Tecware won’t be the primary identify you consider when it comes the bestest best gaming keyboards cash should buy, however their mid-range Phantom RGB positive is a heck of so much cheaper than a variety of its competitors – simply £46 / $46 for the 87-key tenkeyless model I’ve bought on take a look at right here right now (it’s additionally out there as a full-size mannequin within the US for $50), which is admittedly fairly tempting contemplating a variety of the very best keyboards will set you again a minimum of double that.
Surely, there should be some type of compromise, proper? Well, I’ve been utilizing the Phantom RGB for a number of weeks now, and it’s arguably one of many extra pleasing keyboards I’ve examined for fairly a while. Here’s wot I believe.
As talked about above, I’ve been despatched the tenkeyless model of the Phantom RGB, so it’s naturally so much smaller than your typical mechanical keyboard because of the lack of quantity pad. However, even the full-sized mannequin is fairly compact, measuring simply 133mm from prime to backside. That’s 8mm shorter than the Fnatic Streak, which is already one of many slimmer mechanical keyboards you should purchase right now. It does imply, in fact, that you just received’t discover any devoted media or macro keys on the Phantom RGB, or something fancy like a quantity knob or USB passthrough. If you need any of these, you’ll must look elsewhere.
Still, if all you’re after is a small, comparatively inconspicuous mechanical keyboard, the Phantom RGB will in all probability tick a variety of packing containers. Personally, I really desire the general look of the Streak – I’m a sucker for rounded corners – however I do like how plain and easy the Phantom RGB is in comparison with your typical gaming keyboard. It’s fairly industrial trying, with its darkish gray chassis, onerous edges and angled corners, nevertheless it additionally has smart fonts and is totally freed from obnoxious logos and go-faster gaming stripes. The outdated Internet Explorer shortcut mapped to F2 is a tad dated, all instructed, however the remainder of it’s fairly straightforward on the attention.
The Phantom RGB additionally feels nice below the fingers, too. Tecware have used Outemu mechanical switches right here slightly than Cherry’s extra broadly used MX switches, however by way of total really feel I’d say the Outemu Red switches on my explicit evaluation pattern (it’s additionally out there in Blue and Brown flavours) had been fairly much like your common Cherry MX Red swap.
Red switches, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, usually have a straight, clear up and down movement whenever you press them. This means they’re usually the quickest sort of swap, which the final keyboard hivemind will usually profess is sweet for gaming, however in addition they supply barely much less tactile suggestions consequently – particularly in comparison with extra tactile kinds of swap, such because the tremendous loud and clicky blue varieties or barely quieter, bumpy brown varieties, which are usually higher for hammering out numerous phrase paperwork and the like.
Personally, I’ve all the time bought on very properly with purple switches in terms of normal typing, and the Phantom RGB is not any exception. I used to be in a position to sort at full pace virtually straight off the bat, and all the pieces felt well-spaced and completely proportioned regardless of the keyboard’s considerably diminutive body.
Even its US format didn’t trigger me any issues, which tends to be my undoing (*cough*Steelseries Apex M750*cough*) after I’m so used to UK keyboards. It additionally wasn’t too noisy, though I reckon its CLACKEY CLACKS are in all probability nonetheless somewhat too anti-social for sticking down in a lounge, for instance, until you might have notably tolerant housemates or relations.
The solely factor I’m mildly involved about is the general construct high quality of the WASD keys. I wouldn’t say I’ve been bashing these keys notably onerous when taking part in games, however after a few months use I began to note the D key turning into noticeably bumpier than the remainder of them, as if the important thing cap had come a bit free. Fortunately, it was fairly straightforward to repair, because the Phantom RGB comes a each keycap puller and swap remover within the field, plus 4 alternative switches, which is an actual rarity at this value. As a consequence, I used to be in a position to pop off the important thing cap to test it was all proper after which immediately reattach it with none drawback. Once I’d achieved that, it was tremendous and dandy once more.
That’s to not say this type of factor received’t occur once more sooner or later, in fact, and I’ll admit I used to be disillusioned that I used to be having to fiddle about with the important thing caps so rapidly after I’d began utilizing it. You may say you get what you pay for, in that sense, however a minimum of Tecware offer you all of the instruments it is advisable to repair any potential faults proper off the bat as a substitute of creating you pay further for them.
Still, other than that, there’s so much to love concerning the Phantom RGB. While that lingering concern over its construct high quality means it doesn’t fairly make it into my best gaming keyboard checklist, I reckon its low value of £46 / $46 in all probability nonetheless makes it an honest purchase for those who’re pondering of getting your first mechanical keyboard however aren’t positive whether or not you’re really going to love them or not. It’s actually higher than spending upwards of £100 / $100 on one thing just like the Fnatic Streak / miniStreak solely to seek out you hate how they really feel or the quantity of noise they make, so for those who’re seeking to dip your toes into the world of mechanical keyboards with out breaking the financial institution, then the Tecware Phantom RGB might be one of many most cost-effective methods to do it.