Many PC users think of their keyboards as cheap and disposable or don’t think of them at all unless there are issues. However, we received a MEKA Compact Gaming keyboard (KB-MEK007US) from Thermaltake eSports that has got us completely rethinking keyboards. Gamers demand much more from their keyboards than casual users and are willing to pay well over a hundred dollars for high quality. The MEKA Compact Gaming Keyboard is currently at Newegg.com for $81 with free shipping after a 20 mail in rebate. Naturally we want to determine if it is a good value.
Thermaltake sSports has brought back the MEKA – mechanical keyboard, using Cherry Black MX switches – for gamers, and some will love it and some will not. We feel that we can give the reader a thorough evaluation as we received our keyboard from Thermaltake just over a month ago and we have put it to good use in daily tasks, including playing Battlefield 3 and Left 4 Dead 2 – and typing.
First of all, the MEKA keyboard that we are reviewing is the compact version of Thermaltake’s MEKA-G. Really compact. This keyboard is the same size as the keyboard in this editor’s 15″ Compaq notebook! This editor had no trouble transitioning from typing on the notebook’s keyboard, where we do most of our work, to the MEKA keyboard. However, there were just a few exceptions as a couple of the MEKA’s keys are placed strangely for touch-typists.
Why a Mechanical Keyboard?
The best keyboards feature mechanical key switches and usually are constructed of high-quality materials. Thus they are more reliable and will last longer. Best of all, once you are used to one, a mechanical key switch keyboard will probably make you a better typist – or gamer. You will be able to get things done faster and with less fatigue.
Most keyboards that are mass produced are rubber dome or membrane keyboards. Their main feature is that they are inexpensive and that they get the job done. Not long ago we needed a USB keyboard in a hurry and paid $11 for a Logitech K-120 at a brick and mortar WalMart. It looks nice and it works for basic PC functions. But it is a world apart from the MEKA keyboard for typing or for gaming.
These cheap keyboards usually don’t provide users with any tactile feedback. The keys themselves feel mushy when they are brand new and they get worse as the rubber underneath them degrades over time. And with a lot of cheap keyboards including notebooks, the keys may not all actuate at the same point and they often stick when dust gets trapped inside. Cheap keyboards also tend to flex and move around, especially when used for gaming. Not so with a quality mechanical keyboard.
The main advantage the mechanical key switch offers to the user is tactile feedback. Other than by a letter appearing on screen as with a cheap keyboard, you will know by touch that a key has been pressed on a mechanical switch. In the case of the MEKA, the Cherry Black MX switches are built to much stricter tolerances than rubber domes and all key presses are consistent across all of the keys on the board. In the case of the MEKA, it is about 3 time heavier and much more rigid than the $11 Logitech keyboard. There is no comparison between the two products in terms of quality – just contrast.
The Cherry Black MX Switch
We made our typing transition easily from our notebook and we now make fewer typing errors on the MEKA than we did before due to the nature of the mechanical keyboard’s keys. The keys on the MEKA are less prone to being accidentally pressed as there is some resistance and each key’s surface is concave and cradles the fingertips. In addition, the surface the fingers contact is a bit smaller and slightly more isolated from the other keys than most notebook or other compact keyboards. This is a superb feature for typists although some might like even less resistance from the keys than the Cherry Black MX switches provide.
The MEKA and mechanical keyboards are mildly to moderately noisy with distinct clicks as you type or frag. If you or your roommates love total silence, bypass any regular mechanical keyboard that uses loud mechanical switches. The MEKA uses Cherry Black MX switches which are well-recognized in the industry as having some of the best characteristics for gamers. In fact, the Cherry Black MX switch is reported to be relatively quiet compared to many switches used in other mechanical keyboards.
As used in the MEKA compact keyboard, Cherry MX-Black switches are non-tactile (linear) switches. Gamers do not need a tactile bump as touch-typists do since you will bottom out the switch in all cases and it gives a very smooth feel. Cherry Black actuation and release points are at the same position and games that require a lot of double tapping become easier than on the other types of Cherry switches.
About Tt eSPORTS
Thermaltake is a well known brand for gaming & DIY in Case, Cooler, and PSU for years. Due to the constant requests for keyboards and mice from gamers and end users, Thermaltake decided to create a series of gaming keyboards, mice, and headsets with the Tt eSPORTS brand. By using Tt eSPORTS, we want to extend our product lines into the gaming industry, and provide more ”personalized gaming” gears to gamers and enthusiasts worldwide. With years of experience in gaming industry, Tt eSPORTS is committed to bring the most personalized and the highest quality weapons for the most competitive cyber battles. For more information, please visit www.ttesports.com.
Let head for the next page for the unboxing, features and specifications.