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CoolerMaster CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid-i Review

In what seems to be fantastic timing, gamers who take part in the 2014 Telkom Do Gaming Championships for Call of Duty: Ghosts will get a chance to win this new keyboard from CoolerMaster. The CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid-i will jump into the hands of the gamers who place first at the DGC on PC along with the Sirus C headset, Mizar mice and R10,000 in cash.

Keyboards are always a strange thing for me, I tend to find one I love and then become some sort of “keyboard snob”. I was like that for a long period of time until I found a number of keyboards that offered me similar features but soon all boiled down to personal preference with certain things. I have beef with a keyboard for having no backlighting, more beef with another keyboard for feeling cheap, even more beef with a keyboard that has a faulty key (through no fault of my own). Either way, there is going to be something about every keyboard I review, with which something about it will be an issue.

The Quick Fire Rapid-i offers a number of stock standard features that many brands like to brag about when in all honesty, they are quite standard. It does have a couple of awesome features that I haven’t quite experienced before and while some of them may seem a little “gimmicky”, they are worth every penny.

Let me start out though by letting you know that the Quick Fire Rapid-i has no NUMpad. Yes, that’s right, you heard correctly, it has no NUMpad. The advantage to this is that it’s rather small in comparison to other keyboards and should you have a pair of those big, baggie jeans, you could probably slot it in a back pocket. The disadvantage to the keyboard having no NUMpad is, well, you can’t do any math. Don’t judge me, nobody uses the number rail above the keys for math. That’s what the NUMpad is there for!

So if you can look past that fact, then you are in for quite a treat. The keyboard is equipped with an ARM processor, the same kind you may find in your phone. With this, it enables the keyboard to do some really fancy things such as responsive illumination, trailing effects and individual key lighting profiles. The keyboard is fully LED backlit with five different modes and illumination levels that you can toggle depending on the severity of your OCD. It has something called ActivLite where you can set the keys to light up on touch. This is quite fancy and looks “oh-so-futuristic” and is perhaps worth every cent you will pay for this keyboard. It also features a repeat rate adjustment over USB which allows you to set the timer between depresses on how quickly it will repeat the action if it is pressed again.

On the looks, the Quick Fire Rapid-i looks great and ultimately quite sleek. It has a nice rubber coated body, the same which is on the feet of the keyboard which prevents unwanted movement. It can allow you access to multimedia keys through shortcuts and has a universal detachable USB cable, meaning you can replace it if it wears out without having to buy a whole new keyboard. The keyboard introduces Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches which I find pretty pleasant but personally still prefer the MX Red. The Brown is a tactile switch but non-clicky which means that it provides tactile feedback as the key actuates. It’s generally a good ‘middle of the road’ option for both typing and gaming.

The same story applies with the QuickFire Rapid-i as with the Sirus C, I can’t seem to find any local prices on it. The best thing I’ve seen so far is $135 at Amazon which directly converted comes in at around R1,500. For what you get, that seems a little pricey and it’s hard to tell whether or not gamers in South Africa will pay that much for a NUMpad-less keyboard.