While I have had quite a number of Keyboards, I don’t think they’ve had this many buttons, options and colour. The Sandberg Thunderstorm Keyboard, named for the lightning strike design, is a weighty keyboard, boasting its ability to stay still no matter what type of game you will be engaged in, a welcome thing for fast paced games that require you to use all the buttons at your disposal.
One of the few keyboards that sports a metallic base, the Thunderstorm is a very heavy keyboard in comparison to others you might have had your hands on. If you dropped this thing it would make quite an impact, but that’s the whole purpose, it stays where you put it, against other keyboards that might slip and slide due to their lightweight design or the “softness” of their edges, the Thunderstorm stays put like a well-trained hound.
Besides the weight the Thunderstorm feels durable, the keys all react nicely to typing fast though not as “weak” as some other keyboards. While it isn’t fully mechanical there is a good sign the keys are being pressed without then need for clikity clak all day long. There is some sort of discrepancy between the keys themselves due to the lightning strike design, as not all keys have the bevelled feel of the design. Some keys will grip your fingers better than others while some have a weird rough feel to them. It also looks “dirty” due to some of the design choices made on the keys, with darker black splotches.
A dying trend in gamers and computer savants, the keyboard comes with a top bar music keys, allowing for pausing, volume control and more for your general sound or a music program of your choice. While this might not be used as often, due to online music players like YouTube or Spotify it does add that nice choice for those who still buy physical CDs and put them on programs like Media Player or ITunes…god I felt old just by typing that.
While the keyboard does lack for any tutorial, either in the box or online, there is quite a bit of “function keys” on offer. There is rapid fire, allowing you to hold a key and have it simulate you pressing it fast. Swapping WASD with the arrow keys is also in, though I don’t personally see the use of that. As well as the music buttons it also has email and closing buttons on the top left. With all the additional keys I am sure you can modify them to affect other programs or simulate key presses that aren’t currently on the keyboard.
The whole keyboard lights up, behind the keys and the lightning strokes themselves, choosing between Red, Blue, Pink or off, with the ability to cycle through them. I would have liked the ability to change the colours of individual keys, like WASD or arrows like other keyboards do allow. There isn’t any “slots” or additional spaces to add on your own pieces to the keyboard, with the bottom bar being a part of the keyboard itself whereas other older keyboards had them as additionals. A lot of space feels wasted with the keyboard, while allowing ample space between keys and feeling spacious it could have also been optimised a lot more.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The weight and defence of the keyboard is one of the major selling points for this keyboard, it will be hard to break and you won’t have to worry about having a glass or waxed wood desk for it to slide on. While that is a weird thing to say about a keyboard we are at a stage that not much else can be added to keyboards to make them stand out, with people buying add-ons to attach to their keyboards or multi button mice to match their keyboards.
The lighting strike design is a 50/50 state of affair, with a lot of my friends liking how it lights up and stating it looks cool, with the others saying it looks horrible and distracting, it does feel rather “old” in my mind, suiting more of a younger generation. I call it Lightning strike design due to the fact it has no allusion to a thunderstorm. Many people also see the lightning strikes as “cracks” stating that it looks broken rather than cool.
Overall the Sandberg Thunderstorm Keyboard gets a 8/10, there isn’t much setting it apart from other keyboards, but again there isn’t much it could do. It does lack for customizability as you cannot light individual parts, change height or take off the sides/bottom bars to make it smaller. It does help the gaming side with the weight stopping it from moving at all however it kind of goes against the “gaming” side with the aesthetic design pandering to a much younger audience in my eyes. For the price it is durable, functional and to some it might look rather cool but that will be a hit and miss section.