Overview & Usage
Taking the MEKA out of the box the next thing you’ll notice is the weight of this Stanni (Yeah, I’m going to coin that term and use it for the remainder of the review). For being a smaller keyboard that looks primarily made of plastic it sure does weigh a lot. I’m still up in the air if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m an advocate that if something weighs more typically the construction of it is better and with something like a brushed aluminum finish or a metal backing I could understand the weight but with the MEKA I couldn’t understand where it was coming from.
Setting the fact that this midget is really a fatty aside, the keyboard has a really solid feel to it. You can tell they really pulled the design scheme from the Thermaltake Element Series of computer cases (Element S REPRESENT!) The keyboard uses the same textured plastic and red accents that make each one of the cases standout. Many of Thermaltake’s recent products have had exceptional build quality and this keyboard doesn’t fall short.
The Stanni model offers a very unique key layout. Now just because something is newer and unique does not make it good. This is where the MEKA does fall short. Regardless of how big the gaming industry is keyboards are first and foremost designed for typing. If you currently use any kind of regular keyboard for typing you will never be able to adjust to the layout of some of these keys. The MEKA makes use of a giant “Enter” key and a smaller “Backspace” key (this one drives me insane). The “|\” key is relocated to the left of the “Backspace” key and the “?/” key is to the right of the “R Shift” key (another key I couldn’t get used to). I don’t know why the engineers at Thermaltake thought, “Hey, let’s make the ‘Enter key’ really big so we have to move all the other keys around!”
The “Num Lock”, “Caps Lock”, and “Scroll Lock” key each feature a light that signifies if that key is currently activated. This is the only illumination the MEKA has but it is a really nice feature.
The MEKA also features a compacted Number pad on the right, similar to that of which you’d see on a laptop keyboard. They also relocated the “Home” and “End” key to this pad but since they are keys that are rarely used, at lease in my case, I could care less as to where they put them.
Another interesting thing they did was remove the “Windows” Key. I’ve read in many places about people complaining about the lack of a “Windows” key and to that I say, you must not be a gamer. I would rejoice if companies stopped adding “Windows” keys to all keyboards.
One aspect of the MEKA that I really liked was the upslope of the keys. Most keyboards, mechanical or not, have very little upslope and you have to pop the legs on the bottom to give you your desired position. This keyboard forgoes the need to use the feet to give you that positioning and since I have larger hands allows my wrists to sit comfortably without the use of a wrist rest.
The back of the keyboard house 2 USB ports. These ports can be used for anything you’re little heart desires. In previous keyboard reviews I used this port for my mouse. In this review I did the same and still had the ability to plug in a flash drive to the other port. This was something I really liked.
When you have the feet propped on the bottom of the MEKA the keyboard sits pretty high. I’ve read in many places that this was uncomfortable for a lot of people but I felt the opposite. The extreme slop allows for extremely easy access to the rear USB ports and allows my ball-park-frank fingers to depress all those lovely mechanical keys with mucho comfort.
On the bottom of the MEKA there is a cable tray that spans from right foot to left foot. This tray is for allowing the cable to exit the back of the keyboard in 3 locations. Taking the keyboards cable out either the left or right will shorten your cable by about 8 inches so you should be aware of this if you have a decent distance to go to plug in your input device.
The cable is rather short compared to some of the other cables I’ve seen on recent keyboards but the quality of the braiding on it makes up for any disgust I have for it.
Lastly we have the bulkiest, apocalypse-proof, USB connector I’ve ever seen. The interesting thing about this connector is that there is only one of them. Most keyboards I’ve ever seen that featured a built in USB hub have 2 connectors; one for the keyboard itself and one for whatever is being plugged into the hub. Thermaltake said “F that! Our behemoth goldly can handle anything you want to through at it!” The bad thing about the connector being so large is that it’s quite difficult to get another USB connection in next to it if it’s plugged into the back of your PC, so maybe 2 USB connectors would have been better.