Getting all touchy-feely
The Trigger has a nice feel to it. CM Storm product designers obviously spent a lot of time finding the right plastics and surfaces to use. The palm rest and keys are a nice matte finish and the frame around the keys is soft-touch plastic (almost feeling rubberized). I’m a huge fan of matte and soft-touch finishes, and it’s apparent that anything glossy is passé in the world of computer peripherals now. Why open up a nice new toy only to see it get scratches on it right away? And after a month of typing on this model, I haven’t seen any sign that the key tops will wear out soon – each key is made of translucent plastic with a black coating over the top. While the key coating seems durable, the soft-touch plastic around the frame appears to be wearing off, so you might want to take care of this keyboard if you want to maintain its looks. Unfortunately this is something that plagues most products with matte finishes.
Light ’em up!
Key illumination is important on the Trigger, since it’s the only CM Storm keyboard to have this feature on all keys (other boards only have WASD and other important keys lit up). Key lighting is mostly even since each key is lit by its own LED, but keys with extra symbols on them are not completely illuminated due to where the LED is positioned under each key. The cool font used on the keys is accented by five levels of lighting. Only four levels are available unless you use a 5-volt power supply to boost the light (though the fourth level is so bright I’m not sure I need to see how much brighter it gets!) To round out the backlight features, the Trigger has three lighting modes – a gentle pulsing glow, the four levels, and a gaming mode which only illuminates the WASD, macro, and arrow keys.
Gaming is obviously the most important thing you’ll do with this product. After testing it for several weeks with some of the latest games out there, I can say that it’s definitely a winner in that department. Battlefield 3 was a joy to play. Not only were the keys extremely responsive, but the giant palm rest really helped to support my wrist during those long flying sessions, where precision and stamina in fingers are important! Next up was Skyrim, a favourite RPG of mine and a good test of keys beyond WASD. Having to quickly react to attacks with potions and magic is essential. Thankfully, the keys are spaced perfectly enough that you won’t fumble for the one you want.
Finally, I jumped back in to World of Warcraft for a few days. It’s been a while since I played it regularly, but I knew it would be a good test of nearly everything on this keyboard. WoW has a habit of forcing you to use extensive macros (or face total destruction) so I set up a few and fought my way through Azeroth. As in Skyrim, it was very easy to feel for the key you wanted without taking your eyes off the screen, and the macros were perfectly executed every time. Sometimes you need to just mash two or three spells and potions at once, and the Trigger had no issues with handling multiple simultaneous keystrokes.
It slices, it dices, it types essays!
Everyday typing is important – you might spend just as much time chatting or writing on your PC as you do gaming. The Trigger is comfortable to type on, and many people have recommended the MX Brown switches as the best balance between tactile gaming keys, and soft, fatigue-free typing keys. I didn’t have any trouble getting up to my usual high-WPM on it though, since the keys are a good size and are placed evenly. All of the shift, control and alt keys are well sized, too. I find that some keyboards throw a wrench in to your typing and gaming habits by giving you a smaller than average shift key, but not on the Trigger. The included palm rest is about four inches deep across the entire keyboard, making it very comfortable for your wrists.
There are many gaming keyboards out there (dozens, from almost every major peripheral manufacturer), so it’s tough to choose the right one. Other competitors to the Trigger are the Logitech G510 ($129, lots of features, LCD screen, great design, but poor key performance when gaming due to conventional non-mechanical keys), Corsair Vengeance K60 ($109, Cherry MX Red switches aren’t for everyone, but it has cool features for FPS gamers), and the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate ($129, mechanical keys, but with a tired design that leaves you wanting something more innovative). At $119 the Trigger is good value for anyone wanting to get in to the Cherry keyswitch world.
After using the CM Storm Trigger for a while now,I may not go back to my old reliable G15. Purpose-made key switches make a huge difference in typing and gaming, and the MX Brown keys met my requirements for comfort and playability. Ultimately personal preference and gameplay style will dictate what kind of switch works for you and it is strongly advised that you go out and try these out for yourself at your local brick and mortar.
A lot has changed in the last few years when it comes to gaming keyboards, so it’s tough for any company to come late to the game. But it appears CM Storm has carved themselves out a spot in spite of this. Thanks to a good balance of design, utility, convenience, and performance, they’ve come up with a solid competitor in the CM Storm Trigger that is easy to recommend to gamers shopping at or around this price point.
- Quality construction and materials
- Spacious palm rest
- Bright backlight with lots of brightness adjustment
- Fantastic software with complete control over keys
- Responsive high-quality Cherry MX Brown switches
- Detachable braided USB cable for safer transport
- Optional 5-volt input for juicing up hungry USB devices but…
- …no included or available first-party 5-volt adapter!
- Backlight doesn’t completely illuminate some special keys
- Detachable cable jack could become loose over time.
Overall Rating: 8.5 / 10.0
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