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Sanberg are increasing their reach with their first ever full RGB mechanical keyboard – The Hailstorm. Even though we have an almost saturated gaming market for peripherals, and nowadays almost everything is in RGB, still, we feel if a product strikes the right balance of quality, features, usability, ergonomics and price, it should capture good place in the market.

 
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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.

 

Price when reviewed

 

* Nordic Keys Layout – £ 86.58 – via Amazon.co.uk

Sandberg Hailstorm Mech Keyboard Nordic

* UK Keys Layout – £ 86.58 – via Amazon.co.uk

Sandberg Hailstorm Mech Keyboard UK, 640-07

 
$ 99.99 – via Amazon.com

Sandberg Hailstorm Mech Keyboard Nordic

 
* The full video review is LIVE, so please have a look:

 

Presentation and Specifications

 

So, the Hailstorm is another member of Sandberg’s Esports Equipment gaming orientated series and their first ever full mechanical and RGB keyboard.

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It has the following specs:

– USB interface
– Cable length: 1.8 m
– 104 standard keys
– Outemu Blue mechanical switches
– RGB color for all keys
– Weight: 1400 g
– Dimensions: 47.8 x 21.65 x 4.22 cm
– With wrist rest

 

Visual inspection

 

Right. Here it is. The classic black background design with thunders and lightnings. With a product name like Hailstorm, i think this is a cool match. So on the upper left corner is the brand logo name and category of the product. In the middle a visual representation of the keyboard and on the left down corner some of the main features.

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On the back of the box we have a quick product description in 24 languages. Reminds me of a UN meeting.

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The case has a flip top cover so you can see the Hailstorm waiting to be played on. Here we also learn that it has full RGB light pallet.

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The Hailstorm keyboard is nested in this tray. Maybe some extra padding should be in order for more protection and limiting product movement while in transport. Still it does the job.

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Underneath we have the accessories:

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– 2x Sandberg stickers
– 1x Mini CD with the software for more advance features and configuration.
– 1x Quick user guide

It has a lot of tricks up its sleeves which we will cover later.

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Also it has a Gold plated USB connector with a 180 cm long full braided and thick cable which gives a sturdy and overbuilt feeling.

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And here it is: The full RGB 104 key 100% mechanical keyboard. It has a very SF look coming from those abstract and sharp angles.

It comes with a included wrist rest with hard plastic padding.

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At first glance that sounds uncomfortable plus having that honeycomb pattern. But it is very pleasant and doesn’t interfere at all.

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On the sides it has ambient blue LED lights.

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The same for the top section. While we are here, let’s point out the multimedia controls as well, present as a sub-function of the F Keys.

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And to the right we have the other ambient side lights plus even the illuminated Sandberg logo.
Then notice the brushed metal surface which gives the keyboard a very professional and cool look. Check the next picture as well for a better angle.

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Now to prove that is has mechanical switches. These are Outemu Blues.

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Accordingly to these graphs, they are the closest thing to the highly popular German MX Cherries Blues. Thus the Outemus are affordable, yet still provide an extremely comparable experience to more expensive models.

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What else. On the back we see these nice and thick rubber pads. In the center the is a big label of the brand and model.

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Even the retractable feet had rubber pads ! Niiiice.
They are very sturdy and don’t flex even if you press really hard on the keyboard – we are talking torture tests.

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They add about am inch of extra clearance.

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Now, let’s bring the BLING. Please watch the video review for the full RGB cycles and modes because they are a lot of them and they are very interesting. No picture will do them justice. Here are just a few to give you an idea.

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The colors are very strong and clear which will make you see rainbows every day.

 

Testing

 

With products like this the best tests, besides the specific ones, is to implement them as daily drivers. So we did just that. We even wrote the reviews for itself, on it.

Hardware used.

– CPU: Intel i7 4790k @ stock 4.0 Ghz w/ 4.4 Turbo Boost – 88 W TDP
– CPU Cooler: Cryorig C7
– SSD: Samsung M.2 950 Pro 512 GB MLC NVMe
– Memory Modules: 16 GB (2x 8 GB) DDR3 Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracers 1600 Mhz CL8 LED
– Video card: MSI GTX 980Ti 6G Twin Frozr V Gaming
– Case: DAN A4 SFX V1.0 mITX
– PSU: Corsair SF600 SFX 600W

– Monitor/TV: Samsung UE32F5000 LED 32″ 1080p
– Monitor/TV stand: G-VO 32”-55” Universal Tabletop
– Desk: Piranha PC7bg Barbel Compact Toughened Black Glass
– Gaming Chair: Sandberg Commander
– Mouse: Sandberg Blast Mouse

– Microphone: Lapel Lavaliere X-Play Microphone

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Software used.

– Windows 10 Pro x64
– Aqua Key Test
– DOOM – 15 minute gaming session

 

Results and impressions

 

First this is the included software. It will lets you set up to 3 profiles which can contain a combination of what you set up from the other features. like the macro key editor. Then it also gives you more control on the RGB effects, pattern, colors and intensity. And finally you can change any key with a new desired input.

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*As you saw, the video review covers all the main points. So we will only add the new tests.

We wanted to test the Rollover capability. A quick definition: rollover is the ability of a computer keyboard to correctly handle several simultaneous keystrokes. Because certain high-end keyboards have “n-key rollover”. This means that each key is scanned completely independently by the keyboard hardware, so that each keypress is correctly detected regardless of how many other keys are being pressed or held down at the time.

This is important especially in games where you are performing multiple and simultaneous commands: like moving in a diagonal but running and at the same time you are reloading. Thus if the keyboard will not register all the commands then you know you have a limited n-key keyboard. AT the beginning over the USB interface they were limited to a max of 6 keys. But from my tests the Hailstorm is a full NKRO keyboard thus you can press all of the keys at the same time and they will be fully registered. Epic !

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In this quick keyboard testing utility which is great because it is not tricked by fake strokes and checks only the real signals sent from your keyboard. What does this mean? This means that scripts and macro programs like AutoHotKey or AutoIt which generate keystrokes using the Windows API do not get picked up.

As you can see, I pressed as much as I could with my fingers and hand and everything is recorded simultaneously well over the USB generic limit of 6 key presses. Clear winner here.

 
Key strokes sound

See (hear) for yourselves: (from min 01.37)

 

Conclusions

 

For a first release version, this Hailstorm keyboard from Sanberg strikes a home run! It has the quality, the features, the performance and the price to tackle the market. It upgraded our typing, gaming and content creation experience to a whole new level. Can we get an Hail-elujah?

The Good:

+ Excellent build quality – metal plate inside and outside
+ Outemu Blue Switches – great tactile feedback and clicky nature
+ Braided long and sturdy cable with gold plated USB plug
+ Immune to both key ghosting and key jamming – full NKRO capability
+ Full RGB control – effects, patterns, intensity, speed
+ Futuristic and abstract look
+ 5 years warranty
+ Competitive price

The bad:

– Limited switches options to choose ( but since this is a fresh release, no doubt they will come in the future)
– Just nitpicking, but it would have been convenient to offer the option to turn off as well the side and top lights for when leaving the PC overnight on while sleeping because they are kinda’ bright

 

Glob3trotters “Super” Award – 4.5 out of 5

GG

 

A lot of thanks to Sandberg for supplying us with this sample !

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