Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews

Written by Antony Leather

August 17, 2016 | 14:34

Tags: #backlit-keyboard #best-membrane-keyboard #gaming-keyboard #gaming-mouse

Companies: #thermaltake #tt-esports

Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB

UK price (as reviewed): £44.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $60.84 (ex Tax)

Stepping up by £15 from the Commander combo, Tt eSports offers another membrane-based keyboard and gaming mouse set for £45. The Challenger Prime RGB settles with standard membrane keys and these feel a little more positive than the plunger-equipped Commander on the previous page.

Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review
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The keys are much lighter than those of the i-Rocks Golem, which has raised scissor switches, although the latter felt more positive still, with a more definite bottom-out and sharper bounce. However, the Challenger's keys feel more robust and less rattly than the Commander keyboard.

Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review
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While it's not completely spill-proof, the Challenger does include drainage holes that sit in recesses between the key switches, and allow liquid to drain through straight to the underside, meaning that if your Coke can accidentally goes horizontal, the worst that should happen is a sticky mouse mat rather than a dead keyboard.

Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review
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There are far more features here than with the Commander too. You get RGB backlighting and while there's still a lot of between-key light spill, more photons find their way to the key characters than with the Commander. You also get on-the-fly macro recording and while a software suite is included, you can record macros without it, with six dedicated macro keys included and up to 18 macros able to be stored thanks to a three-tier profile system.

Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review
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You get 24-key anti-ghosting too and as well as some dedicated macro keys, you also get dedicated media controls for music and volume. Somewhat bizarrely, though, that large central dial is for the backlighting brightness - we'd much prefer it if this was a volume dial, which is a handy feature often included on premium mechanical keyboards.

Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review Tt eSports Commander and Challenger Combo Reviews Tt eSports Challenger Prime RGB Review
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The mouse included with the Challenger is very similar to that with the Commander. It's fairly basic but solid, includes a single DPI switch toggle for the four sensitivity settings and two thumb buttons, but also includes a Pixart Avago 3050 optical sensor, while the main buttons sport Omron switches too. It has larger Teflon feet and a slightly more ergonomically pleasing and shaped exterior, with small indentations for your index and middle fingers, although the rest of the chassis is identical.

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We expected some sort of control over the mouse's DPI settings in the software but sadly it's just keyboard-focussed. However, you do get a full macro manager and lighting control, although the software itself is a little clunky.

Conclusion

We're still dealing with a super-low price tag here, and it's hard to fault the Challenger combo given it costs just £45. However, it is rather mediocre overall, just as we found with Cooler Master's MasterKeys Lite L Combo RGB, and even at this price range there are some decent separate mouse/keyboard options that are only a little more. For example, Cooler Master's Xornet II is a far better mouse than the one included with the Challenger and sports a full software suite too with adjustable sensitivity and costs just £20. Furthermore, the i-Rocks Golem can be found in a cheaper guise in the form of the Cougar 300K, which costs just £30 at the moment from Overclockers UK.

Combined, these make up a significantly improved setup than the Challenger combo for just £5 more, although the Cougar keyboard does lack some features too, such as macro recording and RGB backlighting. You can also buy the Challenger keyboard on its own for around £25 (albeit still without RGB lighting), meaning that adding the Xornet II mouse would cost the same as the original combo pack. As a complete package, though, the Challenger Prime RGB isn't quite award worthy.
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