In this review I will be looking at the highly acclaimed CM Storm Trigger keyboard. For people that don’t know the CM Storm Trigger is a mechanical keyboard which means that the switches it uses are mechanical. The mechanical gaming market is very highly contested at present with excellent products available from established peripheral specific companies such as QPAD and SteelSeries.
Some of the best switches in the market are made by Cherry, I’m sure that most of you have heard of Cherry and the range of switches in question are known as the MX series and come in a variety of ranges that are defined by colour, these being:
Cherry MX Black
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX Red
Most professional gamers use the black switches and these are what we see in the Trigger that I’m reviewing but you can get the Trigger in any of the above switches. Cherry MX-Black switches are linear (non-tactile) switches, these are considered one of the best switch types for gaming. When gaming, having a tactile bump does absolutely nothing because you are going to be bottom out the key anyway. So these give you a very smooth feel. The actuation and release points are at the exact same position as well. So games that require a lot of double tapping become easier than on any other key switch. However, most people don't enjoy typing on them that much do in part, to their linear nature.
If you're a person who tends to hit a wrong key every so often while gaming, these will be beneficial in that the high actuation force will help prevent many of those accidental presses.
Okay away from the switches and mechanics and back to the CM Storm Trigger. Cooler Master (CM) list the feature set as so:
High durability gold-plated Cherry switches rated for over 50 million key strokes
Multi-media control keys for convenient sound control
5 macro keys with profile management
14K gold plated ultra-low latency USB plugs
Anti-ghosting 6 key rollover
64KB on-board memory for profile storage
Storm tactics key for deactivation of Windows key
1000Hz driverless polling / 1ms response time
Two port enhanced USB 2.0 hub
Detachable wrist rest
Braided cable for durability
Non-slip rubber coating
As expected the CM Storm Trigger has a QWERTY layout with the number pad to the traditional right side of the keyboard. The Function keys (on the top row) double as media/feature control keys and to the far left are 5 Macro keys. The whole keyboard frame is covered in a rubber coated plastic effect which is great to the touch. Also in the box is a full length and wide wrist rest, again covered in the same material as the keyboard.
As I turn the keyboard over I notice there are six rubber feet to hold the keyboard in place. There are also two fold away legs that look pretty sturdy and also have rubber feet to ensure that the Storm stays in place during gaming.
As you might have seen in the features the Trigger, as with most high end keyboards these days, also comes with a 2 port USB 2.0 hub that is on the right hand side of the keyboard there is also a mini USB port which is used to connect the keyboard to your computer.
The Trigger comes with a separate gold plated USB lead to use for the job of connecting the computer and keyboard together which is supposed to give superior latency. You will also notice a mini power port, this is only to provide the Trigger’s USB hub with more power just in case you need to plug in something that requires a lot of juice, for example, say a Saitek X52 Pro. What did infuriate me was the fact that Cool Master did not include a power adapter in the box, I was lucky enough that I own a few spares that also worked.
I felt that the Caps, Num and Scroll lock lights are not as bright as I have seen in other examples when illuminated and also when in games I can get distracted trying to see if they are on or off which is one mark against the Trigger. I would have like better positioned, larger, and brighter lock lights with this board.
Looking at the layout of the keyboard I have to say that I feel that Cool Master have got the layout right, I found that the function keys doubling up as multimedia keys were a great idea but be warned you could inadvertently close a document instead of adjusting the light of the keyboard if you miss the CM Storm emblem key, not great if you are say, half way through writing an article on said keyboard!
The macro keys are easy to use the software that comes with the Trigger allows the user to configure the keyboard to their exact needs. The first screen we are greeted with is the Storm CFG. Here we can select which profile I wish to amend.
After selecting the profile we can begin adjusting each key to our preference we which can be its default function, initiate a macro, launch a program, perform a range of functions or indeed disable that key altogether! (I have no idea why though) Every single button can be used to perform a task with no limitation.
The overall brightness of the keyboard is not bad at all and you can adjust the modes that you can have the keyboard light in using the CM Storm emblem key and the F4 function key and it comes in three setting which are on, off or gamer mode. Gamer mode is pretty cool and mostly a gimmick I guess but I’m easily impressed when it comes to gimmicks, in gamer mode the Trigger turns off all buttons bar the normal WASD and arrow keys which is quite cool.
Even in daylight, the keyboard’s illumination looked fantastic and with the lights off at night, the keyboard just simply looked amazing. I should tell you that the font used on the keys to me are a little different to the font used on other keyboards but I don’t think that it makes that much of a difference and I got use to it.
In general use I found that the CM Strom Trigger was a little difficult to get use to and is perhaps a little more difficult than other keyboards I have used thanks to the Cherry MX Black switches. You might find it a little weird especially if you are coming from a rubber domed based keyboard but after a few hours use you will begin to wonder how you did without using a mechanical keyboard as they feel just right, robust and built to last.
I have to say that when coming to typing the Trigger is not the best keyboard to use and like all MX black keyboards are designed for gaming use and after typing say a 1,000 word document it can feel like you have given your fingers the run around!
To be honest with the Cherry Black switches the CM Storm Trigger is a gaming keyboard designed to be responsive, accurate and durable thanks to the linear nature and not for just every day work use.
In stark contrast to using the Trigger for everyday use let’s have a look how the Trigger performs when using it to game. The switches coupled with backlighting and macro keys means the CM Storm Trigger was just awesome to use while playing Black Ops 2 and L4D2.I have to say that I have never used the Macro keys so I really can’t comment on how they performed during use in games but I understand why some gamers use them.
In conclusion the Trigger is a solid gaming keyboard that just oozes quality and craftsmanship, you can tell that Cooler Master has put a lot of thought and effort into creating this keyboard and they have done an excellent job. As for durability, there is a reason that Cherry MX guarantee their key switches for some 50 million key presses so you can be assured this keyboard will take quite a beating and last you for a long, long time.
If you are looking at using the Trigger for everyday use you may waste its potential, I would class this keyboard for gaming and at a price tag of £100 it's expensive but worth it. I have to say that my personal favourite switches are the Cherry MX Red but saying that I have a CM Storm Trigger sitting on my desk which I bought after using one recently at a friend’s house I can’t give a gaming keyboard a bigger buy it now than that!