Thermaltake’s Level-20 series now includes much more than just enclosures. The gaming keyboard that we tested, to which we will devote ourselves in this test report, is one of them. Whether the mechanical keyboard, which is optionally equipped with Cherry or Razer switches, met our expectations, you will find out in the following lines.
Design and Workmanship
The keyboard is housed in a comparatively large cardboard box, which contains some red key caps and a key puller next to it. In addition, there is a warranty card and operating instructions. More is not included with the keyboard.
The keyboard wants to stand out from the competition – also the in-house one – above all optically. If you look at the keyboard from above, you will notice a distinctive slot, which is located to the left of the arrow block. This slot is available for purely aesthetic reasons – it does not have a technical function. The RGB stripe above the slot is also conspicuous for purely design reasons. It is located in line with the slot, thus maintaining the image of the separation of the keyboard into two areas. If you like, you can use the strip to color the currently activated keyboard profile. Otherwise he can just shine nice.
Above the ESC-key you will find the Thermaltake-Logo. With its white design it stands in contrast to the black keyboard and attracts some attention. It can also be illuminated.
The main plate of the keyboard, made of aluminium, is angled at the front, which is probably intended for comfort during use. At the same time, the angulation interrupts the RGB strip that runs around the keyboard. There is also a light emitting diode under each cap. There are two rubberized stands on the underside of the keyboard.
Altogether it can be said that Thermaltake attaches great importance to the design of the keyboard. It has a very elaborate optical design in order to stand out from the competition, especially in this respect. As it turns out, this is also necessary because there are hardly any technical differences to other Thermaltake keyboards – especially not to the “TT Premium X1 RGB”. We have nothing wrong with the processing, we use absolutely high-quality materials that are cleanly processed.
Keys and Features
The keyboard is equipped with a total of 105 keys, among which are the switches “Cherry MX Speed RGB Silver”, “Cherry MX Blue” or “Razer Green”. The Speed-Silver switches are switches with linear characteristics. The other two switches are clicky. Switching points and actuating force differ significantly. The Speed-Silver switches have a switching point of 1.2 millimetres and require an actuating force of 45 grams. The MX Blue switches have a switching point of 2.2 millimetres and require 60 grams of actuating force. The Razer switches trigger at 1.9 millimeters and require an actuating force of 50 grams.
In addition, the keyboard offers five multimedia tests as well as an additional volume wheel that has a pleasant feel. There are also buttons to lock the Windows button, control the lighting and the game mode.
What is clearly noticeable is the height of the keys. The front keycaps already lie at a height of about 40 millimetres. Compared to many other keyboards this is an enormous height. We will show later how this level affects practice.
The device measures 482 × 186 × 44 mm and weighs an impressive 1.5 kilograms. It is equipped with a 1.8 metre long cable and offers a USB 2.0 connection as well as a 3.5 mm jack plug. An additional headset connection can also be found on the back.
The software in which the illumination and some other options can be set is called “iTAKE”. This software can be used to synchronize several Thermaltake products, which is certainly an advantage if several devices from the manufacturer are to be used and coordinated with each other.
The software is clearly designed and offers numerous possibilities. For example, several profiles can be created, whereby the keys – with the exception of the media keys – are completely freely programmable in each profile. In addition, the illumination of the keyboard can be adapted completely freely to your own wishes. The individual zones can be statically illuminated with one colour as well as with numerous effects. Of course, macros can also be programmed in the software.
Also exciting is the possibility of voice control via Amazon Alexa or the connection with the smartphone. And as a special extra Thermaltake offers the possibility to synchronize the keyboard via Razer Chroma and to integrate Razer products into an RGB circuit.
All in all, the software is designed very clearly and can be used more or less intuitively. We were happy.
In the practical test, the gaming keyboard made a good overall impression. The keys could be released quickly, which is not only very pleasant when gaming. For fast games it offers the advantage of a very short response time, while writing it also increases the typing speed significantly. If you like to save time or just want to get a feeling of speed, this keyboard is a good choice. Of course, the Speed-Silver switches are particularly suitable for these purposes due to the low actuating force and the early switching point.
We noticed the very high keys unpleasantly. This may look good, but is ultimately completely impractical. In combination with the missing palm rest, the high keys mean that the hands have to be held in a rather uncomfortable position in order to reach all keys – from an ergonomic point of view, this is a catastrophe. A wrist-rest that could at least have alleviated this problem would certainly not have damaged the keyboard.
A positive feature is the possibility of second assignment of the function keys. Very frequently executed programs can be opened by simply pressing a key.
It should also be noted that there is only a four-pin headset connector on the rear panel and therefore only headsets with only one connector can be connected. Since this is rather rare in the gaming headset sector, it is counterproductive and turns the headsets into simple headphones – unless you buy an additional adapter.
Altogether it can be said that Thermaltake presents a gaming keyboard that stands out almost exclusively from other keyboards of the manufacturer. It is available in three different configurations and has comprehensive, truly impressive and unique RGB lighting. With the available switches you will find the right writing feeling for everyone.
The very high keycaps have a negative impact. Since no palm rest is available, the hands must be held in an uncomfortable position for a long time in order to be able to reach all keys without problems. This ergonomic flaw is our main criticism of the technically flawless keyboard. Lighting, software, workmanship, design and buttons are otherwise convincing.