April 20, 2014

Quick Review: Cooler Master CM Storm Trigger Z

A sample unit of the CM Storm Trigger Z arrived at our doorstep recently and it is said to be the replacement for the CM Storm Trigger (pretty soon). To our surprise, appearance of the Trigger Z resembles its predecessor, the Trigger in many ways and this leads to only one question - what features has been added or taken away? 

The CM Storm Trigger Z is available in 3 type Cherry MX switch - Red, Blue and Brown, with the SRP of MYR395.00. 

 476mm x 253mm x 38mm
Cherry MX Switches
Red - Red LED backlight
Blue - Blue LED backlight
Brown - White LED backlight
On-board Memory
Key Features
  • Fully programmable and stores up to 5 Profiles and 75 Macros on the Keyboard (15 Macros on each profile)
  • Powerful Rapid Fire Engine for faster hardware Macro playback 
  • 5 easily accessible Macro keys as well as Multimedia and Win-lock shortcuts 
  • On the fly Macro recording – record and use key combos without leaving the game 
  • Profile switch key-combo - Switch between keyboard profiles within an instant 
  • Detachable wrist rest, braided USB cable and gold plated plugs 
  • Online keyboard firmware updates 
  • 64 KRO - 64 simultaneous key presses


As this is a sample unit, some content might not be available but to our knowledge, the official packaging should come with content as following:
- CM Storm Trigger Z
- Detachable arm rest
- Detachable gold plated USB-to-USB cable
- A ring type key cap puller
- User's Manual

A closer view on the USB cable, the braided gold plated USB connector with CM Storm logo. As you may have already know, braided cables is more durable and less prone to damage due to excessive pulling and the implementation on gaming peripherals has been notably common nowadays. 

The CM Storm Trigger Z unit we have here is the blue switch version. The keyboard is very sturdy as it has a metal support plate to give the keyboard a better support, less prone to flexing. If you did notice, the metal plate lying underneath the key caps is actually blue in color. The main enclosure is treated with rubberized coating as well, so do take care of it well if you wish to avoid it turning sticky.

The function keys which can be activated by pressing the combination of FN key with either one of the function keys at the same time. 

Macro keys helps making your life easier, but do note that it doesn't comes with any function right out of the box. You can program these macro keys to perform almost any desired task with the help of the CM Storm Trigger Z software.

The noticeable different and rather disappointing - unlike the CM Storm Trigger, the CM Storm Trigger Z had the mini USB port from its predecessor replaced to a USB 2.0 port for connection to your PC, but it no longer comes with the 2 extra USB 2.0 port and the 5V DC connector port.

Other than the aesthetic engraved CM Storm logo, there's 6 large rubber feet at the back of the keyboard to provide excellent grip to your desk, preventing any accidental slippage in the heat of battle against your opponent.

The included arm rest is treated with rubberized coating for an improved experience to the touch and multiple large rubber feet to improve the grip to your desk. The only thing we don't like about rubberized surface is that it needs to be taken care properly, otherwise it will worn out and turns unpleasantly sticky - which is not a good thing.

The arm rest can be easily installed and removed but the downside is that we've noticed is that the clip on arm rest doesn't comes with any type of structure to secure it to the keyboard, not to mention that the clip on structure is prone to damage if it's not taken care in a proper way.

The arm rest does provide better comfort for long term usage.

Cherry MX switches with 3mm LED mounted on is the key to invididual key LED backlit. 

One of the characteristics of Costar built mechanical keyboard is the metal wire stabilizer which can be found on mechanical keyboards OEM by Costar - Filco and Rosewill is among the popular choices of mechanical keyboard from Costar.

A slight comparison on the key cap - CM Storm MECH (left), CM Storm Trigger Z (right). Quality wise, the MECH key cap appears to be much superior as the finishing of the paint job is much better compared to the Trigger Z key cap.

The LED backlit is available on each and every keys on the Trigger Z upon pressing the turn on backlit function key, except for the windows key lock indicator F12 key that on lights up when the windows key lock is triggered. 

There's 5 level of brightness for the keyboard which you can adjust to suits your needs, except for the windows key lock indicator (F12) and the indicator LED that stays at the same brightness all the time. It'll be  great if the brightness of these LED can be adjusted as well.

Keyboard Software

The interface of the keyboard software is pretty simple and straight forward we'd say. To setup a macro, simply click on any key on the keyboard image and you will be prompted with a list of macro options on the top right of the interface:

  • Default key will restore the targeted key to its original function
  • Single key allows you to set a targeted key to a single key press, pretty similar to the warkey concept used by DotA players.
  • Advanced allows you to set a targeted key to perform common tasks such as volume up/down, minimize to desktop, etc.
  • No function will remove the programmed macro on a targeted key
  • Launch program allows you to set the targeted key to launch certain programs when pressed

You can program up to 15 macros on each profile, making the total of 75 macros available.

At the settings tab, you can configure at such where the profile is applied based on the application launched.
The interesting part here is that the macro profiles are stored on the on-board memory of the keyboard, meaning that you don't have to reconfigure the macros when the keyboard is plugged into a different PC.

The software also allow you to backup your macro profiles to your PC. This is very convenient in such where you need to switch to a different profile that doesn't exists in the keyboard memory without having to delete the existing macro profile that you still need for other purposes.

The macro recording function of the software allows you to record a combination of key press which can be then assigned to a targeted key, this can be recorded on the fly without having to leave your current task/ gameplay just to record the macro. This is very ideal for fast paced actions such as buying weapons in Counter Strike, DotA, etc where the actions are triggered by shortcuts.

The key rollover test is as usual, the total amount of key press that can be registered is observed with the help of Aqua's KeyTest utility. Although we weren't able to simulate the advertised 64 KRO due to our lack of fingers, but that pretty much shows the impressive amount of keys that can be registered before signal blocking occurs (aka Ghosting).

Final Thoughts
SRP of 395 MYR might be a little pricey but the CM Storm Trigger Z has been a good solid gaming keyboard in overall - metal support plate to reduce flexing, 64 KRO which is plenty much enough to even gamers, on-board memory to store up to 5 macro profiles etc. Still, CM's decision on removing the USB 2.0 hub for this revision is left questionable as it is a very useful function for users to access their USB devices easier.


  • Solid & Sturdy built quality
  • Adjustable brightness of the backlit LED
  • Durable braided and gold plated USB cables
  • Detachable arm rest
  • Large rubber feet providing exceptionally well grip to the desk
  • Macro profiles are stored on the keyboard, works on any PC
  • On the fly macro recording function
  • Simple but useful keyboard software


  • Doesn't inherit the USB 2.0 hubs from it's predecessor
  • Plastic clip on structure on the arm rest might break if not handled properly - it's plastic
  • Rubberized surface gets sticky over time if not taken care properly 
  • Unclean paint job on certain key caps
  • Rather pricey

  At the end of this review, the CM Storm Trigger Z is awarded with our Silver Award.