Although there are plenty of compact mechanical keyboards around, virtually all of them achieve their narrower width by hacking off the number pad -- a sacrifice that turns many folks away from such models. Solving that issue, Cooler Master has introduced a new design that offers the best of both worlds: an ergonomic horizontal profile that keeps your arms closer together and still allows you to crunch some numbers when necessary.
To accomplish this, Cooler Master removed the home and arrow clusters, positioning them as secondary keys on the number pad. The company doesn't say what it uses as a modifier for those buttons, but the QuickFire has a function lock between the right Windows and Control keys, which seems like a prime candidate for toggling the alternative keys -- it would sure beat holding down a modifier during prolonged usage, anyway.
As with most mechanical keyboards, the Storm QuickFire TK uses Cherry MX parts, and Cooler Master has color-coded the keyboard's aesthetics based on its switch variant. The version that uses Cherry MX Blue switches has blue LEDs and a blue back plate below the keys, the model with Cherry MX Red switches has red accents and, interestingly, the one with MX Brown switches mixes it up with white LEDs and a white back plate.
The backlighting is configurable with five brightness levels and three modes that highlight different key groups -- one of them presumably lights up the WASD and arrow keys. Other noteworthy specs include NKRO, which ensures your wildest key combos are registered, seven multimedia shortcuts, a toggle for enabling and disabling the Windows key, as well as ABS plastic keys that have a coating to help improve your grip.
It's also worth mentioning that the board has a detachable USB cable along with a wire routing groove on the bottom that lets you run the cord three different directions. As is customary among mechanical keyboards, the QuickFire TK comes with a keycap puller for easy cleaning and the installation of custom keys. Although the board has technically launched, it doesn't seem to be in stock anywhere yet. Pricing is reportedly set at $100.
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