For the gamer who has everything, Thermaltake has come up with the novelty of a gaming keyboard with its own external cooling fan: the Tt eSports Challenger Gaming Keyboard.
The t eSports Challenger's small, quiet, rotatable fan clips into one of two available docks: one just above the Esc and F1 keys, and the other on the right, above the number pad. Once attached it starts spinning, drawing power from the keyboard.
On a summer's day it's quite pleasant to have cool air moving around (the fan is aimed at your hands, but you can feel a slight cooling of the whole workspace area) and long gaming sessions in stuffy environments may benefit from the fresh air. But we're not totally sold on the advantages of the Tt eSports Challenger's keyboard-attached fan, unless you're in the sweaty-fingers demographic that Thermaltake seems to be targeting.
In other respects, the Tt eSports Challenger is a pretty straightforward, black-plastic gaming deck. The build quality is decent enough if a little old-fashioned – two smart, glowing red letters on the front are the Challenger's only visual departures from late-1990s dullness, and the texture of the keys is bland and unsatisfyingly plasticky.
More seriously, the keys' action feels rather heavy. This may serve the Tt eSports Challenger well in the robustness stakes – banging away through hours-long gaming marathons can be a trial for more delicate typing actions – but could conceivably slow your reactions when attempting to rattle off hotkey after hotkey under the stress of a Zerg rush.
It will certainly slow your typing, although as usual with gaming kit this isn't really the point. The Tt eSports Challenger's sluggish action doesn't allow for speedy or accurate typing, and deleting is bizarrely slow.
Thermaltake has incorporated voguish anti-ghosting technology into the Tt eSports Challenger, the ability to register large numbers of simultaneous keystrokes, and it seems to be able to register five or six fairly happily.
And there are other pluses. The Tt eSports Challenger keyboard is wide, spacious and pleasingly stable, with two fold-out feet lifting it up to a comfortable angle.
The Tt eSports Challenger is a wired keyboard, but the tough, textured USB cable is an impressive 2m long – an advantage that's not to be ignored when setting up your gaming rig – and looks and feels bomb-proof. There's also a useful additional USB 2.0 port for attaching extra peripherals and memory sticks.
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