What is it?
While we have just covered the advantages of using a dedicated mechanical gaming keyboard, we thought it would be a good opportunity to review one such device. The TK Stealth by CM Storm is a compact gaming mechanical keyboard, with all the keys having side on letters printed on to give you that ‘Stealth’ feeling. Heavy and steady, this keyboard boasts a square design to give you both style and functionality.
Look and feel
We have already mentioned that this is heavy and square. However, being heavy is good in the world of gaming, as it allows you to be forceful with your keyboard without it moving about.
A square design with a beautiful black finish gives you that ‘dark’ feel, and the fact that all the letters and numbers are actually printed on the side mean that all you see is black.
Some of the keys show off grey lettering, and that means that they are the ones that light up, such as function key, F12 key, or the cursor keys. There is also a CM Storm logo in the corner right next to indications for Caps, Nums and Scroll Lock.
The layout itself is UK QWERTY, but is compact meaning that you do not have traditional cursor keys or your navigating editing keys such as Home, End, Page Up, etc. This means that you share the cursor keys with the Num Pad on the side of the keyboard. Hidden in the Num Pad is also the Scroll Lock Key.
Underneath the keyboard is a connector to attach the cable, and little guides to lay it on either side or through the middle.
The cable itself is braided, and 1.8m long, giving you plenty of room to place this as and how you like.
- Mechanical Brown CHERRY MX switches with a lifespan of over 50 million key presses
- Compact layout with integrated Num pad block
- NKRO over USB for unlimited simultaneous keystrokes
- Embedded steel plate for maximum stability and durability
- Super Grip pads and Keyboard stand-offs with rubber feet
- Windows keys can be disabled
- 7 easy-access multimedia shortcuts
- Detachable braided USB cable and cable routing groves at the underside of the keyboard
The layout itself is unique to this range of keyboards. While it being compact has its advantages, such as if you are sharing a workspace, or in a gaming cafe, the unique placement of the cursor keys takes some getting used to. In fact a lot of getting used to. Also, having to share the Num Pad with them wasn’t very pleasing. However, if you persist and game/type enough, you will get used to it. There is a learning curve there.
Also to be noted is that while this is a compact layout, it does not follow the same layout most laptops have.
Light up – a bit!
Backlit keys are all the rage with keyboards these days. You can read all about in the ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, but more importantly, they have a purpose. Most gaming takes place while your parents think you are asleep, or your partner thinks you nodded off while you were busy at work. A backlit keyboard helps you achieve this ‘stealth’, and for this purpose the backlit keys are quite important.
The TK Stealth does a bit of that, but not enough. The cursor keys light up when Num Lock is disengaged, and the Function and the Windows Lock key light up, but that is it.
Add this to the awkward placement of the text on the side of the keys, and it may become a bit difficult to use it unless you are used to the layout.
Text on the side of the keys
Do you own an old keyboard? You’ll probably find keys such as ‘E’ or ‘A’ are slowly fading out. The ‘Space Bar’ also tends to have marks. Having the text on the side means no matter how madly you hammer your keyboard, it will never fade away.
The keys… the keys… the keys!
At the end of the day, a mechanical keyboard is all about the performance of the keys. Cherry MX switches mean that you have over 50 million operations, and most importantly, the keys are designed to give you a great feedback, and avoid the subtle vibrations and shocks you get while using a traditional membrane style keyboard. It may take a little getting used to, but soon you find that you are typing away in relish. It just feels good, you know.
I have used the keys to write long emails, articles (including this one), and it just works very well. Once you start typing, you tend to forget that you can not really see the letters, and everything falls into place just as it is supposed to.
It does, however, feel, that you have to apply a bit more power to type. This is probably because your fingers have to press a little more than traditional keyboard.
Gaming, of course, works even better. The fact that it can handle an increasing number of keystrokes all at once means that you won’t miss out on your experience. Bash the keys, hammer on them, or just be subtle. This keyboard is designed for everything from delicacies to abuse.
Media keys are useful, but more useful is the ability to disable the Windows key while playing.
More information, including buying information, can be found at CM Storm’s website:
The gaming performance is great, as is the typing experience, but the compact layout leaves a little to be desired. Having said that, this is one of the better priced keyboards out there, and a good one to start your mechanical keyboard collection.Google+