- Packaging and Specification
- Closer Look
- Key Rollover Check
- User Experience and Conclusion
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CM Storm Rapid-i mechanical gaming keyboard is something that I wish their CM Storm Quickfire TK was- a small keyboard with directional keys. The main cons I highlighted was that CM should have ditched the Numpad and provide dedicated buttons for navigation and special keys. The end result is what you see here!
A lot of people do not use Numpad, and if you buy a full-sized mechanical keyboard, you end up paying a premium for a keyboard where you’ll use it far lesser than you would do for multimedia and even macro keys. Keyboard designs like this help to keep the cost down while providing the goodness that mechanical switches provide, along with the familiar built quality that is reflected so far!
Brand new board- Rapid-i! Cherry Brown MX keys. Let’s see how it rolls!
On the front, you get to see the design of the motherboard, along with 5 key features: The key type, Full LED backlit, NKRO, Lighting Management, Activelite.
The rear shows an angled shot of the keyboard and feature highlights in multiple languages. Many first-time buyers would be comfortable if they knew what keys are suited for them, especially if it’s someone who didn’t research about it before buying. If you notice CM Storm QuickFire TK keyboard’s box, they have specified ‘Cherry Red- very low resistance Linear Feedback’. I am also not sure why CM is so shy of not mentioning the warranty period on the box. But for those who are curious, the warranty period is of 2 years.
The QR-i comes with three reading materials, 1 braided cable with gold-plated connectors on both ends and the keyboard. The end that plugs into the keyboard is a right-angled Micro USB 2.0 connector.
The specifications are as follows:
|Model number||SGK-4040-GKCL1(Blue switch)
Switch availability may vary on language layout
|Key Rollover||NKRO (Windows only)|
|Keycaps||ABS, grip coated, removable|
|Polling Rate||1000 Hz/1ms|
|Backlight||White backlighting, All keys, 5 levels and modes for illumination – Reactive Illumination, User-Preset mode, WASD, “Breathing” mode, and standard fully-backlit mode.|
|Windows Key Lock||Yes|
|On-board Memory||128k bytes|
|Media Keys||Yes (via F keys)|
|Interface||Micro USB 2.0, full speed|
|USB cable||1.8m braided, gold plated and removable|
|Dimensions||35.9(L) *13.8(W) *3.9(H) cm
14.1(L) *5.4(W) *1.5(H) inch
|Weight||932 g / 2.05 lbs|
This keyboard is noticeably heavier than the TK. This keyboard weighs at 932gms whereas the TK weighs 544gms.
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.
This is an NKRO keyboard all the way, so it’s natural that all the key combos will work:
Cherry Brown has a little bit stiff than Cherry Red. If you think about it, when you say “Rapid-i” you’d imagine that it’s for a keyboard where user can hit faster keystrokes. I like the Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX brown, though brown gives a more ‘control’ while making sure you don’t need to actuate all the way to the bottom like in Cherry blue or have too much feedback like Cherry Black.
The noisiest key is the space bar. Razer’s space bar key has lesser noise, but its the opposite in the case for other keys. The key caps are larger, more comfortable. The implementation of media keys on the special keys area is the best thing to do. There are certain minor nitpicks, like you will need to hit Fn+ F2/F3 whenever you want to increase/ decrease illumination. But in case for the volume controls, you can just hold the keys till your desired level. It’s nothing really to complain about or whine about it (or am I).
I am very satisfied with this keyboard. Probably the only keyboard I’ve tested so far that I’ll feel bad for returning it to Coolermaster. Judging by the ‘signs of abuse ’ and ‘battlescars’ (“F” key’s LED illumination gave out once I was done checking out this keyboard for no reason, but it did trigger the Cross mode LED function) that I’ve seen (and cleaned), the keys work very nicely. The feel of the keys is appreciated and the cross mode illumination function is the best, at least for me. The white LED is not too harsh even with maximum illumination. Plastic balancers FTW!
There’s nothing really annoying about this keyboard that I would need to put a separate pro and con list, except the wobbly edges of the spacebar. You can choose the type of mechanical keys according to your liking. The description of the keys is something that CM should explain on the package to attract non-mechanical keyboard users who are looking for something genuinely good- and this is a genuinely good keyboard.
Just to point out, Coolermaster seem to have ditched the ‘CM Storm’ logo between the special keys and arrow keys as it was present in CM Storm TK keyboard.
It’s a solid keyboard and Cherry MX is brilliant for gamers who want this for typing use as well. On top of it, you also get on-the-fly recordable 4x macro buttons smartly placed on the Function buttons. The best keyboard you can have on the desk and perfect for LAN gamers who need more space for the mouse rather than for the keyboard. My only concern is that for a keyboard that has no Numpads, it’s still expensive. But, on the other hand, the built quality is very solid, which may explain the added weight. The edges of the keyboard are not sharp. First-time mechanical keyboard users would probably need the wrist rest. I am used to mechanical keyboards and the obvious thickness it carries, but for those who aren’t used to it will take some time. 3M makes them. I’ve also seen Thermaltake making one too. Maybe CM could see if they would like to do something like that.
With no hesitation and with clarity, this is the best keyboard I’ve tested till date, and its just going to be one of those moments where I would feel to bad that its going back to CM.