Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Prime RGB Combo Reviews

Manufacturer: Tt eSports

Thermaltake has quite an array of peripherals under its Tt eSports brand from headsets, mousepads and of course keyboards and mice. Its keyboards span the full spectrum from mechanical Cherry MX switches right the way down to your basic rubber dome membrane types and its two of the latter that we're looking at today. Both come as combos so include a gaming mouse too, all for the tidy sums of just £30 and £45.

Tt eSports Commander Combo (Multi Light/Three Colour)

UK price (as reviewed): £29.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $29.99 (ex Tax)

While the PC industry as a whole has been shrinking for a while, there are several areas that remain strong and are even increasing. The PC gamer continues to outnumber his console counterparts and eSports in general are massively popular, especially with the new streaming craze and competitions. A PC is obviously an expensive investment, and while you can get a half decent gaming rig for less than £600 or even less depending on the titles you want to play, something that's often overlooked are peripherals.

The thought of adding another £100 to a £500-600 outlay for a PC just for a keyboard and mouse is something the budget-conscious are concerned with, and rightly so. That cash could be spent levelling up your graphics card or even getting an SSD over a hard disk. If these are your kind of budgets then you're likely coming from a fairly basic setup that includes an equally basic keyboard and mouse. So, while we'd all like to be able to drop £100 on the latest mechanical keyboard and another £60 on a flashy gaming mouse, the fact is that if you're used to a bog-standard set of peripherals, anything is going to be an improvement.

That's not to say the two sets of peripherals we're looking at today are poor. They're obviously not going to trounce the latest Corsair or Cooler Master premium gear, but as a stepping stone to later upgrading, they look to offer the budget-conscious gamer with everything they need for less than £50 - and that's inclusive of a mouse and keyboard.

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The Tt eSports Commander Combo costs less than that. At just £30, it costs less than Cooler Master's similar MasterKeys Lite L Combo RGB and most premium gaming mice alone yet it includes a keyboard with multi-colour back lighting, 6-key rollover and a gaming mouse. Starting with the keyboard itself, it's not going to win any beauty contests, but it's fairly solid, if plastic-laden, and even includes Cherry MX-compatible keycaps.

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They keys are plunger types so don't feel like a standard membrane affair as they're a little lighter. However, there's definitely the characteristic membrane bounce and the keys themselves are a little rattly. That said, they're very quiet indeed - quieter than any switch-based keyboard, but obviously lack the light, linear, precise feel you'd get with one.

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The backlighting comes in three colours, and while the lights are fairly bright, not much of this shines through the actual keycaps - there's a lot of back-glow around the keys. It's not too off-putting, though, and there are even some funky lighting effect presets available, although there's no wrist rest or software.

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The mouse was surprisingly comfortable despite its angular body and its low sloping top and average length meant that it wasn't adverse to any particular grip type, although we found it most comfortable in a palm grip, perhaps also due to its weight at 144g.

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The optical sensor only reaches up to 2,400 DPI, but it was enough for comfortable, precise movement on a range of surfaces. Users of monitors greater than 1080p may demand more, but that's unlikely to be a problem for the target audience. One issue we did have is the primary buttons, which while solid feeling, require a fair amount of actuation force. They're also quite noisy when pressed repeatedly. The side buttons didn't feel particularly great at first. They're quite flimsy and depress a long way before they actuate, which can feel strange. However, they find a good balance between being too light and too heavy and are well positioned. The central button switches the sensitivity in four increments between 800 and 2,400 so should suit most people, although you cycle through the settings which will be a little tedious if you have to do this regularly.

Conclusion

We find ourselves questioning any flaws we've found with the Commander Combo given just how cheap the whole package is. Build quality is surprisingly good, which gets the main hurdle out the way, but both the keyboard and mouse are pleasant to use and don't have any major flaws. The backlighting could be better, the keys don't feel as positive as some membrane-based keyboards we've seen such as the i-Rocks Golem Series K50, but again, it costs more than this just for the keyboard. As a result, for the money it's hard not to recommend.

If you can afford a little more, you can see some slightly more expensive options over the page that are noticeably better, but if you're on a tight budget it will certainly be an improvement over a standard keyboard and mouse you'd get with a basic off-the-shelf system. The inclusion of backlighting, rollover support and mouse DPI adjustment, even if they're basic, are still useful things to have in games so if £30 is your absolute limit, look no further than the Tt eSports Commander.

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