CEBIT IS THE PLACE where Thermaltake tends to drop its bombs, and this year it had the launch of a new venture for the company, gaming. There were also some interesting coolers and cases, but the Esports line was getting all the attention.
Esports consists of keyboards, mice, headphones and mousepads, plus a line of clothing and accessories. The main items are the Challenger keyboards, a gaming mouse called Black, and the Shock line of headsets.
Challenger Pro, Shock, Black and Dasher
The Challenger is a gaming keyboard with the usual six macro keys, 32K of on-board memory, USB ports, and a removable gold plated USB connector. The only weird part is a small fan that is stored in a compartment in the back of the keyboard. You can pull it out and plug it in to the left or right side of the keyboad, just above the function keys. The idea is to keep your hands sweat free for those magic headshot opportunities. Adding a Pro to the mix gets you 10 macro keys, doubles memory to 64K, and adds an adjustable red backlight.
TT’s entrance into gaming mice is the 4000DPI, six button Black. Black has all the usual features, 400, 800, 2,000 and 4,000 DPI adjustability, gold connectors, backlighting, and tunable weights. Under the hood, there is a Phillips laser controller, gold plated USB connectors, and a 1.8M cable.
Two headsets round out the major components, of the Esports line, the Shock and the Shock One. Shock is a pretty standard headset with a noise canceling mic. The mike folds away, and shock has a volume knob on the chord, a welcome feature on any headset.
The Shock One is a USB headset with 5.1 surround support. Okay, 5.1 headsets are cool, but USB sound is, well, not all that bright an idea in general. Other than extending the DRM infection right to your ears, it seems like reinventing the wheel, give me 3.5mm jacks any day.
Rounding out the line are two oversized mouse pads and some accessories. Of the two, the interesting one is called Dasher, and it has a very nice smooth surface. To get attention at the next LAN party, you can either take one of the inflatable hammers that TT hands out at shows and beat the person who just fragged you, or wear its Esports clothes. While there are shirts, hats, and waterbottles to choose from, I would just stick with the keyboards and mice to make your point.
Thermaltake had one upcoming item that was put into the Esports line, but it’s position there is kind of questionable. It is another keyboard, so new that it doesn’t have a name yet, but it is very plain. No fans, no dancing bear icons, no nothing, just a black keyboard. The only visible thing that separates it from a keyboard bundled with a new PC is a long wrist rest.
It is however somewhat magical in operation, the keyboard is an ‘clicky’ unit in the old IBM model M style. Rather than rubber domes, this keyboard has springs and mechanical contacts that make an audible ‘click’ when you type them, and give tactile feedback of key presses. It is more expensive to make these keyboards, but many people swear by them. If you like clicky keyboards, Thermaltake should have one for you in short order.S|A