They way we interact with our world, depends on how we perceive, use and feel our tools at our disposal. When upgrading from a regular membrane keyboard for example to a fully mechanical one, is like going from an old car to a brand new sports one. You can always feel the immediate overall quality difference. One such product is Sandberg’s new FireStorm mechanical keyboard. Competition is strong nowadays and Cherry MXs are not the only mech switches in town. So, this will be a very interesting review since the price that this keyboard carries, considering what it offers, is very tempting !
Sandberg states that their brand stands for quality and user-friendliness.
Their ideology “IT is for everybody” is part of everything we do. A Danish firm that since its inception in 1985, private consumers, institutions and companies have benefited from this simple philosophy. Distributors and dealers appreciate the availability, range, simple procedures and the exceptionally low failure rate. Every year over half a million Sandberg products find their way to users in more than 65 countries.
Choosing Sandberg means choosing a safe and conscientious product that meets all applicable regulatory requirements. A product manufactured by subcontractors who are committed to following Sandberg’s Code of Conduct to ensure decent working conditions and reduce the environmental impact of the production and waste disposal.
Availability and Price
It retails on Amazon.com for around $ 85, depending in what key and language configuration you need it.
Presentation and Specifications
*Courtesy of their website.*
The Sandberg FireStorm Mechanical Keyboard is the ultimate keyboard for the serious gamer! The keyboard is built on a heavy metal plate, and offers 104 mechanical keys, ensuring complete precision and extreme durability! Each key has complete RGB backlighting. Included in the package is user-friendly software for the programming of lights.
* USB interface
* Cable length: 1.8 m
* 104 standard keys
* Outemu Blue mechanical switches
* RGB color for all keys
* Weight: 1000 g
* Detachable wrist rest
* Structural metal plate
On first glance, it looks like a smaller more compact version of their previous mechanical keyboard, the Hailstorm which we also reviewed. Love to see that they still have kept the metal plate as the foundation for the keyboard which will ensure its durability and that study feel. For everything else, we must dive into the next chapter.
Packaging and Visual Inspection
Sandberg has maintained the design theme with lighting strikes that surround the product.
The backside offers a quick product description, in a generous 24 language list.
Inside, the keyboard is securely nested via some plastic pads on each side.
They also include a removal keycap tool and an instruction manual. This is handy since it covers the key combinations for lighting controls for example.
Behold, the new FireStorm fully mechanical keyboard ! The overall design is very modern, ergonomic cool looking. They structural metal plate gives it such a nice sturdy feel of something overbuilt. Also please notice that there are some hinges on the lower part. What could they be for?
Well, Sanberg offers you the option now to either use the wrist pad or tuck/flip it underneath !
Didn’t expect it but the pad has an almost perfect, natural and comfortable typing position. Plus it has a rubbery but slippery texture to it to offer you some grip but not to interfere at all.
If by any reason you wish to take out the pad and hinges altogether, you can do so by just removing these screws.
There is extra clearance available from these retractable rubberized feet.
It is USB powered while the cable is thick and very well protected by the braided mesh.
Now have a look at this really cool design for the sides; and yes you guess it, they light up. Also love that aluminium polished rim which gives the keyboard an extra premium look.
The keys are very well crafted featuring a double shot mold technique which means that the writing will never wear off. Again the attention to details at this price range is amazing. Underneath them we have the Outemu Blue switches which are rated for 60 million clicks with a 60g (+/-10) operating force and a 2.2 mm (+/-0.6) distance to the actuation point. This means that they are very clicky by design (that ‘bump’ in the actuation point) and have a very satisfying feedback feel if you are into this sort of typing of experience.
The keyboard offers a full range of multimedia keys on the top which are generally accepted as handy. The interesting bits are the light controls which are 6 in number (the Pause, Insert, Home, Page Up, Page Down and Delete keys) and you activate them via the classic combo of the ‘Fn’ key plus the desired effect. The arrow keys handle the speed of the effects and the brightness of the light show. Enough of talk, let’s see the fireworks already !
The FireStorm keyboard looks absolutely amazing when lit up especially from the sides. They increased the effects and cycles from the previous model which is very welcomed because they are very cool and gives you more options.
Testing, impressions and feedback
Besides the extra new effects, now we can even control the side lights ! If you want everything off, then by all means you can do it. A feature which seams not that important but you couldn’t do this on the older model. Again, the devil is in the details.
There is no doubt so far that they got the RGB bang on !
You can download the software from their website and it is really easy to use. It gives you basically full control where you can modify and change any aspect and function of this keyboard.
Then you can fine tune the RGB lights, change specific colors even and cycle through all of the effects and increase or decrease the speed or brightness of them.
I find this very useful where you can disable the Windows key for example, with this gaming mode, so you don’t accidentally press it during an important moment in a game.
You can also assign macros and customize any key of you choosing. The macros are very easy to set up. Just start to record your desired sequence of keys and once done, you basically gain the ability to press a large amount of keys with just one button press. The speed you typed them in the record stage will be mirrored in real life as well.
Another option of control is where you can even close individual keys. Everything you do of course can be back up by profiles. This is an outstanding level of control and customization for a keyboard at this price range.
My daily driver has been their previous release of a mechanical keyboard, the Hailstorm which I loved because of the blue Outemu keys and overall build quality. So as you can see when side by side, the FireStorm is such a nice evolution from an already great keyboard.
It features the same keys, although I find these from the FireStorm to be a bit quicker and not that loud (have a listen for yourself in this video) when compared to the Hailstorm.
100% anti-ghost rollover is present again. If you enjoy MX Cherry Blues will definitely enjoy the Outemu Blues as well since they are very similar. They are so satisfying to use and like I said, I feel it’s such a fast keyboard to interact with. Again, that’s why we have so many different key types so it comes down really to personal preferences. A quick guide will sound something like if you want a keyboard for a pure gaming scenario which needs a really short travel and very fast operating keys, go with the equivalent of Red switches. If you want silent keys, like in an office environment go with the Blacks. Of if you want that tactile feedback, get the Blues with the drawback that they are on the loud side.
Getting back to the FireStorm, it just plain works, it’s really easy to type and very enjoyable. Gaming is very good on it (again personal preference here), the pad is so comfortable and perfectly placed and that light show is just finely tuned out of the box. I never found the lights, even at full brightness to be annoying or to interfere in a pitch black room for example. The whole review was written on the keyboard and I have no complaints regarding the typing experience whatsoever.
Overall this FireStorm keyboard ticks all the right boxes for a truly amazing and complete product in this segment !
This new FireStorm improves in many subtle ways when compared to their first generation of fully mechanical keyboards, the Hailstorm, in all areas like tactile feedback, ergonomics, easy of typing, bigger fonts and finally a fully controllable RGB light show, even for the side lights. This keyboard is the perfect example that you don’t have to over spend to get a hold of such a great quality product which will make you happy and giggle every time you use it. Not to mention the hinged detachable wrist pad which is so comfortable that I think I will never take it off. This FireStorm delivers on what it promises – a fun, epic looking, highly customizable and great quality for money typing experience !
+ Extremely satisfying typing experience
+ Superb build quality
+ Full macro customization
+ RGB control even for the side lights
+ Epic value for money
+ 5 years warranty
– Should offer more mech key ‘color’/ type choices
Glob3trotters “Complete Package!” Award 5 out of 5