Thermaltake is perhaps better known for their cases, coolers, power supplies and storage, but their gaming subdivision – Tt eSPORTS – has spent the past couple of years proving that they are also strong when it comes to peripherals. In fact, Tt eSPORTS is becoming a more and more popular option for gamers looking to improve their overall gaming experience.
Today we are looking at the MEKA G-UNIT mechanical gaming keyboard, which tops the MEKA keyboard range offered by Tt eSPORTS. The MEKA G-UNIT has several features over and above those offered by its little brothers, which includes programmable macro keys and partial backlighting. Let’s take a look and see what it has to offer.
The keyboard also has the following features which we will examine in more detail:
- Interface: USB
- Operational system: Windows 7/Vista/XP & MAC OS (will be available later)
- Number of Multimedia keys: 7
- 2.0 USB port: 2
- Mic-In & SP Out jacks
- Switch lifecycle: 50 Million
- Switch brand: Cherry Black switch
- Cable length: 1.8m braided cable with gold-plated USB connector
- Body dimension(L*W*H) : 517*166.6*36.6mm (517*237.5*36.6mm with Palm-rest)
In the box you are provided with the keyboard itself, a detachable palm rest, the detachable cable, the software disc, stickers, a bag for the cable, and a protective pouch to transport the keyboard in.
- Up to 1000Hz polling rate
- Advanced anti-ghosting function
- Selective backlighting
- 64KB on board memory
- Up to 60 macro keys within 3 profiles
- Switchable Windows key (which can be disabled in Gaming Mode)
- Instant Switch System
- User interface
- Smart Cable management
- Detachable cable
The MEKA G-UNIT is the largest keyboard in the MEKA range, being over half a metre in length. The whole package weighs in at around 2.5kg – this is one beast of a keyboard. The unit is matt black all over, with the exception of the red logos at the top of the keyboard and on the wrist rest, as well as red stripes down each side. The MEKA G-UNIT is a full keyboard with a standard layout, plus a few extras. On the top left of the keyboard there is the key to toggle between gaming mode and normal mode - essentially this button allows you to make use of programmable gaming keys and also disables the Windows key to avoid accidental presses mid-game. Unlike the MEKA and the MEKA G1, the Windows key is in the usual location (between CTRL and ALT), and so the gaming mode button is a handy feature. Next to the gaming mode button are the three buttons which allow you to switch between different macro profiles. The far left-hand side of the keyboard is taken up by a block of 12 macro keys (T1 – T12), which can be programed using the software provided (more on this later). On the top right of the keyboard above the numeric keypad there are seven multimedia hotkeys, together with the button which controls the level of brightness of the backlighting. The smaller, flatter buttons (being the gaming mode toggle, 3 macro profile buttons, and four multimedia buttons) are not mechanical switches.
The weight and sturdiness of the keyboard both indicate a good build quality, so we were surprised when one of the plastic clips broke off when attaching the wrist rest. This was very disappointing, and not what you would expect for a keyboard of this price or calibre. Even if the clip does not break off the first time the wrist rest is attached, we would certainly not advise repeated attachment and removal as the small clips just don’t look like they would be strong enough to take it. This all being said, once attached the wrist rest does look good and makes typing for long periods far more comfortable. Having been in use for a number of weeks now, it still looks as good as new and does not show any marks.
The detachable mesh-wrapped cable attaches via USB connector at the rear of the keyboard. The cable has a side facing connector, allowing you to neatly tuck the cable into a channel underneath the keyboard – this is what Tt eSPORTS refer to as their ‘smart cable management’ feature. This means that if the cable (or indeed the keyboard) is tugged, the cable should remain connected and undamaged. A handy feature for a detachable cable!
At the back of the keyboard, there are two USB ports together with the microphone-in and speaker-out docks. Another feature that we like about this keyboard is that the USB and audio jacks are powered by the one USB cable which connects to your computer, as opposed to the thick bundle of cables of the MEKA G1.
Underneath the keyboard there are rubber feet to keep it anchored to your desk – these combined with the weight mean it requires some force to slide the keyboard anywhere. There are also two struts which allow you to tilt the keyboard upwards a little, but they make a minor difference and most people probably wouldn’t notice. However, the struts do feel quite sturdy and have rubber feet (unlike the MEKA G1) so that when in use the keyboard still doesn’t slide around.
Keys and Backlighting
The MEKA G-UNIT uses Cherry MX Black keys, which have been specifically chosen by Tt eSPORTS as the optimum keys for gamers. There are four types of Cherry MX mechanical keys – Black, Brown, Blue and Red. Whether you will enjoy typing on the Cherry MX Black keys of the MEKA G-UNIT is entirely a case of personal preference. They require more force to press down than other types of mechanical keys, and there is no click or tactile bump as you press them. For this reason some people don’t tend to like the Cherry MX Black keys for typing, but it works well for gaming. The keys have a spongy feel when you type on them and do not make as much noise as the ‘clickier’ mechanical key types such as the Cherry MX Blue keys. All in all we have been very impressed with the feel of both typing and gaming on the MEKA G-UNIT, but it would perhaps be better to offer a choice of key types for those who do not get along with the Cherry MX Black keys.
Despite the great build quality of this keyboard, Tt eSPORTS have chosen to pad print the keys. This is really disappointing as pad printing is known to be far less durable than laser etched keys. For a keyboard in this price range we expected laser etched keys as standard.
The selective backlighting has three brightness levels, or can be turned off completely. The backlighting is split into three sections and can be controlled using the software provided with the keyboard. The red Tt logo in the centre of the keyboard pulses by default which is an interesting (but sometimes annoying) feature, and again pulsing can be altered using the software. The locking keys are good and bright (maybe a bit too bright in low light situations), and when they are not lit they look like any other key on the keyboard – ie there is no visible see-through panel on the key, which is nice.
The software can be easily installed using either the disc provided or directly from the Tt eSPORTS website. The interface is easy to navigate, and allows you to record and assign macros to keys, as well as adjust other settings for the keyboard. There are three profiles, and you can assign functions to up to 20 keys within each profile – the 12 ‘T’ keys and 8 other keys of your choosing. There are four options for keys – T Key (to assign a macro that you have already recorded), Default (to revert the function of a key to default), Single Key (for single key presses), and Launch Program (but this will only work with .exe files). You must be in Gaming Mode to program the keys. You can also incorporate a delay for assigned keys – just click on the ‘Adjust Delay Time’ option.
We previously mentioned that the MEKA G-UNIT features an ‘instant switch system’ (ISS) allowing you to reach all 60 programmed keys from within one profile; the software allows you to assign a button to this, but your options are limited to the Alt, Shift or CTRL keys.
You can also change the backlight options using the software. Clicking on the light option tab on the right-hand side allows you to adjust the levels of brightness and configure the pulse. All assigned keys and lighting options are saved on to the keyboard’s 64KB memory, which means that you don’t need to set it all up again when you get a new PC.
Last but not least, the MEKA G-UNIT features an impressive poll rate of 1,000Hz, making it 8 times faster than most other keyboards out there. According to Tt eSPORTS the anti-ghosting function allows for up to 46 keys to be pressed simultaneously in gaming mode without any unexpected characters appearing… although when this would be useful is beyond me. Do we have any 46 fingered typists out there? Two people typing on the same keyboard with both hands and both feet wouldn’t even be enough. The MEKA G-UNIT features six-key rollover (6KRO), which means you can press six keys at the same time and it will register them all. NKRO is a popular and often talked about feature, but to be honest 6KRO should be more than enough for most people.
It is clear that Tt eSPORTS have put a lot of thought into the design and features of this keyboard, but there are a small number of aspects which could benefit from improvements. We were disappointed with the flimsy clip on the wrist rest, and laser etched keys would have been a big improvement over the pad printing actually used. Some of the features are over the top (for example, 46 key anti-ghosting, 60 macro keys) but it is certainly better to have too many than too few. The keyboard pouch provided is a nice touch, although the size and weight of this keyboard do not make it the most portable out there.
The gaming mode is a great way of keeping the Windows key where it is without it being a hazard mid-game, although you do need to remember to press the button before you start…
The selective backlighting is a useful feature. Some people prefer to see the whole keyboard lit up, but actually it’s quite nice to have just the main gaming keys illuminated – it means these keys are highlighted in your peripheral vision so that there is no need to look away from your game.
Currently the MEKA G-UNIT keyboard is only available with Cherry MX Black keys. It would be nice to see it available with other key types, but it is clear that Tt eSPORTS have specifically chosen the Black keys to best suit gamers’ needs.
The MEKA G-UNIT has fantastic build quality and some very useful features. Overall it is a great keyboard to use.