Thermaltake Challenger Pro Gaming Keyboard
Author: Michael O'Neill
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 01-04-2011
Provided by: Thermaltake
Unboxing / Initial Impressions

The Challenger Pro comes in an attractive glossy box with a fold-out summarizing some of the keyboard's features. It is one of those boxes you almost feel bad you have to tear open. Once open you will find the keyboard and all the accessories are packed snugly in the box. Thermaltake includes fabric pouches for just about everything, including the keyboard itself. This is a nice touch considering all the included accessories and their somewhat small size. It is also clear that portability of the unit was part of the design concept which should be a positive for the more serious of gamers who frequent tournaments and LANs.

Running down the complete list of all items in the box:

• Main Keyboard Unit
• Braided 5' USB cable (A to USB-Mini)
• Replaceable red keys for W, A, S, D, and all four directional arrows
• Two Windows key “dummy” caps
• Key removal tool
• Hand cooling 35mm Fan
• Fabric pouches for Keyboard, USB cable, and Accessories
• Paper user's manual
• Software CD

The keyboard itself is even more attractive than the picture on the box. The key layout is pretty standard and I could not find any crazy key placements that manufactures will randomly throw at you from time to time. The keyboard is also rather heavy, weighing in at just over 2 lbs. The programmable macro keys line the far left and right sides of the keyboard with five keys on each side, and they are labeled “T1” – “T10”.

The keyboard also has the basic multimedia keys: play/pause, stop, previous, next, and volume up/down. There is a dimmer key to control how bright the backlight is on the upper right side of the unit. This ranges from completely off to three different brightness intensities. While this seems like a small feature, it is a nice option to have in the days of ultra bright, retina burning LEDs most electronics come equipped with.

The last key is a macro profile selection key (more on this later). One final item of note and the first negative mark I had for the Challenger Pro, were the type of keys used. The keys are more like laptop keys, being thin and flatter with a rubber membrane providing the spring action. This may be of no consequence to some, but others may still prefer the more classic “full” keys of a more traditional desktop keyboard. With that in mind, this is not the keyboard to take out any in-game frustration on unless you want keys flying across the room!

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