Review: Coolermaster QuickFire Pro And Sentinel II Mechanical Gaming Keyboard And Mouse.

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QuickFire Pro

If Coolermaster’s QuickFire Rapid mechanical keyboard wasn’t quite enough for you, you’re in luck. The company has listened to complaints/suggestions and brought forth a new contender, the QuickFire Pro. Unlike it’s sibling, the QF Pro swaps out the blue Cherry switches for brown (more later) and adds a 10-key number pad on the far right side.

In age of ever thinner keyboards that are pretty much silent, why get a keyboard that is big, bulky and loud? Gaming. For mashing keys in the various fantasy worlds that dominate your screen, the tactile feedback from a mechanical keyboard is second to none. Add to that a dramatically longer lifespan and you’ve got the recipe for a great keyboard.

The Specs

Cherry MX Switch: Brown – rated for over 50 million keystrokes
Response time: 1/3/5/8ms adjustable on-the-fly response time
Polling rate: 1000Hz/1ms
N-Key Rollover:6 (Full N Key NKRO in PS-2 mode)
Backlighting: home key cluster only
Extra buttons/controls: Storm key for deactivating Windows key, multimedia control keys for music playback
Weight: 2.86 lb. (1300g)

Design

If you’re like us and spend each and every day slaving away on some Mac-like device, you’re pretty familiar with impeccable design and lots of emphasis on “thin”. The QuickFire Pro eschews all of that. This thing is a tank at 2.86lbs. It’s big, sturdy and for a keyboard, heavy — all great qualities of a heavy duty, high quality gaming keyboard.

Upon opening the box you’re greeted with a black brick of an object sans USB cable (it’s removable). Besides feeling heavy/sturdy, we noticed that the plastics used to construct the QF Pro are of higher quality and just look…nicer than one would expect simple plastic to look. There is very little creaking or flex when holding the keyboard even with one hand on a single end. Make no mistake, this board can take a beating.

The only design aspect we’re not too fond of is the branding. It’s everywhere. Clearly labeling your product so consumers know which brand it is is fine. Slapping a logo of some sort on every free space of real state is a bit excessive in our opinion. Perhaps on the next keyboard Coolermaster could take it a bit easier. Personal opinion.

Features & Gaming Use

Coolermaster decided to move from the blue Cherry MX switches in the QF Rapid to brown Cherry MX switches in the Pro. The end result will ultimately be slightly quieter operation that still provides that mechanical “click” that many love. The other popular MX switch, red, has a more linear feel and is quieter yet. For the purpose of both gaming and typing, the brown switches seem like a nice balance between a full-on mechanical orchestra and quiet family-pleasing design.

For gamers, response time can be manually adjusted on the fly thanks to four keys above the number pad, These keys allow response times do be dialed down from 8ms with options for 5ms, 3ms and of course 1 ms. Depending on the game/app you are using, a slightly lengthier response time might be warranted. We like the option of 1-click activation though, so as not having to fire up the control software for the keyboard and manually adjust it in the profile editor.

One particular feature we’re not foo fond of is the backlighting – or lack thereof. Actually, there are several different lighting modes, though as mentioned before, none of them are “full” backlighting.

  • 1) – CM Storm logo, Esc, F1, F2, F3, F4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, W, E, R, S, D, F, Z, X, C, Spacebar and Arrow Keys

  • 2) – The second mode is the same as the first one above, however instead of being constantly lit, the keys “breathe” (slowly pulse) between dim and high brightness settings. You’ve no doubt seen the effect on certain mice before. Sadly, it’s pretty much impossible to show this breathing effect in a picture.
  • 3) – Minimalist/FPS: Storm logo, W, A, S, D, and Arrow Keys

  • 4) – “Off”. A few keys are still lit (when activated), however: Num, Caps, Scr

If using the QF Pro for more general use typing, however, the uneven backlighting makes for confusing low-light typing as our fingers stray every once in while.

Another downside with the QuickFire Pro – no macros. *Gasp!* If you’re a gamer who lives and dies by macros or one who loves to simply tweak macros between gaming sessions, the QuickFire Pro is not for you. Sorry.

Conclusion

At $99, newcomers to the mechanical keyboard may realm balk at the higher price tag. But honestly, it’s worth it. The heavy duty construction ensures the QuickFire Pro won’t fall to normal drops and bumps. Likewise, the Cherry MX switches are rated for 50 million+ keystrokes. For comparisons sake, your typical “modern” keyboard with non-mechanical keys is rated for a few million. Clearly, they are built to last. To some, that is more than worthy of the price.

For gamers, the QF Pro is a legitimate offering that can compete with other mid-range to higher-end mechanical keyboards on the market. The in your face branding and limited backlighting might not appeal to everyone, and the lack of macro support may be a quick deal killer. That said, the Coolermaster QuickFire Pro is a keyboard we can stand behind nonetheless.

More: Coolermaster QuickFire Pro Gaming Keyboard

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 8.5

(Full gallery on page 2) So the keyboard rocks. What about the Sentinel Advance II? Continue on…

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Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!

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