Observations and Experience
The ABS plastic construction of the keys feels sleek and comfortable with no obvious spacing or function issues. The keyboard utilizes the aforementioned braided USB cable without any channels on the bottom to do cable routing. Aside from the six rubberized feet on the bottom, it also has two rubberized, folding plastic legs that can be used to adjust the height and angle of the keyboard to the user’s preference. The keyboard itself is has a very hefty feel overall, with the weight distribution being back heavy, which contributes to an overall feeling of stability while in use.
Without the need for software, the keyboard has 3 backlighting modes with 5 brightness levels which are controlled through a function step on the F1 through F4 keys on the keyboard. Also integrated with the remaining function keys F5 through F11 are media control keys for ‘Play/Pause’, ‘Stop’, ‘Skip Back’, ‘Skip Forward’, ‘Mute’, ‘Volume Down’, and ‘Volume Up’ respectively.
To access these discrete media and backlighting functions, the use of the ‘Storm’ key is required (e.g. ‘Storm’+F5 is ‘Play’). This was not immediately obvious to us though, since the ‘Storm’ key seemed like an artistic interpretation of the more traditional ‘Windows’ key.
Aside from the mini-USB port meant to connect the keyboard to the computer, there are also two standard sized USB ports and one 5V DC input available on the top right edge of the keyboard. While a great idea for USB-based charging, the lack of a 5V DC cable in the packaging leaves us mildly confused as to the overall intention of the design.
There are a total of five macro keys arranged vertically to the left side of the keyboard, each one allowing for a separate macro per profile for a total of twenty five effective macro keys. These macros may be defined via the CM Storm Trigger software, or programmed on the fly (OTF) by holding down the ‘Storm’ key and the ‘alt-macro’ key for two seconds. The OTF recording mode will record for 50 actions or 30 seconds, whichever comes first, or may be ended early by pressing the ‘Storm’ key and ‘alt-macro’ key.
The Trigger software itself is nothing to write home about, but does exactly what it is designed to do once one is able to figure out certain quirks to the software. One such quirk which stymied one of our contributors was changing the key assignment of the left ‘Storm’ Key to a default Windows Key action. While the software is open, the changes were active but were immediately reverted when the window was minimized. Instead, it turns out that since the changes were being applied to Profile 1 and not the default keyboard profile, it was necessary to change to Profile 1 first before changes would take effect. In the same vein, it is also not immediately clear as to how to swap between profiles, which is to hold down the right ‘Storm’ key and press ‘~’,1,2,3,4, or 5 to swap between the default profile (‘~’) and profiles one through five.
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