Thermaltake started its journey in their mechanical keyboard roughly 9 yrs ago. “Meka” shorten form of mechanical, is one of their product names for its mechanical keyboard lineup. They are one of the few who started using Cherry MX switches up until they decided to use Kailh switches around 2014. Last year, they released a mechanical keyboard named Neptune, which has a TTC switch brand under their TtEsports gaming brand. This 2019, they announced their premium mechanical keyboard to be under their Thermaltake branding, which is the Level 20 RGB Titanium Mechanical keyboard.
UNBOXING AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
UNBOXING AND ACCESSORIES
The TT Level 20 box is really humongous. This is definitely the biggest box of a mechanical keyboard I’ve ever seen. On the front, you can see the features of the Level 20. Boasting cherry MX switches, Thermaltake RGB sync compatibility and the integration of Amazon Alexa which we will discuss later on how to use Alexa for this amazing keyboard. Upon opening the box, the package contains the level 20 RGB, some extra metallic keycaps with a keycap puller and a user manual.
|NO. OF MACRO KEYS||NO|
|NO. OF GAME PROFILES||SIX|
|Dimension||482 x 185.96 x 43.93 mm|
|ANTI-GHOSTING KEYS||YES / N KEY Rollover (USB)|
|ON-BOARD MEMORY SIZE||4M bit|
|POLLING RATE||1000 HZ|
|BACK-LIGHT||16.8 Million RGB Colors|
|AUDIO AND USB PASS-THROUGH||YES|
|MULTIMEDIA KEYS||5 + Volume Wheel|
|Cable Length||1.8 M|
|SWITCH||Cherry MX Silver / MX Blue|
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
The Thermaltake Level 20 RGB is a standard full-size mechanical keyboard with 104 floating keys design and has an additional media button and a volume wheel on the upper right part. From the moment you hold this keyboard, you’ll know it has good quality. Boasting a 2mm thick aluminum plate on top, it is almost impossible to be able to flex the board even if the bottom shell is all plastic.
A flashy light bar can be seen in the middle of the keyboard and a small cut below it which contains the LED strip. It has a contour on the wrist rest part for you to be able to rest your wrist properly and to avoid being cut by the sharp edge of the alum plate. As you can see, the gap in the middle has sharp edges and you need to be careful with it.
The Level 20 has a 1.8m thick non-detachable cable with 2 USB type A ends and an audio jack for the USB and Audio passthrough. On the back of it, you can see it has 5 rubber feet with 2 level flip-out feet. The flip-out feet also have rubbers on it for anti-slip protection to attain maximum stability and to prevent it from sliding during intense gaming.
USER EXPERIENCE AND CONCLUSION
SWITCHES AND STABS
Thermaltake Level 20 RGB has 2 switches to choose from. If you like clicky switches, your choice is to get the Cherry MX blue (64g bottom-out force) and if you like linear switches because you mainly play FPS games, you can have the Cherry MX silver speed switches (71g bottom-out force). What I have here is the Cherry MX silver since I often play FPS games like CSGO, PUBG, and Apex. It has a clear housing to allow light to pass through from the SMD led installed in the PCB. The stabs used here are unlubed black cherry stabs and it’s a bit wobbly and rattles. Here is a sound test below of the Level 20 RGB with Cherry MX silver.
As for the keycaps, I’m quite disappointed with Thermaltake for still using ABS UV coated keycaps because the legends will fade easily. This is currently Thermaltake’s flagship keyboard and it’s already the year 2019. Imagine that even china OEM keyboards are now using ABS and even PBT Doubleshot material as stock keycaps. Furthermore, the keycap profile is an OEM profile, evident with the dome-shaped spacebar key. Eventhough the Level 20 RGB is using cheap ABS keycaps, on the brighter side you can easily change the keycaps with technically anything as long as it’s a standard 104 key set.
SOFTWARE, LIGHTING AND OTHER FEATURES
Let’s talk about Thermaltake’s software capability and features. It has 2 platform support, one is ITake App for android, the other one is the ITake Software for PC. I will discuss first the software for PC which you can download here. Finally, after downloading the software, plug in your keyboard and open the ITake software. It has 4 tabs (Customize, Macro, Lighting and TT Sync).
SOFTWARE FOR PC
Customize tab you can assign/remap all keys except the media keys and the volume wheel. Next is the Macro tab to set your macros if you need one but I personally don’t use any macros or such. Under the Lighting tab, you can choose from 22 different modes. In addition, it has 2 special modes that some people look for, one of them is the Music Mode (audio visualizer) which you can find on some high-end gaming mechanical, Temp Mode (color depends on your PC’s temp). You can even customize the light bar on the side up to 12 modes, which is very unique and first from a mainstream gaming brand. The TT Sync tab is where you can sync your other Thermaltake products. You can also save up to 6 profiles for lighting and macro customization.
On the upper right side of the software, you can click the gear icon(settings) and link your amazon profile to the ITake engine to be able to use the Alexa feature. Some phones might not be able to download the Amazon Alexa and instead download the AOP (Alexa on Phone) app in Playstore to be able to access the Alexa feature. Once you have linked your Amazon account in the ITake software in PC, you can now use the Alexa feature. In addition to this, I attached a video below to show you a tutorial on how to sync your app and your ITake software on your PC and on how to use Alexa on Phone thru voice command. You can download the list of commands here.
CONCLUSION AND FINAL THOUGHTS
I’ve been testing the Level 20 RGB for more than a month now and I must say I’m very impressed with Thermaltake’s current offer. For only $140 or roughly around 7500 in Philippine peso, you get a mechanical keyboard with almost all features that you need as your daily driver. It has all the RGB lighting effects that you want in a mechanical keyboard. A light bar on the side is a plus for me which you won’t be able to see in other high-end mainstream brands. Unquestionably the Level 20 RGB is the most feature-packed 104 keys in its current price range. In addition, it has media keys and a volume wheel which is a familiar feature with the Corsair K70/K95 series. Furthermore, it has Cherry MX speed/blue switch to make sure it won’t compromise your gaming experience besides the aesthetic features it offers.
The ITake engine software might not have the power and flexibility as the iCue software of Corsair but what makes the Level 20 RGB stand out among its competitors is the Alexa and mobile app, which you won’t be able to see in other gaming brands. In addition to this, it is backed up with a 2-year warranty from Thermaltake. To conclude all of this, I can say that the Level 20 RGB is a great contender in the $140 price range and it won’t disappoint you in terms of performance and most of all its lighting features. I will be awarding the Thermaltake Level 20 our performance and gold award!
- Genuine Cherry MX switches
- Thick 1.8m braided cable with USB passthrough ports
- 2mm thick top aluminum plate
- Fully customizable RGB lighting thru software/mobile app
- Amazon Alexa compatible
- 2-year warranty
- Thin ABS UV Coated keycaps
- Limited switch option (only speed silver and blues)
- ITake software crashes randomly
- No detachable or additional wrist rest included
- Sharp metal edges on the middle part