Yesterday SONY announced the upcoming Playstation 4 console, short of that is since we didn't actually see the console itself so my guess is that SONY has yet to decide on the design which is fine since we will not see it before this summer. Of course Microsoft is not far behind since they will also be announcing their upcoming XBOX 720 quite soon (probably by July in order to make Christmas sales). Regardless i am not much into consoles (but i do acknowledge that many are) mainly because i consider them quite inferior (specs wise) and also because i don't like gamepads/d-pads (a keyboard just doesn't feel at home when used with a console so PCs all the way for me). So because i happen to love using keyboards i always do my best to test every single one i can get my hands on and today we will be talking about the TRIGGER Mechanical Gaming Keyboard by CM STORM.
Owning the PC trenches for almost two decades, Cooler Master ’s veterans present their scars from battles past as claims of triumph over the competition. United with a new generation of eSports athletes and engineers, now marching under the flag of CM Storm, the time has come to reveal truly ground-breaking, military grade hardware for the gaming revolution. Through long-standing research programs, CM Storm is co-developed with the world’s most prolific enthusiasts and eSports prodigies. Thanks to intensive testing and continuous feedback, the CM Storm division has been able to encompass and improve upon gamers’ needs and their tough to handle scenarios. By working directly with the gaming community we have injected our Storm Tactics into each and every product we make. Storm Tactics, with a heavily dedicated focus on Strength, Security and Control, will keep your most vital gear fortified and well tuned at all times. 2008 marks a new era for Cooler Master, as its fierce Storm Gear stands ready at bay to mobilize and back up your gaming skills. CM Storm – Arming the Gaming Revolution.
Unlike most mechanical keyboards the CM STORM Trigger has one very significant advantage over them and that's the 4 different available models that use different Cherry MX switches. So CM STORM released the TRIGGER with black, blue, brown and red Cherry MX switches to cover pretty much the largest percentage of the market (mostly gamers). However there are many Mechanical keyboards out there using brown/black/blue Cherry MX Switches and since we've reviewed quite a few during the past months we decided to ask for the rarest model of them all which is the one using Cherry MX Red switches (for a change). All three versions however sport a 6 N-key rollover (up to 6 simultaneous key hits), 5 dedicated macro keys, adjustable backlighting and 64kb of onboard memory (used to store profiles). Unfortunately although we did give away three such keyboards a while back (although we never did specify the type of switches back then) it took a long time for us to actually get our hands on it but having used it for over a week we can now finally publish our review.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
CM STORM uses a rather long yet compact cardboard box to ship the TRIGGER in with a large product image at the front, the Cherry MX keys used (depends on the version) and a small window allowing a quick glance at some of the keys.
At the top we see yet another product image, this time however it showcases the USB ports, micro-USB port and the extra DC power at the front end of the keyboard.
The features are written at the rear in 8 languages and are also showcased with the help of three small pictures.
As you can see CM STORM has used two black Styrofoam spacers to keep the keyboard fixed in position.
The box contains the main keyboard, a detachable wrist rest, quickstart guide, braided USB cable with gold plated connectors and a small paper indicating that you should visit the CM STORM support page for product updates.
Without the detachable wrist rest the TRIGGER is quite small and measures just 475mm in length, 162mm in width and 25mm in height with a weight of 1260g.
Two things catch your eyes when you first see the TRIGGER, the company name placed above the Num/caps/scroll LED indicators and their logo placed right next to the esc key.
The five dedicated macro keys are placed vertically on the far left side.
The F1-F4 keys are used to enable and adjust the levels of the backlighting (always while pressing the FN key).
From F5 and up to F11 CM STORM has placed the media/volume control keys (again used by pressing the FN key at the same time).
Right in front of the company name we see two USB 2.0 ports, the micro-USB port used for the detachable USB cable and an extra DC power input in case you need the extra juice for more demanding USB peripherals (to use you need to purchase an separate DC power adapter).
Turning the keyboard over we see 6 rubber feet, 2 height adjusters and the CM STORM name.
Naturally since the TRIGGER is a rather small keyboard the height adjusters can't do miracles but we didn't come across any issues while using it.
Cherry MX Red switches were first introduced in late 2008 and although their production was halted in mid-2010 many manufacturers are still using them since they are perhaps the most ideal switch for gamers since they require less power than for example the Cherry MX Black switches making them a lot smoother and faster when pressed.
With the wrist rest mounted the width of the TRIGGER extends to 240mm.
There are two basic backlighting modes available by default, the first lights up just the CM STORM logo and the macro/WASD/arrow keys while the second lights up all keys.
THE TRIGGER CONTROL SOFTWARE
In order to make full use of every feature found on the TRIGGER mechanical gaming keyboard you need to go to the official CM STORM support page and download the latest driver/software package.
The CM STORM software checks for new OTF (on-the-fly) macros each time it starts (not just the first time).
The control software may not be the easiest to figure out but it gets the job done.
So from the control software you can assign new key functions, save them into the 5 available on-board keyboard profiles (or others stored in the computer) and also record macros using both your keyboard and mouse.
As already mentioned we used the TRIGGER for a total of 7 days and so after using it to play Aliens Colonial Marines, Planetside 2, Dragonborn DLC (for The Elder Scrolls V SKYRIM) and the closed beta of WARFRAME i can say that the TRIGGER is one of the best mechanical keyboards I’ve personally used to date and i feel that's largely due to the Cherry MX Red switches used since they may not be as inaudible as membrane ones but they are very easy to press and provide smooth feedback when doing so. My only concern is with the key caps since at least in our sample some showed signs of wear right from the box and that shouldn't be the case with any keyboard out there least of all with a mechanical one that costs quite a bit. As for the control software well it's quite easy to use when you get to know it but i would like to be able to adjust the backlighting options from within as well.
One of the things i like about Cooler Master in general is that they don't over-price their products (aside a few exceptions) and luckily for consumers the same applies for CM STORM since the TRIGGER with Cherry MX Red Switches is currently being sold for USD94.99 inside the USA (Amazon) and at around 110Euros inside the EU. Now the reason we specify that this is the price for the TRIGGER with Cherry MX Red switches (SGK-6000-GKCR1) is because the Cherry MX Black and Brown variants cost quite a bit more (around USD20/20Euros) while the Cherry MX Blue variant costs just a tad less (around USD10/10Euros). Overall CM STORM has designed and manufactured a very sturdy mechanical keyboard and although not perfect it does come with a very good price/quality/performance ratio and that's why it gets our Golden Award.
- Build Quality
- Cherry MX Red Switches (Gamer Oriented)
- 2 USB Ports
- Detachable USB Cable
- Gold Plated Braided USB Cable
- Backlighting (2 Basic Modes)
- Control Software
- 64KB Macro And Profile Memory
- DC Power Port (For Extra Power)
- Price (For Some)
- Key Cap Quality (Our Sample)
- Single USB Connector (DC power adapter required for extra USB power)