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Tecware Phantom RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review: Tactile, Visual Bonanza on a Budget

This keyboard lights up your table as impressively as it will light up your heart. At first glance, the Phantom is nothing out of the ordinary at first glance, but damn, it’s good. Before we talk about the keyboard and its build quality, we are gonna bring your attention to how affordable it is first because once you know how affordable it is… everything you read from there will be like a “wow, I’m getting more than I paid for” moment. 

The front of the Tecware Phantom RGB Mechanical Keyboard. Image: Kwokka

Affordable

“Cheap and Good” – these two lethal words, when placed together, will make any Singaporean feel a tingle in their pockets. The Phantom is certainly one of those cheap and good purchases that if worth every dollar, if not more, that you spend on it. It is available in two form factors, and the price listed on on Lazada Mall for both are SG$79. However, we have noticed that during a sale, the price can drop as low as SG$55. 

  • Full-sized (104 Key), SG$79 SGD 55
  • Tenkeyless (84 Key), SG$79 SGD 65

With this price-point, we feel that this is the perfect keyboard for anyone who’s too giam-siap (not willing to part with big bucks) for a mechanical keyboard, or a really enthusiastic gadget lover who’s looking for a spare keyboard. 

Choose from a plethora of lighting effects, including many that react to your keystrokes. Image: Kwokka

Fancy RGB lights

With the Phantom RGB software for Windows, this keyboard is going to be a party on your table **dum-tss-dum-tss**!! Unfortunately, this software is not compatible with MacOS and Linux, but you can always pre-set the colour scheme on a Windows computer before plugging it into your Apple or Linux computer – it can kinda remember the configuration. 

Users can customise RGB lighting animations via the Tecware application for Windows.

The free programme allows users to customise the lighting patterns with a mind-numbing range of possibilities. Choose from Sine Wave, Swirl or Waterfall, or even design your own custom animation.

Keys & Switches

The Phantom is a keyboard that feels satisfying and natural to type on, straight out from the box. No crazy layouts, just a simple and well-designed keyboard with the standard ANSI layout (US layout). Each keycap is angled towards the middle row such that your fingers can reach them easily, and each keycap has a slight U-shape curvature which allows your finger to easily find / slide into the middle of the keycap when typing. With the little notch that juts out on the “F” and “J” keys, it becomes super easy for your hand to find and return back to neutral position when speed typing. The larger keys (spacebar, shift, etc.) are supported by stabilizers to prevent key wobble. 

The concave profile of the rows of keys and the U-shaped finger pads improve ergonomics. Image: Kwokka

Keycaps are made with double-shot ABS which prevents the legend from being susceptible to wear, and they are slightly textured at the surface for a nice feel and grip.

Beneath the keycaps are Outemu Mechanical Switches. The sound and feel of these switches may not be exactly the same as what you would get on a Cherry or Kailh, but you would not be able to tell the difference unless you are a keyboard-snob. These Outemu switches feel really great and given the price point, you are probably getting more value out of this keyboard than what you paid for. There are three options of Outemu switches to choose from when purchasing the Phantom:

  1. Outemu Reds – Linear, 50 cN force
  2. Outemu Browns – Tactile, 55 cN force
  3. Outemu Blues – Clicky, 60cN force

Tecware includes extra Outemu switches and tools (keycap and switch puller) should you ever need to swap out the mechanical switches. The build quality of the Phantom feels really solid and can probably tolerate some rough handling, but in the event of a switch failure, at least you can do your own DIY repair instead of throwing it out!

The Outemu switches on the Tecware Phantom RGB Mechanical Keyboard. Image: Tecware

For those gadget tinkerers out there thinking of swapping out the set of mechanical switches with a new one, the Phantom is compatible with other Outemu switches such as the OutemuSky and Ice switches. Do note that Cherry MX, Gateron and Kailh switches will not fit. 

Durability

The Phantom weighs 2.5 lbs, which makes it heavier than most mechanical keyboards for this size, giving it a sold and sturdy feel. The 1.5mm thick alloy mounting plate minimises keyboard flex. Beneath the mounting plate are four 3-4cm flat rubber feet at each corner, and two rubber-tipped flip feet should you prefer your keyboard to be inclined. The keycap puller tool is also very neatly and securely stored under the mounting plate.

The Phantom uses braided cables for a longer lifespan, and attached to the cable is a Velcro strap for cable management and a plastic cap for the male USB head when not in use. On the bottom of the mounting plate, there are three options of cable routing channels to choose from – left, middle and right – this is not anything special, but we’re going to give brownie points to the Tecware design team for paying attention to small details like cable management!

The Phantom RGB Mechanical Keyboard. Image: Tecware

Minimal Branding

Other than the “Phantom” name printed at the bottom left corner, there is absolutely no other branding attempts on this keyboard. Unless our keyboard is from a brand like Razer where the iconic green snake-logo stirs up feelings of comradery and patriotism to the nation of gamers, we prefer our gear not to bear any in-your-face logos. When using the keyboard, your left wrist would cover the logo and your attention will be drawn to nothing other than the hypnotic RGB lights and tactile feel of the mechanical switches – it’s productivity bliss. 

Additional Information

For more information on the Tecware Phantom RGB Mechanical Keyboard, you may proceed to the product page. The accompanying free software can be found here.

If you’re looking for the perfect (budget) RGB mouse to complement your new Phantom RGB mechanical keyboard, Tecware also makes the Impulse Pro professional gaming mouse, that offers up to 12,000 DPI of resolution, 250 inches-per-second of tracking, and 50G acceleration for the best in-game performance.

The Impulse Pro gaming mouse. Image: Tecware

It comes in an ambidextrous form-factor, and also offers nine programmable buttons, including HUANO mechanical mouse switches rated for 20 million clicks. The DPI control toggles between 5 DPI settings per DPI Profile Setting, and yes – it too has customisable RGB lighting with 16.8 million colour lighting options.

Technical Specifications

  Phantom RGB 87-Key Phantom RGB 104-Key
Dimensions:361.5 x 133.5 x 22.5mm444.5 x 133.5 x 22.3mm
Weight:0.95kg1.14kg
Material & Color:Gunmetal Alloy Mounting Plate / Black Plastic Frame
Key Switches:Outemu Mechanical Switches (Red, Blue, Brown)
LED / Color:SMD LEDs / RGB
Rated Voltage:5.0V / 300mA
Circuit Board:FR-4 Fibreglass PCB
Polling Rate:1000Hz
Multi-media Keys:Through Fn Key
On-the-fly Controls:Toggle LED Modes, Brightness, & Speed / Spectrum Selection Mode
Keyboard Rollover:Full Key NKRO
Layout / Keycaps:Standard ANSI Layout (US) / Double-shot ABS Keycaps
Software Support:Downloadable Software on Website
Connector Cable:1.8m Braided USB 2.0 Cable w/ Cap
Matrix Variations:104-Key / 87-Key
Keyboard Feet:4 x Rubber Feet + 2 x Rubber-tipped Flip Feet
Windows Lock:Fn + Windows
Onboard Profiles:3
Warranty:1 Year
Package Contents:01 x Phantom RGB Keyboard01 x Quick Start Guide01 x Switch Puller Tool01 x Keycap Puller Tool04 x Spare Mechanical Switches

Ian Ling
http://uncommontragedy.com
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

One thought on “Tecware Phantom RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review: Tactile, Visual Bonanza on a Budget

  1. Mechanical keyboards are expensive. That s almost a given by now, so when something like the Tecware Phantom RGB comes along, there s genuine reason to get excited.

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