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[Review] Thermaltake esports Challenger Pro

stinger608

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#1
First I want to thank the awesome folks at Thermaltake for sending this sample!


http://www.ttesports.com/productPage.aspx?p=3&g=ftr#.UrDRUVtDuyc



Box View


As probably everyone knows, Thermaltake has been around for many years and have manufactured literally tons of products for the computer enthusiast and gamer. Not so long ago, Thermaltake developed a division for gamers called Esports. They have a lot of products in this lineup made with the computer gamer in mind.

In this lineup we see the product we are reviewing today called the esports Challenger Pro keyboard. This keyboard has a bunch of configurations as we will see later on in the review. Availability is wide spread across the net including stores like NewEgg and Amazon. The price point is pretty good, as we will discuss in the review as well. With all the options and features this keyboard offers, a price point under $65.00 USD is pretty fair.


First let’s tease you with the packaging you will get with the Challenger Pro keyboard.





The top or front of the box is kind of a matt finish with a very shiny picture of what you can expect the keyboard to look like. The top also shows off some of the features your new keyboard will have. The very top of the box is made into a “flap” that is Velcro attached. Upon opening this flap Thermaltake has made the inside area almost like a book with all the different features this keyboard has to offer.





At the bottom of the inner flap area of the box Thermaltake has included the System Requirements and Package Content so you know what you need and what is included in this package. Now with normal keyboards you would expect the contents to show “keyboard.” That is not the case with the Challenger pro, as this list shows 10 different contents!
 
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stinger608

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#2
In The Box


Now let’s take a look inside to see what we have.





Once we open the box we are greeted with an interesting sight. What we see is a felt like bag that contains the actual keyboard. You don’t get this with standard keyboards. This bag is included so you can keep the keyboard safe and clean when you traveling to your favorite LAN event!





Once we open the felt bag, we are then greeted with a brand new shiny keyboard. Hmm, no connection cable? As we look further we find yet another little felt bag inside the box that contains the cable and a little cooling fan.




 
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stinger608

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#3
Extra Accessories


At this point we figured we were done with the accessories included with the Challenger Pro……….We were wrong! Upon further investigation we saw yet another little bag inside the box. Well, when we opened that bag, to our surprise, there were several keys and a little tool to replace the keys.





There are a total of 8 red keys consisting of the common W,A,S,D for most gamers and there is also the four arrow keys for gamers that prefer using them over the W,A,S,D configuration. As an added feature Tt also included two black blank keys to replace the two Windows keys to keep from hitting then during a stretch of gaming.


Inside the main box there is also a documentation and software package.





Once we opened this little package up we were a little surprised to find a couple of nice sized decals that can be affixed to your trusty LAN gaming machine.







Of course this package also contains the software disk and a 15 language instruction booklet to show you how to configure the macro keys on the keyboard.
 
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stinger608

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#4
Keyboard



Once you plug the cable into the keyboard there is a groove on the underside to route the cable and keep it snug. Plugging the keyboard in is just like all other USB type keyboards. Once it is plugged in and you turn your system on you are greeted with an illuminated look.





As you can see, the large Tt on the palm rest is, by default, lite up brightly. I must say, I am not sure why my camera shows kind of a yellow look to this, as it is a very bright red. This is where you will want to insert the included software disk or you can opt to go to Thermaltake’s web site and download the proper software. Once the software is installed on your computer it will prompt you to reboot your computer.

Naturally the software will run in the background once your system has been rebooted. Click on the icon in your task bar and the program will start up. It takes a couple of minutes for the software to load the profiles even though you have not begun building any profiles yet. Once it has finished loading the illumination will be shut off.





As can be seen, there are several features included in the software package. You can set up four different profiles if you use a different profile for the games you will be playing at your favorite LAN event. Each profile can use 10 different macro keys. On the right hand side of the software program you will see the “light options.” This allows you to set the lighting on your keyboard from 0% to 100% in 25% increments. Below that there is a handy little timer. You can start this little feature if you want to time your gaming or different sessions. Or how long it takes you to drink your favorite energy drink, haha.

In the lighting area you’ll notice the large Tt is dark with an on switch that once checked lights up the large Tt insignia in the software as well as on the keyboard.





We found that the software performed very well and didn’t crash the computer or anything of that nature. We also didn’t notice any performance hit to the computer itself.
 
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stinger608

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#5
Fan and Conclusion


Now let’s take a look at the little included fan and see what that is all about. Thermaltake has included the little fan to help keep your gaming hand cool and ready for action! It plugs into the upper corner of the keyboard.





The fan will plug into either corner of the keyboard depending on which hand and keys you use for gaming. We found this to be a very nice little added feature to the Challenger Pro keyboard.

Beware though; there is a little rubber plug that has to be removed in order to plug the fan in. We found these little plugs to fall out of there resting place quite easily. These can be lost very easy at a LAN event so keep that in mind.





On the very back left hand side of the keyboard is a slot that the fan can be locked into when not in use. This is very handy when you travel to your next LAN event to keep track of the cooling fan.





Once locked in place it will not just fall out as it actually clicks into the lock position.





I can personally say that I have used one of the Thermaltake Challenger Pro keyboards for close to two years and I am currently typing this review on that keyboard. After many hours of typing articles, school assignments, and thousands of forum posts, this keyboard is still going strong! A couple of the keys have started to fade out but not as much as many keyboards at and above the price point of this keyboard.

Something that would have been an added feature is different color choices for the illumination. Many other gaming keyboard manufactures offer this feature and this would have put this keyboard over the edge.

Another knock that we have on this keyboard is the little rubber plugs for the hand cooling fan. These can fall out very easily and it would have been nice to see Thermaltake have them screw in or something of that sort.


 
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stinger608

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#6
A bunch of views and no comments. :p

Some feedback on the product and the review would be appreciated. :toast:
 
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#7
not a bad review or keyboard tbh retails at about £43 here in the uk, might have to treat myself to one
 
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#8
looks nice but personally adding fan on keyboard is too much although it may work well
 
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#9
yeah its maybe a step to far, tbh im not a massive gamer so im quite happy to leave the fan in its stored position, however the fan aside its still a good keyboard for the money.
 
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#10
this is a membrane board right, how quiet are the keypresses, the fan is a . . . . . different touch, but I would never use it if I got one.
 

stinger608

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#11
this is a membrane board right, how quiet are the keypresses, the fan is a . . . . . different touch, but I would never use it if I got one.
Correct, it is a membrane keyboard. The key presses are almost silent. A very quiet keyboard.
I agree with the fan; it is kind of a nice touch but I have never used it on my original board.
 

stinger608

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#12
bumping this review up top again. Would really like some feedback on the quality of the review as well. :peace:
 

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#13
I like the keyboard and the neat little things that come with it. Only thing I don't like are the location of the macro keys which essentially make the keyboard much wider. I have problems with ramming my mouse into wide keyboards.
 

stinger608

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#14
I like the keyboard and the neat little things that come with it. Only thing I don't like are the location of the macro keys which essentially make the keyboard much wider. I have problems with ramming my mouse into wide keyboards.
Yep, it is a bit wider than the standard keyboard Erocker. However it isn't as wide as one would think. They actually did a good job of including the macro keys and not getting crazy with the width. The keyboard still fits easily in a standard sliding keyboard tray.
 

stinger608

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#15
bumping this up again.
 

stinger608

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#16
up top again
 

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#17
why are we bumping a review thread? I mean you can I guess, just wondering why?
 

stinger608

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#18
why are we bumping a review thread? I mean you can I guess, just wondering why?
Just to get it back at the top for members interested in reading reviews I guess. :laugh:
 

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#19
fair enough, just seemed a bit odd was all, had to ask!