press a key, and yet another will leave keys illuminated for a few seconds after use, and disappear in the order you pressed them. There is also a mode that will light the entire row and column of the key pressed, and, of course, there is the fully lit mode.
Back on the chart, following the LED information, we see discussion of the USB 2.0 connection, which is on a removable braided cable that is 1.8 meters long, and uses a Micro-USB connection in the back of this keyboard. We also see this keyboard is set full time to NKRO support with a 1ms polling rate. The key caps are made of ABS plastic, and have a black coating on them that offers a bit of grip. We see there is 128KB of onboard memory for profiles of lighting schemes and button reassignments in the M-keys. We also see mention of the F-keys for the lighting and repeat rate settings, and even the multimedia keys.
The last bits in the chart show us the dimensions of the Rapid-I; this TKL is less than fifteen inches wide. The Rapid-I weighs 932 grams, features a two-year warranty, and comes with a key puller.
There is still one surprise yet to disclose. As we shopped around for the version of the Rapid-i with the blue Cherry MX switches, we saw listings at $149.99. This made us double take, and we had to double check that this was the correct pricing, and with Newegg.com, Amazon.com, and a few others all in agreement, this is indeed one of the priciest TKL keyboards we have seen in a while. That is not to say that it's not worth the price, but with a price this lofty, CMStorm had better be on their toes with the QuickFire Rapid-i, and be able to prove to us the worth of this latest design in mechanical keyboards.
PRICING: You can find the CMStorm QuickFire Rapid-i for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
Canada: The CMStorm QuickFire Rapid-I with Cherry MX Blue switches retails for CDN$156.99 at Amazon Canada, and the CMStorm QuickFire Rapid-i with Cherry MX Brown switches retails for CDN$139.99 at Amazon Canada.
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