CM Storm MECH Overview
I think Cooler Master likes to err on the side of caution when packing their products for shipment. A little while ago I reviewed the CM Storm Pulse-R headset and it came packed in an enormous box. The CM Storm MECH Keyboard was no different. The packaging box was big enough that my 5-year old daughter is currently using it as a play car. Both her and my 2-year old son fit in it with room to spare. It was filled with bubble wrap and packing paper, though, so the CM Storm MECH was nestled in there quite securely. That’s not to say that the CM Storm MECH retail box is small, however. It has to be pretty large, considering the size of the keyboard itself. There is a lot of foam packed in there as well, to keep the keyboard safe in transport.
The CM Storm MECH Keyboard was covered from head to foot in a plastic protective sheeting to avoid smudging and scratching in packaging and shipping, I suppose. After I peeled all of the plastic off, the CM Storm MECH was nice and shiny and sleek. It’s a good look. I like it.
The CM Storm MECH Keyboard is insanely long, just under 2 feet, due to the carrying handle on the left side. I don’t mind much because I keep it on my desktop, but if you use a keyboard tray, you may want to bust out the measuring tape first. You probably won’t have room for your mouse and keyboard together with the CM Storm MECH. You may not even have room for the keyboard itself. I have a MERC Gaming Keyboard with all the extra gaming keys on the left side and even it is almost half an inch shorter than the CM Storm MECH.
While the carrying handle and the wrist rest are shiny black, the plating around the keys on the CM Storm MECH is aluminum silver. The CM Storm MECH goes along with the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset and the CM Storm Reaper Gaming Mouse as part of CM Storm’s fully customizable gaming peripherals. All three have aluminum plating that can be removed and stylized to your taste. You can clearly see the 7 holes housing the screws that need to be removed to take the aluminum plate off the CM Storm MECH Keyboard. Once it is removed, you design it how you like with paint or vinyl or stickers. I’ve looked around to see if Cooler Master sells any of the plates that are already designed or any modding kits, but I haven’t found anything.
The CM Storm MECH Keyboard keys are typical cylindrical keys, which is very common. The CM Storm MECH keys are also completely LED backlit. Using the FN key with the F1-F4 keys, you adjust the backlighting between 3 modes and 5 levels of brightness. You can either have all keys backlit, just the WASD and arrow keys backlit, or all the keys minus the spacebar backlit. I also like the lighting for the num lock, caps, and scroll lock keys. Between the wrist rest and the keyboard is a groove that CM Storm calls the glow lighting groove. The keys’ indicators light up inside this groove.
The I/O panel on the back of the CM Storm MECH Keyboard is of particular interest as well. If you couldn’t tell from the blue coloring on the detachable USB cable used to plug the CM Storm MECH into your computer, it’s a USB 3.0 cable and connector. Plugging it into a powered USB 3.0 port on your system turns the CM Storm MECH into a USB 3.0 hub with two ports on the I/O panel. The I/O panel also includes audio ports for headphones and a microphone that are part of a USB audio device. You’ll need to download and install the audio drivers from the CM Storm website to get the most out of them. That being said, I actually got less feedback from the CM Storm MECH Keyboard audio ports than from the front panel passthrough ports on my case.
Besides the two USB 3.0 ports and the audio ports, there is also a micro USB port. Clearly intended for peripheral device charging, it seems odd to me that it is here. While I do have a number of devices that charge off a micro USB connector, I don’t have a single micro USB to micro USB cable. In fact, I don’t have a micro USB to anything but full USB cable. Rather than go out and buy a new cable, I’ll probably just never use that port at all. The final port on the CM Storm MECH Keyboard is the USB 3.0-B port used by the supplied cable to connect the keyboard to your computer.