Compact, simple, to the point and robust. Those are adjectives that come swiftly to mind when we analyze the Meka G1 keyboard from Thermaltake, a peripheral made to last hours of gameplay and that comes lacking most of the bells and whistles from the competion: there are neither programmable keys nor a backlighting feature. The ideia is to be a tool that can handle the job and make the user’s life easier by presenting a two-port USB hub plus two dedicated microphone and audio plugs so you don’t need to crawl to the back of the desktop in a regular basis. Can it be that the Meka G1 delivered? See our test after the product’s description.
Since it doesn’t have a set of programmable keys, the Meka G1 is the size of a regular keyboard, going against the trend in gaming-grade keyboards of bigger and larger devices. The traditional function keys double as multimedia buttons from F1 to F7 as long as you also press the Fn key that replaces the Windows key between Left Control and Left Alt – the Windows key was transfered to the right bank of Control and Alt keys.
A 0.4-inch (10 mm) thick cloth-wrapped cable gathers all four cables from the keyboard: two USB cables (one to connect the Meka G1 itself, the other for the hub) and two wires for microphone and audio. The USB keyboard plug comes with an old PS/2 adapter to give it an anti-ghosting feature; that is, it doesn’t matter that the user hits thirty keys at the same time (God knows how), the Meka G1 will understand each given command. If it’s only connected through the USB plug, the keyboard only recognizes up to six keys being pressed simultaneously.
On the top right edge of the keyboard, you can find the USB hub and audio connections. However, we prefer that they were on the left side because as it is they create some sort of a mess in the mouse area, which is used in the right space near the keyboard by most right-handed users.
Since there is no fold out feet, the keyboard is slightly angle towards the user and comes with a plastic wrist rest. Be sure to use it because the Meka G1 is a tall keyboard and it could cause strain to the user’s wrist.
This is a mechanical keyboard which means the keys are robust and they revert to the original position immediately after you lift your finger from them. Mechanical keyboards are rarely used as gaming-grade models. The market prefers membrane keyboards where the keys are part of a whole ensemble resting over a circuit board. Being mechanical, the Meka G1 has keys that work independently from each other and, believe us, are very resistant, as we will further comment ahead.
[nextpage title=”Testing the Meka G1″]
Since it doesn’t feature any programmable functions, the Meka G1 doesn’t come with an installation software and it needs only to be plugged in to work. We installed it both USB and audio connections to the back of the desktop and, despite being a good idea to have a thick cable gathering the other four wires, the cable itself is not very flexible and can be a pain to route depending on the user’s setup. Next we plugged our mouse and a USB drive to the USB hub on the keyboard and got a regular headset with 3.5 mm audio connectors (our main headset is a wireless USB model). All set, duly recognized and working fine – and the access to the files on the pen drive was as fast as if it was plugged to the motherboard or another USB hub we have.
After that we changed the audio setup, plugging the wireless headset on the USB previously occupied by the USB drive. Everything went fine once more, a perfect A+ to connectivity. The inclusion of a separate cable to power the USB hub was a good decision from Thermaltake. Sometimes gaming-grade keyboards feature two USB ports but have only one cable to be connected to the desktop, which generates error messages about some devices not being able to be connected due to power consumption.
Those who think about acquiring a Meka G1 and like to customize functions should invest on a good mouse full of programmable buttons because the keyboard, as we said, doesn’t do that. Its strong point is sturdiness: you need to apply some pressure to hit the keys. It may seem like tiring but it’s not and besides it gives the feeling the keyboard will hold on and no key will be hit by accident. In more than two weeks of usage while we tested other peripherals, not in a single moment we hit a wrong key with the Meka G1. Furthermore, the sturdiness helps to preserve certain keys like ‘W’ which is kept pressed on through endless hours to move the hero character in games like Call of Duty or World of Warcraft.
More than the lack of customization, which is always useful, what bothered us the most was the lack of backlighting, which is essential to those who play in a dim room or have the intention of bringing the keyboard do a competition usually held in darkened spaces. It is, as ever, a matter of subjective taste, but for us it’s a serious problem.
And what about the boring part, we mean, work? Well, the Meka G1 resembles those old typewriters from our folks and grandfolks because it’s a mechanical keyboard. In some online matches, our friends made some remarks about the loudness of our typing being captured by the microphone during our chat. With the resistance offered by the keys, after some hours of intense typing of big texts the work became more tiring – something that shouldn’t worry those who will use the Meka G1 primarily for gaming and casual light typing.
In final consideration, the Meka G1 is indicated for players who prefer to leave their customization to fancy gaming-grade mice or doesn’t care much about to begin with. The compact size is good for thight spaces and the USB/audio hub comes in handy, despite creating a crowd of wiring to the right that may compromise the mouse movements. The sturdiness is a high mark, but may tire the user that does lenghy typing outsite gaming time.
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The main specifications for the Thermaltake Meka G1 keyboard include:
- USB gaming-grade keyboar
- PS/2 adapter for anti-ghosting feature
- Gold-plated connectors
- Two 2.0 USB ports and two 3.5 mm audio and microphone jacks
- 5 ft (1,5m) long, 0.4 (10 mm) thick cloth-wrapped cable
- Dimensions: 16.9 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches (430 x 160 x 40 mm)
- More information: https://www.thermaltakeusa.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 129.99
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Below you have a summary of our impressions about the Thermaltake Meka G1.
- Robust keys
- Two audio connections and two USB ports
- Thick cable gathers the four wires from the keyboard
- Doesn’t feature programmable keys
- No backlighting
- Thick cable could be difficult to route
- USB/audio hub too close to the mouse