Using the Challenger Pro

Before the fun of testing the keyboard playing games, we went through some mundane actions like typing, writing e-mails etc. Well, we thought the keys were very close together, which made us hit the Caps Lock key pretty much all the time we were aiming for the letter A. The result was several phrases turning to all caps and having to be deleted and re-typed more carefully, delaying work and online chats. The problem raised its ugly head in gaming sessions also, as we opened chat boxes with other players in World of Warcraft and Call of Duty Black Ops. It was very annoying.

The regular function keys, Print Screen and ESC keys are also tiny and close togheter. Sometimes we hit the T1 programmable key instead of ESC because both are really close. In the thing that matters the most for a keyboard – the keys themselves – the Challenger Pro left much to be desired.

The hand fan is useless. Even if it really helped cool your hand, it would still be superfluous, but as it is the fan doesn’t circulate air enough. We left it on without noticing any actual benefit and soon it was stored into the assigned slot.

The feature the Challenger got right was the illumination: the light doesn’t only shine in the middle of the letters/numbers/symbols, but from behind the entire bed of keys – it’s a nice effect, great for work and gaming.

It would be best if the wrist rest was removable, but it doesn’t make the keyboard look huge and we didn’t feel the need to remove it.

While gaming, we only had a major complain concerning key proximity. We missed the ESC a couple of times, hitting the T1 instead, and Caps Lock always seemed to get in the way of typing A in a chat box. At least the programmable buttons keep a healthy distance among themselves and there was no confusion hitting them. The overall sturdiness of the keys made for some nice gaming.

While trying to create a not-so-big gaming keyboard, Thermaltake made a mistake concerning the dimensions of the keys. Perhaps if they were not so concerned creating a superfluous gimmick like the hand cooling fan and instead focused on other aspects, it would result in a better product. We keep our praises only to the deluxe presentation and the simple and effective configuration software.


A self-assumed gadget-freak and an avid gamer, André Gordirro has written about pop culture, Internet and technology for the past ten years. He works for SET Magazine, Brazil's biggest movie magazine, and usually contributes to its technology section writing about consumer products. His body lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – although his mind is said to inhabit cyberspace.