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Keys and Lighting: Kailh, not Cherry?

Tt eSports by Thermaltake Poseidon ZX Review
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Copy or Competing Product?

Answering this question isn’t as easy as one might think. The Kalih coloring system is identical to Cherry, which was probably done on purpose, but the feel of the switches is somewhat different. Kailh isn’t new to the field of switches. For almost 24 years, they’ve been making everything that clicks and clacks in a wide variety of industries.

The difference between Cherry MX Blue and Kailh Blue lies in the small details of the spring and the characteristics of the switch. It’s barely perceptible while writing, which is also reflected in the almost-identical specifications and curves presented in the diagrams below.

Cherry MX-Blue
Kailh Blue

Switch Type:

Tactile Feel, "Click" Differential Movement

Switch Type:

Tactile Feel, "Click" Differential Movement

Switch Actuation Feedback Character:

Precisely Felt

Switch Actuation Feedback Character:

Precisely Felt

Switch Actuation Travel:

2 mm from Initial Position

4 mm Total

Switch Actuation Travel:

2 mm from Initial Position

4 mm Total

Actuation Force:

50 g to Depress Key

App. 60 g Peak Force to Actuate Switch

Actuation Force:

50 g to Depress Key

App. 60 g Peak Force to Actuate Switch

The only thing that really jumps out in a direct comparison is the resistance after the actuation point — passing it isn’t as pronounced for the Kailh Blue. This can actually be a good thing, since it lessens any problems with bottoming out. With a bit of training, there might even come a point where writing becomes a bit quieter, since less force is used intuitively. Don’t get us wrong, though, this is still a tactile switch with a very pronounced actuation point.

The keycaps are okay and pretty much what you would expect. The letters are recessed as per the usual solution, but the colors’ finish is quite thin. How durable these ABS keycaps will turn out to be is anyone’s guess. We can’t really do a practical test in our lab without going long term. Consequently, we chose the second-best option and tried to simulate long-term use with a buffing wheel. The color withstood this treatment for one minute. This gives us at least a bit of hope, since we’ve seen much worse.

Another question that can’t really be answered at this point is if the mechanical durability suffers due to the shorter pieces in the keycaps. The OEM has made the keycaps even more minimalistic, which makes them a lot simpler and cleaner-looking than those built into keyboards by other manufacturers.

Font, Readability and Lighting

The font used on the keys is clear and easy to read. The manufacturer actually put some thought into this, and it shows. It’s a nice change of pace from the frippery that others like to engage in when it comes to their key labels. The lighting isn’t as optimally done due to how the keys are built. The characters are on the lower half of the keys, whereas the LEDs are positioned at the top. It’s not really much of a problem, though.

Unfortunately, there isn't any lighting for the Caps Lock and Scroll Lock keys. These keys are only lit if they’re activated, in which case they stay lit. Otherwise, complete darkness is all that greets the user. This choice might be controversial, but it’s certainly one way of doing things.

The brightness can be adjusted in several steps using the Fn and F11/F12 keys, which is good enough. The bright blue LEDs, in combination with the perfectly shaped letters, result in a very easily readable keyboard, no matter the ambient light level.

N-Key Rollover

The Tt eSports by Thermaltake Poseidon ZX avoids both ghosting and jamming perfectly.

PS/2 and USB Issues

The Poseidon ZX "Tenkeyless" doesn’t feature the two-device solution that would have been the ideal way to transfer data. Consequently, it’s a pure 6KRO keyboard.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    DarkSable , September 3, 2014 12:42 AM
    You talk about the advantages of it not having a numberpad, but not about the disadvantages.

    1) It's significantly slower to type numbers or serial codes. In other words, for a whole bunch of the office work that you're saying it's so good for.
    2) It means you can't use a program like autohotkey to turn the number pad into a macro pad.
    3) All you say is that if you can live without one and that you shouldn't hesitate to switch to tenkeyless... You're making it out as though it's a BAD thing to have a keyboard with extra functionality, when it's absolutely not.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    DarkSable , September 3, 2014 12:42 AM
    You talk about the advantages of it not having a numberpad, but not about the disadvantages.

    1) It's significantly slower to type numbers or serial codes. In other words, for a whole bunch of the office work that you're saying it's so good for.
    2) It means you can't use a program like autohotkey to turn the number pad into a macro pad.
    3) All you say is that if you can live without one and that you shouldn't hesitate to switch to tenkeyless... You're making it out as though it's a BAD thing to have a keyboard with extra functionality, when it's absolutely not.
  • -1 Hide
    blackmagnum , September 3, 2014 12:44 AM
    Too pricey and niche. Why not try a SteelSeries 6GV2?
  • -2 Hide
    itzsnypah , September 3, 2014 12:48 AM
    In this price range ($80) I would rather buy a Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid. It's a rebranded Flico unit with real CherryMX switches. And I get a choice of switches.
  • 2 Hide
    dovah-chan , September 3, 2014 1:49 AM
    No Corsair K65 mention? And I thought it was the best tenkeyless out there. Sure it might not have your flashy LEDs but it has a solid build quality and simplistic looks. Speaking of LEDs I own a Corsair K70 with the blue LEDs and I don't ever use them anyway because they look silly.

    But really if you're that hard pressed for space then just get a bigger desk or a laptop please. The number pad has many unsung properties and is quite useful for any user in a variety of situations.
  • 3 Hide
    Dogsnake , September 3, 2014 8:25 AM
    A Numeric pad is essential to me. Even in everyday home use a separate number entry is helps. The thing is that I use my right hand on the mouse. Keyboards with reversible numeric sections have all but disappeared and there are none combined with a quality mechanical key setup. There are however a number (sic) of third party ad-on numeric pads. The advantage too is that you can move them around and choose your placement even on a crowded or smaller desktop. I think the question here is if this is a quality keyboard with durability? I agree the price is a bit steep given the many alternatives on the market.
  • 5 Hide
    nezzymighty , September 3, 2014 8:59 AM
    Quote:
    You talk about the advantages of it not having a numberpad, but not about the disadvantages.

    1) It's significantly slower to type numbers or serial codes. In other words, for a whole bunch of the office work that you're saying it's so good for.
    2) It means you can't use a program like autohotkey to turn the number pad into a macro pad.
    3) All you say is that if you can live without one and that you shouldn't hesitate to switch to tenkeyless... You're making it out as though it's a BAD thing to have a keyboard with extra functionality, when it's absolutely not.



    DarkSable, I agree with you... it is all subjective... this is no longer a "News" report, but rather an advertisement... it favors an opinion rather than reporting facts... a lot of articles have been trending this way...

    Many companies/industries pay writers to mix opinions to sway to a particular product in their favor. I think they're termed kick-backs. They defend positions with true facts, and willfully neglect others that would otherwise be a deficiency, as you pointed out.

    Point in-case mechanical keyboards are not exclusive to the gaming demographics (which I believe Thermaltake, with Tom's help is hoping to impress).

    There's a lot of great information provided by Tom's to the masses. The question is, do they want to be the Time Magazine of the technology industry, or do they want to become it's National Inquirer?
  • 0 Hide
    zanny , September 3, 2014 9:03 AM
    I have a Quickfire Rapid from 2010. I intentionally avoided the keypad, and I like it much better. Being able to position the mouse and keyboard closer makes it much easier to switch between typing and mouse + keyboard work, and if I want a numpad I can always get a usb numpad.
  • 3 Hide
    dovah-chan , September 3, 2014 9:30 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    You talk about the advantages of it not having a numberpad, but not about the disadvantages.

    1) It's significantly slower to type numbers or serial codes. In other words, for a whole bunch of the office work that you're saying it's so good for.
    2) It means you can't use a program like autohotkey to turn the number pad into a macro pad.
    3) All you say is that if you can live without one and that you shouldn't hesitate to switch to tenkeyless... You're making it out as though it's a BAD thing to have a keyboard with extra functionality, when it's absolutely not.



    DarkSable, I agree with you... it is all subjective... this is no longer a "News" report, but rather an advertisement... it favors an opinion rather than reporting facts... a lot of articles have been trending this way...

    Many companies/industries pay writers to mix opinions to sway to a particular product in their favor. I think they're termed kick-backs. They defend positions with true facts, and willfully neglect others that would otherwise be a deficiency, as you pointed out.

    Point in-case mechanical keyboards are not exclusive to the gaming demographics (which I believe Thermaltake, with Tom's help is hoping to impress).

    There's a lot of great information provided by Tom's to the masses. The question is, do they want to be the Time Magazine of the technology industry, or do they want to become it's National Inquirer?



    I do too feel like this one is just a PR news release. I would rather instead have a big lineup comparing the features and build quality of a bunch of tenkeyless boards in a similar price range (sorta like tom's does with cases sometimes) rather than just reviewing one board and sometimes mentioning other boards for a comparison.

    In fact I feel like the gaming peripherals market is very under looked here at tom's. Every once in a while I might see a link to tom's guide to some random peripheral (lately it's been corsair products) but that's it. Everything else is just news of a new product coming out from X company.

    Why don't we just have a yearly keyboard and mouse lineup? Maybe have an article for the keyboard reviews and the mice reviews. In each article they would choose 15 products and divide them by three sections each containing five peripherals: Budget tier ($0-$20~), Mid tier ($30-$90), and High end ($100+).

    So it would go like this:

    Budget Tier
    - Logitech K120
    - Corsair Raptor K30
    - Rosewill RK-8100
    - CM Storm Devastator
    - Gigabyte Force K3

    Mid Tier
    - Corsair Raptor K40
    - Razer Deathstalker
    - Microsoft Sidewinder X4
    - Logitech G105
    - Steel Series Apex

    High End
    - Logitech G19s
    - Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 Edition
    - Corsair K70
    - Ducky Channel Shine III
    - Rosewill RGB80

    And in each category you would first give us a brief introduction to each board (packaging, features, build quality, included software,functionality, etc.) then compare each board by assessing the value of it and how useful the features are alongside the quality of the product's presentation. Then on the next article you just do the same thing but with mice. If you want I'll give you a tier list of mice as well.

    The bottom line is that I would love an article like that. I would also ADORE tom's if they were to cover the topic of companies that produce mice sensors such as avago and pixart. Other good things to mention would be the misinterpretation of DPI and acceleration, flawless sensors (might require a bit of extensive testing), and mice switches (aka left and right MB). Just some ideas from a loyal reader.
  • 0 Hide
    Zepid , September 3, 2014 10:42 AM
    If you don't use a tenkey in your day to day computer use, then frankly you aren't buying this with your own money. Be a good kid and don't waste your parents' money on what amount to luxury items.

    That said I love my Ducky keyboard with green switches. I couldn't live without the tactile feedback and hypnotic click.
  • 0 Hide
    FormatC , September 3, 2014 11:03 AM
    @dovah-chan:
    This review from me was published on German site first. We have there a lot of such reviews so it doesn't look like advertising. We have simply more bandwith in some kind of periphery:) 

    I'm using each product about I wrote for a longer period by myself to make a real-world test. Only 1 hour of usage ist too less for an objective conclusion ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , September 3, 2014 11:48 AM
    Page one says 6-key rollover in the feature list table. Page 3 says has a header "N-key rollover" followed with 6-key. That's a confusing way to list things. I know functionally they're the same since no one actually presses more than a few keys at the same time, but you know some game junkie is going to dismiss this product since they absolutely need an NKRO board, or so they think.
  • 1 Hide
    FormatC , September 3, 2014 1:53 PM
    Typical translation issue. Ghosting and jamming are not present, so this keyboard is ready for NKRO - if you have a PS/2 board. This is USB, so you can transmit only 6 keys at once. All this was a little bit shorten, because the German original ist longer, here are missing TWO important pages:

    Ghosting, jamming:
    http://www.tomshardware.de/tenkeyless-tt-esports-poseidon-zx-thermaltake-gaming-tastatur,testberichte-241598-4.html

    The reason for 6KRO:
    http://www.tomshardware.de/tenkeyless-tt-esports-poseidon-zx-thermaltake-gaming-tastatur,testberichte-241598-5.html
  • 1 Hide
    dovah-chan , September 3, 2014 4:10 PM
    Quote:
    Typical translation issue. Ghosting and jamming are not present, so this keyboard is ready for NKRO - if you have a PS/2 board. This is USB, so you can transmit only 6 keys at once. All this was a little bit shorten, because the German original ist longer, here are missing TWO important pages:

    Ghosting, jamming:
    http://www.tomshardware.de/tenkeyless-tt-esports-poseidon-zx-thermaltake-gaming-tastatur,testberichte-241598-4.html

    The reason for 6KRO:
    http://www.tomshardware.de/tenkeyless-tt-esports-poseidon-zx-thermaltake-gaming-tastatur,testberichte-241598-5.html


    It's a good thing that I can read a little bit of german as well ^^
    And I guess I understand what you mean.

    I just feel like we need a bit of a broader introduction into keyboard and mice specs. Not many people understand them and the ones that do usually hang around specialty forums or groups where normal users are unlikely to hang out. It's mostly mice that are shrouded in mystery. I've met only a few who actually knew what DPI was.

    Anyways I guess it's just a translation issue. It reads like an advertisement in english but in german it seems similar but with more emphasis on performance and feel rather than comparing a tenkeyless to a full board and why its better. Then again my german isn't perfect at all so I could be reading it wrong. I haven't flexed my language skills in a while.

  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , September 3, 2014 9:39 PM
    Thanks, Igor. I'm familiar with ghosting and rollover. I merely meant that it's confusing to some people ( at least to me, ) to specify 6KRO at one point, then NKRO at another. I don't understand why some people think they absolutely must have NKRO. If you're gaming, one hand is on the mouse, meaning you have five digits left for key activation. Unless you're regularly hitting multiple keys with one finger, it's impossible to need more than 5KRO.
  • 0 Hide
    wufr33 , September 3, 2014 9:50 PM
    I type numbers with both hands on the keyboard and never use pad. Only thing that concerns me going tenkeyless is games like Arma which requires as many keys as possible.
  • 0 Hide
    FormatC , September 3, 2014 10:28 PM
    I'm using a lot of tenkeyless boards here in the lab to save the space for other, more important things :D 
  • 0 Hide
    dovah-chan , September 5, 2014 7:36 AM
    Anyways thanks for reading the comments and answering some questions. It makes us all happy to see that our ideas are listened to and taken into consideration. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Aliquise , September 8, 2014 12:03 PM
    If one wanted to be harsh I guess one could question whatever one want to support stealing communism dictatorship with limited human rights or Germany ;D

    (I know it's ok to copy these now.)
  • 0 Hide
    TheMadTitan , September 16, 2014 8:19 AM
    I ordered the full size with the tenkey on Amazon. They threw it in an oversized box with three pages of kraft paper and shipped it via the UPS system. The keycaps are not the most durable as one popped off and shattered in shipment. The case of the keyboard did not survive either as it shattered due to the box from the manufacturer providing no more padding than a single layer of corrugated cardboard. The keyboard itself looked and felt VERY solid and heavy. I can't wait for my replacement unit to get here to actually start using one.
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