Collider TKL Keyboard From Dark Matter Review
Monoprice has been a leader in the electronics business since 2002. They supply everything from ethernet cables to headphones and now gaming hardware. This last summer, Monoprice launched Dark Matter, their new gaming peripheral division. The Collider TKL keyboard is Dark Matter’s way to break into the competitive gaming hardware market.
The Collider is a standard plug-and-play TKL keyboard, and its simplicity works to its benefit. Given Monoprice’s focus on providing high-quality tech for less, it tracks that its gaming division would do the same.
This review will break down the keyboard itself, the design, experiences, software capabilities, and how it compares to its competitors. Let’s dive in.
Overview of the Dark Matter by Monopiece Collider TKL
The Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL aims to deliver the core gaming features of the big brands at a reasonable price compared to its competitors. At $99, the Collider is an incredible value. The Collider is a standard plug-and-play TKL keyboard, and its simplicity works to its advantage.
- Switches – CherThus, making speed Silver (tested), Red, Brown, or Blue
- Lighting – Per-key RGB
- Onboard Storage – Two lighting profiles
- Media Keys – With Fn
- Connectivity – USB Type-A cable
- Cables – 6 feet (1.8m) USB-C to USB-A braided, detachable
- Additional Ports – None
- 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)
Review on Design
The Collider comes with a closed, minimalistic design that takes out any of the extra buttons that could increase its size. For a ten-keyless design, this is important as it helps save space in gaming setups. While most TKL keyboards add in dedicated media keys, Monoprice decided against it. They made them into secondary commands by holding the fn key.
The key caps in use are pretty standard and look aesthetically pleasing, with each one being very readable. The cutouts are also clean and allow the built-in RGB lighting to shine through. This simple design is suitable for those who are not fans of the bolder, gaming-centric designs found on many of today’s gaming keyboards.
It’s an excellent fit for those who plan on using it for work or even for first-time PC builders. The Collider is a solid everyday type of keyboard.
Review on Experience
The Collider TKL comes with the choice of the main three Cherry MX key switches (Red, Blue, and Brown), as well as Cherry MX Speed Silver switches. These switches have a 1.2-millimeter actuation point and take 45 grams of force to operate. Thus making the keys light and responsive linear switch.
In terms of performance, the Speed Silvers provides an unforgivingly fast experience. Prepare for a few typing mistakes here and there if you’ve never used Speed Silvers or an optical switch before.
Despite the potential for typos, Monoprice nailed the ergonomics of the keyboard. They make typing on it exceptionally comfortable. The typing angle is just about perfect with the tilt feet engaged, even without a wrist rest. The keycaps themselves have a pleasant scoop in the middle that keeps the fingers centered and a texture that feels nice under the fingertips.
Review on Software Capabilities
All the advanced features the keyboard offers are controlled through the Dark Matter Collider TKL software. However, the Dark Matter gaming tech brand is still growing, and so there are still some bugs to be worked out. Once the bugs are sorted (which Monoprice is working on), it could be one of the best values on the market.
The software is divided into three key areas: Home, where you’ll choose your device. Device, where you’ll control lighting and programming. And Macro, where you’ll create and record new macros. The presentation of the software is simple but effective. Navigating through the software is easy.
Mapping a macro through the software is a relatively straightforward process. You’ll first need to create a new macro, name it if you like, and then hit record. The software can easily customize macros to remove or insert delays or keypresses after the fact. Once done, the macro can then map it to a key on the device tab.
As it seems there is no support for secondary macro commands, mapping a macro replaces that key on the keyboard.
Back on the Device tab, clicking the lightbulb icon takes you to lighting settings. Users can choose from any of the onboard presets or decide to map the custom lighting scheme. Next, click and drag to select keys and choose from an entire palette of colors. The whole process is improved over the onboard “tap to select” customization method.
While the software is easy to use and learn, it still has some bugs to sort out. Nevertheless, the potential is almost there to rival those that are much more expensive; it is just not there yet. Like stated above, Monoprice is working on fixes to improve the user experience.
How Does It Compare To Other Keyboards?
The Collider compares to a couple of different keyboards, primarily based on price point alone. The main two competitors are Apex 5 by SteelSeries and the Logitech G512 Lightsync Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. While their software may be more up-to-date, they lack a few features compared to the Collider.
The Logitech G512 has many of the same features as the Collider except for one key difference- the Silver Speed Switch. As a result, it is giving it a quicker edge against its counterpart. However, the G512 still has the number keys, causing it to take up more space for the user.
The Apex 5 is in a similar boat compared to the Collider. However, the area it takes up can be troublesome for some PC builders. The Apex 5 also only provides one type of mechanical switch compared to the Collider’s four. However, the Apex does have the leg up in one aspect. It has an OLED display on the keyboard to view in-game info on the spot.
Other Dark Matter Products
The Collider is not the only Dark Matter product that Monoprice how out in the market. To go along with the keyboard, they also have the Hyper-K Ultralight Optical Gaming Mouse and the Supernova USB Gaming Headset.
The Hyper-K Ultralight Gaming Mouse packs a punch despite its size. The mouse offers a 16’000 API PixArt optical sensor, customizable DPI, Omron switches, and it also has a cord, so lag will not be much of an issue. While most will frown at the thought of a corded mouse, the Hyper-K comes with a paracord‑wrapped cable jacket that reduces fraying and tangling, while high‑grade PTFE feet ensure smooth movements on multiple surfaces.
The Supernova headset is another must for Dark Matter fans. It comes with a sleek design and comfortability, perfect for long gaming nights. Developed with 7.1 surround sound audio, they let you hear more details in your game with pinpoint accuracy. The versatility of the Supernova includes custom-tuned sound profiles to enhance the sound performance. You can also switch between the shapes on the fly using the inline remote.
The Dark Matter by Monoprice Collider TKL offers an outstanding typing experience. It’s also pleasant for pro gaming, as long as you don’t need to do any key remapping or assign macros. It can do so; it’s just not reliable enough yet.
Nevertheless, looking at what Monoprice is attempting to deliver with the Collider, it’s clear that there is potential there. In time, maybe it will realize it with a software update.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our review on Monoprice Dark Matter Collider TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. We would love to hear your opinions, so please feel free to comment below or through our Twitter account.