Thermaltake is a well-known brand in the world of cases, power supplies and cooling, but less so when it comes to gaming peripherals. Step in Tt eSPORTS, Thermaltake’s specialist gaming division. In the past few years Tt eSPORTS have established a solid range of keyboards, mice and headsets which are specifically designed with gamers’ needs in mind.
Today we are looking at the Tt eSPORTS MEKA G1 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, which features Cherry MX Black keys.
Features and specifications:
- Up to 1000Hz polling rate
- Cherry Black Mechanical Switch keys – 50 million keystrokes life expectancy
- Interface: USB (gold plated connectors)
- Operational system: Windows® 7/Vista/XP
- Number of Multimedia keys: 7
- 2.0 USB to port: 2 adapter
- Mic-In & SP-Out jacks
- Switch brand: Cherry Black switch
- Cable length: 1.5m military grade cable
- Detachable palm rest
- Body dimension (LxWxH): 430x160x40mm (not including the wrist rest)
On opening the box there is another protective layer of cardboard over the keyboard which illustrates the features and specifications. Underneath the cardboard lies the keyboard itself, together with a multi-language installation guide and warranty. The wrist rest comes detached from the keyboard, but clips on easily.
The first thing you notice when taking the MEKA G1 out of the box is the weight of the unit. This thing is heavy! The build quality feels superb, and from the weight, to the feel of the keys, to the thick military grade cable, this feels like it was made to last. If you are looking for ultra-portable then this will not be the keyboard for you, but as most folk buying this keyboard will be gamers then the weight is ideal. When you are immersed in a game then the last thing you want is your keyboard sliding all over the desk. There are four rubber feet on the rear of the keyboard (four more on the underside of the wrist rest), and when it is sat down on the desk it feels as though it will stay put through even the most energetic gaming. There are struts underneath the rear of the keyboard which allow you to tilt it upwards slightly, and they feel very solid. However it is worth noting that the struts do not have rubber feet, so the keyboard does become easier to move across the desk when the struts are used. The keyboard is slightly angled in an ergonomic position, so most users may find the struts unnecessary.
The keyboard has a matt black finish, and the keys are pad printed in white with media controls in blue. This is one area where the keyboard lacks in quality – the white paint feels like a cheap short-cut, and we would have much preferred to see etched keys. Only time will tell whether the white paint has sufficient durability to last, but in the few weeks that the keyboard has been in use we have seen a faint discolouration in the lettering of the most frequently used keys.
There are no backlit keys and no macro keys, so if these are features you want then it might be worth considering the G1’s big brother – the MEKA G-UNIT – which features selective backlit keys (eg WASD) and 12 macro keys.
There are seven multimedia buttons from F1 to F7, which are a useful feature on this keyboard. The keys are enabled by holding down the Fn key, which is located where you would usually see the Windows key. The Windows key has been relocated to the right of the Alt Gr key to avoid accidental presses mid-game. This takes a little getting used to if you use shortcuts a lot. Interestingly the Windows key has been entirely removed from the MEKA G1’s little brother, the MEKA, but it is back in its usual position on the MEKA G-UNIT.
At the back of the keyboard there are ports for your headphones and microphone, together with two USB ports. The ‘military grade’ cable is 1.5m long, and is covered with woven steel giving a tough and durable (but heavy) finish. This does not make for the most manoeuvrable cable, but even though it can’t be easily tidied away it does look rather good. The cable connects to your PC via two gold-plated USB connectors and plugs for the headphone and microphone ports. A PS/2 connector is also supplied so that the anti-ghosting feature can be used. However, without using the PS/2 connector up to six keys can be pressed simultaneously and most users will probably find this sufficient.
The wrist rest clips on easily and has four additional rubber feet underneath. It is comfortable to use, but the plastic clips feel as though they are not designed for repeated connection and removal.
The MEKA G1 features a polling rate of up to 1000Hz, making this keyboard ultra-responsive. Ideal for gamers wanting a keyboard that reflects their own quick reaction times.
The Cherry MX Black mechanical keys are a joy to type and game on, and have a life expectancy of 50 million keystrokes. If you are looking for a mechanical keyboard, then the type of keys you opt for is largely down to personal preference. The Cherry MX Black keys do not click when pressed like Cherry MX Blue keys, and there is no feedback (i.e. the keys have the same feel no matter how far you press them down). They require more force to depress than the Cherry MX Red keys which are very light to the touch, but they are by no means heavy. From our experience, you can type and game for hours on this keyboard without your fingers feeling tired. The keys feel very high quality overall, and we like the inclusion of key stabilisers on longer keys such as the space bar. Even if you press the space bar on the very edge it depresses horizontally.
Overall the build quality of the keyboard is fantastic, despite a couple of minor niggles. We would have loved to see etched keys rather than pad-printed, and given the unit price (the cheapest we have found at the time of writing is £86) it doesn’t seem like a big ask. The absence of backlighting and macro keys may also be off-putting to some gamers, but for only slightly more money you can get the G-UNIT which has both of these features.
Mechanical gaming keyboards currently range in price from around £65 to £125, so in terms of value this keyboard falls right in the middle.
The MEKA G1 is a fantastic keyboard for gamers and non-gamers alike who are looking for great build quality and are not discouraged by the lack of backlighting and macro keys.