ThermalTake’s Tt eSports range has delivered some remarkably solid keyboards, especially in the Meka series. The early Challenger series was a solid effort, but it was the Meka range that showed off ThermalTake’s dedication to the gaming peripheral space. The rather oddly named Knucker, though, seems like a bit of a step backward, at least in terms of performance and in-game feel.
Despite some flashy red trim and specially tinted keycaps, there’s something almost retro about the Knucker’s design; it could almost be a rebadged and painted Honeywell board, though it is far more compact. It is nice to see a gaming keyboard that isn’t ridiculously coloured or over-designed, and the detachable wrist rest and rubber surfaced fold-out feet make for comfortable typing and gaming.
The real problem with the board, though, is what’s meant to be its greatest strength. ThermalTake claims the Knucker feels mechanical, despite using special Plunger switches, but the actual action of the keys is far muddier. It’s not so bad as classic rubber dome keyboards, and the plunger system does deliver a just-audible click with each activation, but there’s a distinct lack of precision, especially after switching to this keyboard after our standard board, Corsair’s excellent Vengeance K60. I even found it difficult to get some activations to even register. Testing in World of Tanks, for instance, made quick, one-tap adjustments of direction quite touch and go.
This can be helped with the Knucker’s other feature, which is the ability to increase the repeat rate up to eight times normal, but it’s a little annoying that you have to. The Knucker also comes with extra orange WASD and arrow keys, if you want a little visual cue to isolate the most important keys to many gamers.
However, while the Tt eSports range is ultimately aimed at pro-gamers, what does set this board apart is its low price. If you really can’t afford a mechanical model, this is a good option that’s certainly better than most other non-mechanical models. Razer may have a slight edge at similar pricepoints, though, but if you’re looking for an alternative, the Knucker will do.