The peripheral market for PC gamers seems to be growing every day. Today, we review one of these products from a company not considered a giant in the peripheral world but making waves nonetheless. The product is Coolermaster’s TK Gaming Keyboard, the latest addition to their ever growing CM Storm Quickfire line of mechanical keyboards. To most PC aficionados, Coolermaster might be a company best known for their pretty sweet desktop tower cases or their widely used cooling solutions. The Quickfire TK joins the likes of Coolermaster’s other gaming keyboards, namely the Rapid, Quickfire Pro and Trigger. The Quickfire TK is, like those, a fully LED backlit with varying light levels, mechanical interface, Blue, Red or Brown Cherry MX keys (our review version came with the blue Cherry Mx’s) and a very solid ergonomic design.
For those that may scoff at words like mechanical and blue cherry because “mechanical sounds old fashioned and not sleek” and blue cherry sounds like…well, blue cherries, perhaps some explanation is in order. You see, most keyboards on the market today use something knows as a membrane interface whereby the key actuators that tell your computer what key is being pressed are actually little pressure points and when a key is pressed the key contact strikes the pressure point and you get the keystroke you need. The problem with this is that the entire keyboard “piece” is depressed when you press a single key causing issues like non-responsive keystrokes especially very fast ones as is required in gaming, also, wear and tear can be quite detrimental to this kind of keyboard since all the key pressure points are linked on the same board. A mechanical keyboard uses independent actuators set on the bottom of the board, no membranes, no pressure points, just individual key pressing on individual actuator giving mechanical keyboards that distinctive click and unparalleled responsiveness. As a gamer, once you make the switch to mechanical, it’s very hard to go back.
As for the meaning behind these Cherry MX switches, it’s actually quite simple. In the market you will get a few kinds: Red, Brown, Black, Clear and Blue. What all this relates to is the amount of pressure required to activate a key. For gaming, where you need to be sure of your keystrokes, the Black is preferred because it requires the most pressure making it easier for gaming intense tasks like double tapping. The Blue, like the one we got, is in my opinion the best because it’s the best balance between typing comfort and gaming comfort because the pressure needed is slightly less allowing you to type keys across the board faster instead of gamers who generally tend to use only one cluster of the keyboard such as the WSAD keys. After all, why should a gaming keyboard not be an awesome typing keyboard too, right?
The Quickfire TK is very well built. The laser engraved keys have very nice grip and the keycaps are comfortable enough to withstand heavy abuse. The entire unit is ergonomically sloped and rests comfortably on any surface. The keyboard is hefty, much heavier than it looks but that is no doubt because of the solid metallic construction. This keyboard looks like it can be used to club zombies, it’s that solid.
The Quickfire TK has some interesting design choices. Primarily the fact that unlike most gaming keyboards, it’s not a full size one. The arrow keys and the home, page up and down etc. buttons are integrated in the numpad block. This was an issue at the beginning because I was so used to full size keyboards, even my laptop has one. After a while muscle memory adapted but I still would have preferred the full size, perhaps it’s just me being picky. Otherwise, the keyboard is very good looking, especially considering its price of a hundred bucks. The keys are very attractive; the black finish is sleek and very professional looking. The LED’s are awesome and come with a variety of possible options, including different light levels and the ability to light up the WSAD section of the keyboard. The light even at its brightest is never glaring and just screams cool. Overall, a wonderful looking piece of tech.
Fully mechanical interface, top quality Cherry MX switches and very nice backlighting not enough? Well, the CoolerMaster Quickfire TK keyboard does have some other pretty nifty features including N-Key rollover. This means that no matter how many keys are pressed the keyboard is able to keep track of the wildest key combos. Other neat features include a detachable usb cable for easy storage and a cable braid management solution underneath the keyboard. Along with that, this is a fully functional everyday keyboard giving you shortcuts for music playback, program accessing and the like, there is no LCD screen like Logitech does on its more expensive models but it does the job its supposed too.
Overall, the CoolerMaster Quickfire TK keyboard is a very good keyboard that is useful for gaming and non-gaming alike. The lack of the arrow keys and the integrated page up, down etc. buttons might not endear this keyboard to some but for its price and design quality, this one is going to be hard to top.