Introduction, Specifications, and Features
Today we are taking a look at the CM (Cooler Master) Storm QuickFire TK mechanical gaming keyboard. The Quickfire TK is a compact gaming keyboard designed to have the features of a full sized gaming keyboard in a smaller package. The QuickFire TK comes in three flavors of Cherry MX mechanical switches; Red, Brown, and Blue. The keyboard we are taking a look at today utilizes the MX Blue switches.
The specifications for the CM Storm QuickFire TK are as follows:
- SGK-4020-GKCR1 (Red switch)
- SGK-4020-GKCM1 (Brown switch)
- SGK-4020-GKCL1 (Blue switch)
- Cherry MX Blue/ Brown/ Red
- ABS, grip coated, removable
- All keys, Blue, 5 Levels, 3 Modes
- 1.8m, braided, gold plated, removable
The QuickFire TK comes packaged in a thick, sturdy box, and includes a short manual and keycap puller. It comes with no software, as the keyboard requires none since it does not have any macro programmable keys.
The QuickFire TK’s features listed on the Cooler Master website:
Choose between 3 different Cherry MX switches. Each keycap is UV coated to make it durable. There's full LED backlighting with 3 modes and 5 brightness levels. NKRO over USB means every single keystroke will be registered. An embedded steel plate give you maximum stability and durability. 7 easy-access multimedia shortcut keys save time. A complete numpad lets you get work done while not gaming. The slim and lightweight size gives you plenty of room for your mouse. Great for LAN parties.
N-Key Rollover over USB
N-Key Roll Over in USB mode means even the wildest key combos are registered perfectly.
Easy Cable Management
Detachable braided USB cable and cable routing groves at the underside of the keyboard. Easy cable management and better flexibility.
Full LED Backlight, 3 Modes and 5 Brightness Levels
Stylish and provides optimum visibility even in dark rooms. Different backlight modes highlight different key groups.
Compact Layout with Integrated Numpad Block
The QuickFire TK’s unique NumPad block design merges both navigation and command keys. You get a compact gaming keyboard with a NumPad block.
Observations and Experience
The ABS plastic keys with grip coating provide a nice, comfortable feel. The keyboard also uses a heavy duty braided USB cable with optional routing along the bottom of the keyboard. It also has two rubber coated foldable feet to adjust the angle of the keyboard on a desk.
The QuickFire TK has a sturdy and somewhat dense/heavy feel to it, though it is much smaller than a full sized keyboard. However, it has approximately the same dimensions as a Tenkeyless keyboard. The way Cooler Master achieved this was by having a hybrid num pad that doubles as both a num pad and as the arrow keys plus Insert, Home, Page Up, Page Down, Delete, End, Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause. The way to switch between the two modes is by simply using the Num Lock key. We found this to be an ingenious design, and appreciated both the functionality and simplicity of the mechanism.
The QuickFire TK also has a range of media keys available on the F keys through the use of the FN key that sits between the Windows key and Ctrl key on the right side of the keyboard (taking the place of the Menu key found on many keyboards). The FN key allows the user to Pause/Play, Stop, Rewind/Step Back, and Fast Forward/Step Forward in all media applications we encountered. It also allows the user to lock the Windows key, and lower or increase system volume, as well as mute it with one keystroke.
The FN key also allows the user to manipulate the keyboard’s backlighting modes. The keyboard has three modes: On, Pulse, and WASD on. It also had five brightness settings, as well as a key to turn off the lighting completely. Since we have MX Blue mechanical switches, the lighting on our keyboard is blue. For a QuickFire TK with MX Red switches, the lighting would be red, and for one with MX Brown switches, the lighting would be white.
The MX Blue switches provide an excellent typing experience. However, as we described in our review of the Logitech G710+, while MX Blue switches are considered optimal for typing, many gamers find them to be lacking, though this is entirely a matter of personal preference as many gamers also enthusiastically use and recommend MX Blue switches. Since the QuickFire TK is marketed as a compact gaming keyboard that is especially useful for LAN parties, many might see this as a shortcoming. However, this is not the case, as we mentioned above: the QuickFire TK is available with MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches, so users can choose the switch type most useful and comfortable to them.
Value and Conclusion
Overall, we found the keyboard to be solidly build, simple in its design (partially due to the fact that it is completely plug and play), and especially well thought out for a keyboard in its compact size class. The CM Storm QuickFire TK is currently on sale on Newegg for a price of $89.99. Given the sturdiness and simplicity of the keyboard, as well as its unique approach for dealing with the keys on the right third of the keyboard we are giving it an Innovation Award for Prosumers/Enthusiasts with a caveat. If a user is looking for a solid mechanical keyboard for either LAN parties or simply to take up a minimal amount of space on their desk, then this keyboard comes highly recommended. However, if a user prefers a larger design with dedicated media buttons and programmable macro keys, this may not be the keyboard for them.