Cooler Master listened to consumer feedback, made some tweaks to their already proven keyboard design elements, added colored lighting effects and ended up with the Quick Fire XTi. The simplistic design will appeal to mature gamers and enthusiasts, while the colored LED effect will appeal to those who appreciate a little bling. Everything is done with class and the LED effects of the Quick Fire XTi look really clean, without any bleeding or color inconsistency. Solid build quality doesn’t lead to sacrificed comfort, as the Quick Fire XTi was a joy to type on for long sessions. It’s tough to beat Cherry Blue MX switches when it comes to overall mechanical switch quality and Cooler Master has implemented them as well as I’ve seen any manufacturer do. I like that the USB 2.0 cable is removable and that Cooler Master integrated cable routing slots on the underside of the keyboard, it was a thoughtful touch. The Quick Fire XTi is well built, with a solid frame and excellent key caps that seem like they will stand the test of time. As a complete package, it’s one of the best keyboard I’ve ever used.
While Cooler Master has certainly produced a great mechanical keyboard, there are some areas where they faltered. The lighting capabilities of the keyboard were done very well, with even tones across all of the keys, but missing out on true RGB functionality is a bit of a let down. Less troubling is the lack of software to control lighting modes, though the ability to customize lighting via software would be very welcome. I am also turned off by what is just a two year warranty, as most manufacturers are offering longer warranties for their keyboards. Two years of warranty coverage just seems a bit short for a $150 keyboard. These are small gripes, but issues that Cooler Master can certainly address in the future. I especially think considerations of a longer warranty cab entice users to purchase this keyboard, as I don’t think a three or even five year warranty on a product that should be designed with that kind of longevity in mind is unreasonable.
Currently available for $145.91 shipped on Amazon or $149.99 at Newegg, the Quick Fire XTi is priced competitively with Corsair’s Strafe RGB, its closest competitor in terms of build quality and feature set. While the Corsair unit offers a wrist rest and RGB control via Corsair’s CUE software, the Cooler Master Quick Fire XTi offers better overall build quality and a subjectively cleaner, more professional look. The thing about the Quick Fire XTi is that it does everything well and doesn’t have any major weaknesses to point out, just minor gripes. It is a comfortable keyboard that I can easily recommend to an editor as much as I can a gamer. Thanks to solid build quality and a great overall design, the Quick Fire XTi is a welcome addition to what is becoming a very competitive, crowded mechanical keyboard market. If Cooler Master can work to lower the price of the Quick Fire XTi to around the $129.99 mark, it would become a better value in the face of competition, but we still wholeheartedly recommend the Quick Fire XTi, even at its current price point.
For users who are looking for a mechanical keyboard that is similar to the Quick Fire XTi, but in a compact, tenkeyless factor, Cooler Master offers the Quick Fire Rapid-i at a lower price than the Quick Fire XTi. The Rapid-i is the little brother of the Quick Fire XTi and offers similar build quality in addition to per-key back lighting, though it has white backlighting instead of colored LED lighting. You can read our review of the CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid-i mechanical keyboard here to get an idea of the differences between both keyboards. The Rapid-i with Cherry MX Blue switches is currently available at Amazon for $123.13.
Legit Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a well-built, simplistic mechanical keyboard with a little added flare, the Quick Fire XTi is one of the best out there and should definitely be on your short list this holiday season. Users looking for a compact version of the Quick Fire XTi should definitely check out its little brother, the Quick Fire Rapid-i.