Recently, I’ve been getting engrossed in the world of Turtle Beach peripherals. The company announced they would be breaking away from being an audio only company, set to explore the world of keyboards and mice and we were very impressed with the products we saw at CES 2015. More recently, we’ve been lucky enough to play around with their gorgeous GRIP series mice, such as the GRIP 500 which we recently review and if that’s just a taste of things to come, we should be in for a real treat with their keyboard products.
“The Turtle Beach IMPACT 700 premium-quality backlit mechanical PC gaming keyboard sports Cherry MX Brown key switches for a smooth responsive, tactile feel and laser-engraved keycaps with keyboard-controlled adjustable soft-to-hard red backlighting and multiple illumination modes, all set in a steel-reinforced chassis for stability and maximum durability. Six-key rollover with full anti-ghosting gives fast-moving fingers instant and accurate gameplay control even when hitting multiple keys, including double or triple taps. The IMPACT 700 also includes 3.5mm mic and audio jacks, and two USB 2.0 ports with direct audio pass-through to support a gaming headset and mouse.”
You can’t go far wrong with a mechanical keyboard and since the Impact 700 is equipped with Cherry MX switches, we already know were going to get a great quality product. However, given the rather high price of the Impact 700, which we’ll get to in a little while, I’m expecting or at least hoping for something really special from Turtle Beach and their new keyboard.
The model I have at my disposal today comes equipped with Cherry MX Brown switches and as you can see from the packaging, it follows a similar design to most other Turtle Beach products.
A few cool features on the back of the box, such as audio and dual-USB pass through, LED back-lighting, a steel-mounted chassis and more!
In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started, the keyboard, obviously, as well as a quick start guide, some extra key-caps and a key-cap pulling tool.
The extra key-caps are particularly interesting, even if they’re almost unnecessary. There’s replacement WASD keys, which has a white block around the letters, that’ll let more backlighting through and help you better differentiate the keys. Then we have some rather funky alternative key-cap replacements, such as GG, InCTRL and NoCTRL, they’re just a bit of fun, but I like them.
the Impact 700 comes hard-wired with a rather bulky, but incredibly durable sleeved cable. The thickness is dictated by the fact that the keyboard has two USB headers and two 3.5mm cables.
The key-caps are of a very high quality, with a really nice silky black finish to them. They are laser etched to allow the LED backlighting to shine through and have a nice clear font on them.
Like most keyboards these days, the F-Keys also act as multimedia keys, which can be accessed via the Fn-Shift key; I prefer dedicated multimedia keys, but this is certainly better than nothing.
More multimedia functions here, this time for volume control.
The LED brightness can be dialed up or down using F11 and F12, again, via the Fn-Shift function.
The arrow keys are as you would expect and the key spacing is pretty standard stuff; nothing to complain about, that’s for sure.
Those with a keen eye will notice I don’t have a UK layout keyboard here today, but UK/US will be available dependant on your region when the keyboard is released.
The 700 is quite a chunky keyboard, but that’s no bad thing as it’s as durable as it looks. The Steel chassis on the interior does add weight, but it also means the 700 is strong, rattle free and isn’t going to slide around your desk in the heat of battle.
The included key-cap removal tool is a welcome bonus, as it makes cleaning and general maintenance a lot easier. It also means it’s nice and easy to swap out the stock key-caps for the included alternatives.
Such as these lovely WASD keys which you can see below.
Around the back of the keyboard, you’ll find a pair of USB ports and a pair of audio jacks. This is perfect for connecting your other peripherals, such as a gaming mouse, microphone, headset and similar devices, without having to fiddle around behind your computer.
There are four side and tough rubber grips on the base of the keyboard, giving it a firm hold on your desk.
the kickstands are plastic, but they’re thick and strong, so it’s unlikely they’ll break anytime soon; they’ve also been treated to small rubber grips of their own so you don’t lose too much traction on your desk.
The IMPACT 700 is a really nice keyboard, not only does it look fantastic when you take it out of the box, it looks even better when you power it up! The LED backlighting is really nice and as you can see in the pictures below, it stands out well (at max brightness) in both a light and darker environment. I’ve installed the replacement WASD keys and while you can light the whole keyboard, there’s also a few options to light up the gaming zones; you can also opt for a breathing effect, or have the lights off completely, it’s up to you.
Gaming on this keyboard is a lot of fun, the MX Brown keys aren’t my personal favourite, as I like the linear switches such as MX Black and MX Red, but the brown are quite close in feel to a tough membrane keyboard, giving you the benefits of a mechanical switch, with a more familiar feel. The switches are quick and responsive, while not being anywhere near as noisy as the MX Blue switches, making them a great choice for gaming, but also for day-to-day work.
The typing action is quite light and while the keyboard looks quite bulky, it feels perfectly balanced when typing, with good key spacing and a nice typing angle. The lighting is a nice touch, especially with just the dedicated gaming key illuminated, making it easy to find your place when gaming in a darker room.
There’s not really a lot to say beyond that, this is a premium mechanical keyboard and as such, it’s comparable with most anything else in its class. It certainly doesn’t disappoint in any respect and regardless of how many games I played, or how many reviews I typed on this thing, I never ran into any issues. If you want it just to play StarCraft II or DOTA2, you’ll love it. If you just want a high-quality keyboard for the office, you’re still going to love it; a solid all-round performance from Turtle Beach.
One nice bonus is the Fn-Shift multimedia keys, I prefer dedicated keys, but they’re better than nothing and perfect for skipping through your music while gaming.
The Turtle Beach Impact 700 Mechanical Keyboard is a premium quality product, with the premium price tag to match. It’ll set you back £159.99 directly from Turtle Beach on pre-order. I do expect the price will drop once it launches full in this region, but for now, that’s the price.
Another great entry to the mechanical keyboard market, with only one minor drawback, which I’ll get to in a moment.
The build quality on this keyboard is as good as it gets. Short of crafting the whole thing out of depleted uranium, it’s not going to get much more durable. The added strength and weight makes a big difference to the typing action too, as it changes how the keys bounce, how stable the keyboard is and the overall feel of the keyboard in general. It feels solid, planted and reliable and that’s no bad thing. The hard-wearing rubber grip coating on the chassis is nice too, it’s easy to clean and it’ll hold up to a few knocks and bumps without many issues.
Cherry MX Switches are popular for a good reason, they’re of an exceptionally high quality and you know exactly what you’re going to get. The inclusion of high-quality switches, LED backlighting, some alternative custom key-caps included in the box and a handy key-cap removal tool are all very welcome bonuses and pretty much what you would hope to find on a keyboard of this value.
Gaming and day-to-day performance is up there with the best, you’ll certainly have no concerns there, I also have no doubt that it’ll still perform just as well after many weeks, months and years of use.
The only problem is the price. At near as makes no difference £160, you’ll have to think, I don’t want the Ducky Shine, I don’t want the Corsair K95 RGB or the Logitech G710, a list which could go on and on. Compared to similarly priced products, the IMPACT 700 performs just as well, but comes with noticeably fewer features than competing brands. Turtle Beach need to get the price down to around £120 to stay competitive. However, if this is just a taste of what we can expect from them, at least they got the most important factors right first, performance and quality. I’m still awarding our editors choice award, as it’s every bit a great keyboard, but the price needs to come down before anyone would actually buy it.
- Exceptional build quality
- Customisable LED back-lighting
- USB pass-through
- Audio pass-through
- Braided cable
- Extra key-caps and key-cap tool included
- Excellent performance
“One of the best mechanical keyboards I’ve used to date, it looks and feels like a premium product and performs like one too. The only downside is the price, which we hope to see come down in the near future.”
Thank you Turtle Beach for providing us with this sample.