CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Review

September 14, 2015 | 09:03

Tags: #cherry-mx #mechanical-keyboard

Companies: #cm-storm

The backlighting is customisable on a per-key basis, but you can also apply various modes to the entire keyboard. Each key's LED has independent red and blue elements, with five brightness levels per colour. Essentially, this means your colour choices are limited to red, blue or a shade of purple attained by mixing the two up, with 35 possible colours in total. Of course, this is a far stretch from the 16.8 million colours technically offered by full RGB functionality, but red, blue and purple are likely to be popular choices anyway and the fact that it's all controlled onboard is a real boon in our opinion.

CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Review
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Rather than us explain how all of the secondary functions work in programming lighting effects and macros, Cooler Master has produced a concise video manual demonstrating the possibilities of the XTi which we've embedded below and is well worth a watch.

As you can see, it's a powerful piece of hardware. The independent red and blue control via F1 and F2 is simple to use, and it's also easy to record your own lighting pattern (one per profile) and switch between these and the pre-programmed effects, our favourite of which is the Cross Mode, where the entire row and column of a key light up while you're holding it down. Cooler Master says it's also planning further updates to the LED lighting modes and keyboard functions via firmware updates – at the time of testing it was on 1.1.3.

What hopefully also comes across in the video is the sheer quality of the lighting. It's bright and solid without being glaring and extremely uniform; even on dual symbol keys the lower characters receive plenty of light, and the glow between keys is pleasant as well. It's a real treat for the eyes, helped in no small part by the white, reflective plate beneath the keys, which helps to spread the light around the entire keyboard..

CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Review
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The macro functionality is also rather cool. We managed to record macros that were over a minute long and with over 100 key presses, and given that you can apply macros to almost every key in four different profiles, you're unlikely to find the keyboard limiting in this regard. The fact that you can even program looping and toggle functions is great too, but one limitation is that there isn't, for now at least, a way to record or execute macros without delays – it's all done entirely in real time.

CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Review CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Review
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As well as lighting and macros, the Quick Fire XTi has a few more tricks up its long sleeves. FN and F4 activates the Windows key lock, and as with the num, caps and scroll lock keys the F4 key acts as its own indicator and will only light up when it's active (you can still customise its colour). F5-F8 toggle different repeat rates – how quickly a key starts repeating while being held down and how quickly it repeats. The default is 1x, which is simply your setting as in Windows while for 2x and above the keyboard takes over. At 4x the rate is very fast, while 8x is so insanely fast we can't see many uses for it. Lastly, media and volume controls are handled by the six keys directly above the arrow keys.


The Quick Fire XTi delivers oodles of quality at every corner. The build quality feels on par with Ducky and Filco keyboards, in our opinion, with the reinforced chassis, UV-coated keys and detachable cable giving it the feeling that it could survive a war or two. The fully plug and play design is also very refreshing in the face of heavy reliance on complex, convoluted software from much of the competition. It's virtually the opposite approach to that taken by Razer; the BlackWidow Chroma is virtually useless without its Synapse software. The dual LED system has been done before by Ducky, but the addition of macros is really neat – delay options would be nice though.

CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Review
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We do have to discuss the price, however, and £140 is very high indeed. For £20 less, the Corsair K70 RGB can be yours, along with full RGB lighting, dedicated media buttons, a removable wrist rest and even more customisation. Admittedly, this is mainly through software, but there is a hardware mode available. However, in terms of pure plug and play solutions, the Quick Fire XTi has little competition – the Ducky Shine 4 is £20 less but has no macro functionality. As such, given the quality elsewhere, we're happy to bestow a Premium Grade award here. Note, however, that the Ducky Shine 5 RGB (as seen at Computex 2015) is also on the horizon, and will offer RGB backlighting and macros in a plug and play package as well.
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  • Design
    38 / 40
  • Features
    28 / 35
  • Value
    15 / 25

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Overall 81%
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