Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL Review: Middle of the Road
The Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL expects to convey the center gaming highlights of the enormous brands at a sensible $99 MSRP, halfway in light of the fact that it’s unassuming by all accounts. While the composing experience is extraordinary, a dependence on carriage, disappointing programming and restricted installed memory leave it falling behind the opposition for best gaming keyboards.
With doubleshot PBT plastic keycaps, energetic RGB lighting, factory=lubed stabilizers and your decision of Cherry MX switches, it’s as yet ready to offer a pleasant encounter in case you’re not vigorously put resources into reconstructing keys or lighting.
Specification of Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL
|Switches||Cherry MX Speed Silver (tested), Red, Brown or Blue|
|Onboard Storage||2 lighting profiles|
|Media Keys||With Fn|
|Connectivity||USB Type-A cable|
|Cables||6 feet (1.8m) USB-C to USB-A braided, detachable|
|Keycaps||Doubleshot PBT plastic|
|Software||Dark Matter Collider TKL|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||14.2 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches (360 x 133 x 35mm)|
|Weight||2.1 pounds (950g)|
Design of the Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL
By appearances, the Dark Matter Collider TKL is an exceptionally basic console. Everything’s in the name: Dark Matter. The case, keycaps and link are largely consistently dark. The solitary exemption is the legends, which are RGB illuminated.
I was enticed to leave it on the “sparkle” lighting choice to finish the image. This plan is something worth being thankful for in case you’re not an enthusiast of the bolder, gaming-driven plans found on large numbers of the present gaming keyboards and an incredible fit in the event that you plan on utilizing the console at work.
As the name infers, the Collider TKL is a tenkeyless (TKL) console, so it drops the numpad in return for a more conservative size. It feels significantly trimmer because of the meager, quarter-inch bezels along each side and tight dividing between the primary composing bunch and the route and altering catches and bolts.
This is a console that squanders no space, and that incorporates by leaving out additional highlights. The board utilizes a totally customary format. TKL keyboards will regularly exchange a portion of their smallness to add devoted media keys or volume rollers, similarly as with the Corsair K70 RGB TKL.
All things considered, Monoprice has picked to keep these highlights as auxiliary orders available along the capacity column by holding the Fn button.
Along these lines, you’ll utilize that Fn button regularly, whether it’s changing tracks or changing volume, changing lighting presets or in any event, dispatching your default program, mail application or mini-computer. What you will not discover are legends to make these simple to distinguish.
There are additionally no large scale catches. Since the product doesn’t uphold planning your own optional capacities, utilizing macros will mean forfeiting existing keys.
The straightforwardness folds over to the back of the board as well. The back highlights five elastic feet to keep it set up around your work area, and they function admirably, even on a work area cushion. There are no stations for link steering or DIP changes to trade key positions.
There are two slant feet in either corner that you can use to raise the composing point (something I discovered important). They’re the less complex, single-stage assortment rather than the more adaptable double foot configuration found on numerous top notch keyboards, similar to the Logitech G Pro X and Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition.
Rather than position it along the back edge, the Collider TKL highlights a recessed USB Type-C port on the lower part of the console with minuscule tracks to hold the header set up. The outcome is an extremely spotless look that makes the link look incorporated with the body.
I likewise like that Monoprice decided to utilize a separable link. Should it at any point brawl or break, it’s effectively replaceable without tossing out the entire console.
The included link is quite pleasant with a coordinating with dark interlaced outside and very little link memory from bundling. I likewise tried the Collider TKL with my own custom link, and it turned out great, so console modders ought to make some simple memories changing out the out-of-box tether if vital.
The Collider TKL highlights per-key RGB backdrop illumination. Joining Fn with the route and altering bunch, you can browse 11 preset lighting impacts and tweak them with seven static tones and a modest bunch of inclinations.
The RGB looks extraordinary sparkling brilliantly through the legends and around the sides of the keycaps. However there’s no lack of RGB lighting, the dark keycaps and secret switch lodgings assist with continuing lighting more segregated than gaming keyboards in lighter tones with skimming key plans.
It’s likewise conceivable to make your own custom lighting plan utilizing locally available key orders or the Dark Matter Collider TKL programming (indeed, that is the thing that it’s really called).
Programming on the actual console is monotonous yet conceivable. In the wake of going into the Custom RGB Mode (Fn+End) and picking which of the locally available memory profiles, which just store 2 custom lighting impacts, you might want to utilize (Page Up or Page Down), you’ll need to tap up to multiple times to pick your shading or debilitate the lighting on that key.
Since you additionally can’t help through any of the static RGB presets into the custom setting, that implies illuminating the whole console will take somewhere in the range of 87 to just shy of 700 taps. Obviously, it’s best-appropriate for little bunches of keys and featuring in-game activities.
Utilizing the product makes making a custom shading plan for your console a lot quicker, yet since it presents however many issues as it addresses, as you’ll find in the Software segment underneath, it’s best to adhere to the preset choices.
Monoprice equipped the Collider TKL with doubleshot PBT keycaps, which is a denser plastic than the more normal ABS plastic. Along these lines, PBT keycaps are less inclined to become glossy with use.
The thickness of the keycaps is generally 1mm, so they’re genuinely thin however permit more RGB to radiate through. This comes full circle in a lower pitched sound than unadulterated ABS keycaps yet more shrill than thicker PBT keycaps.
The legends are produced using a second ‘shot’ of plastic and attached to the external shell. Not at all like printed or laser-carved legends, they’ll never chip or blur over the long haul. The textual style is somewhat gaming-styled with breaks in the more unpredictable legends, yet isn’t excessively vainglorious or eye catching.
I was additionally glad to see that the stabilizers came pre-lubed from the industrial facility. Contrasted with the Roccat Pyro and other keyboards with stock stabilizers, the bigger keys were calmer and had less clatter. The stabilizers were additionally more tight and less wiggly, which diminishes clatter even prior to adding lube.
The application wasn’t the most predictable (the Backspace and Spacebar were stronger than the other settled keys), and there were deviant smears of oil on the steel plate, however these are little issues by and large.
Experience of Gaming on the Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL
Gaming with the console was positive in general, however I was unquestionably kept down by a carriage programming bundle and an absence of locally available memory for macros and keymaps. Without the product, its gaming highlights are restricted to the switches, the 1,000 Hz surveying rate and N-key rollover.
These three components guaranteed a responsive gaming experience that enlisted all my keypresses, however when I saw what it falls flat to reliably accomplish, I was baffled that the product isn’t better.
Gaming on Cherry MX Speed Silvers is a mixed bag. The straight idea of the switches caused moving my person in Doom Eternal to feel smooth and normal. I partook in the higher incitation moment that things got serious. In those minutes, the console felt more receptive to the touch, responding to little jerks of my fingers when I otherwise would have been enticed to reach as far down as possible.
Becoming accustomed to that affectability requires some investment, notwithstanding. More than once, I found myself running from cover in Call of Duty: Warzone or hurrying toward a manager in World of Warcraft basically from resting my finger too intensely on the keys.
This turned out to be less regular with use however never disappeared altogether during my testing.
The Collider TKL suite extends the gaming capability of the console with full programmability – theoretically. It should permit you to record and guide macros to any key, program key mixes, alternate ways or even dispatch programs.
If by some stroke of good luck it worked accurately. The way things are, while really recording macros and planning orders is simple, the measure of accidents and bugs I encountered made these highlights conflicting and inconsistent.
Software for the Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL
Outside of RGB control, the entirety of the high level highlights the console offers are controlled through the Dark Matter Collider TKL programming. Given that Monoprice’s Dark Matter sub-brand is exceptional, I anticipated that the software should be harsh around the edges.
It is, yet should every one of the bugs get worked out, it could turn out to be an incredible element rich bundle. It’s only not there yet. Monoprice disclosed to Tom’s Hardware that it’s dealing with a product update to fix these issues very soon, so we’ll need to sit back and watch.
The principal sign that things were all the while creating came just in the wake of dispatching the .exe. The driver hasn’t been ensured by Microsoft, which makes Windows 10 caution you away from introducing it. When I bypassed the underlying admonition, I had the option to introduce the Dark Matter Collider TKL application without issue.
Once inside, the product is separated into three key regions: Home, where you’ll pick your gadget, Device, where you’ll control lighting and programming, and Macro, where you’ll make and record new macros. The show is basic however worthy. Route is clear and simple, and clicking various components is responsive and ponders the console right away in the wake of squeezing OK.
Experiencing it interestingly, I was dazzled. The remap alternatives on the Device tab are abundant. It permits you to remap keys, map easy routes, send lines of text or even dispatch applications basically by choosing the key and picking the choice you might want.
You can likewise pick some fundamental boundaries for gaming when Win Lock is empowered, such as handicapping Alt+F4 or Alt+Tab. You can save these alternatives can to various profiles, permitting you to have diverse keymaps for various games.
Planning a full scale requires a fast excursion to the large scale tab. You’ll initially have to make another full scale, name it assuming you like and, hit record. Macros can even be redone to eliminate or embed deferrals or key presses sometime later, including mouse clicks.
When done, the full scale would then be able to be planned to a key on the gadget tab. Since there is no help for auxiliary large scale orders (like Fn+1 to trigger Macro 1), planning a large scale replaces that key on your console.
Back on the Device tab, tapping the light symbol takes you to lighting settings. You can browse any of the installed presets or decide to plan your own custom lighting plan. You can snap and haul to choose keys and browse a whole range of shadings, so the whole cycle is worked on over the installed “tap to choose” customization strategy.
Unfortunately, that’s where the good things end. Onboard memory is limited to two lighting profiles, meaning macros or reprogrammed keys won’t carry over. Plus, pre-recorded macros won’t work at all without the software open.
The software overrides the keyboard’s onboard controls, so simply opening it removes your ability to control lighting at all using the keyboard itself.
That means changing presets in the middle of a match or even something as simple as adjusting brightness without opening the software won’t work. There’s also no ability to remap custom lighting controls to add this functionality back in.
Using macros is rife with problems, too. Since creating custom keymaps replaces the default key, the software supports multiple profiles that you can toggle on the fly. The software disables the keymaps related to lighting, so the intuitive option for switching profiles (the profile switch buttons in the instruction manual), don’t work.
Remapping my own using the stock “switch profile” option caused my software to repeatedly crash or become unresponsive when changing on the fly. At one point, the macros I created simply stopped working even when I saved them to other keys, causing those keys to stop working.
The matter is made worse by the fact that when the software stops working, there’s no guarantee your keys will go back to their default settings. More than once, my macro keys became unresponsive, even after restarting the software. I had to physically unplug the keyboard to get it to work again.
After a week with the keyboard, the Dark Matter Collider TKL software had so many issues that I completely stopped using it. More than any other keyboard in recent memory, this one needs onboard storage for macros and remaps just to keep from opening that suite. That’s a shame, because without it, the Collider TKL becomes a pretty standard TKL with RGB.