Thermaltake Challenger Pro Gaming Keyboard
Author: Michael O'Neill
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 01-04-2011
Provided by: Thermaltake
Accessories, Fan

The Challenger Pro comes with many more accessories than your common keyboard. These accessories include red alternate keys for W, A, S, D, and the four arrow directional keys. It also comes with “dummy” key caps for the Windows keys, a key removal tool and a hand cooling fan. As mentioned earlier, Thermaltake included a pouch to keep all these somewhat tiny accessories in which should help them from being lost.

Installing the alternate keys was pretty straight forward, but some may struggle with the included tool a bit. The tool works by slipping between the spaces between keys and snapping under the keys. Once it is snapped in, an upward pull will pop the key off. The tool works well for the W, A, S and D keys but will not work on the Windows keys. This is due to their width and the fact that the tool will not grab the keys when vertically oriented. The tool would also not work on the left, right, and up arrows due to their proximity to the plastic casing of the keyboard. You may be better off just using the tool more like a pry bar to get these keys off. The keys feel as if they are going to break when taking them off in this manner, but no damage occurred.

Once the keys are removed, it is just a matter of popping in the alternate keys in their respective places. The dummy key caps for the Windows keys prevent you from accidentally activating them while in-game. When installing the dummy key caps, it is important you line up the side that has the notch in the upward position. This allows you to easily remove it later on. Failure to do so will result in no real way to grip the key cap for later removal. In future revisions I would suggest Thermaktake put the notches on both sides of the key to avoid this minor snag.

The included 35mm fan can be mounted to either the left of the right side of the keyboard and plugs into power receptacles. Thermaltake also included caps for the receptacles so they can be covered when the fan is not in use. The idea behind the fan is to cool off sweaty hands. This is something some may not have a problem with so the beauty in this concept may be lost. Either way, the fan was hardly noticeable from either position. This is likely due to the fan being so small and driven by the dainty USB power rail. It's location on the top of the keyboard is also problematic as it seems like it could get broken the first or second time you reach for a drink. The keyboard is fine without the fan, and Thermaltake may have been reaching for extra features with it. It is completely optional and easily removed, but its performance was still disappointing none the less.

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