ThunderX3 TK25 Gaming Keyboard & TM20 Optical Mouse Review
Peter Donnell / 2 years ago
We kick today off with a look at not one, but two new peripherals from the mighty ThunderX3. We recently reviewed their TM60 Laser Gaming mouse, and were blown away by its build quality, features, performance and affordable price, and the same is true of our review of the ThunderX3 TH40 headset! So we’re excited today about the new TM20 Optical Gaming Mouse and the TK25 Gaming Keyboard, and obviously hope that they can keep up the high standards set by those previous reviews.
The keyboard features a membrane switch setup, which helps keep the cost down quite a bit, but with an adjustable polling rate, anti-ghosting, dedicated macro keys and more, it’s certainly not lacking in features for gamers.
The same is true of the TM20, as it features a high-quality AVAGO 2050 optical sensor, which can deliver up to 4000 DPI, high-quality Omron switches and more.
Clearly the mouse is well equipped for gaming, so we’re eager to get it out of the box and test it, so let’s move on and take a closer look at both of these new peripherals.
A Closer Look – TK25 Keyboard
The box for the TK25 is pretty good, with a clear image of the keyboard on the front, as well as details of the 5 backlight modes.
Around the back, a technical breakdown of the features on offer, such as the dedicated multimedia and macro buttons; always a welcome bonus.
The overall design of the keyboard is certainly unique, with an enlarged chassis that provides a built-in wrist rest on the front edge, and a space at the left and top for added buttons.
Down the left side, you’ll find five G-keys, perfect for deploying macros and shortcuts. The WASD keys are highlighted with silver coloured caps, highlighting the gaming focus of the keyboard and adding a nice aesthetic touch to the layout.
A nice and fat space bar, giving excellent control space for those who do a lot of jumping in FPS titles.
A budget keyboard this may be, but lacking in features it is not! Right across the top, you’ll find three memory recall buttons for your profiles, as well as a few important shortcuts and master volume controls, which are always a welcome bonus on any keyboard.
On the right, more gaming focused key caps on the arrow keys, handy if you’re a lefty with the mouse. There’s also a full-size number pad, which is just as handy for gaming as it is for work. Finally, in the top right, a large button for cycling the built-in lighting modes.
Around the back, you’ll find a few small holes dotted around, as the keyboard is splash proof. If you spill your drink, it should drain right off and clean up easily enough.
One cool feature that I haven’t seen before are these funky dual feet. The inner foot kicks up, giving you a small height adjustment.
Need a little more? Kick up the larger feet and you’re good to go!
A Closer Look – TM25 Mouse
The packaging on the TM20 looks pretty slick, with a nice image of the mouse on the front, as well as details of the 4000DPI sensor.
Around the back, a list of features, including the AVAGO-2050 sensor, ergonomic design, extra Teflon feet, and LED lighting.
The box opens out, giving you a full technical spec, a view of the software design, as well as a breakdown of all the major features.
In the box, you’ll find the mouse comes with an extra set of Teflon slipmats, and this is important, as by default it uses metal slipmats, which we’ll see in a few minutes. The mouse is hard-wired and comes with a rubber coated orange USB cable, which looks pretty cool and is nice and lightweight.
Wow, this mouse certainly looks interesting, and while it looks good, it’s how it feels that really caught me off guard. The durable soft-touch plastics on the top are great for added control and give it a nice matte finish, but it’s the bright orange sections that really make a difference. On the left side, there is a bright orange panel with a clear gel-like grippy rubber layer, it’s very grippy and soft, allowing you to really dig your thumb in and get a good hold on the mouse.
Above the grip panel, two side buttons, each with a nice quality tactile feedback that’s going to be great for gaming.
At the back, a small ThunderX3 logo, but also a split between the top and rear panels of the mouse, and while you can’t see them here, you’ll find two small LED lights set in that gap.
On the right, another one of those lovely squishy panels, and that means you can really get a solid grip on this mouse that’s just awesome for fingertip/claw grip playstyles, and even more so for those who use low DPI and a lift-off technique. Adding to that, the mouse wheel is huge, and has a nice wide designed with a thick soft-grip rubber coating that makes it very easy to control.
On the base, you’ll find an on/off switch for the lighting, as well as three slipmats, and these are really unique as they’re made from copper. We tried it on a range of surfaces and with these mats and the lightweight design, it glides very well. Of course, you can always stick on the included Teflon pads if you need them.
Both the keyboard and the mouse benefit from the very nicely designed ThunderX3 software, and here you’ll find access to macro engine, reprogrammable keys, shortcuts and more, meaning you can easily configure them to your liking. On top of that, you’ll find three profiles, meaning that you can swap between your favourite game/work profiles at the tap of a button.
Custom LED lighting effects, giving you some extra visual flair.
One good thing to see is that acceleration can be turned off completely, it’s off by default, and it’s staying off.
The Avago sensor was one of the key aspects of this mouse and as you can see, ThunderX3 made a great choice for their sensor, as the performance is smooth as silk throughout the entire DPI range. If you’re a pro gamer who cares about pixel perfect accuracy while playing DOTA II or CS:GO, then you’re going to love this mouse.
The LED lighting isn’t too overbearing, adding a nice highlight to the mouse overall. The TM20 is a great looking, great performance and solid all-around performer. The Omron switches are snappy and responsive, the grip panels work really well and we love the oversized and easy to control scroll wheel.
The TK25 seems like a nice pairing for the TM20, as they’re both affordable and offer a lot of features. The LED lighting on this keyboard isn’t particularly the brightest, but even in a well-lit room you get reasonable highlights on the keys, a bit of under glow and some LED trim on the outer edges.
The texture on the key caps doesn’t look particularly great, but it’s a nice light texture that gives the keys a light grip and they feel great for gaming.
Of course, this being a membrane switch keyboard, the keys are nice and light, and incredibly quiet; handy if you do most of your gaming at night.
The LED lighting has a few extra colours to it, and can be cycled through using the controls on the keyboard. However, my favourite keys are the macro keys on the left side, as I play a lot of MMO games, having these here to deploy a few more complex commands is a very welcome bonus.
The keys aren’t going to have my ditching my mechanical keyboard anytime soon, but for the cost of the keyboard, they’re still quite impressive. They’re nice and fast, have a soft action and a good return rate that holds up very well in both work and gaming tasks.
Now comes the best part of both these lovely peripherals, as the ThunderX3 TK25 is just £13.49, which is crazy value for money for a keyboard packed with this many features. However, while the TM20 Optical Mouse is a little more expensive at £19.99, I think it’s the best value of the two given its build quality and performance.
As with our reviews of TH40 headset and the TM60 gaming mouse, I’m once again blown away with ThunderX3 products. While these do represent their more affordable new products, the level of reward you get for your investment is fiercely competitive on both.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, the TK25 keyboard is at its very core an affordable membrane keyboard, it’s not going to topple the mechanical keyboard market and in some respects, it’s not going to compete with the build quality and performance of some more expensive membrane keyboards; namely the Steelseries and Roccat ranges for example. However, given the stupidly low price, I dare you to find anything this good with this many features for a similar price. Dedicated macro keys, LED lighting, a built-in wrist rest, multimedia controls, anti-ghosting and more all add up to a great keyboard for those on a tighter budget.
So what about the mouse? Well that is a different game altogether. While it may be a £20 mouse, I think it has what it takes to go head to head with many gaming mice that cost twice, if not three times the price! The sensor is fantastic, tracking smooth and clean across the entire DPI range, with a nice and low lift-off height and no issues with angle snapping or acceleration. This is great news for all gamers who want excellent precision and don’t want to spend the big bucks on more established brands. The TM20 offers up exceptional design and build quality too, and those firm rubber grips on the side panels, as well as the big and fat rubber coated scroll wheel are certainly standout features for me. It feels great in your hand, the Omron switches are responsive and overall, I can’t think of anything better for less.
- Exceptional value for money
- Good build quality
- Unique aesthetics
- Solid performance
- Great for gaming
- Dedicated macro keys (keyboard)
- Exceptional sensor performance (mouse)
- Finish on keyboard could be improved, but hardly a deal breaker at such an affordable price