The Thermaltake Black Element Mouse

As someone who's been a fairly resolute Logitech user (and still enjoys the G500), I have to say Thermaltake has done a remarkably solid job with the Black Element Mouse. The Black Element uses a mostly ambidextrous design with a soft-touch plastic surface that isn't anywhere near as inducive to clammy palms as the material Razer uses (and by extension, the material used on the old Microsoft Habu). The ridges in the mouse buttons also don't feel quite as deep as the ones typically found on Razer mice, making the Black Element more comfortable in the hand overall.

The top of the Black Element features two plastic buttons beneath the mouse wheel that default to toggling laser sensor polling speed, effectively changing the sensitivity of the mouse on the fly. Above them is a mouse wheel that feels like it has just the right amount of resistance, both in scrolling and in pressing as a middle mouse button. On the left side, where your thumb would rest, are three buttons in a row. This is one situation where I think Logitech's G500 definitely has a smarter layout in having the third button beneath the two instead of between them, as it felt like my thumb had to slightly reach to hit the uppermost button. Meanwhile, the right side of the Black Element has a single long button that you should be able to hit with your pinky without too much trouble. Flip the Black Element over and you'll find a button for toggling profiles as well as user-adjustable weights.

The software for the Black Element is a little obtuse at first, but most of the simple stuff is easy enough to get a hold of. Each of the mouse buttons is programmable, and you can individually adjust vertical and horizontal sensitivity. The mouse also supports up to four different DPI settings, and you can change the LEDs that light up the mouse to one of five colors: red, cyan, green, magenta, and blue. You can also disable LEDs individually, but unfortunately you can't choose different colors. Finally, you can program macros and button functions directly into the mouse, which is nifty in and of itself.

And how did the Black Element work in practice? Very well, actually, although there are some snags in the design. The default sensitivity of 3200dpi (vertical and horizontal) proved to be just right for me, and that's good because the mouse sensitivity buttons feel like they're a bit on the chintzy side. The same is true of the programmable buttons on the sides. They just don't have quite the same feeling of resistance and quality that the buttons on Logitech's G500 or Corsair's Vengeance mice do.

Thermaltake Meka and Cherry MX Black Switches in Practice Conclusion: The Pieces are Here
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  • Jakeisbest - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Cherry corp has announced they they are making an even lighter switch, i think the announcement was at the CES tradeshow. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Anything lighter and you'll have way too many misfires. No thanks. Reply
  • AssBall - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    You type at "like 140wpm".

    When you ignore spelling and punctuation and capitalization.

    I can type "like 140 WPM" of junk too...
    Reply
  • IlllI - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    completely ruins it. Reply
  • fishbits - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    "While the aggressively loud and wonderfully clicky Cherry MX Blue switches in Rosewill's RK-9000 leave a lasting and indelible impression as being ideal for any serious typing (and not sensitive enough for gaming)"

    Disagree. I've had two makes of keyboard with Cherry Blues and they've been fine for gaming, and not just RTS. The clickity audio aesthetic isn't the best mesh for things like FPSs, but gaming was no problem. That includes Mirror's Edge ;)

    I did get a Rosewill with Cherry Browns recently, and like others are saying, it is really good for gaming and typing. Nice, quiet "thunk" feeling to them... but a lot lighter than that. Just satisfying to use. I've yet to try blacks or reds, but am picturing the browns as close to ideal for all-around use to me.
    Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    These keyboards are aimed at gamers? The tiny one as the worst layout... moving the ? key over? there is no reason for it. Just leave it where it is... stick the shit key where it belongs.

    The middle keyboard, almost got it... +/- for the points made.

    The Meka G-Unit is something I am almost interested in. First, I actually PREFER the L-shaped ENTER key. My keyboard was made in 1996... its no longer made... and is white(ish). Todays black keyboards are hard to read at night too.

    Anyway, my layout is similar to the Meka G-Unit but they screwed it up by moving the RIGHT shift KEY way over to the right. (Again 3 different keyboards with 3 totally different layouts? I think these come from different suppliers). Finding a keyboard with both a BIG-L enter key and BIG Backspace key is rare. On mine, they stuck the :\ key (rarely use) to the right of the RIGHT shift key and of course made R-Shift a bit smaller. I think that's a perfect layout.

    - BIG backspace
    - BIG Enter Key

    I'd go with this island keylayout... BIG Delete key, but keep the HOME/END Page UP/Down keys where they are. (toss out the Pause/break key, its a Fn or CTRL key combo on Scroll Lock).

    Cons:
    - not all keys light up... why not ALL and selective? Or how about multi-colored user control. Some keys red, some white, some blue, etc?

    - Not all players use WASD control. I use a mouse for all movements. Keyboard to fire.
    Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    WASD is the accepted norm and just about every competitive FPS player uses it because if you use your mouse to move, you can't aim for shit. Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Funny... my AIM is quite good with the mouse.

    The keyboard has 4 directions for moving. My mouse moves quite well. My tigger finger isn't interacting with the mouse.

    Mouse = Mouse view and movement direction... I can run at angles and circles that you can't do with WASD. The LEFT button = move forward. RIGHT button = move backwards. My logitech has two side buttons, I have these set to STRAFE <left and right>.

    CTRL key = Primary fire
    Shift key = secondary fire (grenade)
    ASDFG keys = Weapons keys. (also mouse wheel)
    Z = zoom
    XCVB = various controls keys.

    I never touch the right side of the keyboard.

    On my ONLINE FPS games... I'm usually in the top 3-4 in scoring/kills.

    Its fine that people use WASD, as long as I have the option to make it work for me.
    Reply
  • perspicacity - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Good to know I'm not the only one who use the mouse for movement. I've tried to get used to using WASD for movement, because it's the default for most games these days... but it just feels so clumsy for me.

    Mostly it's a bit of an old dog / new trick sort of thing... I'm too lazy to learn a new style of play.

    I think the WASD choice came about because of similarity to console games... my style came about because that's how games were set up in the earliest FPS's.

    left button = fire
    right button = forward
    back button = backward (extra button on mouse)
    Reply
  • Porksmuggler - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    I have the base Meka, and yes the layout is odd, but that's i-rocks doing (they made the board before Thermaltake rebranded it).

    The reason I use it? It's the only compact mechanical with tenkey and 2 usb ports. Unless someone knows of another. I would love a standard tenkey compact with usb ports in a more standard layout.
    Reply

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