Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Gaming Keyboards Compared

Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i Design

Cooler Master's QuickFire Rapid-i is one of three ten-keyless keyboards in this round-up, meaning it lacks a number pad in favor of a compact design. It's available in choice of Cherry MX Blue, Red, or Brown key switches -- the one we have in for review uses Cherry MX Blue.

Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i Main

The QuickFire Rapid-i is deceptively heavy for its size -- woe is the intruder who surprises a gamer late at night and absorbs a swing to the head. It's also minimalistic in its aesthetic design, making it one of the few gaming keyboards that wouldn't look out of place in a professional setting. Part of that is because the white LED backlit offers an elegant contrast to the black keys and rubberized trim.

Even the effects aren't over the top -- you can adjust the backlight using the Fn and F1 through F4 keys: Fn+F1 turns the backlight on or off; Fn+F2/F3 adjusts the brightness level; and Fn+F4 cycles through five different illumination modes. Other keys combinations allow you to customize which keys are lit up, and that's about as wild as things get -- there are no aggressive angles or other pieces of flair that beg for attention.

There's also no wrist rest, an omission that aids in the keyboard's compact design at the expense of ergonomics. In short, it's a no-fuss keyboard with high quality switches, a few lighting effects, and a space saving footprint.

Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i Function Keys Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i Function Keys 

In keeping with the minimalistic theme, there's no accompanying software to download. Any effects that are available are initiated using the Fn and F1 through F12 keys, which are broken up into three clusters -- F1 through F4; F5 through F8; and F9 through F12.

The second cluster of Function keys adjusts the key repeater rate. At default, the delay is a bit too long for our tastes, and when set at 8X, well, good luck trying to type -- even the fastest typists will have trouble keeping up with how quickly it begins repeating keystrokes.

If you want to customize your own light configuration so that specific keys light up, you can do that and then save your creations to any of four profiles accessible via FN+F9 (M1) through F12 (M4). Further instructions are found on Cooler Master's website (PDF).

Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i Power Port

You won't find any built-in ports or hubs, like USB or microphone/headphone inputs. However, the USB cable that connects the keyboard to your PC is removable -- a small convenience if you're traveling, we suppose.

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