Tt eSPORTS Challenger Prime Gaming Keyboard

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Product: Tt eSPORTS Challenger Prime Gaming Keyboard
Provided By: Thermaltake
Price: $29.99 MSRP at time of publication

 

Introduction:

Today we bring to you a device with merit! It is a keyboard made by Tt eSPORTS, a division of Thermaltake - a company that produces other products such as mice, headsets, mouse pads and more. The product we have on our bench today is the Challenger Prime. The price of this keyboard makes it attractive to most gamers looking for something relatively inexpensive, but we shall see whether this is the right device for such a purpose or another cheap pile of plastic keys.

We have also review other Tt eSPORTS keyboards recently such as the Poseidon ZX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard as well as the MEKA G1 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Check out all of our periperhal reviews over here.

 

First Look:

The first order of business is the packaging. Once again Thermaltake has done an excellent job of portraying their product with attractive graphics and great color combinations. This really speaks of the company’s devotion to detail with all of the nice placements of their logos and the information laid out well on the back of the package.

Box In The Box

 

Once inside we find, the Challenger Prime, the quick installation guide as well as the warranty booklet. This keyboard is quite an attractive affair with aggressive lines and sharp edges and gorgeous shiny bits, but as we all well know, looks aren’t everything and we shall see if it can stand up to the challenge(r).

Looking at business side, we notice all of the usual keys as well as some handy function keys, which share space with the standard "F-keys". Along the top we also see some very useful multimedia keys as well as the three profile keys. In the middle sits the attractive backlight intensity dial. There is a function-lock key on the right side where you normally see a second “Windows” key and on the left side there are six macro keys all lined up neatly. In the middle of the bottom there is a nice large Thermaltake Logo that lights up when the lights are turned on – and which I think looks pretty darn nice.

 

At the top edge we find the braided cable attached in the middle and it seems to be well fastened and supported.

Bottom Profile

 

As we flip over this peripheral, we also see the very substantial rubber pads and the flip-down feet to raise the rear. Although these feet seem to be a little small, they do the job nicely enough. You’ll also notice the drain holes on the bottom – if you spill on your keyboard – like I often do, it will drain out the bottom and not stay around… hopefully.

 

On the next page we'll take a look at the features and specificatiions before we jump into testing.


Features:

3 COLOR BACKLIGHTING, WITH FINE BRIGHTNESS ADJUSTMENT
The CHALLENGER Prime features 3 color backlighting (in Blue, Red, and Purple). Lighting configurations include Pulse lighting mode and static lighting. There’s a dial in the top center of the keyboard to allow for fine brightness adjustment.
 
STYLIZED GAMING DESIGN
The CHALLENGER Prime features an aggressive styling in the keyboard frame to add to your gaming atmosphere. The keyboard is an essential weapon when you game, so it should look like one too!
 
 

MACRO FUNCTIONS AND KEY SWITCHING
The CHALLENGER Prime comes with 6 dedicated macro keys, which amounts to 18 programmable macros when paired up with the 3 storable profiles. Switch between profiles with the dedicated M1, M2, and M3 keys. In addition to macro functions, the WASD and arrow keys may be toggled to have their functions switched interchangeably. Via software, users can map keys to another one to switch their function (re-mapped keys only show up in Game Mode, in Normal mode all keys return to their regular functions)

HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL KEYSET
The CHALLENGER Prime features multimedia keys, shortcut keys, lighting keys, game mode / normal mode toggle keys, and adjustment keys for both repeat rate and polling rate along the top of the keyboard. Offering extreme convenience at your fingertips.
 
ANTI-SPILL DESIGN
The CHALLENGER Prime comes with drainage holes at designated areas in the keyboard frame to help avoid accidents due to spills.

 

Specifications:

Specs

 

On the next page we'll cover installation, testing and then wrap things up with our conclusion.


Installation:

Installation was a snap. I plugged the keyboard into a spare USB port and visited the product page for the latest drivers and device software. The only downside is that the download package is a RAR file. It would have been nice to have it a standard executable file or a disk with the driver in the box. 

 

Testing:

 

Now time for some nitty gritty testing and fun!

First off, the size and shape of this device is great. It allows for easy typing and general use, and although the wrist rest could be a bit bigger, it does get the job done. The overall feel seems to be pretty solid and the Prime seems to be built tough for an inexpensive peripheral.

The backlighting is superb and the dial for the brightness is a nice touch, although there seems to be too much turn for the dial and not enough adjustment in brightness. I do like the fact that the Challenger Prime can morph into three distinct colors; red, blue and violet. No matter what color scheme you’re going for, this provides you with enough choice in terms of brightness and colors. There are additional lighting options that cause the backlights to pulse as well. It shows that Thermaltake is willing to give you bling – even at the lower price point.

Blue

I am quite pleased that the multi-media keys aren’t tied into the function key and work independently from it. The gaming mode is also certainly worth mentioning, since you can change almost any key to function as you want it and then change it back by toggling it off. Another feature similar to this is that the arrow keys and the WASD keys can be interchanged using the software and are marked similarly so as to remind you that this can take place. The macro keys work well and have three different profiles to choose from so the options are pretty much limitless. This keyboard also boasts on-board memory, which I personally love seeing and makes things handy if you ever have to use another rig and want the same settings. 

Red

To delve a bit deeper, the keys do seem to be responsive enough for a non-mechanical keyboard, and the button presses aren’t too hard although they could be a bit softer for my own taste. The last thing I would like to mention before concluding this critique is the drain holes. I think those are genius especially if you are like me and have a drinking problem!

This brings me to my first real complaint; and that is that the multimedia keys are unlit! I found myself sitting in the dark trying to remember where each key is. This is not a deal breaker but is a disappointment, although the media keys are nice and function very well. One other problem I ran into is that the keys went dim once in a while when changing back and forth from gaming mode. One thing I wish that the Challenger Prime had was a longer and removable cable. I found that it is almost too short but did still fit the bill.

Purple

 

Conclusion:

I think that at the price of $29.99 you aren’t going to find a better gaming keyboard than the Tt eSPORTS Challenger Prime. Sure, it has a few faults, but as I see it the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Pros:

  • Appearance
  • Functionality
  • Price
  • Drain Holes 
  • Toughness

 

Cons:

  • Cord length 
  • Strange Lighting Glitch
  • Non-lit Multi-media Keys

 

 

I'd like to thank Thermaltake for sending over this keyboard for us to review. Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and questions right here.