This is technically my second mechanical keyboard, my first being a CM Storm Quickfire Pro with Cherry MX Browns. I say technically because this is my fathers, I traded my Quickfire Pro for his CM Storm QuickfireXT, also with Browns. There are very few changes between the keyboards, but I wanted to bring to light my thoughts on this keyboard. I bought the Quickfire Pro back in 2013 as a birthday present for myself because I wanted a reliable keyboard for college and gaming use. I was not well versed in mechanical keyboards at the time, so I looked for the quietest mechanical keyboard I could find. I decided on Browns after listening to sound samples, and bought this keyboard as a result of some research on Amazon and some forums. I eventually switched with my father because I felt this keyboard was quieter, and he wanted a slightly louder keyboard that had more weight to it. I have been using this keyboard for 5 months now.
This keyboard is low to the ground and has four rubber strips on the four corners of the keyboard. It hardly if ever slides on my desk and that is a great plus. I do like the kickstand legs from other keyboards, but I like the consistency and reliability of the rubber strips. I’ve seen other mechanical keyboards that have the firm’s logo tossed on it four or five times, but this keyboard only has it on the back and bottom, the latter of which no one will most likely see. The keyboard has no backlight, which I personally prefer due to the fact that I find LED distracting and unnecessary. The keys look nice, standard CM Storm font (which is a derivative of the font of the Nintendo GameCube, fun fact!), but the keys are laser etched.
A keycap can either be laser etched or laser engraved. Laser etched means that the character on the key on the key filled out. They stand out, but they are also wear away with moderate to heavy use. A laser engraved key is generally an outline of the character, but the key will never wear away. My Quickfire Pro never wore away in the 2 years of heavy use, and my XT hasn’t worn away yet, but I am sure it will in due time.
The keyboard itself is really relaxed looked and not flashy. The only “LED’s” on the keyboard are the three lights for Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Screen lock as well as the Windows Lock LED. Otherwise, the keyboard is completely bare, which I like. The cable that comes with the keyboard is braided, and it is quite nice to hold and use. I know it will not tangle up and that it is of a good quality.
This aspect is the most important part of the keyboard, the feel. As I stated before, my first keyboard was the Quickfire Pro with Cherry MX Browns, so I will be frequently comparing this keyboard to that. It is also worth noting that both keyboards are great, and they both serve the same purpose.
When I type a sentence on this keyboard, I find that it is a lot quieter than the Quickfire Pro. This may be due in part that the XT is thinner in build, so less reverberates within the keyboard, whereas there is more space inside the board the Quickfire Pro, so it is inherently louder. I will supply two sound samples below to present my point, and you can decide. I do not efficiently type at all, and cannot touch type yet, so I still bottom out on my keys all the time. There is only a 5% chance that I do not bottom out, and that is still not saying much. Because of this, I just click the keys at a force that I find comfortable without exerting myself. The Browns overall are definitely quiet keys in comparison to their Blue brethren. I have tried Blues, Blacks, Reds, and Clears once and I prefer the feel and bump of the Browns.
The keycap themselves are quite nice and I love the fact that they mimic the curve of my finger. The Quickfire Pro has the same keycap concept, and I just love it. I barely feel the laser etched keys on my fingers as I type, so you can rest assured that they will not interfere with the experience of the keyboard. The Spacebar has a really nice sound to it and I like that I can click it with my thumb effectively when I type.
This is a sound clip of my roommate typing on this keyboard followed by him clicking the backspace than the spacebar
This will be a much shorter section, but I felt it was worth mentioning nonetheless. The build quality is stellar. It is a very comfortable weight and everything feels extremely solid. I can tell they did not skimp out anywhere on this keyboard. Even the USB port on the back of the keyboard feels of good quality even after I unplugged the cable numerous times. The braided USB cable is also another great feature. It not only reassures me that I bought a premium product, but it also extends the life time of the USB cable.
This keyboard is great. It is quiet enough where I can use it without my roommates or my family hating me, but it still is loud enough for me to satisfyingly use. They keyboard is not fancy by any means, there are no fancy LED’s or RGB lights or even other profiles that are programmable. It is barebones mechanical keyboard with a couple extra features such as Windows Lock, MS delay for typing and gaming, and multimedia shortcuts when the user presses the function key and the respective “f” key, but otherwise it is scant. They offer other keyboards for a full LED keyboard such as the CM Storm TK with a full or the CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate. The XT does do what it has to do, and a damn good job at that, I recommend it for people that want a mechanical keyboard from a trusted company at a good price with no frills.