Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
If you haven't yet heard of the Poseidon name in keyboards, it very well may be time to crawl out from underneath of your rock, as these Tt eSPORTS keyboards are taking the market by storm. Not only have we seen just about every variation from the standard Poseidon, to the TKL version, and while we missed out on the RGB version of this design, we feel we may just have the best of the best of them all in our hands right now. While being based on Tt eSPORTS certified mechanical switches (Kailh blue switches) it is really hard to tell the difference between these and Cherry MX versions, and over time, using many keyboards that have moved to these Kailh switches, we almost prefer them better, so that is no reason to walk away.
Some may be thinking that with seeing the original, you feel you have seen them all, but you could not be more wrong with that assumption. Unlike where many companies will rebadge a product with a new skin, different lighting options, or simply changing the switches used in the design, when it comes to Tt eSPORTS, they are always thinking and offering up new ways to do something, or adding cool new features that you may not have even thought the keyboard would need until you got the chance to play around with it and appreciate what it can offer.
This is exactly what has gone on with the keyboard we are bringing forward today. The Thermaltake eSports team sent us the latest, which is their Poseidon Z Forged mechanical gaming keyboard. Immediately, when we mention the word forged, we immediately think of metal work, and with this version, we do indeed find that there is a brushed metal top plate on this Poseidon. They also added features like new backlighting schemes, and unlike other metal top plate keyboards, this one offers a steel plate that the switches are mounted to, and is painted blue on top of that to help the LEDs to glow seemingly much brighter than what we have seen before from the Tt eSPORTS crew.
Of course, there is also a lot more going on with this design, like a huge amount of Macros, various profiles, multimedia keys, but the list is really too long to get into right now. So, if you like what you are reading so far, stick around and follow us through as we break everything down and explain everything that your money is affording you in the Poseidon Z Forged mechanical keyboard.
The chart lacks a bit of continuity as it jumps around a bit listing the features and specifications, but at the same time, they do offer just about everything you need to know in this short list. Currently the keyboard is available in black for the color choice, and next we see that this keyboard contains ten Macros keys across five profiles for a total of 50, but with the GUI in play and another mode to choose, it actually doubles that potential to 100 Macros. Since this design offers a steel plate inside, along with the metal top plate, it is a bit weighty at 3.26 pounds within the 503mm of width, 156.2mm of depth, and its 43mm of thickness.
The keyboard is of course connected by a USB cable, but even here we find that it is braided and terminates in a gold plated connection at either end, and yes this means that the cable is detachable. We next see that this version comes with TT certified mechanical blue switches made by Kailh, but there is also a brown switch version as well that can be found in the wild, and both versions offer anti-ghosting. Of course with the GUI and Macro potential, this design does indeed include onboard memory for such things totaling out at 64KB in size.
While adjustable, we also find out that the maximum polling rate is 1000Hz or 1ms depending on your preferred way of looking at it. Back to that steel plate under the key caps, unlike other Poseidon's, this one is painted blue to match the LEDs that can illuminate it. Lastly, we see that they include a wrist rest, it offers audio jacks with its own sound card onboard, offers multimedia keys, a pair of USB 2.0 pass-through ports, and we see the 1.8 meters of length to the USB cable that connects to the PC.
While shopping around, we do find the Poseidon Z forged at most of the usual haunts. As with any Tt eSPORTS product, you can buy it direct from them at the MSRP of $139,99, but as we always do, we look around for the best deal. In that search, we located this same blue switch variant at Amazon for $119,99 with free shipping, and that seems to be the best current deal to find. The strange thing is we also found one sitting at Newegg, and while they do not show any current stock of new keyboards, we did see that they have one listed as refurbished, and that can be had for $99.99. Odd, we know, but this is what we can find currently, and even if you had to pay the MSRP of $139.99, we have no issues with its value considering all that this keyboard is capable of offering.
Packaging, Accessories and Documentation
The front of the packaging is quite flashy with all that is offered and going on in the background. We see the company and product naming above and to the right of the image of the Poseidon Z forged that is inside of this box. We also see the switch type, its five-year warranty, the aluminum faceplate, backlighting, Instant Shift System, and the 50 Macros it is capable of all listed as well.
Both of the long skinny sides of the box are identical, and on one end of them you will find this. There is the battle dragon logo and company name provided, but they also are sure to show that this contains Tt Blue Switches.
The shorter sides of the box are also identical, and on both ends you will find the logo, company name, and product naming, as well as some red accents to dress it up a bit.
As we now make it to the back of the box, we see a much larger image of the keyboard offered here. Not only do they point out what can be found in the layout around the image, to the right, they also list the features, system requirement, contents, and a very short list of specifications.
On the other longer side of the packaging, we moved to the right end of it to show what both sides offer in their entirety. Here we see that this comes "from the forge to your desktop" and we also see the naming and matching design work to what we found on the shorter sides.
To help dress things up and sort of keep the surprise of what is inside, we find that there is a cardboard cover that you see first. Along with the company and product names, we also see that this is an aluminum gaming keyboard.
After removing that, we find that the keyboard is wrapped in plastic with a wide space behind it made of cardboard. After removing the board, it will unfold to reveal the cable as well as the detachable wrist rest.
The cable we found is bundled with a twist tie, and we can plainly see that it is braided on the outside of the wire to help dress it up a bit, and we can also see that the mini USB and USB 2.0 connections on the ends are gold plated as well.
Under the keyboard is where you will find the literature. There is a quick installation guide to show you how to connect it and where to go for the software download. Along with that there is also an insert covering what will be covered and what not to do if you plan to claim anything within the five year period this Poseidon Z Forged keyboard is warranted for.
Tt eSPORTS Poseidon Z Forged Mechanical Keyboard
On the left side of this keyboard, we find that the plastic wraps around from the bottom and makes the side panel as well. On top of that we see a thick aluminum top plate that is rounded at the front and the back of the keyboard. We can also see in this image that the key caps have a laid back orientation at this point when flat on the desk.
As we move to the top of the Poseidon Z Forged, we immediately run into half of the Macro keys. This group is marked as T1 through T5, and are easily in reach of a pinky finger without much effort involved.
Along the top edge, we see that the F1 through F7 keys serve a dual purpose. While holding the Function key, they offer the full gamut of multimedia keys.
Moving across the top, just a bit more to the right, we find that the F10 swaps through the five profiles, the F11 key offers various backlighting layouts, and the F12 offers a Windows lock out key. Of course, all of these need the Function key pressed as well to offer the secondary function.
Backing the camera out a bit, we can see the main layout of all of the keys. Each keycap is smoother than most, it offers the home key bumps, and on the space bar, we find a tiny battle dragon logo.
Since this is a 104 key offering without Macros keys included, we see that on the right side of the keyboard there is the full assortment of command keys as well as a full number pad and arrow keys.
The second half of the built in Macro keys are found at the far right edge and are labeled T6 through T10. These, however, are not as easy to reach in our opinion, and if using them, we would suggest setting them up to less used Macros since you visually need to find them rather than feeling for them like the left side proximity offers.
The right side of the keyboard is much the same as what we found on the other end, just everything is running the opposite way now. We did extend the feet under the keyboard so that you can see that now the keys are either flat or angled forward for much easier use and a better feel.
Poseidon Z Forged Continued
As we make our way around to the back of the keyboard, behind the number pad, still in the aluminum top component, we find a pair of audio jacks and a pair of USB 2.0 ports to help simplify wiring and make connectivity as easy as possible.
The keyboard is supported with a trio of rubber pads across the front edge, and another pair on the feet at the back. We can also see that there are grooves across the back and up either side to allow users to run the USB cable out through the middle or either side, but it also offers a way to run the headphones that are attached to the back cleanly without causing instability in the way this keyboard sits on the desk.
Spinning the keyboard around and looking into the large indented area, we find the mini-USB connection where the detachable cable plugs into the keyboard.
On either side, we find some of the largest extendable feet in the market. Not only do these offer rubber pads to keep the same level of grip on the desk, but they also lock out very well and would take a lot of pressure to collapse them.
Removing some of the key caps, we can see the bright blue color used on the steel plate around where all of the Kailh blue switches are mounted. Where most use the upper aluminum plate to mount the switches, this design is heavier, but is much more rigid and stronger than most other keyboards we have seen in the past.
The caps themselves are molded with white plastic at their core and are then painted with the coating of black. Of course, the legends and iconography are left blank so that the blue LED backlighting will clearly show through each cap.
We also went ahead and slid in the magnetically attached wrist rest at this point. There are no funky clips to break off; you simply slide it into a pair of grooves, and it stays in place. On the flip side, with just a bit of pulling force, the rest will come right back off if needed.
Inside the Poseidon Z Forged
Disassembly was pretty simple to get to this point. Here we see the aluminum top plate, an inner spacer plate, and of course we can also see the lower plastic tray that is the bottom of the keyboard.
After the screws were removed to get the outer components off, a few screws and various clips hold this steel plate into the frame. Be careful if you plan to remove this for cleaning, as the clips are very fragile and easily broken.
With no obvious signs of flux or any residue, we just picked a random spot on the PCB to show the level of quality control and attention to detail in this build. Really, they left no stone unturned when it comes to doing things right with this design.
The dobs of paint obscure our view of the 32-bit MCU placed in this keyboard to control all of the features that the Poseidon Z has to offer. In our experience, brand is of little concern, it is more the fact of its capabilities that make or break the design.
On the much smaller PCB we saw in the image of the frame components, we find this Genesys Logic GL850G USB 2.0 controller to make sure that any devices connected to the pass-through ports are powered and signaled correctly.
To offer better sound quality than just pass-through ports, they have employed the services of this 16-bit Holtek USB audio MCU. On a side note, when this keyboard is connected, you will find a new sound controller listed in your audio settings, and it must be selected to get the jacks to function.
With the keyboard all put back together, and now powered up, we have yet to touch the lighting features, but we do see a green LED next to the battle dragon logo. This signifies which profile is being used currently, and will change to red, blue, yellow, or purple depending on which of the five profiles is in use.
Moving on to the preset lighting configurations, we see that this one illuminates some of the keys. The 1 through 0 keys are illuminated, and also the WASD is also lit for this setting.
The next one we saw is where the entire keyboard is illuminated. The only keys that do not come on at this point are the various lock and the Windows lockout key, but when active, they too will illuminate like the rest of them do.
Then we ran into this layout. Here we see that just the 1 through 6 keys are illuminated as well as the WADS setup.
For MOBA gamers, we also have this profile. Again the 1 through 6 keys are lit, but the QWER and DF are illuminated in this layout.
After downloading and installing the keyboard configuration software, this is what we see once it is opened and running. We will cover a lot of this in the following images, but for now let's just address that you can select which of the five profiles are available to program across the top of the GUI.
Switching from normal mode to gaming mode opens the options at the bottom. Here we can select any key on the board as we see with the now red W key highlighted in the image. Once selected, it is then that you can move to the bottom and chose to set it as a T-key, use the default function, remap to another single key, or use it to launch a program.
Along the right side, you can see the tab to open the Macro key options. Once pressed, this is what you get. You can make new Macros, import and export them, set delays or ignore them, as well as any editing that needs done to one that may not be exactly right for your needs.
If you click on the lighting options tab, you are given a new image of the keyboard, and keys that are blue are what will be lit. This allows you to go into the software and set the various preset lighting options to any of the profiles, and you can also set the light intensity, pulsing mode, or turn them off without needing to use the buttons on the keyboard each time you swap profiles.
The Instant Shift system allows users to select one of the three buttons shown to quickly switch between Macro groups. This way if you want to change games, with the press of one key, you can swap Macros to go along with said game without the need to change the profile. This also gives you immediate access to all 100 Macro possibilities at once.
While we covered just about every aspect of what this keyboard can do, there is still the feel and functionality to discuss. As if the keyboard isn't cool enough on its basics like looks of the aluminum top plate, the painted steel inner plate, and the blue backlighting, there is a defined strength to this keyboard above and beyond what we are used to using. Yes, it may indeed also be heavier, but unlike a mouse, this isn't something that needs constantly adjusted, so unless you plan to carry this around all day, its weight is of little concern. The key caps may be the only downfall of this design, but as long as you don't have Cheetos covered fingers or grease from the slice of pizza you had for dinner, we found that we didn't slide around on the caps much at all, but we do also realize many users prefer a textured key cap.
Once you open up the software and get the hang of how it all works, the Poseidon Z Forged jumps up a few notches in functionality. Of course, a lot of the features this keyboard offers can be done using the Function key and various keys in the layout for lighting, intensity, and swapping profiles, the software goes way beyond that. You can remap the entire layout, load programs with the press of a single key, and over all the profiles and ten T-keys, five to either side, you have the potential for up to 100 commands at your fingertips.
On top of all of that, with the various ICs in use in this design, we get crystal clear audio, a pair of pass-through ports in the back for simplifying the wiring, and with a 32-bit MCU at the helm, we know there is enough power to get the job done right the first time, without struggling or leaving us wanting in any department of what this keyboard can do.
If we did get pinned down and had to make any complaints about the keyboard, our only point of interest would be in the complexity of the build. Of course, you should not open this keyboard if you plan to keep the warranty intact, but that doesn't stop a lot of people. For those with plans of modifications, or for those who accidentally spill something into the keyboard, you are left with little choice. Just be sure to take your time when dismantling this keyboard. There are no hidden screws to slow you down, but it is possible to break the tiny clips that hold the mid plate in place, and is not something anyone wants to do, but again this is just in special circumstances; the average user will never notice this.
Considering just the basic functionality even without the software in play, we would have no issues at all digging into our wallet to spend what is asked to obtain this keyboard. The facts are though, that once the software is in play, things just get better and the features and options seem to just keep coming. If you are stuck paying the MSRP of $139.99, we still would not think twice advising you to get this keyboard, but considering it can be had for only $119.99 currently, the Poseidon Z Forged keyboard is a real gem and worth every penny of this price.
While we tend to prefer a TKL layout for day to day gaming and work related activities, this is one keyboard with a full layout that we plan to use in our regular arsenal; it is just that solid and a true pleasure to have under your fingertips.
|Quality including Design and Build||99%|
|Bundle and Packaging||98%|
|Value for Money||99%|
The Bottom Line: Tt eSPORTS' Poseidon Z Forged is in our top five favorite mechanical keyboards we have ever seen. On its own, it is strong, rigid, and a pleasure to use. Once the GUI is in the equation, you will be hard pressed to find a keyboard as capable as this one.
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