We come now to the part where I talk about actually using the Tt Esports Challenger Prime, and there’s quite a lot to talk about. Almost all the features are easy to use right out of the box using the added function keys, but you can also get the full functionality (and to see what you’re doing) by installing the companion software from the Tt Esports website. This gives you absolute control over all the macros, profiles, even down to swapping keybindings if for example you want the space bar to emulate the tab button, but this works for pretty much any key combination you could possibly want.
The macro keys are easily changed to something that you will find useful whether it’s opening a favourite program that you use often or using the Macro Manager to program a sequence of keystrokes to activate abilities or perhaps text to notify of your stream URL or Teamspeak information.
The advanced settings allow you to adjust the polling rate, response time and lighting features of the Tt Esports Challenger Prime. Most of this seems rather useful although the breathing effect of the backlight makes typing a lot more difficult so would only really be used for displaying the keyboard.
The gaming profile turns off the Windows key which has been really handy in games, but also rather annoying when you get back to the desktop if you forget and leave it turned off. More than once I’ve been hammering the Windows key before remembering and reactivating it, and some display to state which profile is in use would be really handy either on the keyboard itself or the icon in the notification bar.
Most of the time that I’ve been testing the Tt Esports Challenger Prime though has been quite pleasant. It did not take as long as I expected to get used to the slightly stiffer keys than I’m used to and with the help of the excellent companion software I was able to make the most of not only the macro keys but also swapping the key binding on the keyboard itself when some keys were not able to be swapped within the game itself.
One major problem is that the physical build of the keyboard really lets it down. Even slight pressure on the rather narrow wrist rest will not only cause it to bend but will also deflect the keys on the keyboard as well. This is really disappointing since the rest of the Tt Esports Challenger Prime testing had gone without a hitch.
The lighting though is really nice, the keys are clear and the light shining around the keys really does help to clarify key boundaries; something that the Logitech G510 doesn’t do with its light only illuminating the letters on each key. The red light is really deep and the blue is crisp, but the purple seems a bit washed out. Since it’s simply a combination of the blue and red LEDs I was expecting it to be a lot brighter but Tt Esports seem to have diffused the light to compensate.
The analogue control to change the lighting intensity should mean that you are able to set the perfect brightness for your taste and that’s a good thing, although I think I would have preferred the lighting and volume keys to be switched so I could have accurate control of the sound my computer makes and allow the light intensity to be increased in steps. That said, it’s a matter of personal taste and having the volume key set placed with the rest of the media controls makes a certain amount of sense.
The keys on the other side of the brightness dial are reserved for shortcuts to the web, email and explorer which are always nice to see and very handy to use. The six macros keys were also pretty useful, allowing me to program useful text like the Play3r Teamspeak and Twitch addresses into the keys so that they are easily accessible.
Something I didn’t test is the liquid protection feature – there are numerous drainage holes that allow you to spill your coffee or cola over the keyboard and it should all just drain away without causing any damage. I could probably have tested it with water, but honestly I didn’t want to clear it up afterwards. That said, the height of each key column is rather substantial so I see no reason why it wouldn’t work exactly as expected unless the keyboard was totally submerged in liquid.
The USB cable is nicely braided, looking great as well as prolonging the life of the cable. Lastly, we come to the back of the keyboard and the flip-up legs to raise the angle. Although these also flex slightly with pressure on the top of the keyboard they are substantial enough to withstand my heavy-handed typing.