Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
For years now Cooler Master has brought to the masses affordable and clean minimalist looking mechanical keyboards in the form of the QuickFire lineup. While the aesthetic stands in contrast to the rugged looks and military themes of their other signature products, the attention to quality Cooler Master has become so trusted upon is still there. The original tenkeyless Quick Fire Rapid was popular due to its value, space saving functionality, and solid construction, but backlights were on the list as the most requested feature. Earlier this year, the Rapid-i with Cherry MX Brown switches with individually backlit white LEDs was released and now a new Cherry MX Blue switch model has been introduced which we are reviewing.
While mechanical keyboards are still a luxury piece for a computer, there are tangible benefits to using one. They’re usually tactile depending on what type of switch is used, the keys reset quickly, key ghosting is nonexistent, and they don’t wear down for a long time as a result of their operating mechanism and materials used. All of this made possible arguably because each key is backed by a metal spring as opposed to the elastic plastic found in the usual everyday keyboard. Cooler Master has a nifty guide
to help out with explaining mechanical keyboards including details and graphics on the most popular mechanical switches and what their color labels mean.
The QuickFire Rapid-i isn’t just a plain backlit variation of the tenkeyless Rapid. The Rapid-i has several fun light modes including pulsing lights or reactive lighting when a key is pressed. Other things going on for the Rapid-i include media keys, Windows key lock, detachable USB cable, and 2-year warranty. The Rapid-i can be found at Amazon shipped for $134.99 for the Brown switches and $149.99 for the Blue switches
Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Features:
Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Specifications:
- Cherry MX mechanical key switches – guarantees up to 50 million keystrokes
- Full LED backlighting – 5 modes and 5 illumination level adjustments
- ActiveLite reactive illumination, set keys to light up on touch
- Profile managements – save specific backlit keys in up to 4 lighting mode presets
- Repeat rate tweaking over UBS – execute commands quicker than ever
- Luxurious soft touch feel & minimalist style multimedia functions and keyboard adjustment shortcuts
- Detachable 1.8M durable braided UBS cable for easy transportation
- Switch: Blue switch, Brown switch, Red switch, switch availability may vary on language layout
- Key Rollover: NKRO (Windows only)
- Keycaps: ABS, grip coated, removable
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz/1ms
- Backlight: All White, All keys, 5 settings and 5 modes
- 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
- 2-year warranty – damages as a result of removing keycaps improperly are not covered by the warranty
- SGK-4040-GKCM1-US - Cherry MX Brown
- SGK-4040-GKCL1-US - Cherry MX Blue
There isn’t much packaged with the QuickFire Rapid-i. There’s a 6 ft long USB-to-microUSB cable, a pair of instruction manuals on how to use the keyboard lighting modes and other features in either English or Chinese, a "User Guide" that outlines keyboard features, specifications, and technical support. As you can see in the picture, the keyboard itself is wrapped up in a foam sheet to protect the grippy matte finish from being scratched. On the next page, we’re going to take a good look at the keyboard itself so stick around!
Looking around the QuickFire Rapid-i
The QuickFire Rapid-i’s tenkeyless design and minimalist bezel results in measurements of 14.1 x 5.4 x 1.5 in (LxWxH) / 35.9 x 13.8 x 3.9. The small footprint expectedly makes this keyboard well suited for limited desk spaces or making more desk space.
A 6 ft (1.8 m) long braided and gold plated USB-to-microUSB cable is included to connect the QuickFire Rapid-i to computers.
Every key on the QuickFire Rapid-i is individually backlit with a white LED.
Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, and the Windows lock which is shared with PrtSc, remain off or are illuminated when toggled regardless of lighting mode.
On the far side off towards the corner near the Esc key is the CM Storm logo out of sight from the user.
Every key on the QuickFire Rapid-i is backed by a Cherry MX switch currently either in the clicky-tactile Blue or quiet-tactile Brown depending on the keyboard version. Here we have the Blue switch model.
Integrated with every switch is a single white LED which not only shines through each keycap, but also floods out onto a white colored sheet to shine light in the spaces between the keys.
All the F keys have dual functions when used with the Fn modifier key on the QuickFire Rapid-i. The alternate functions on the F1-F4 keys control the backlighting allowing them to be turned on or off, have the brightness adjusted across five illumination levels, and switching between the five available lighting modes.
The five lighting modes are steady, breathing, WASD steady only, ActivLite that lights up during keypress and then off when released, and ActivLite with a fade effect when the key is released. The reactive lighting with fade effect is demonstrated with an onscreen keyboard at one of the Rapid-i’s product pages
Pressing Fn with F5-F8 changes the speed of the key repeat rate.
The navigation keys double as media keys when the Fn function key is pressed.
Above those are more dual function keys. F9-F12 also serve as banks for the custom backlight profiles which illuminate a set of keys defined by the user. This is achieved by pressing Fn and the Pause button all the way at the right-hand top corner of the keyboard, selecting a profile, and then selecting which keys are to be illuminated.
Though not easily observable in pictures, the QuickFire Rapid-i has a rubberized grip surface finish on the bezel and some grip on the keycaps.
The bottom of the keyboard has four gripping feet near each corner and a pair of plastic flaps for angling the keyboard.
Here the Microsoft Keyboard Ghosting Demonstration
is used to verify that the QuickFire Rapid-i has n-key rollover (shortened to NKRO) when every single is pressed simultaneously. For some reason, the minus key (-) wasn’t being detected by this particular application, but the keystroke works fine for everything else.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
It came as no surprise that the QuickFire Rapid-i didn’t disappoint. While Cooler Master doesn’t fool around with any of its mechanical keyboards, it has also been rare to find a keyboard with Cherry MX switches that can be justly labeled as lousy. Therefore, the likability of the QuickFire Rapid-i or another mechanical keyboard comes down to personal preference. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what makes shopping for mechanical keyboards difficult for those who have never tried one is how different the various switches feel when typed on. Fortunately, Cooler Master has a good guide
to rid some of that confusion since they do offer several switch varieties on their keyboards. Having this choice is good.
Besides the great typing experience mechanical switches offer, there are other things going on with the Rapid-i that should be mentioned. White backlights look nice and they’re not as flamboyant or vicious as other backlight colors. The lighting modes for the backlights offer some fun options that can’t as easily be found on other keyboards. The minimalist tenkeyless design is inoffensive in just about any environment with the narrow bezel, inconspicuous CM Storm logo printed on the far side of the keyboard, and detachable USB cord.
While the QuickFire Rapid-i is a fantastic mechanical keyboard that we definitely recommend, the issue is finding value. Unfortunately, this keyboard doesn’t come cheap, costing $134.99 for the Brown switches and $149.99 for the Blue switches
. This is exacerbated by the limited assortment of backlit tenkeyless Cherry MX mechanical keyboard alternatives, such as those from Ducky, while there are a wider variety of full-sized mechanical keyboards out there. With so much hanging on one’s personal preference, the worth of the Rapid-i comes down to how one values this keyboard’s design and features.
Legit Bottom Line:
The Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i is simple and stylish, subtle and tough, as it should.