Thermaltake Meka and Cherry MX Black Switches in Practice

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), the difference between the Cherry MX Red switches in the Corsair Vengeance keyboards and the Cherry MX Black switches in Thermaltake's Meka keyboards is at least initially a little more difficult to articulate. I had to take the Pepsi Challenge to really tell, but the Black switches definitely feel a bit softer than the Reds. In many ways they feel like the next logical step up from using a good membrane keyboard.

That impression changed once I took the Meka G-Unit on a jaunt through Mirror's Edge, a game I continue to be unusually enamored with. The Meka G-Unit's (and by extension all of the Meka keyboards) Cherry MX Black switches have a springier quality to them that becomes much more evident in gaming than in regular typing, and as a result I felt like they performed much more like the Cherry MX Blues in the Rosewill keyboard. Hitting the quick keypresses for some of the jumps in Mirror's Edge seemed just a little bit harder to time with the Meka's keys.

Meanwhile, typing up this review of the G-Unit on the G-Unit has for the most part been a fairly pleasant experience. The tactile response on the mechanical switches continues to be noticeably superior to basic membrane switches, but when it comes to layout I find that Thermaltake's Meka G1 is ultimately preferable. It's common for keyboard manufacturers to place the rows of macro keys directly to the left of the keyboard, but in practice this is a bullet that so far I've only seen Corsair dodge with their Vengeance K90. Even Alienware's M18x notebook has a problem with these keys. Basically, when you go for any of the keys in the lower left of the keyboard you're usually hunting for them by touch, and there were a couple of times in using the G-Unit where I was hitting macro keys when I really wanted to be hitting the Left Shift or Left Control keys. Corsair managed to avoid this by recessing the macro keys, placing them at a different z-height than the rest of the keyboard and thus making the difference clear from a tactile perspective.

As for the software of the G-Unit, I was pleasantly surprised. Thermaltake's software is actually fairly light and includes an OSD that's very inobtrusive. You can also toggle between "Normal" and "Game" modes, which is basically a toggle for the Windows key. My chief problem with the software is that it's a bit obtuse, but not outside of the realm of comprehension for most users. The twelve "T" keys next to the main keyboard can be programmed to launch applications, enter keystrokes, or run macros, and the keyboard and software support three different sets of profiles.

Introducing the Thermaltake Meka The Thermaltake Black Element Mouse


View All Comments

  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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).

    - 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.

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