The Flare Board is a sizable chunk of plastic. Its also got some heft which makes it feel quite solid.
The pattern is basically radial, with the index finger getting the keys on the right, and the pinky finger getting the keys on the left. The WASD keys in the middle, like youd expect. The thumb does what it always does best, thump the space bar. In this case the space bar is somewhat trapezoidal.
The number row is broken into two rows, which I actually like a lot. Since I am a trained typist (it was either typing or French for my elective), the numbers beyond 6 are totally lost in FPS, or even WoW. The Flare Board brings those weapon choices back into play, which makes for a far more flexible play style.
The Flare Board does bend a bit with the wrist wrest (it's on hinges), but it doesn't stick to allow for inclined hand positions. If you've got some sort of RSI, different hand positions can help.
Thermaltake is clear to warn you about RSI, though. If you do experience pain or numbness in the wrist or fingers, stop and take a break. I will also add go outside, get some air, go play in the park, go do something else, it will help.
Voiding the warranty, I discover that its held together with no less than 8 screws.
Let the dissection begin!
One can learn a lot by taking things apart. It is a gift, really.
The LED side lights are the little black squares on the brown BCB. Check out the big chunk 'o metal on the bottom. Metal heavy, weight big. Followed by...
I tend to kill keyboards when I take them apart (I think its a gift, really), and the Flare Board is no exception. After reassembly, the side lights refuse to turn back on. I take this to be a sign from the Gods of Mod, Solder and Resistor.
There is a misprint on the box of the Flare Board, it doesnt just have an LED light, it has three of them. One to tell you its on, and the other two to light up, all in tres chic blue.
Theyre pretty weak, in truth. If Thermaltake had gone to task with the lighting situation, perhaps with a big red Luxeon Star for example, then the Flare Board would emanate serious flare. Instead, we get this:
Press the switch on the side, and they light up. These LEDs are a strange color of blue, almost blue-green, and they dont put out all that much light. Oh, how I pray to Solder and Resistor for better lights!
Press A or B to start
I spent several hours playing several games. Ok, several weeks playing games. If youre used to WASD, and arent prone to remapping keys, then the Flare Board has a very easy learning curve. My hands mastered it in about an hours worth of play.
With Team Fortress 2, the Flare Board really reached its stride. It doesnt have all the chat keys, v key for instance, but at least you can get a quick, gg in at the end.
For games that have more chat and less action, like World of Warcraft, the Flare Board quickly becomes a hindrance. Unless you have some form of RSI (repetitive strain injury) in your wrist or hand, I just found it too slow and cumbersome to use the Flare Board when playing and then regular keyboard for chat. Just using the regular keyboard worked best.
The Flare Board obviously can't work perfect with all games because of different control schemes, but the games that use the standard Doom layout (WASD) work pretty darn well.
Thermaltake Flare Board Thermaltake's take on a gaming keybpad results in the Flare Board, a 44-Key, USB plug & play, keypad with a comfortable layout tailored for games. It's easy to use, but it feels a little mushy and we wish the LED's lit more of the keypad and less of the desk.
ThermalTake Mozart With Media Lab Today we are entering the mysterious world of the HTPC .. the Home Theater PC. A PC that has been built for the sole purpose of playing back music, movies and or media files, basically a multimedia center. And that is not an easy mission, as everybody has different goals, budgets and tasks for such a PC. Essentially this is a review about the Thermaltake Mozart. Look at the choices and building part of the HTPC as an additional bonus in this review.
ThermalTake PurePower PST520W ATX PSU Thermaltake has taken moddable PSU's to the next level ... and in a very clever way, I must add. The PSU we will be testing today is a truly hefty SLI/Crossfire ready piece of gear. It carries the label "Pure Power P.S.T. Series" and this model comes with a 520 Watt rating.
Thermaltake Tai-Chi Super Tower Case Thermaltake recently released a new PC case. Targeted at the high-end and enthusiast consumer with a diminutive amount of money to spare, Thermaltake offers a new series of PC ATX/BTX ready casings. It's widely compatible with all mainboards and has a certain balanced feel to it. It's huge, it's heavy, it's impressive, it's beautiful and it's called the Tai Chi.