Even without the included wrist rest, the Cooler Master Storm Trigger is quite an imposing device. Making it seem even bigger is its aggressive silver-and-black color scheme, which causes the keyboard to stand out in stark relief to its surroundings. Most consumers will either find the design very appealing or not at all to their liking, with very little room for middle ground. In fact, the aesthetics arguably have more in common with that of the HAF line than those of the Storm line.
While the Storm Trigger may be a stylistically polarizing piece of kit, one quality that all users will appreciate is its durability. The top and sides are entirely covered in a non-slip rubber coating, and the whole keyboard has a robust construction which puts most competitors to shame. Since gaming enthusiasts—especially those who regularly attend LAN events—aren’t known for being easy on their equipment, this increased ruggedness may be enough to overcome its “unique” appearance.
Helping to overcome the love/hate aesthetics is the inclusion of two USB 2.0 ports, which will enable you to attach everything from storage to headset options without the need for another easily accessible USB port on your system. It is unfortunate that Cooler Master include USB 3.0 compatibility as the added bandwidth would have come in handy when the ports are being utilized by high-bandwidth devices. Considering the relatively slow adoption rate of USB 3.0, this isn’t necessarily a major concern, but be aware that you don’t want to overload the single USB 2.0 uplink. Doing so may result in random delays between when you execute a command and when the system receives it. For example, attaching an external drive enclosure could result in additional keyboard latency while transferring a file to the device.
Next to the two standard USB ports is the mini-USB port used to actually connect this peripheral to your system. The nicely braided cord itself is easily replaceable with any USB cable. However, Cooler Master is quick to note that if you must replace the cable, you should use only a high-grade one. A lower quality cable may not adequately handle the bandwidth demands this keyboard can place upon it. The 5-volt DC port next to the USB ports is for providing additional power to the Trigger should it be needed.
Unlike most wrist rests, which are meant to be used in between bursts of typing, this one is angled so as to place your hand in a comfortable and natural position for typical FPS gaming scenarios. If your genre of choice involves more than the WASD or arrow keys, however, the wrist rest will not seem nearly as comfortable.
The five macro keys positioned on the left edge of the Trigger are easily reached without moving your fingers from their proper WASD position. Sadly, the reason you will be able to do this is the lone row of five macro keys, which for serious gamers is far too few. Luckily, any key can be reprogrammed to execute a macro. This means you should never be lacking in macro possibilities, but it might take some creative key reassignment via the software profile editor to come up with macros that are both easily actuated and don’t interfere with your games’ various key combinations.
While we are not generally lovers of backlighting, we did find this feature on the Storm Trigger to be well thought out. It’s actually a gaming enhancement tool rather than just a flashy gimmick.
You can choose three brightness levels varying from dim to moderately bright, with two even brighter options available if you plug in a 5v adapter (which is sold separately). You can also choose between having the entire keyboard light up like a red light bulb, pulse like a beating heart, or stay completely dark; or you can have only the macro, arrow and WASD keys illuminated. This last option really facilitates proper finger placement in a darkened room. All you need do is cover the lights with your fingers for your right or left hand to be in the proper FPS gaming position. We found ourselves opting for this option more and more as time went by.
While all these features certainly impressed us, one thing that failed to delight was the lack of dedicated multimedia keys. Even though this keyboard has a very large footprint, Cooler Master didn’t make room for a feature many consumers would take for granted, opting instead to make the function keys pull double duty.
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