Video Hands-On: Thermaltake Metal Caps Review
The video really covers it all, but for those favoring written content, keep on reading.
This $20 kit of "Metal Cap" keycaps ships with a key puller and five keycaps (WASD, escape). A full 38-key set is also available -- priced at $70 -- for those who'd like to replace all core function keys. The escape key features Thermaltake's dragon logo and can be placed on any of the core keys on a board; I opted to install the dragon cap to '1' in favor of CSGO primary weapon switching. The keycaps are fairly solid metal and feel like it, too. We're told that the not-totally-specific metal is a "zinc alloy," though it has yet to be revealed what exact composition is actually under the surface.
Thermaltake's use of a high-quality, thick, heavy metal means that there's no backlighting compatibility here, but that's somewhat expected with this type of cap. It also means that the keycaps are elevated slightly above other plastic keycaps, due to the thickness of the metal. This can be good and bad: The upside is that it makes it easier to "stick" to the WASD keys when gaming and ensures constant focus on movement keys; the downside is that typists may find this awkward or fatiguing when typing documents spanning several thousand words in length.
Metal Caps Look & Feel
There are only two reasons you truly buy a product like this: To look cool -- the "bling" factor -- and to achieve a certain "feel" upon key depression.
The caps are definitely shiny. My first concern when reading the product description was that I'd be met with some sort of shiny plastic -- something not truly metal, just painted with a metallic spray. I was happy to find these concerns dismissed almost immediately. The caps are made of a genuine, solid metal that even 'clinks' when the keys collide.
I've also noticed that the caps are fairly smudge / fingerprint resistant -- another pleasant surprise. The reflective surface has a certain appeal when used on my G710+ and it doesn't seem to be fading after intense use. We've been told that the keys are coated to prevent fading with age and abuse.
Feel is most important, of course. The keycaps lend a very solid, heavy, satisfying "clack" when pressed during gaming sessions, expounding the already-satisfying sensation of using a mechanical keyboard. I don't think I'd want to type on a full set of metal keycaps for extended periods -- it seems like it'd get fatiguing or potentially uncomfortable to fingertips -- but WASD gaming definitely feels more resolute.
That said, at $20, it's a tough purchase to justify. There are a lot of options out there when spending $20 to "bling-out" a gaming PC or keyboard. Spending an extra $15 gets you a full set of CSGO caps. They're not metal, but the images are fitting of the game. Similar (unlicensed) caps can be found for DOTA2 and LoL.
If you've got $20 to spend on your gaming setup and would prefer to opt for a "cockpit" upgrade, this is one of the easiest buys we can recommend for users of mechanical keyboards. They feel good and offer a solid "clack" during gaming use, and although those bills could be put toward so many other components, the keys are tough to regret for any WASD-intensive gamer. It ultimately falls upon your shoulders to decide where your money is best spent. There are a lot of keyboard enthusiasts out there who'd love to have a set of metal keys; if you're one of those people, definitely investigate the Tt eSports Metal Caps.
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.