When It comes to gaming hardware, Turtle Beach is a name that rings out. Known for their high quality headsets, the company is now expanding its vision to PC gaming peripherals. Every PC gamer knows the importance of a good Keyboard and Mouse set up, it can mean the difference between getting those much needed in-game kills, or death. The IMPACT 700 keyboard is designed to deliver precision to our fingertips, but with so much competition on the market, what else does this kit offer?
The IMPACT 700 features Cherry MX brown switches, which provide a smooth responsive feel. The keyboard can be illuminated with red backlighting, which has multiple modes. The backlights can be turned on and off by holding down the “FN” key and pressing “F11”. You can then change the backlight mode with “FN+F12”, there are 5 different modes, from dim lighting, to bright, to flashing lights. You can even arrange it so that only the “WASD” and arrow keys are lit. Having these different backlight modes are cool, but taking it one step further and allowing us to switch the color of the backlight would have put the finishing touches on the feature. Unfortunately we’re stuck with the red.
The IMPACT 700 is what’s considered a full sized keyboard, with 104 keys. However, it’s noticeably smaller than my last gaming keyboard. This is a good thing, because it saves space and gives extra hand space in your working area. The only criticism is that it would have been nice to have a few macro keys that could be used specifically for hotkeys in certain games. My previous gaming keyboard featured 5 additional macro keys, and if you’re switching to the IMPACT 700 from a keyboard that had these additional keys, it will be pretty noticeable.
One feature that makes up for the lack of macro keys, is the two USB 2.0 ports built into the keyboard, along with micrphone and headphone jacks. To make the IMPACT 700 fully operational it will take up two USB ports in your computer, but the fact that the keyboard itself has two USB ports built into it makes up for that. This has been extremely useful for me, because I used to always have to reach to the back of my computer to plug in my headset, but now it’s just a case of plugging it into the keyboard. For many, this alone will be a convenience that is worth the extra money. The fast install speed of the keyboard is also a plus. There’s no additional software needed to operate the IMPACT 700, which is something that can’t be said about my previous keyboard.
Design and detail is where the IMPACT 700 excels. The six-key rollover with full anti-ghosting means that fast fingers can control games without the fear of missed moves. Positioning matters on keyboards, and sometimes when using other keyboards I feel like the other controls are at a stretch when I have my fingers locked on the “WASD” keys.
With the IMPACT 700 however, everything feels within reach, and I never have to stretch too far to find the key I’m after. This is a plus, because the split-second it takes to hit that other key matters in most games. I tried the keyboard with a number of games, including Battlefield: Hardline (first-person shooter), Guild Wars 2 (MMO), Chivalry Medieval Warfare (first-person battle), and League of Legends (MOBA). In each type of game I felt like the keyboard gave me an extra edge, I was much speedier with the IMPACT 700 than I was with my last keyboard, and much of that is attributed to the fact that the IMPACT 700 is more compact and precise.
The IMPACT 700 is a mechanical keyboard, and therefore it’s significantly louder than a membrane keyboard. But PC elitists will know that a good mechanical keyboard is more reliable than anything else. Though the keyboard is louder, and may annoy anybody close by, it’s a worthy issue to deal with, simply because of the amount of stability on the keyboard. The IMPACT 700 has a steel-reinforced chassis with gunmetal keycap plates. The letters are laser engraved, which means they won’t fade like other keyboards do after long usage. The accent on the “T” and the “H” keys are a nice added touch to signify the beginning and ending letters of Turtle Beach.
Some of the buttons representing the symbols (such as brackets, hashtags, apostrophes etc..) were a little confusing. By default the buttons didn’t represent the correct symbol associated with the key. This could just be a localization issue, but it’s something that can be fixed by playing around in your computer’s input settings. It’s still a minor annoyance though, considering my previous keyboard had the correct placements.
The IMPACT 700 also comes with some extra gaming keycaps. The standout ones are for the “WASD” keys, but there’s also one with a Turtle Beach logo, and some new CTRL buttons. Inside the box there’s also a keycap puller designed to make it easier for you to pull out keys and switch them. It’s also useful for if you ever want to do a full clean of the keyboard.
The IMPACT 700 is a joy to use for gaming. As someone who does a lot of blogging, I also enjoy just typing with the keyboard. The placement of the letters are so perfect that I can use it without ever looking at the keyboard to confirm which buttons my fingers are hovering over. The only thing that may throw some people off is the placement of the symbol keys. The precision of the keys are satisfying, and the backlighting is perfect for late night gaming. One of the biggest sells for me is the USB 2.0 ports and the headphone and mic jacks that are built right into the keyboard.
However, for the price of this keyboard (£160/$200), you may feel as though it’s missing a couple simple features. A few macro keys added with the ability to customize the backlight color would have completed the value of the IMPACT 700. Fortunately, even without those features the IMPACT 700 is so well designed that the quality of the product alone may be enough to justify the price for some. It’s better to have a keyboard that is exceptionally well tailored, than one with all the bells and whistles that lacks in durability. For those reasons alone, it is happily replacing my old Keyboard.