- Packaging and Specification
- Closer Look
- Key Rollover Check
- User Experience and Conclusion
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The keycaps are ABS coated. The casing of the keyboard also has the same feel as on the keycaps. The base of the key area is of white colour to help the keys stand out. Since the keys have good enough of space between them, it really gives a good look. CM chose the choice of white LED as backlit.
The keyboard initial came with 5 backlit modes- reactive, illumination, user-preset, WASD, ‘breathing’ effect and the good old fashioned solid backlit. But with the new V116 firmware, CM enabled smoother breathing mode and provided a new lighting mode: cross mode.
The longer keys such as Shift, Enter, Backspace and a Space Bar. Though Space bar feels a bit ‘loose’ when pressing its edges, and the end user will notice it eventually. But for other keys, the plastic support keys are better than the metal balancers. For keys like Cherry Red and Brown where the feedback is lesser than the Cherry MX black, you will feel the noticeable difference between the longer keys and the standard size keys.
Note: The review sample that I’ve received came in a pretty beat up condition with a lot of dirt. Although I didn’t mind cleaning the crap that others leave (yeah…sure), there are certain signs of tear from the ABS coat.
I am not sure how ‘abused’ this keyboard is. But judging by the collection of stubborn that was left under the keyboard (including food particles, hair and a fingernail), it seems that the previous fellow did quite a number on this. Still, the feedback response is that of a Cherry MX black. No sticky keys even before cleaning up the keyboard, so that’s a good sign. I hope that the ABS coat does not peel from the corners even at the condition that’s decently maintained by its user. In a matter of speaking, someone really gave this keyboard some amount of punishment and abuse of lack of cleanliness before I can check out this keyboard, and apart from the cleaning part it’s a good thing.
The corners of the keyboard frame are not sharp. ABS coat in a way help to keep the corners as smooth as possible. CM ditched its cable routing design and kept a simpler connection. Not that its inconvenient, but one could have routed the cable to either towards left, forward or right, according to their preferences or setup.
The caps lock, scroll lock and such keys that require LED indication uses the key’s LED indicator to highlight the function that’s active. Even when the motherboard is fully illuminated, these keys’ LED will be off when their function is not active.
Even though the keyboards is smaller, the keycaps are wider in comparison with 2014 Razer Black Widow Mechanical keyboard. Like Razer, CM has a different font design for the buttons, but some of the letters and keys are clearer than Razer’s keys.
The underbelly of the keyboard is the same old finish as with many CM mechanical gaming keyboards that I’ve reviewed so far. It does the job. The rubber feet have a good enough grip over wood and even hardened glass surfaces. No complaints here.
The retractable feet provide a more steep angle to the end user, should require it. As you can see from the picture above these ones, the retractable feet have a good grip.
The alternate keystrokes for the function keys are not for media. The F1-F4 keys control the illumination and its mode. F5-F8 functions increases or decreases (from 1x to 8x speeds) the speed of certain commands for games. This helps gamers to issue commands quickly or with a certain amount of delay, this way the actual action in the game according to what you’ve used. F9-F12 holds a record of key assignments. Since it comes an onboard memory of 128k bytes, you can record the key assignment by using Fn+ Pause/Rec and then selecting the ‘M’ keys. CM also pointed out that scroll lock, caps lock and a windows lock key cannot be recorded. The illuminated key highlights the current key assignment.
Fn+ Print Screen locks the windows buttons and Fn+ Rec records the assignment keys. The LED indicator works the same way as the caps and scroll lock.
Media keys were embedded on the special key section. I find it more convenient considering that I can press Fn+ any of the above keys with my hand, rather than trying to go all the way to the function keys.