This is a review of CM Storm QuickFire TK Compact keyboard with Cherry MX Red Switches. The CM Storm is a Mechanical Keyboard if you don’t know what Mechanical Keyboards are then check this article. The CM Storm QuickFire is meant for gamers, since I don’t play any games I won’t be able to review the gaming performance of this keyboard, this review is going to be focused primarily on using this keyboard for work.
The keyboard body color is white with black keys. The keys have a white backlight so this can be used in the dark. The size of the keyboard is as the name suggests compact, below is a screenshot to compare the size of CM Storm with a Dell full sized keyboard.
The CM Storm Compact is just over a inch less in length compared to a full-sized membrane keyboard. Mechanical Keyboards due to the implementation of individual switches are bigger and heavier than regular keyboards, so if you choose to buy a full-sized mechanical keyboard make sure there is enough room on your table to accommodate it. If space is an issue then go for the compact version. The only downside to this compact version is that the Number Pad, Arrow Keys and Home/End/Page Up/Page Down keys are all combined into one area, so you can either use the number pad or the Arrow/Home/End/Page up/Page Down keys — when the NumLock is On the Number Keys are active, when the NumLock is off the Arrow/Home/End keys are active. It does take a week to get used to this compact layout.
The CM Storm keyboard with the white body comes with a white backlight, there is another version of this keyboard with a black body which comes with red backlight. There are 5 levels of brightness, even at the lowest brightness level the light is strong and clearly visible even during the day, in the photos, the brightness is set to the lowest level. The backlight can be turned off except the arrow keys will remain lit and only switches off when the Numlock is active. There is also a backlight Breathing Mode in which the backlight fades in and out.
The back side of the keyboard contains a stand to tilt the keyboard. The USB Cable of the keyboard is detachable and braided which is a welcome change from the regular plastic wires. The back houses a unique T-Shaped cable routing grove to manage the USB cable, so the cable can come out from the top like regular keyboards or from the left/right side of the keyboard. In the image below, the cable is routed from the left-grove as my pc cabinet is placed on the left side. The ability to route the usb cable from the left/right side is especially useful if you place the keyboard on your lap when typing.
The CM Storm uses Cherry MX Red Switches which is meant for gamers but I use it for coding work and I’ve found it very convenient to use. The keys provide a consistent typing experience. On regular keyboards you have to bottom out the key (press the key all the way down) to register the key but in mechanical keyboards you have to only press the keys halfway to register it which may be the best way to use this keyboard. But for most people it would have become a habit to bottom out after using regular keyboards for years so it will be a habit hard to break.
The problem with the Cherry MX Red Switches is that there is no feedback on reaching the Actuation Point (the point where the key gets registered i.e. the halfway point), in Cherry MX Blue Switches there is an audible click on reaching the Actuation Point, in Cherry MX Brown Switches there is a resistance on reaching the Actuation Point, the Cherry MX Red Switches has neither the audible click nor the resistance at Actuation Point, so users have to train themselves to let go at the Actuation Point which I can tell you will take weeks to perfect but it’s worth the trouble. The other option is to simply bottom out the keys but this does make a considerable click sound especially when you are typing fast.
At the time of writing this article the CM Storm QuickFire TK Compact keyboard costs ₹8,000/-. Is it worth the premium price? It depends on the user, a hardcore gamer may appreciate the functionality of the keyboard, for me I think this is probably the best keyboard I’ve used and I have used Microsoft Natural Ergo 4000 keyboard but still I think it’s too expensive, I’m sure in time Mechanical Keyboards will become more common and the price will naturally come down but till then it’s going to cost a premium.
Although most mechanical keyboards are quite expensive there are some affordable mechanical keyboard available from Indian manufacturers like TVS-e Bharat Gold. But If you can’t afford the expensive Mechanical Keyboards then go for ergonomic keyboards like the Microsoft’s Natural Ergo 4000. There is also Apples’ Wireless Scissor-Switch/Chiclet keyboard which is also a popular choice.
Final Words:- The CM Storm QuickFire TK Compact with Cherry MX Red Switch is a good choice for those who want a keyboard for gaming as well as work. This keyboard also comes with Blue and Brown Switches, so if you are planning to buy this keyboard primarily for work then buy the one with the Brown Switch as it is better suited for typing work. For more information check out the products offical page CM Storm QuickFire TK.
Bought this keyboard in 2014 and it’s been 5 years and the keyboard is still working great. As a freelance web developer, I work full time on this keyboard and still not a single issue in all these years.