Reliable performance in need of polish: Dark Matter Collider TKL keyboard review

Monoprice has been within the client electronics enterprise since 2002. The corporate provides clients with every little thing from ethernet cables to headphones and gaming peripherals. In June, Monoprice launched Darkish Matter, its new gaming peripheral division. The Collider TKL keyboard is Darkish Matter’s try to interrupt into the aggressive tenkeyless market. 

Darkish Matter’s Collider TKL is a dependable however plain keyboard. The Collider TKL appears value its mid-range price ticket at one second, and the subsequent, it doesn’t. 

Maintain it easy

Picture through Colton Deck

The Collider is a normal plug-and-play TKL keyboard, and its simplicity works to its profit. Given Monoprice’s concentrate on offering high-quality tech for much less, it tracks that its gaming division would do the identical. 

Darkish Matter’s Collider TKL is exclusive in that its first impression sticks all through your complete expertise. At first look, there’s nothing left up for interpretation and the keyboard by no means actually surprises in any significant means. This can be a commonplace black keyboard with an ABS case, metal plate, and lightweight branding above the arrow key cluster. It’s a sturdy construct, however HyperX’s similarly-priced Alloy Origins Core line of absolutely aluminum keyboards outclass it. The RGB lighting carries many of the visible pizazz. Should you’re not into RGB, what you see is what you get. 

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Screengrab through Darkish Matter

For these considering RGB and macro recording, the Collider options onboard customization and devoted software program. Customizing RGB on the fly with a few key combos is handy and takes little time to grasp. Utilizing onboard controls is commonly simpler than utilizing the software program for some customers. Usually talking, recording macros is usually a ache if you happen to’re new to the method. The software program used to customise macros is easy and appears a bit tough across the edges, with the font wanting significantly suspect. For round $100, the software program ought to look much more presentable contemplating the looks of the Hyper-K Ultralight mouse’s software.

One thing depraved this manner pings

The simplicity of its design makes the Collider resemble any variety of keyboards, but it surely shares probably the most traits with Logitech G’s Professional X TKL. Darkish Matter’s Collider mirrors some unlucky similarities of the Professional X keyboard however one-ups it in different areas. 

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Picture through Colton Deck

Hitting the Collider’s spacebar produces a sound just like the Logitech G Professional X’s metallic pinging noise. This kind of pinging noise isn’t unusual, but it surely’s a bit disappointing to listen to if you happen to’ve spent near $100. Even when utilizing a deskpad to soak up some sound, the pinging continues to be pronounced.

It’s not all unhealthy, although. In comparison with Logitech G’s Professional X noise, there’s a vital lack of rattle to the Collider stabilizers. Darkish Matter’s Collider is far quieter and has far much less rattle than the dearer G Professional X, making the pinging considerably forgivable. 

However how does it deal with? 

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Picture through Colton Deck

Darkish Matter ships the Collider TKL in 4 totally different Cherry MX change choices, together with Blues, Browns, Reds, and Velocity Silvers. Our assessment unit got here loaded with Velocity Silvers. These switches have a 1.2-millimeter actuation level and take 45 grams of power to function, making them a light-weight and responsive linear change. 

By way of efficiency, the Velocity Silvers present an unforgivingly quick expertise. Put together for a couple of fats fingers right here and there if you happen to’ve by no means used Velocity Silvers or an optical change earlier than. Each change sorts are basically hair triggers that take little to no effort to actuate. The preliminary studying curve of those switches can take a couple of matches to get used to, however the Velocity Silvers find yourself feeling effortlessly reactive. 

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Picture through Colton Deck

The stabilizers additionally play a big position in making a constant expertise and function a major instance of why Monoprice’s Darkish Matter model is value a glance. We’ve already touched on how the spacebar stabilizer is superior to Logitech’s, but it surely isn’t simply the spacebar. 

Few keyboards have inventory stabilizers that really feel like they belong to the identical board. A current instance of how tough stabilizers can really feel and sound is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini. Every stabilizer feels prefer it belongs on a separate keyboard. Conversely, every stabilizer on the Collider has an analogous sound, really feel, and slight wobble. There’s a way of cohesion you don’t get with many keyboards on the market, not even with a HyperX. 

Bells and (lacking) whistles

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Picture through Colton Deck

Regardless of lacking out on an aluminum case, the Collider has a few small promoting factors that assist give it legs in the long term. Options like a removable USB-C cable and double-shot PBT keycaps present a premium really feel to an in any other case middle-of-the-road keyboard.

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Picture through Colton Deck

Darkish Matter offering customers with a removable USB-C cable at this value level is a brilliant and vital transfer in 2021. The recessed USB port is in the course of the keyboard, permitting the person some wiggle room concerning which facet they place their PC. Sadly, the notched design across the connector takes away from the comfort of a USB-C cable by solely permitting the person to plug it in a method. 

Having double-shot PBT is an enormous win for the Collider since they are typically extra sturdy and stop oil buildup. These keycaps have a high-pitch backside out to them that’s exacerbated by the metallic pinging. Though the sound isn’t as nice because it could possibly be, the feel of the keycaps is even and paying homage to Razer’s PBT keycaps. Darkish Matter’s keycaps aren’t as textured or thick, although. 

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Picture through Colton Deck

The corporate features a single layer of flip-up toes. One layer of flip-up toes is almost obligatory, however not having a second layer seems to be like a lower nook at this value. It’s nonetheless a snug keyboard, however its lack of adjustability is considered one of its less-premium facets.

Is that this for you? 

Darkish Matter’s Collider TKL gives a snug gaming expertise and never a lot else. What you see is what you get with the Collider, and that works for and in opposition to it. Consumers get a no-frills gaming keyboard that doesn’t do something unsuitable however doesn’t do a lot to impress apart from its stabilizers. 

Together with double-shot PBT keycaps, a single layer of flip-up toes, and a removable USB-C cable are all wins however must also be thought of the usual in 2021. Not the entire included options attain the benchmark, although. The flip-up toes solely have one stage, and the USB-C connector and port’s notched design eliminates the comfort of a USB-C connection. 

Contemplating the pitfalls and value of the Collider TKL, it’s tough to take a look at HyperX’s keyboards and never examine the 2. You may get a totally aluminum HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL with Pink linear switches for $89.99 and generally $60 on sale. The Collider prices $99.99 on an everyday day and $79.99 on sale. It basically boils down as to if you get pleasure from a really sturdy construct or higher stabilizers.

Execs

  • Easy design
  • Above-average stabilizers
  • Straightforward onboard customization controls
  • Removable USB-C
  • Double-shot PBT keycaps
  • Strong construct for being plastic
  • Minimal branding

Cons

  • Lacking layer of flip-up toes
  • Pinging noise is disappointing at this value
  • Notched USB-C design takes away from its comfort
  • The software program wants some TLC

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