You may remember a while back we reviewed Sandberg’s first-ever mechanical keyboard, the Hailstorm. We even did a video review of it which you can find HERE. Well, now we’ve got our hands on their latest edition to their keyboard range, the new FireStorm mechanical keyboard. But how will it fare to its predecessor? Let’s find out.
Build Quality & Design – 4.9/5
In terms of build quality and design, the FireStorm performs really well. Similar to its predecessor, the keyboard is built on a heavy metal plate with foldable feet at the rear to allow you to adjust its height. leaving it feeling like a solid bit of kit that isn’t going to slide around your desk as you smash down on the keys. It also contains the same number of mechanical keys, which is 104, and all still come with RGB lighting underneath, as well as some nice sidelights too. In fact, the only thing that doesn’t light up now is the Sandberg logo. Much has been done to improve the keyboard’s design aspects than taking that one light away though.
The FireStorm feels less bulky than the Hailstorm. In fact, you could say it has had a bit of a hair cut. Just a little shaved off the sides and quite a bit chopped off the top, which previously only housed the logo that I mentioned above. And we have to say, the new look is much more pleasing on the eye and I’d also say more professional too. But that’s not all, the wrist rest that was at the bottom of the keyboard is no longer a solid fixing. Instead, it can fold away underneath for those who prefer to use it without and is just as easily flipped back out. Showing they really have thought about how they can develop their existing products to take them to the next level.
Comfort – 4.6/5
In terms of comfort, the keyboard scores quite highly again. The keys are well-spaced and are raised at a comfortable height, which as mentioned above, can be adjusted using the foldable feet underneath. Add to that you now have a more streamlined design, the keyboard takes up less space, and because the cable supplied is also of a decent length, it means you’re not going to have to strain yourself stretching to reach for it.
Another reason why the keyboard’s comfortable to use is the foldaway wrist rest we mentioned above. It’s great for those who need additional support, but also great for those of you who don’t want it as you can just tuck it away. The only downside to it maybe is it could be a little longer because despite being comfortable to use, I feel as if though at times, my wrist doesn’t always fit on that well. But maybe that’s just my chunky wrists and the way that I type. You could also maybe add some gel cushioning on there too, but that may take away the ability for the wrist rest to foldaway underneath.
Functionality – 5/5
In terms of functionality, the keyboard performs really well again. I’ve tested it out for numerous things including writing reviews and news, as well as testing it on some of the latest games. I didn’t play many too high intensive games myself as my PC would probably have a heart attack, but I did lend it to a friend to be used on the likes of GTA V, CS:GO and Fortnite and we both agreed that he keys were very responsive. The reason for why they’re so responsive is because they’re using Outemu Blue mechanical switches for the keys, very similar to the way the Cherry MX Blues work, which is what some of the top keyboards on the market are using. The other benefit of the Outemu Blue switches is they sound amazingly clicky, however, they’re not overly loud that I’m getting shouted at to be quiet because the other half can only hear the click, click, click.
When it comes to setting your keyboard up, you can just plug-and-play if you wish as the drivers will install automatically. You can even change many of the light settings on the keyboard itself too. But for those who are looking for more customisation, there is software that comes with the keyboard to allows you to set it up how you want. From changing the RGB lighting so it can perform my favourite ripple effect to making certain keys stand out from the rest, and even remapping buttons or setting up macros to certain keys. The possibilities are almost endless. Almost, because I still haven’t found a way for it to get up and go make me a cup of tea, but who knows what the future holds.
Value for Money – 5/5
In terms of value for money, Sandberg always scores well. And this time it’s for more than the simple reason they offer a 5-year guarantee with all their products. It’s perhaps the most impressive feat that Sandberg has accomplished with the FireStorm which is they have reduced the price considerably from the £96.99 of the Hailstorm to a low £72.99. And that’s despite enhancing the design, adding a foldaway wrist rest and maintaining the high quality the Hailstorm was known for. Compare this to some of the other keyboards on the market of similar or better spec, and you’re saving nearly £30 because you could easily spend over £100 for something as good as this. And there is also a key removal tool thrown in for free as well. I mean most do have these but I have known some to leave them out too.
Overall – 4.9/5
Overall, the FireStorm mechanical keyboard has improved massively on its predecessor, the HailStorm. It has maintained the same high-quality performance, whilst enhancing the design and also reducing the cost. What’s not to love about that? My only gripe is that the wrist rest could maybe have been bigger, but maybe that’s just a sign I need to stop eating so many cakes and my wrists might not be so chunky then. Either way, this keyboard is still worth every penny. I mean you could go out and buy a cheaper model such as the Alfawise K1 that our very own Chris reviewed, but you wouldn’t get the same quality as here. In fact, I don’t think there will be too many, if any at all, that would be disappointed in purchasing this bit of kit.
- The design of the new FireStorm model has been streamlined and is less clunky than it’s predecessor the Hailstorm;
- The new design has a foldaway wrist rest instead of a permanently fixed or detachable one. Also, my wrists are too fat to fully fit on it;
- All 104 keys have Outemu Blue mechanical switches with RGB lighting and are easily customised with free software;
- Despite improving on the Hailstorm, the Firestorm comes in with a reduced cost.
For more information on the Sandberg Firestorm keyboard and other pieces from their Esports Equipment range, click HERE to visit the official website.