The Challenger (ThermalTake’s entry into the gaming keyboard market) is the kind of keyboard that’s looking to set itself apart. It does this most noticeably with a tiny fan that can be plugged in on either side of the keyboard to blow cool air across your hard-working hands and a set of custom, red keycaps that can be swapped in for the WASD and arrow keys. Do either of those features sound like something you can’t live without?
Gimmicks aside, the challenger has a decent-but-not-fabulous set of features, including custom profiles, macro keys (but no on-the-fly recording), and some pretty slick red backlighting. Unfortunately, the one place the Challenger really falls flat is in the quality of its keyboard. Low-profile keys make it feel like a laptop keyboard, and the dome switches provide very little travel. As the cheapest gaming keyboard in this roundup by far (it’s available online for $60), the Challenger is a good value proposition, but we wouldn’t recommend it for power gamers.