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November 22, 2014

Unboxing & Review: CM Storm Suppressor


Cooler Master CM Storm adopted mechanical keyboard as their gaming keyboards since QuickFire Rapid back in 2012, until the very recent Novatouch TKL that uses Topre's Capacitive Switches prized by many of the keyboard enthusiasts around the globe.

It's rare to see Cooler Master CM Storm to have a non-mechanical gaming keyboard when almost every keyboard in its gaming keyboard line up are made up of mechanical keyboards - well of course, except for the Devastator and Octane gaming combo set.

We'll be taking a closer look at Cooler Master CM Storm's latest gaming keyboard named Suppressor, courtesy of Cooler Master Malaysia. With not further adieu, let's find out if the Cooler Master CM Storm Suppressor is a keyboard that's worth money spending on.

Specifications


Unboxing

The packaging is rather simple and we don't see any feature of the keyboard being listed anywhere  at the front. Also, the usual CM Storm logo that is always positioned right next to Cooler Master logo isn't there. 


At the back of the box, you'll find the feature available briefly introduced. 

Accessories

The accessories included will be a plastic armrest, detachable USB cable and user's guide on the feature and installation of the armrest.

Closer Look

The keyboard has an irregular shape that somewhat resembles the shape of a P90 sub machine gun.


Macro Keys

The similar macro keys found on models like Trigger, Trigger-Z and Mech, but this time it's implemented on a rubber done switch keyboard. These macro keys can be programmed to perform tasks such as complex keystrokes or program launching with the help of the software available - we'll talk about this later.

Function Keys


The FN key used to trigger alternate function of the function key F1 ~ F7. We did notice that the right FN key is the only FN key that will trigger the alternate function while the left FN key remain as a Windows key for some reason.


From left to right: F1 - Switch ON/OFF the keyboard backlighting feature, F2 - reduce brightness, F3 - increase brightness, F4 - mute system volume.


From left to right: F5 - Decrease volume, F6 - Increase volume, F7 - Disable windows key.


The function keys located above the numpad area are the only function key that doesn't requires holding down the FN key to trigger.

Keycaps

For longer keycaps like modifier key, space bar key uses metal wire stabilizer to ensure the stable and smooth travel of these larger keys. The space bar key comes with 2 pieces of spring to enhance the landing of the space bar key, giving a soft landing experience when bottoming the space bar key.


The keycap has the same structure used on Devastator and Octane - no Cherry MX keycaps!



At the back of the keyboard, you'll find the mini USB port for the detachable USB cable to plug into.



Moving on to the bottom of the keyboard, you'll find 4 large rubber feet and the stylish honeycomb design for your eye pleasure.


At the bottom of the keyboard you'll find these large rubber feet that helps to provide better grip and prevent your keyboard from sliding away during intense gaming session.


The keyboard feet comes with rubber feet attached as well for the same purpose.


Armrest


The armrest that comes with the keyboard can be installed and removed in the time of need, not to mention that the keyboard looks better this way.


It comes with a total of 5 rubber feet to further enhance the grip of your keyboard to the table.



Somehow, the armrest support has to be secured with screws and the plastic support that seems to be very fragile and prone to breaking under rough handling.


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 remap targeted key to a single key press, pretty similar to the warkey key mapping utility used by some 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 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.


Key Rollover Test

While we did noticed that there are limitation for certain key combination, Cooler Master has the key matrix of the Suppressor optimized for the default key configuration of most games that we've tried:
  • FPS - Counter Strike 1.6, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Far Cry 3, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4
  • RTS - Warcraft III, Starcraft, Starcraft II, Red Alert 2
  • Other - Tomb Raider, DJMax Trilogy, O2Jam


Thoughts and Verdict
Awesome will not be the suitable word to describe the Suppressor if you're fond to fancy mechanical keyboards or keyboard with rainbowish back lighting effect like the CM Storm Octane. It's true that the Suppressor is no where near to a mechanical keyboard nor a fancy keyboard with multicolored LED back lighting, but the functionality and quality of a gaming keyboard still shines from within - game optimized key matrix, disable Windows key and the underrated macro keys. 

We've seen people who bought keyboards with fancy macro keys that cost more than RM300 but never actually used any of the macro keys available. If the dedicated macro keys interest you more than any mechanical keyboard or fancy LED back lighting, paying RM199 for the Cooler Master CM Storm Suppressor doesn't seems to be a bad idea at all.  


Pros
  • Programmable macro keys
  • Media keys for music and video playback
  • Comes with an optional armrest
  • Optimized key matrix that works well on most mainstream games (FPS, RTS)
  • Detachable USB cable for easy storage
Cons
  • The gap of the armrest somewhat makes typing uncomfortable overtime (extends from spacebar to numpad 0)
  • The armrest support is pretty fragile

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