Pros: Good price for a mechanical keyboard, decent backlights, 5 macro keys, good build quality, rubberized surface, wrist wrest optional
Cons: Requires DC cable for all features, macro keys only accept macros, keycaps wear off quickly
First off, don't pay $120 for this keyboard. You can find $100 if you actually bother to look around. That said, let's move on. This is the slightly more expensive cousin of the other Trigger keyboards from CM. This one has 5 macro keys on the left hand side. The macro-recording is somewhat confusing. The windows key is also not functional by default. (Some consider this a pro, some consider this a con.)
What's good about this keyboard? It's quite heavy and seems to have good build quality. The lighting is nice, with 5 brightness settings, and 3 lighting settings (on, breathing (slow pulsing), only WASD... OFF isn't a lighting mode!). The two highest brightness settings can only be acheived by plugging in a seperate, not included 6V DC cable. You can use a cell phone charger. I happened to have on lying around with a socket close enough so the length of the cord won't bother me. The Keyboard cord itself is decent length, and is braided. It IS odd that CM would leave out a DC cable for a keyboard at this price. The backlight mainly lights up the top of the key because that is where the led is placed. As a result, the number 1 is lit up more than the ! part of the keycap. it's not a big deal, but I would have preferred if they fixed that.
Function keys exist. F5-F8 are music playback hotkeys, but you need to press the windows key to use them. F9-F11 are mute/volume. What I did was I used autohotkey to script the numberpad into a giant hotkey-pad.
You do NOT need to download CM's software in order to use the keyboard. The software offers many functions (but somehow misses a simply folder-opening function) that you may want. A CM representative told me that they are currently working on fixing the folder issue with their software update and hope to push it out on the next one. Meanwhile, I am using autohotkey to turn my entire numpad into a macro-pad to open any programs or folders I want. (Although, if you are an avid numpad user and you use every key on the keyboard, this option might not be for you. But who DOES that?!)
For those that are proficient in the art of macro-ing, tjhough, it seems quite powerful. What pains me though, is the lack of documentation with this keyboard. Not saying we need a book for a keyboard, but more general info (such as lighting modes) would be nice, along with an easy-to-understand manual on how to record macros. It took be a bit, but I finally understood how the macroing process works. It has many functions. I suspect with enough thought and tinkering, we can script-open folders without a set option to do so. The macro keys are NOT considered as 'new keys' to the computer, but rather, when I press M1, the computer registers as if I pressed CTRL+1 (I set it that way).
The gold plated keys are gimmicky as far as evidence goes. There is an optional wrist wrest, which I enjoyed. Note that after continued use for a few months, the wrist wrest 'rubber coating' comes off a little bit on the edges. It's not aesthetically pleasing but doesn't change the feel of the keyboard. The rubberized to the keys and parts of the keyboard is something I really dig personally. It makes it feel more polished and of a higher quality. There are two USB ports on the back, but they may only be used if the 6v DC power is plugged into.
I did have to adjust to the layout of the keys, because my last keyboard, although still standard, somehow had the keys spread further apart. I am adjusting though.
Pictures you can easily find on the reviews below me and on Google.
At the price point of $100, this keyboard is pretty kickass. (The black cherry got to $70 on a sale once!) I got the brown switches and I am satisfied.
It's 2015! I want to add some thoughts about this keyboard now I've used more than one mechanical keyboard and I have a long-term relationship with this one.
-The keycaps seem to wear out kind of quickly. Yes, they are standard ABS keycaps but even then I felt they wore off too quickly. Two year's time for me was more than enough to peel off the plastic, leaving the space bar with a chunk of transparent plastic. The letter "o" lost all of the black plastic in the middle of the letter, now it's all transparent.
-While the rubberized coating of the keycaps felt nice, they wore off with use. However, it wore off gracefully, without any real problems.
-The keyboard is still well-constructed for a plastic keyboard. Picking it up by one corner only does not really flex the thing. Typing on it sometimes causes a "ping" sound when I peck at the keyboard with more force. It is not something that is really disturbing though.
-Over time I felt the design of this keyboard, like most gamer peripherals, are a bit too edgy and gamer-y for my tastes, however this keyboard is more understated than some of the other gamer keyboards I have seen.
-The height of the keyboard without feet is 2.5cm which is OK.
-The case angle is approx 3-4 degrees measured from the bottom row of keys to the top.