Thermaltake Meka and Cherry MX Black Switches in Practice

While the aggressively loud and wonderfully clicky Cherry MX Blue switches in Rosewill's RK-9000 leave a lasting and indelible impression as being ideal for any serious typing (and not sensitive enough for gaming), the difference between the Cherry MX Red switches in the Corsair Vengeance keyboards and the Cherry MX Black switches in Thermaltake's Meka keyboards is at least initially a little more difficult to articulate. I had to take the Pepsi Challenge to really tell, but the Black switches definitely feel a bit softer than the Reds. In many ways they feel like the next logical step up from using a good membrane keyboard.

That impression changed once I took the Meka G-Unit on a jaunt through Mirror's Edge, a game I continue to be unusually enamored with. The Meka G-Unit's (and by extension all of the Meka keyboards) Cherry MX Black switches have a springier quality to them that becomes much more evident in gaming than in regular typing, and as a result I felt like they performed much more like the Cherry MX Blues in the Rosewill keyboard. Hitting the quick keypresses for some of the jumps in Mirror's Edge seemed just a little bit harder to time with the Meka's keys.

Meanwhile, typing up this review of the G-Unit on the G-Unit has for the most part been a fairly pleasant experience. The tactile response on the mechanical switches continues to be noticeably superior to basic membrane switches, but when it comes to layout I find that Thermaltake's Meka G1 is ultimately preferable. It's common for keyboard manufacturers to place the rows of macro keys directly to the left of the keyboard, but in practice this is a bullet that so far I've only seen Corsair dodge with their Vengeance K90. Even Alienware's M18x notebook has a problem with these keys. Basically, when you go for any of the keys in the lower left of the keyboard you're usually hunting for them by touch, and there were a couple of times in using the G-Unit where I was hitting macro keys when I really wanted to be hitting the Left Shift or Left Control keys. Corsair managed to avoid this by recessing the macro keys, placing them at a different z-height than the rest of the keyboard and thus making the difference clear from a tactile perspective.

As for the software of the G-Unit, I was pleasantly surprised. Thermaltake's software is actually fairly light and includes an OSD that's very inobtrusive. You can also toggle between "Normal" and "Game" modes, which is basically a toggle for the Windows key. My chief problem with the software is that it's a bit obtuse, but not outside of the realm of comprehension for most users. The twelve "T" keys next to the main keyboard can be programmed to launch applications, enter keystrokes, or run macros, and the keyboard and software support three different sets of profiles.

Introducing the Thermaltake Meka The Thermaltake Black Element Mouse
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  • TheEyes - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    As far as I'm concerned, every article on keyboards should link to the mechanical keyboard guide on Overclock.net:

    http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mechanical-keybo...

    It's a very useful guide to all the different types of switches, how they work, and which are best for particular applications.
    Reply
  • Loafers - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    I'm sorry, but I think you meant geekhack.org Reply
  • Jakeisbest - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Careful geekhack.org has been hacked and is not safe to visit right now. Reply
  • ripster55 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    R00TW0RMed to be specific. Reply
  • ripster55 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    In fact, I just linked to this article from:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/keyboards/comments/w09v3/t...

    24/7 and friendlier people than any of the alternatives.
    Reply
  • JustCallMeCrash - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    Ripster! You seem to be showing up everywhere I go these days. I must have been out of the loop on geekhack for a bit... what happened there that everyone keeps referring to on deskthority? Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Was hoping this was good. I have the k60 and so far only issues I have, aside from the fading keys, which they fixed with an RMA I now still occasionally get the key repeating bug, and or double spaces. I can live with it though.

    Was hoping Thermaltake had an improved keyboard, but it seems the do not.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    I get the key repeating bug, but I got that on my old Microsoft Reclusa too. At this point I've just resigned myself to it being a fact of USB. Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    I have the repeated keypress issue on my Corsair Vengeance K90 as well. Sometimes it's fairly minor, but I've had it to where it entered at least two dozen of the same character into a message. You mention that it must be a USB issue, but I never saw this problem before my K90, and I used an original Logitech G15 for quite a few years. I wonder if it could be some weird issue with the software (in the keyboard) that controls the anti-ghosting.

    One thing that has struck me as weird about the K90... I've actually performed a firmware upgrade on it. I never thought that I'd ever have to perform a firmware upgrade *on a keyboard*.
    Reply
  • swx2 - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    O_o I wasn't even aware that there was a firmware update out for the K90... must get! What does it fix? Reply

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