When we tested the CM Storm QuickFire Pro keyboard, we pointed out that it was a simple model, with neither extra USB ports nor programmable functions, and it had only a few illuminated keys. Now the company is releasing the Trigger, which is basically a more advanced version of the QuickFire Pro, with everything that was missing previously. Let’s describe the product and then evaluate the new features.
Just like the QuickFire Pro, the Trigger catches the eye with its sturdiness. It weighs 2.78 Lbs (1.3 kg), so it doesn’t move on the table. Although it keeps the all too familiar rectangular shape of a keyboard, the peripheral has an unusual outline, with a dented grip on the top and a small recess below the arrows, just to make things more interesting design-wise. It’s a beautiful product, resembling a military keyboard, like an armored laptop used on the battlefield. The keys and border are black against a dark gray base.
On the left side there are five macro keys. Beside the left Control button, there is a button with the CM Storm symbol where the Windows button would be. This new key can be pressed at the same time with the F1-F12 function keys to run specific features (we’ll talk more about that later).
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On the right upper edge, the user can find four connections: two USB ports (to hook up other peripherals like a gaming mouse or a digital headset), a mini-USB/USB plug, and a DC 5V power connector for an external power adapter (not included) to complement the energy from the two 5V USB ports.
The underside features six rubber feet and two plastic feet that can be flipped down. The CM Trigger comes with a detachable wrist rest with a rubberized coating that can be attached by three flimsy latches. Attaching it is a bit tricky and gives the impression that the latches will break, so the user has to be careful. Unlike the QuickFire Pro, there are no cutouts to help route the cable on the underside.
The peripheral comes with a cloth wrapped and gold plated mini-USB/USB cable. There is no installation CD, so the user must download the configuration software from CM Storm’s website.
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The CM Trigger features Cherry MX mechanical switches. Depending on the model, the product can have one of four Cherry MX switches available: Black, Blue, Brown or Red. The box is labeled to indicate which one is present; in our case, we got the Brown switches.
Let’s review the explanation about this technology we gave when we tested the CM QuickFire Pro: the different colors mean the type of feedback (force or linear), the actuation force (from 45 g to 60 g) and if the keys are silent or clicky. Force feedback means your finger actually feels a small resistance when pressing a key; a linear feedback offers a smoother typing experience. The Cherry MX Brown has an actuation force of 45 g with force feedback, and its clicking is silent (when compared with other mechanical keyboards, because it’s still noisier than a membrane keyboard).
The illumination can be controlled by simultaneously pressing the CM Storm button and the F1-F4 keys. The user can choose from full illumination to a “gamer mode” with only some specific keys being lit (the macro keys, WASD cluster, and the arrows). With a DC 5V power adapter plugged in, the Trigger can have two additional illumination levels. Through the same combination of CM Storm button plus the F5-F11 keys, the user has access to the multimedia controls.
Figure 8: Minimum number of illuminated keys
Figure 9: Maximum number of illuminated keys
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The CM Trigger comes with an internal memory of 64 kB capable of storing five different profiles, from games to applications. That means that the user’s preferences are kept safe even if he or she changes computers. Through the CM Storm application, it’s possible to assign new functions to all the keys of the peripheral; for that task, the interface is simple and interesting. The key is not only selected on a map of the whole keyboard, but is also featured in a separate window to make the configuration easier.
Figure 10: Single key configuration
However, the macro programming doesn’t feature the same friendly interface. Although the Trigger features only five individual macro keys, the user can actually record ten more and assign them to any key available, so there are 15 macros linked to each profile, or 65 overall.
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The Trigger catches the eye on the tabletop. By being heavy and illuminated, it’s a solid and attractive peripheral. If space is not a concern, we recommend attaching the wrist rest because the Trigger is somewhat thick. The mechanical keys are very accurate. The anti-ghosting technology can register six strokes at once without messing up the individual signals. On the virtual battlefield, we ended up dying by our own mistakes, not due to the hardware error. The keyboard’s response is excellent.
The huge amount of configuration is a great feature of the product, which can be used to run applications and game functions throughout the whole keyboard. The decision to have only five individual keys for macro recording kept the keyboard’s body on a regular scale, so it does not feature too many extra keys all jumbled together. Also, the macro keys were put in a perfect spot, easily reachable, but not so close as to be hit by mistake (something that happened with other models that clustered several macro keys together). In addition, the user gets to choose the other keys that he or she wants to assign to the other ten available macros per profile.
We missed individual multimedia keys. Since they are associated with the regular Function keys, the user also has to press the CM Storm button for them to work, something that is neither very practical nor quick.
Since life is not just fun and games (unfortunately), we needed to take the Trigger into consideration as a keyboard for just typing. In this case, we have to point out that a mechanical keyboard resembles those clunky old typewriters with some loud clicking (our virtual squad mates heard the keyboard over the teleconference), and the force feedback effect can be tiresome. It’s up to the user if he or she will want to keep an older membrane keyboard on the side just for work and typing.
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The main specifications for the CM Storm Trigger keyboard include:
- Mechanical keyboard
- Partial and full illumination
- Polling rate: 1 ms
- Switch options: Cherry MX Black, Blue, Brown or Red
- Dimensions: 18.7 x 6.5 x 0.98 inches (475 x 162 x 25 mm)
- Weight: 2.78 Lbs (2.3 kg)
- User profiles: Five
- Internal memory: 64 KB
- More information: https://www.cmstorm.com/en/products/keyboards/Trigger/
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 120
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The CM Trigger is a great mechanical keyboard for FPS players. It features full illumination, a precise response (as befitting a mechanical keyboard), and spare USB ports. The software is good for reprogramming regular keys, but the interface for macro recording is not that friendly. The product is beautiful and robust on the table.
- High precision mechanical keys
- Controllable illumination, from partial to full
- Sturdy body sits very stably on the table
- Two additional USB ports
- Well-located macro keys
- Detachable wrist rest with rubberized surface
- No indvidual multimedia keys
- Unfriendly macro programming in an otherwise good configuration software
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