The Sandberg EsportsEquipment Hailstorm mechanical gaming keyboard is part of the latest round of PC gaming accessories launched by the company. It’s the second keyboard in the EsportsEquipment lineup following the Thunderstorm gaming keyboard.
Sandberg EsportsEquipment Hailstorm mechanical gaming keyboard specifications
The following information is pasted directly from Sandberg’s product page for the Hailstorm.
Sandberg EsportsEquipment Hailstorm mechanical gaming keyboard design
The EsportsEquipment Hailstorm is a rather nice looking keyboard. The design of it screams ‘gaming’, while the feel of it screams’quality’. The keys sit surrounded by a metal plate that sits on top of a plastic body that also acts as the bottom side of the keyboard. At the bottom of the metal plate are two raised panels of plastic which act as wrist rests for the user. Admittedly, a softer material like rubber would be a bit better and a lot more comfortable, but the wrists rest do their job as they should even if they do cause me a slight bit of discomfort. At the top of the metal panel is another raised bit of plastic, which this times plays host to Sandberg branding, which lights up blue when the keyboard is on. There are also a series of blue lights running around the edges of the metal plate, unfortunately, these and the logo light only light up blue and the color can’t be changed like it can with the keys.
Talking of the key colors, the EsportsEquipment Hailstorm has an RGB set of lights which generate a handful of different colors including yellow, red, purple and green just to name a few. There are several modes to choose from as well such as a sweep mode where the keys run each color in a motion similar to sweeping all at the same time and a mode where just one row of keys lights up at a time, just to name two, but there are a few more. There’s a way to change the color as well, this is done by simply pressing FN and delete simultaneously. There are also other settings such as brightness adjustment and light speed adjustment, all of which the clear instruction leaflet explains how to do using two keyboard keys.
Also included is a disc with software on it. This software allows you to create your own color profiles if you wish and create different macros. It’s really easy to use and the interface is nice and clean.
The cable from the keyboard is 1.8m long so pretty average in the length department. It’s just enough to reach my PC and still have a bit of slack left over. It’s also braided instead of just rubber coated, which means it’s a lot more versatile and much stronger.
With a weight of about 1500g the EsportsEquipment Hailstorm keyboard is a tiny bit heavy but not too heavy. This weight and four thick rubber feet on the bottom of the keyboard ensure that it grips the surface it sits on quite well. I haven’t had it move once on me, which shows me it really is working.
Sandberg EsportsEquipment Hailstorm mechanical gaming keyboard the switches
This keyboard makes use of Blue mechanical switches by a company called Outemu. Now in all honesty, until I got this keyboard I had never heard of Outemu. A quick search of Google revealed them to be a Chinese clone of Cherry MX switches but a few more looks around the net revealed them to be quite good. They offer a smooth experience as I type and even as I game. They are consistent and each one works just as well as the last, but the one downside is that they are quite loud switches, not the loudest, but not the quietest either. So a relatively ok clone but nowhere near as good as Cherry MX, but still good enough.
Sandberg EsportsEquipment Hailstorm mechanical gaming keyboard in use
I simply can’t deny that I enjoy using this keyboard. I am typing this review on it and haven’t gone back to my previous mechanical keyboard at all, this has become my favorite. Typing on it is a blessing as each key is responsive and input lag free. The decent spacing between each key has allowed me to easily type away with very few typing errors at all. The multimedia keys also work really well but I do prefer dedicated keys over combined F keys such as the ones on here, so that’s a slight disappointment for me.
I have probably spent the best part of 5 hours using this keyboard for gaming as being a parent and a reviewer leaves me next to no time to play PC games anymore, but that 5 hours has actually shown me that this is a decent keyboard for gaming. It’s fast and responsive and everything I do happens at exactly the same time I enter the command on the keyboard. Then there’s the fact that you can set up macro keys, which for any of you hardcore gamers out there might just be a blessing.
The EsportsEquipment Hailstorm gaming keyboard is a near perfect example of how lesser known brands really should design a mechanical gaming keyboard. It’s not perfect but boy is it close and the only reasons I say not perfect are the combination F/media keys and the plastic wrist rests. Everything else is fantastic and that’s why this has become my main keyboard and will most likely be my main keyboard for quite a long time.
Check it out here