Overall and Final Verdict
After spending time with the Quickfire XTi I can say that I am really impressed with the direction Cooler Master has gone. They took an already great design with the Rapid-I and slipped in a few features as well as a number pad and made it a well-rounded keyboard. The overall design is so simple that they didn’t even put a logo on the keyboard except on the bottom. That combined with thin bezels all around puts the focus on what is really important, the performance. For gamers they included full macro programing that can be done on the fly. They also let you have all of the lighting modes of the Rapid-I and add in custom lighting programing. Both the macros and the custom lighting profiles themselves aren’t that special, but to do it all without any software is.
But somehow in adding all of those features they did bring in a few downsides as well. For starters, they went with the red and blue backlighting when almost everyone else is moving to RGB setups. For me personally I would have much rather actually kept the white backlighting that matched the super clean design. The dual color backlighting also only allows you to turn the brightness down if you are running a solid red or solid blue, it would be nice if they slipped in a brightness control someplace although to be fair there isn’t much room for it with all of the other features. The other issue I have with the board is that with all of the fairly complicated features they added, namely the macro and custom LED profiles, they gave no clear instructions on how to actually use them. In fact two of the function keys that are key in setting your macros didn’t even have descriptions in the half a page guide they included. I ended up having to google search for a video that Cooler Master posted on YouTube that shows how everything works. It would be best if they took another half page and quickly explained how both of the features worked, but if nothing else including the video they made on their product page would help as well.
So I am left sitting here with this amazing keyboard that just happens to have a few small faults. For the past year I have been waiting for the full sized Rapid-I to be my main keyboard. So I had high hopes and expectations for the XTi and I thought for sure that it would end up being my main keyboard. While there isn’t anything wrong with it, the Red/Blue backlighting just doesn’t go with my desk setup. That doesn’t mean it is a bad keyboard, in fact it is far from it, I just think the Red/Blue backlighting pidgin holed them into a corner slightly where a full RGB or all white backlit XTi would appeal to more people. Speaking of appealing to people, how is the price? Well the MSRP is just under $150 although if past Cooler Master keyboards are any indication I would expect to see it for a better price online in no time. Even at the MSRP it competes well with its direction competition in the Code and the Ducky Shine 4. There is a feature gap between the XTi and the Code with the XTi coming out well ahead. The XTi is actually a LOT like the Ducky Shine 4, they both share the same backlighting colors and a lot of the same lighting effects. The XTi has the macro programmability and a thinner bezel.
Live Pricing: HERE