The Sandberg FireStorm Mechanical Keyboard is the latest in the long line of Sandberg keyboards, taking features of their previous Hailstorm keyboard and mixing in designs of their other releases. As a mechanical keyboard, the FireStorm definitely hits that loud niche of typers who love the sound of clickity-clack as they type. Advertised as the ultimate keyboard for the serious gamer it reaches to hit the tables of all computer users, but does it fit all your needs?
Similar to many other keyboards, the FireStorm comes with the usual 104 keys with no additional buttons for programming, using the Fn key to add optional functions for several keys. Each key is raised higher than in other keyboards, allowing you to press the correct button more often, though requiring a bit more pressure to fully press down. Each key is underlit, as well as the sides having rainbow lights, which can all be customised.
Adding some more comfort to the already smooth keys, the keyboard also comes with a retractable wrist rest for the types who like to extend their arms or otherwise lack any wrist rests. Sadly the wrist rest doesn’t have a lock feature, so if you pick the keyboard up the wrist rest will start to droop and interfere with you moving it. The wrist rest is also a bit too low down, it would have been better if you could extend it upwards in some fashion as it was too low to gain any benefit for myself.
Like most other modern keyboards, the FireStorm comes with its own software to alter the functions of each key as well as assigning macros that you create yourself. Along with functions, you may also alter how the lighting works under the keys, from 20 pre-set effects with which you can change the colours, speed and brightness. Disappointingly you cannot combine effects with one another, or truly make your own, but the options at hand do allow for a wide range of designs.
Since you can alter the functions and colours of the keyboard it is a big boon when you are allowed to set up several profiles to swap between. I also found no fault with the program loading on start-up, though the overall UI design could use some work as it really looks barebones, combined with a lack of tutorial or help function it could be intimidating to some users.
Due to both the heavy metal plating and thick prop legs the overall board is rather heavy, making sure it doesn’t move whilst typing but also hindering its manoeuvrability somewhat. This weight does allow the whole device to be much more durable, but for those who want to take it out to places may find it a pain to lug around with other electronics.
At £65 you’re paying mostly for the metal plating and backlighting, the companion software could do with some major updating for both ease and aesthetic whereas the keyboard itself doesn’t offer anything exciting for the price tag. Fans of louder mechanical keyboards should love the sounds, as they are extremely loud but hardly something a gamer would want, as they are so loud your microphone will pick it up constantly and annoy your friends on voice chat.
Instead of adding in the wrist rest, which already doesn’t seem to help me at all, the keyboard could have benefitted from additional keys much more. Stated as a gamer keyboard, the ability to have additional keys that require one press, rather than changing the base keys or adding in Fn options would far outweigh the use of the rest.
Overall, the Sandberg FireStorm Mechanical Keyboard gets a 7/10, the range of colours and options for effects are numerous as well as customisable. It is quite a loud mechanical keyboard, which is one of the main reasons people buy them, so that should appeal to their needs. Against the advertisement as a gamer keyboard, it is not for social gamers at all due to the noise. A lot of the price goes towards the colours and metal plate, so if you’re wanting extra keys a different keyboard could be more appropriate for you.