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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  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    It is supposed to fix the repeating key bug. But it doesn't entirely.

    Does this keyboard work with a ps2 adapter?
  • Googer - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Im using an old Mechanical Keyboard on PS/2 on an ASUS AMD A75 APU motherboard and have no keyboard issues what so ever.
  • daar - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    I've never had any key repeating problems on Logitech keyboards using the USB interface on a variety of systems. My bud uses a Razer BlackWidow and never has had an issue either. Looks like I'll wait for the next revision before springing on a Corsair keyboard..
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire Rapid SGK-4000-GKCL1-US USB or PS/2 Wired Gaming Mechanical Cherry Blue Switches Keyboard

    Uses Cherry blue switches, looks well made. I almost bought one, but the K60 was on sale for $20 less.

    Still not sure I made the right decision.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Honestly it looks like it'd basically be comparable to Rosewill's RK-9000 with the same Cherry MX Blue switches we reviewed. It looks almost identical, just without the number pad.
  • canontk - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    There's a lot more to a keyboard than looks and having the same switches. One could argue that my Leopold tenkeyless with MX Browns is exactly the same as my Filco tenkeyless with MX browns, but they feel almost completely different.

    The build quality and it's components (plate mounted, key caps, etc.) are what make the difference.

    If you really want a nice Cherry MX keyboard then I recommend Filco, yes it's worth the price difference.
  • althaz - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Dustin, you need to test a keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches. They are most people's ultimate choice for a gaming and typing keyboard. Reds are a frequent runner-up as, like you mentioned, they are basically a lighter Black switch.
  • joel4565 - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Yeah according to the link TheEye's posted they do recommend MX Brown as the best compromise between typing and gaming. Looking on newegg though, it looks fairly uncommon with only 5 listings. Two by Daskeyboard at ~ 150 a brand I never heard of as well as a Rosewill and Coolermaster.

    The Coolermaster actually looks like a pretty nice keyboard on paper at ~ 100:

    Dustin, any chance you might be able to test the Coolmaster SGK-4010-GKCM1-US?
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Agreed. I've got the Zowie Celeritas with MX Brown and find them much better than any MX Black I've tested (not many, though).
  • jigglywiggly - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    only cherry mx red is good
    i even think it has slightly too much resistence
    i want super cherry mx red
    i couldn't imagine having more resistence
    but then again i type at like 140wpm

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