In order to put the keyboard through its paces, I used it for a week as my primary keyboard. I write a lot as I’m a blogger / social media junkie by trade, so I’ll be covering the keyboard’s typing performance as well as its gaming chops. The games I used were:
- StarCraft II – Real time strategy (RTS)
- League of Legends – Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
- DOTA 2 – MOBA
- RAGE – Shooter (FPS)
- Quake Live – FPS
- World of Warplanes – Flight MMO
In games, I found the Cherry MX Black mechanical switches served the keyboard well.
In RTS titles like StarCraft II, you need to be able to maintain a high level of accuracy across a wide range of keys, as you build units, move the camera and issue attack orders. Black keys do well here, as their relatively high actuation force makes it difficult to press a key accidentally. The lack of a tactile bump or audible click means that you do have a little less feedback about whether you’ve pressed a key or not, but also makes double tapping easier – something that’s key at high levels of competitive StarCraft II. Depending on your level of play, you may find Brown or Blue switches more suitable.
In MOBA and FPS titles, the emphasis is more on speed as you’re working across a smaller set of keys – your character’s abilities in a MOBA and the traditional movement and weapon keys in a shooter. Black switches are less ideal here, as the stiffer keys mean that it takes a bit more time and force to react. If you’re primarily a fan of these genres, then a lighter Brown or Red switch may be preferable.
It is worth noting that the lack of a numberpad makes it harder to activate item abilities in some MOBA titles like DOTA 2 and Heroes of Newerth, although in League of Legends this is much less of an issue. If you tend to use the numberpad often in games, then a full format keyboard may be a better option.
I don’t tend to use macro keys, so I found their omission from this keyboard to be a non-issue. This also meant that there was no need for software when using the keyboard, which makes installation more rapid and removes a potential source of irritation.
As a gaming peripheral, the Quick Fire Rapid scores very highly – there’s nothing to really complain about here. You might prefer a different configuration (e.g. a full format instead of Tenkeyless or a different mechanical switch), but as all of these options are available you should find the Quick Fire Rapid to be an able competitor irrespective of your personal preference.
Typing and Media Keys
For typing, Black switches are much better than rubber domes but not as good as other mechanical switch keyboards. Their stiffness makes writing a slightly more tiring process, although as in gaming it’s more difficult to make a typo. If you’re prone to these, then Black switches can be a safer option than light Red or Brown switches. However, Black switches also lack the tactile and clicky feedback of Brown and Blue switches, so if typing is your primary concern then I’d still ultimately recommend Blue switches.
The media keys are a nice addition that you don’t find on traditional Eastern mechanicals like those produced by Filco and Leopold. While the media keys are harder to use than the dedicated keys often found on Western keyboards as they’re doing double duty with the function keys, they’re still much faster than having to move your hand to the speaker knob or alt-tab into your music player. They couldn’t really be improved without altering the format of the keyboard, so there are no real complaints here.