Legit Mods and Ends Reviews
Thermaltake eSports Challenger Gaming Keyboard Review
|Product:||Thermaltake eSports Challenger Keyboard KB-CHL002US|
|Date:||Thu, Aug 18, 2011 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Charles McGraw -|
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Thermaltake has a few steps to take in the gaming world. I will say that on the presentation side, they have just about got it down. A well setup box with nice packaging, layout, and information.
I mean seriously, I was impressed. I'm used to seeing well designed packaging and what not when I buy a Razer Product; but when I'm getting a gaming keyboard that only costs $44.00 shipped. I honestly expected the packaging to be a place that was skimped on, but they didn't cut any corners there.
Thermaltake should probably consider flipping the box around so you're not reading all the information upside down. Or going for one of those Clam-shell boxes that let you see the keyboard behind protective plastic. That's all really minor stuff though.
Moving onto the software side of things; Thermaltake has some work to do. The software works, and while I had that little hiccup at the start, it never showed again, so I didn't worry about it. On the other hand, the software is lacking in basic functions, like naming of profiles and in software help sections. With that said, it's far from unusable. Though I wouldn't call the software up to par with what some of the gaming giants have been using for the past few years.
Talking about key feel though, I would like to say that even though I'm a mechanical keyboard love; I can appreciate non-mechanical switches equally as well. The rubber domes used on the Thermaltake Keyboard were not that bad. At first they were very rigid and stiff, and took a lot of pressure to actuate. After about a weeks worth of use they broke in and became very comfortable. Having the keyboard almost a month now, they don't seem to be changing much. Though, these switches are only rated at 10 million operations, which isn't as high as some other keyboard makers claims. It would still take at least a few years of use to render the switches unusable I do believe.
As far as Gaming performance is concerned, things go south for Thermaltake I'm afraid. This keyboard suffers from a design that's way past it's prime. While Thermaltake claims "Anti-Ghosting" and "Advanced Key Rollover" both are stretches of the truth. You only get Anti-Ghosting if you game while using the WASD cluster of keys. If you are a gamer that likes the ESDF cluster of keys, you'll get key blocking and transposition errors. Unfortunately, this is a big problem for a modern keyboard since other budget options exist which have the same WASD optimized gaming cluster but at least do not have the transposition errors. With the troubles as ESDF aside, using the arrow keys on this keyboard with a game like Stepmania or Audio Surf is close to impossible due to key blocking that occurs, because no optimization was added to this section of the board. I would gladly like Thermaltake to take a look at this design and fix it. Arrow keys need to be included in your Anti-Ghosting design.
More so, I would love if Thermaltake was to publish where there Anti-Ghosting is at so Gamer's know what will work, and what will not work. Because there is a lot that will not work with this keyboard.
I'd also like to add that I found the included outcropping on the bottom of the keyboard to be a bit annoying. I would suggest that next time, Thermaltake not extend the keyboard much past the space bar unless they plan to make it a full on wrist wrest as this extension of the keyboard made it harder to use a standard wrist wrest and gave no support when you didn't use one.
The Keys on the Thermaltake Challenger are also of a nonstandard size; I didn't notice this at first, but given a few hours of gaming and then a few more of playing I started to notice my fingers were not moving onto the centers of certain keys like I normally would. It's not a huge complaint. I would like to see Thermaltake just use standard keycap sizes, as it was very distracting when typing and sometimes while gaming.
Legit Bottom Line: There are a lot of short coming, simple errors, and even some large problems with the Thermaltake eSPORTS Challenger Keyboard which keeps me from recommending it to any serious gamer looking for a new keyboard on a budget.
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Page 1 - Introduction & Specifications
Page 2 - Unboxing the Keyboard
Page 3 - First Looks at the Challenger
Page 4 - Thermaltake's Software
Page 5 - Final Thoughts and Conclusions