User Experience, Performance, Conclusion
The User Experience
The version of the QuickFire Rapid that we reviewed features Cherry MX blue switches. There are two other versions with Black and Brown switches. They were available in limited quantities earlier this year, but are now in stock at Newegg and sold for the same price as the Blue model.
The Cherry Blue is actually unusual for a gaming keyboard. The Blue is a tactile, clicky switch which is generally regarded as the one to buy if you’re interested in the best typing feel. They’re a bit different from the Blacks and Browns because the actuation point is not the same as the release point. This is part of why they have significant tactile feel but it can cause trouble with frequent double-tapping of keys.
It wasn’t hard for me to produce this issue when gaming. I loaded up Diablo 3 and went to town, acting as if I’m not the rather lazy player I really am but instead a pro. Repeated, rapid taps of the same key became confusing, as it’s not entirely clear when you have fully released the key from the previous tap. As far as I can tell there is no problem with keystrokes being registered, nor any disadvantage in terms of speed, but the feel does not inspire confidence.
On the other hand, the Cherry Blue is certainly superior for typing. I’ve used the Browns before and my previous keyboard was a SteelSeries 7G, which uses the Black. Both of these keys suffer from a lack of clicky-ness and low tactile feel. The Blues are loud and clickly but don’t require any additional force to activate, making them a true pleasure.
This doesn’t mean you can’t game on the Blues, however. If you are not a hardcore gamer you are unlikely to notice the issues with the Blue. Even if you are a hardcore gamer, the Blues can be used without causing detriment to your gaming performance. But you may feel the connection between what is happening on-screen and what’s happening under your fingers isn’t as tight of an experience as it could be.
When connected by USB the keyboard will detect up to six key presses before it reaches its limit. When the seventh key is depressed the first key depressed out of the six activated at that time will be automatically released. There was no measurable lag time between rapid key presses.
When connected in PS/2 mode I found the QuickFire was able to accept as many simultaneous inputs as I have fingers. As in USB mode, I could not find a measurable delay between any key presses.
The performance of this gaming keyboard is not as unique as it might have been if it was released a few years ago, but it does what it says it should. I normally run the keyboard in USB mode, as I’ve yet to encounter any issue with keys being blocked and the PS/2 adapter tends to fall out of my motherboard, which seems to have a loosely screwed together port (I’ve encountered the same problem with my SteelSeries 7G).
I’m extremely satisfied by the QuickFire Rapid. It is a simple, no-frills gaming keyboard that’s great for typists but also good for gamers. I like its simplicity, solid build quality and excellent tactile feel. I also like the fact it has no numpad, which makes my mouse more readily accessible.
This is not a keyboard for everyone because it lacks features some gamers might want. Hardcore strategy and MMO players sometimes make custom key-binds to macro keys, which this keyboard does not provide. The lack of backlighting is also notable.
Then again, this is a uniquely inexpensive keyboard. You can buy one off Amazon right now for about $65. That’s less than many high-end rubber-dome keyboards and only five dollars more than a Logitech G110, a keyboard that does have backlighting and macro keys but also has a vastly inferior typing feel. In my opinion the QuickFire Rapid is an exceptional value.
Remember, more is more. More space, more money and more features you may not utilize. I appreciate the focus of this product. Readers with a similar attitude have found their next keyboard.