Sandberg Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard – Hardware Review
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Developer: Sandberg
Publisher: Sandberg
Platform: PC

Sandberg Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard – Hardware Review

Good: Sturdy, Design, Functional
Bad: Only time will tell how the Outemu switches will hold up
User Score
9.5
(4 votes)
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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)

By now you’ve probably realized that Sandberg hasn’t done anything bad in our books so far. This time we get the chance to try out one of their flagship items from their eSports section, namely the Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard. We already had a good experience with the Thunderstorm, but having a mechanical keyboard surely means we are treated to an even better performance. We decided to throw ourselves in the middle of this hailstorm to try out the flashy RGB Hailstorm.

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Design

Last time when we took a look at HyperX’ Alloy FPS, we were rather amazed by the clean look the device had, as it was built on a metal plate, with the keys seemingly levitating above said plate, without too many whistles and bells. Sandberg clearly opted for the same look, and the same feeling of sturdiness. You’ll be treated to a very clean looking keyboard, albeit with a larger frame around the device, thus it will be taking up a teeny bit of extra space. That being said, the levitating keys above the metal plate look quite spiffy, as well as the plastic border with the brand name on it, which has LED lighting, just like both sides of the keyboard also have a few extra LED lights.

The palm rests this device has are also designed in a very interesting and original way. You’ll notice you’ll have two of them. One is mainly designed to cover the letter keys, to allow a small comfortable resting space when you’re just processing text or chatting. The other smaller rest covers the part with the arrow and numeric keys, which is more for gaming purposes. While the gap between both spaces could have easily been avoided, it looks rather good this way.

Comfort

Sandberg’s mechanical keyboard doesn’t have that many comfort features, simply because a keyboard can only offer a limited amount of options. It’s quite nice the device has two palm rests, which will surely provide the necessary comfort for those who rather let their hands rest while typing. Other than that, there’s the layer of rubber on the two pedestals of the keyboard, which allows it to stay in place, but the overall heaviness of the device also made sure of that. Perhaps it would have been a nice touch to make the palm rests removable, for those who’d rather do without, but then again, it’s better to have them, than not.

Sandberg Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard 1

Just like most mechanical keyboards out there, the maintenance required is fairly low making it easy to clean out your device if you have a keypuller nearby. Sadly there isn’t one included with the Hailstorm, which feels like a missed opportunity. Then again, this small tool will only set you back a bit of extra pocket change, thus you’ll have one before you’ll actually need it. Other than that, the keyboard remains fairly clean, but fingerprints show rather easily. Wiping them off with a dry cloth works rather well though.

Specs

  • RGB color for all keys
  • Weight: 1400 grams
  • Dimensions: 47.8 x 21.65 x 4.22 cm
  • Palm rest
  • Outemu mechanical switches
  • Cable Length 1.8 meters

Overview

Even though the keyboard works immediately after using one USB port, you’ll quickly notice that you need the extra software to truly unlock the potential of this rather versatile keyboard. The software will allow you to set up macros, assign functions to keys, and of course change the LED settings, of which there are a handful. Of course, many gamers will do just fine without having to tinker too much with the software, but it’s always nice to have something to mess around with, the moment you gain a bit of experience with macros and such. The software itself is fairly straightforward, which is another plus for users that don’t have that much experience with customizing hardware.

Sandberg Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard

The Hailstorm utilizes Outemu Blue Switches, which are fairly comparable with Blue Cherry MX switches when it comes to overall responsiveness and of course its distinct clicking sound. The Outemu switches are slightly louder than Cherry MX’ version, but they sound very similar. Even though we only have a limited amount of time to try out a keyboard before a review has to go live, we hardly notice any different between both brands, which is certainly a plus. Of course, Outemu and Cherry MX are on a different level when it comes to quality control, but then again, Outemu keyboards come at a (sometimes far) lower price than most keyboards that use Cherry MX switches.

Just like many other mechanical keyboards, there is a FN button, reminiscent of those on laptops. When using this button in combination with the keys that have an extra function on them, you can change LED settings, open programs, and so on, on the fly. Sandberg already made sure that this device comes with many features programmed beforehand.

Conclusion

Sandberg’s Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard is a great addition to your gaming arsenal. The device offers the same responsiveness and sturdiness as other mechanical keyboards on the market, at a lower price. While we can’t test if these switches are as durable as the Cherry MX variant, the keys of this peripheral were sturdy, and offered great response times during our gaming sessions. If you’re looking for an affordable gaming keyboard, Sandberg has got you covered.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)
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Sandberg Hailstorm Mechanical Keyboard - Hardware Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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