Over the past couple of years I have seen many a mechanical keyboard. While most companies tend to try to wow you with extra features like Marcos, Profiles, and even some come with color and illuminated keys. The latest sample to hit the desk sort of flips that whole idea of what makes a great keyboard up on its ear, and delivers a keyboard that is just that... a great mechanical keyboard.
I can already hear the kiddies complaining about the lack of some of the features that will eventually cost you in the realm of $100 to get something that fits that mold. That is the thing, while this new keyboard takes things back to the basics of what a mechanical keyboard is all about, Thermaltake and the Tt eSPORTS crew have done a wonderful job of delivering the best of what they do offer. You are getting an illuminated keyboard and brightness levels, and even the option to turn them off all together. Next to each individual LED there is a Cherry MX blue switch that offers a tactile feel with an audible click. They also include multimedia keys integrated into the F-Keys, 6 - 8 key NKRO support, and a Windows lock key to help you stay in the game.
With this new release you are about to see, there is also a little brother on the way to the market as well. While we are currently looking at the new Poseidon Illuminated keyboard that is releasing with an amazing price point, there will be a plain Poseidon that is even more affordable to the masses. This is the angle that the Tt eSPORTS crew is going with in this series of mechanical keyboards. The idea seems like it was to set a price point that is not only reasonable, but may even be a market killer for other higher prices solutions. Then once the pricing was set, it was like Thermaltake crammed everything they could into these keyboards and not lose money selling them.
With all of that to digest, I say we get right to the business at hand and see if you can do away with a couple of odd features that most mice can cover, and get to the meat and potatoes of what this Poseidon Illuminated mechanical keyboard is all about.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Poseidon comes inside of a black plastic enclosure that gives way on the top for 104 key layout of opaque cast plastic key caps that have been rubber coated. These coatings are etched to deliver the legends for the keys, while also allowing the bright blue glow of the individual LEDs under each removable keycap to shine through. Around the keys there is only one quarter of an inch of the plastic enclosure around the internals with flat drop-offs on all sides, making this design very boxy in appearance. Inside of the keyboard there is a thick steel plate that supports the PCB and in turn the Cherry MX blue switches.
Following the chart to see what else the Poseidon delivers, you find that there are quite a few X's where it denotes things this keyboard does not include, but let's not dwell on that bit, let's see what it does offer. It does offer Anti-Ghosting support over USB, it offers a 1000Hz polling rate, I already addressed the switch types and illumination, and it offers a bit of Smart Cable Management under the keyboard to help direct the rubberized USB cable that is 1.8 meters in length from getting in the way. There are two more things that we should address to sum things up. One of them is the 995 grams this keyboard weighs, and that there are seven multimedia keys offered on the Poseidon Illuminated as well.
Visiting the Tt eSPORTS page is the only place I can find a definite price as the Poseidon Illuminated is not yet ready for retail sales. In fact, I just got this keyboard a week ago, and was one of a select few to even see it this early. What you will find very attractive about this Poseidon Illuminated is that the MSRP has been set at $79.99, and for any mechanical keyboard, that is a great price point. What will even shake the tree a bit harder for all the other manufacturers out there is that the rumored non-lit version will retail for $20 less. At these sorts of prices I would not expect what I was delivered, and you can easily see that Thermaltake is headed to steal the market, or at least that seems to be their plan.
As far as a timeframe of when we can expect this keyboard to hit store shelves, I have been told 30 days from the time of writing this, so maybe the end of September or beginning of October. Even if you still decide to go with another maker for your mechanical keyboard, I bet competitor pricing is going to drop drastically, and for that you will need to thank Thermaltake and the Tt eSPORTS crew for setting the bar at a new level and making everyone take notice of this Poseidon Illuminated mechanical keyboard.
With a name like 'Poseidon', I would have expected water somewhere on the packaging, but this is not the case. The large black panel on the front uses lightning to highlight the blue glow of the LEDs across the keyboard image, and Tt eSPORTS and the battle dragon logo can be found here as well.
Moving in much closer to the information provided at the bottom right corner of that panel, Tt lists the Cherry MX blue switches, 50 million keystrokes, NKRO support, the blue LEDs and disable Windows key as features.
Of course, the long thin sides are longer than what is seen, but aside from the naming and battle dragon logo, this is the important bit. Even here you get the name over a diamond plate backdrop, and again the switches used are displayed here as well.
Both of the ends of the packaging look like this above. Here you find the traditional red and black that Thermaltake packaging is known for. Here you find the name of the keyboard, the company name and their logo off to the right.
The back of the packaging I am breaking up into two images. This first one shows the Poseidon Illuminated keyboard and shows where to find the multimedia keys, the lighting controls and the key to disable the Windows button. This way you don't accidentally drop out of an intense game.
The second image of the back of the box delivers a message to visit their website for more information on this product in 15 various languages. Near the bottom amongst the symbols and bar codes, there are also the system requirements and package contents displayed for the potential customers.
The inside of the packaging is completely blacked out as it surrounds the keyboard that is sent inside of a bubble wrap envelope to keep it safe. There is a bit of a cubby at the back where the USB cable is shipped, but other than that, there are no hidden goodies - just the keyboard.
Tt eSPORTS Poseidon Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard
Fresh out of the box, the Poseidon looks no different than most other 104 key mechanical keyboards. Thermaltake is taking their best jab at the market with something clean, simple and straight to the point of what this product is supposed to do - that is, typing and gaming, without the gross feel of cheap rubber dome switches.
The side has a slight curve to it as the keyboard gets slightly taller toward the back. There is a bit of a rolled corner to the frame, but the sides, front and the back all drop off immediately, keeping the dimensions as small as possible.
On the left two thirds of the keyboard there is the standard 74 key QWERTY layout. The legend on each of the keys that appears white now is actually the color of the plastic used when the key caps were made. After that, the black coating is applied for this look and rubberized feel.
As we look much closer at the individual key caps, there is a defined texture applied for an assured grip on the key caps. Each of the keys is also rounded to help center your finger tips on the individual keys.
The right third of the Poseidon offers all nine of the command keys at the left just above the arrow keys. You also get a full number pad to complete the 104 key layout of this mechanical keyboard.
Scanning back over the keys, more specifically the top row of the F-keys, I found the multimedia keys. These simply work with the use of the Function key to the right of the space bar, and whatever key you need to use for the media you chose to play.
On the F11 and F12 keys, you press Function and the F11 to dim the LED lights or turn them off entirely. On the flip side, you then need to use the Function and F12 buttons to turn the LEDs back on in four preset levels of intensity.
Above the number pad, there is a section with the battle dragon logo on it. To the left of the logo are the three lights for the various locks to show if they are engaged. To the right of the logo, you will find a button with arrows on it, this is the Windows bypass key that gets pressed to activate the lock.
Poseidon Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard Continued
Next I took off the arrow key caps to verify the switches used in the Poseidon Illuminated keyboard. As specified in the chart as well as the packaging, the board does include a blue LED backlit, Cherry MX blue, mechanical switch under each and every key cap.
With the feet raised in the back of the Poseidon, it gives you an extra half inch of keyboard height for better ergonomic attack on the keys, and should reduce wrist strain. On each side of the back edge there is a rubber bumper that works to stabilize the keyboard if stored on edge, and keeps it from getting scratched as well.
The rubberized USB cable will simply exit the center of the keyboard. In fact, this is the way it is packaged, but there are ways to reroute the cable if it coming out of the middle is an issue.
As the USB cable continues, it is shipped tied up in about ten inch lengths, and terminates at the end of 1.8 meters with a standard looking USB 2.0 connection attached to the end of it.
Flipping the Poseidon key side down, you can get a better look at what holds things to the desktop. There are five soft rubber pads that are taped to the bottom of the keyboard to keep it in place without the legs extended.
Also, while you are adjusting the feet to find your preference, this is also a good time to think about sending the USB wire off to the left or to the right through the groove to help tidy up the cabling as it runs across your desk.
Getting back to keeping a secure stance on the desk top, even when the feet are flipped out in the back, you still get a fair bit of grip as the ends of the legs are rubberized to make sure the Poseidon Illuminated won't move around on you during use in either state of height.
Inside the Poseidon Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard
With most of the keyboards I open, things go rather smoothly. This one, however, used a ribbon cable that has little room to fuss with it to separate the components. Not only will this void your warranty, but if you get things in the keys, shake it out - I don't recommend pulling this one apart to clean it.
When I looked at the PCB, there is a bit of flux residue left behind. I know we have seen cleaner offerings, but this makes no ill effects on its performance or usage, and it is highly likely that most of you will never see this anyways.
Thermaltake uses a 14 leg E LAN controller for communication purposes. There was no real need for a huge controller for what the Poseidon offers, so they used this 8-bit micro controller to take care of the business at hand.
Just so you know that Thermaltake wasn't skimping on one of the more important parts of any mechanical keyboard; the steel plate. It is solid and rigid, and definitely gives the switches a solid foundation to rest upon.
When first powered with full illumination of the LEDs, I was surprised at the intensity. Not only are they bright enough to get through the opaque canters of the key caps, it also adds a nice blue glow on the steel plate that makes the keys look like they are floating.
The lighting does make the LEDs appear purple the further away from the keyboard you get, but I can assure you they are as blue as the sky. I also like the little battle dragon icon on the space bar, it is a nice touch.
The right side of the layout is just as bright, but remember you have to option of four intensity settings. Another nice touch is that the lock LEDs are also blue, and completes the unified theme Thermaltake was going for with the Poseidon Illuminated.
Now we can see the entire Poseidon illuminated keyboard as you would see it on your desktop. As I said, it is sleek and simple, straight to the point, and looks good doing it.
Under the keyboard when you first pull it out of the box, you will find some literature there to read. Part of which, is this quick installation guide seen above.
Inside of it things start off with the keyboard layout and it also designates the media keys, backlit keys, and the Windows lock key. At the bottom the system requirements and package contents are listed too.
To get the Poseidon Illuminated up and running, all you need to do is plug in the USB 2.0 connector to a PC. Since this keyboard does not use software or a driver, it is pretty much ready to go out of the box.
The last bit of information provided to the users is listed here. This list covers the professional gaming nature of the design with tactile feedback. It also covers the Windows lock, Cherry MX switches, backlights and NKRO support that it offers.
You also will receive a "generic" warranty pamphlet that describes the lengths and terms of all warranties that Tt eSPORTS provides. In the case of this Poseidon Illuminated keyboard, there is a two year warranty to cover any defects.
Like I addressed at the start of this review, of course you can grab a lot of keyboards out there with all sorts of features to "enhance" your game play. I will be very blunt with this though, I thought that is what a mouse was for. I like my keyboards simple, and the more I write and the less I game, it is even more so now. Now this isn't a bash at everyone out there with a good idea session, this is asking you to realize how much or how little your left hand is doing while gaming. If you don't find yourself all over the keys spamming macros and key combos to benefit your specific gaming selection, I see no reason why this Poseidon could fail you. It offers optional lighting conditions, NKRO support for those who are wizardly fast with their fingers, and is a great looking addition to any desktop. I am sure there are some typing elitists out there who will try to pick this keyboard apart, but keep in mind, it comes in at a better price than most mechanical keyboards.
I can see where corners were cut to fit the pricing profile, but they were all wise choices that make very little difference in the overall product. While most mechanical keyboards with all the bells and whistles come with a 16-bit processor, Thermaltake chose an 8-bit version, simply because more is not better with the limited features. Then you may want to complain that the cable isn't sleeved with braided cloth. While I like that look as well as anyone else, it makes little difference to the Poseidon's performance or ability to communicate with the PC. I know there were a lot of other things that are checked off as this product not containing, but again, that is due to it not needing things like onboard memory and the like, because with the lack of software, it just does what is expected and does so rather well. At the end of it all, the super bright blue LED glow of the keys and the simplistic design that takes function over form has won me over. With the choice of Cherry MX Blue switches, you are getting a tactile feel for the activation point with a confirming click.
I know that it will be a month from the time you read this until you can actually find one of these in the wild, but it is worth the wait. What is really great about it is even with that much time, you won't have to save up much to get your hands on what is one of the better keyboards I have had the pleasure of testing. As much as I looked for Tt eSPORTS to "cheap out" on things inside and out with the $79.99 MSRP, I was hard pressed to complain about anything with the Poseidon Illuminated. This mechanical keyboard proved to me that a lot of companies are going to have to adjust their pricing to compete, as long as Thermaltake and the Tt eSPORTS crew don't run out of product. In the end what I found was a top tier build with everything the more expensive solutions are bringing out and demanding much closer to $100 for.
If the other companies don't follow this trend in offering the masses a mechanical offering at a good price, they are going to lose out. Thermaltake has raised the bar on the industry with the Poseidon Illuminated, and the even cheaper Poseidon without illumination hasn't even made it to fruition yet.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca
Deutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de