Cooler Master Quickfire TK Review
Hello everyone; welcome to another Rhinofeed review! Today I'm going to be reviewing the Cooler Master Quickfire TK keyboard, with Cherry MX Blues.
In the box you'll find the following: the keyboard itself, a USB cable, a plastic ring-style key puller, and a short Key Features guide.
So, how do I like Cherry MX Blues? I've tried them before, but this is my first keyboard actually owning them. Cherry MX Blues have both a tactile bump and a click to let you know when the switch is actuating. They are fun for a short while, but I still find Cherry MX Reds to be my favorite, which have no tactile bump or click.
This keyboard includes backlighting which corresponds to what switch color you get. If you get Cherry MX Blues, you get blue backlighting. Reds, red backlighting. Greens, green backlighting. Browns, white backlighting (I guess brown would be an odd color for your backlighting). There are 5 levels of brightness (not including off), and the highest setting is extremely bright.
One other thing to mention is Cooler Master includes a steel plate with this keyboard, so the typing feel is very solid. The plate is also color matched to the switch type and backlight color.
The design is boxy and angular, with some slight aggressive indents added for gamers who like that sort of thing. Also, the plastic case has a clean matte finish.
Next up is the layout, which is the most interesting thing about this keyboard. It's around the same size as a tenkeyless board, only slightly larger because of the thicker frame. However, instead of keeping the standard layout and removing the keypad, Cooler Master has instead opted to keep the keypad, arrow keys, and your other navigational keys such as home, end, delete, etc. It's very easy to switch back and forth between the keypad and these navigation keys. All you have to do is press the Num Lock key to enable the keypad. When you're in this mode the arrow keys will not light up and the Num Lock LED will. To disable the keypad, press Num Lock key again and all keys will be lit.
When your keypad is disabled, so are the keys that do not have an extra layer of function. These keys are 1, 3, +, and Enter. I wish they kept the keypad Enter key always enabled. I use this enter key often, even if I'm not using the full keypad. One commenter on my video review mentioned that newer versions have changed this, so it may not be an issue.
Another small thing to note, this keypad also includes a double zero key. However, I've found that if you type very fast there is some undesirable ghosting going on which renders the double zero key useless. For instance, the key you pressed before hitting the double zero key will also show up after the 00. Like so: 1001, instead of 100. Not good.
Underneath each Function key there are shortcuts for various things, and I'll go through and list them.
- F1: Backlighting ON/OFF switch
- F2: Lower brightness
- F3: Higher brightness
- F4: Backlighting Mode (breath, WASD / arrow keys, or every key)
- F5: Play/Pause
- F6: Stop
- F7: Rewind
- F8: Forward
- F9: Mute
- F10: Volume down
- F11: Volume up
- F12: Windows key lock
You can use any of these functions by holding down the FN key and pressing your top row key of choice. Another option is to hold down the FN key until it lights up to permanently enable this shortcut layer.
Also, on your escape key, you can switch between 6 key rollover or N (unlimited) key rollover. This all happens over USB.
The keycaps are ABS, as is usual with keyboards in this price range, and they have a font that I'm quite indecisive about. To some it looks ugly, to others... well, they love it. It's all up to your personal taste.
The biggest downfall of these keycaps and layout is the non-standard keycap sizes on the bottom row. I guess Cooler Master just wanted to make the Windows keys smaller, but there's already the option of locking the Windows keys all-together if you're worried about bumping them. This makes it very difficult to get replacement keycaps.
On the bottom of the keyboard you'll find four small-ish rubber pads to help it stay grounded on your desk. There's also two angle adjustment feet that include rubber on the ends so they don't slip. I'm glad Cooler Master thought of this and implemented it into the design of the feet.
The keyboard comes with a removable, braided USB cable that seems like it would be quite durable. The bottom of the case has three routes the cable can follow so it can come out to the left, center, or right.
To sum it all up: I like the unique layout that gives me the size of a TKL keyboard without losing the keypad. I do like the boxy-ness of the case, but I could do without the gamer oriented flourishes and stick to something even simpler. The steel plate feels very solid, and the coloring adds a nice touch. The fairly thick braided cable is also surprisingly good quality... I may steal it to use with my Poker II. I really don't like what Cooler Master does to the bottom row, as it just makes it difficult to replace your keycaps if you want to. And of course, the ghosting on the double zero key is a serious issue that should be addressed.
Another thing, which doesn't really have anything to do with the keyboard but... I'm still not quite sold on Cherry MX Blues. If I'm going to use a clicky switch I prefer my Model M. When I go back to my Poker II with Reds, I feel much more at home.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to try out the new commenting system I've just installed below!