Turtle Beach Impact 500 TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

by - 7 years ago

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Introduction


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It’s been a very interesting time for Turtle Beach, with the revealing their new desktop peripherals at CES 2015, we’re now very excited to have them in the eTeknix office. We’ve already looked at their new gaming nice, the GRIP 500 and the GRIP 300, as well as their full-size mechanical keyboard, the IMPACT 700. Today, we’ve got their first Ten Keys Less (TKL) keyboard, the Impact 500.

“The Turtle Beach IMPACT 500 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for PC and Mac combines precision and power in a minimalist, tenkeyless keycap layout for minimum distance and smaller keyboard footprint. For that sharp, tactile feel, the Impact 500 features Cherry Blue MX mechanical switches that deliver gold-standard responsiveness. Six-key rollover with full anti-ghosting means fast-moving fingers can control games without the fear of missed moves and dropped instructions. And a rubber-coated, steel reinforce chassis provides rock-solid stability in a small footprint occupying less space on your desktop.”

TKL keyboards are very popular with LAN gamers, as they’re much easier to chuck in your bag and transport. They’re also great for those who don’t rely on the number pad, as their compact size frees up a huge amount of space no your desk, which means more room to move your mouse, so they’re perfect for those with limited desk space too.

The Impact 500 TKL comes equipped with the very popular Cherry MX switches, in this case, we have Cherry MX Blue on our sample.

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In the box, you’ll find the keyboard, a detachable braided USB cable and a quick start guide.

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The keyboard design is pretty straight forward, but not so basic that it is boring, as there’s no doubt that this is still a very nice looking keyboard.

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The keyboard is a little heavy, as is the case with most mechanical keyboards. It feels pretty rugged and very well made overall, so it should stand up to lifetime of abuse from those long gaming sessions and LAN events.

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The 500 has a slight slope to its design, with a slow curve on the key layout from front to back; this should provide you with a comfortable typing position, but it can be raised further with the kickstands at the back.

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The key caps are of a very good quality and they don’t bottom out on the chassis of the keyboard, giving you nothing but the tactile sensation of the MX Blue switch when you’re typing.

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There’s an Fn-Shift function on the Impact 500, this gives you access to some basic multimedia, volume and windows lock keys along the top of the keyboard.

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There’s also a small LED light on the Windows Lock/F9 key so you can see when this feature is enabled.

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To keep the exterior bezel to a minimum, the CAPLK and SCRLK indicators are located just above the INS and HOME keys, further helping to save desk space, without compromising on key spacing or the need to make the chassis bigger.

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The arrow keys are located quite close to the corner, but since the keyboard is rather slim here, you won’t need the use of a wrist rest. The keys are slightly recessed into the body of the keyboard too, giving you an even slightly lower design overall.

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The trim around the keyboard is nice and clean with no ports or anything on show.

 

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There’s a cable track on the underside of the keyboard, allowing you to take the USB cable out the left, right or back of the keyboard.

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The Mini-USB connector is recessed under the keyboard, so it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally pull the cable out of its fitting.

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Here you can see the cable attached to the keyboard; nice and simple.

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There’s four rubber grips on the underside of the IMPACT 500, so it won’t slide around your desk while you’re gaming. There’s also two small rubber grips on the kickstands so you don’t lose the grip when using the extra feet.

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PerformanceS


Setting up the Impact 500 is a very simple task, it’s plug and play ready, so just hook up the USB cable and you’re good to go! There’s no crazy software, no complicated macro recording features, nothing. This is a pretty simple keyboard overall, albeit one that appears to be done very well.

Since features are not exactly abundant, there’s not really a lot to say about the keyboard in general, but from a performance perspective, it’s every bit as good as I had hoped. The switches are Cherry MX Blue, so they’re every bit the same Cherry MX Blue switches you find in a lot of keyboards. What’s different is the type of key caps, how the keys around mounted, how the chassis responds and I must admit, it handles very well indeed. The bulky weight of the keyboard means you don’t feel the key bounce throughout the keyboard, so it feels very quick and snappy. The keys are set quite low and the travel distance is as short as possible, without the key-caps bottoming out on the chassis, so you don’t get too much extra noise from that.

The downside, however, is MX Blue switches are inherently noisy in their own right, they have an audible and tactile “click” when pressed most of the way down. Even with O-ring mods installed, you’re not going to be able to avoid this, so if you’re planning on using this keyboard in a room where someone is also trying to watch TV, be warned, as they may want to smack you around the head with the keyboard every time you type an email.

Personally, I love the click noise and the way it feels. It’s like using an electric typewriter and it’s a very satisfying typing action. It’s also a fast keyboard, so competitive gamers are going to love the response on the keys, as it means you can fire off rapid keystrokes with confidence; calling all StarCraft II players!

The Windows lock and multimedia keys are a nice touch too, especially if you’re gaming; no more triggering the desktop or having to tab out your game to skip through your music collection.

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Final Thoughts


Price

The Impact 500 is a little expensive, available for pre-order from Turtle Beach for £99.99, especially given that competing products have backlighting and more features for a similar price. However, the Impact 500 does excel in terms of build quality and there’s no harm in paying a premium for something you know will last you a long time. I also suspect the price will drop soon enough, once the keyboard is available at retail; I think somewhere around £75 would be ideal for this keyboard

Overview

I really like this keyboard, although I must admit that it’s nothing special overall, it’s still of a very high quality and Turtle Beach have done a great job in that respect. Given this is their first entry into the keyboard market, it’s a strong start and it fills me with hope that they’ll make something even better in the very near future; they’ve certainly got the market experience and fan base to compete with even the biggest names in this part of the industry.

The Turtle Beach Impact 500 looks great, with a slightly understated design, low set keys, high-quality key caps and a nice braided cable. The slim chassis and the TKL design are great for saving desktop space, but also means that the keyboard is compact enough to pick up and take on the road with you; I can see it being very popular with eSports and LAN gamers, especially due to the robust build quality.

It may not be the cheapest, it may not have the most features, but what it does have is more than enough for most gamers. The premium quality, look, feel and performance of the Impact 500 more than justifies the cost and if Turtle Beach can get the price down just a little more, it could quickly become one of the most popular mechanical brands on the market. Of course, if you can afford it, I highly recommend their full-size Impact 700 which we recently reviewed.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Detachable braided cable
  • Excellent build quality
  • Flawless performance
  • Nice esthetics

Cons

  • A little expensive
  • No extra features compared to other keyboards in this price range

“Turtle Beach may have a lot of experience in the audio market, be they’re the new kids in town when it comes to keyboards. They’ve certainly proven that they can make a great quality product for competitive gaming. Let’s hope the Impact 500 is just a taste of even greater things to come.”

Turtle Beach Impact 500 TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Turtle Beach Impact 500 TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Thank you Turtle Beach for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Performance
  3. Final Thoughts
  4. View All

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