With the popularity of videogaming never before reaching such dizzying heights as it is right now the demands by gamers on manufacturers and companies to create ever better technology and peripherals to fuel their single and multiplayer cravings have never been greater.
Naturally with increased resources and research going in to making these ‘next generation’ of PC and console gaming accessories there is an undoubted rise in cost by the companies charged with their invention. This inevitably results in steeper prices for the consumer as rising manufacturing bills and production costs have to be accounted for.
With this in mind it is with great pleasure that we bring to you all a joint review of the Thorium 100 and sister product the Thorium 300, gaming keyboards. These cut price peripherals are just the latest in a procession of budget options for gamers everywhere by the UK’s biggest and best independent technology and gaming retailer eBuyer.
Now we know what you are thinking, ‘budget’. It is now that many readers will recoil almost in mock horror at the very word like some kind of outraged scalded cat, but we are here to tell you that consumer-programming and indoctrination by advertisers aside; ‘budget’ does not have to mean ‘bad’.
Designed and delivered by Element Gaming, although the 300 series is the only specifically touted as a ‘gaming keyboard’, the Thorium range is perfectly suited to the needs and requirements of gamers from the casual, ( Thorium 100 ), to the more hardcore players among you, ( Thorium 300 ).
Ergonomically and aesthetically gorgeous in their sleek black shell the Thorium 100 and 300 keyboards both share a similar size that opts for the larger proportions as opposed to the dinky-digit portable nightmares such as the Razer Tartarus. ( and at a whopping £76 for what is little more than a chat pad stuck on a Tesco’s pricing gun you start to wonder where some of these companies get the figures they charge for these fads from? )
But, we digress!
There are some differences in the design between the Thorium 100 and the Thorium 300, in that the ‘true’ gaming model ( the 300 version ) has a far larger wrist support for those longer bouts of MMO mayhem,, as well as offering up a multi-facetted feature set for macro’s that is a must have for any true PC gamer.
Of course, as with any QWERTY keyboard the main thing to worry about are the button themselves, and coming off the back of he favoured Logitech keyboard’s for this review we have to be perfectly honest with you all when we tell you that the Element Thorium’s ‘both’ have outdone themselves with surprisingly efficient models that have perfectly sized buttons that give ideal response and resistance when depressed.
In fact this pair of delights has been nothing less than ‘surprising’ all round when you consider that their nearest ‘gaming’ rivals are all priced way above the meagre £9.95 for the Thorium 100 and the paltry £24.99 for the Thorium 300. But time and again with the Element Gaming keyboards you will soon discover that this is a pleasant sensation and one not unlike when you hear a boxing commentator describe a great fighter being usurped by a contender ‘punching well above their weight’
Both wired, both offering 50g of pressure and both bringing affordability to the gaming crowd the Thorium 100 and Thorium 300 do have similarities, but it is also in the differences that they have unique strengths too.
Take the features offered by the Thorium 100, for example:
WASD keys with a free ‘key pulling’ and replacement tool. Extremely easy key travel: meaning that you get the same instant response times, between when you depress a button and the time it takes for the action to appear on screen/monitor, in a Thorium 100 that you would find in a keyboard with a much higher price tag.
But the staggering thing is that when you get all of this comfort and performance in a keyboard costing less than a couple of grilled chicken sandwiches at McDonalds. ( we kid you not )
But wait, there is more. Much more!
Just when you thought that Element Gaming couldn’t possibly outdo themselves for bargains and tech at affordable prices they go and throw the Thorium 300 into the melting pot and give gamers everywhere a genuine reason to be cheerful and think that Christmas has come a couple of months early.
Jumping up a definite division and taking on the heavyweights with a lightweight RRP comes the star in the Element Gaming range. The Thorium 300 is, without a doubt, the very best of all the affordable keyboards we have tried, and believe us when we tell you there have been may, ( and yet, none were around the price of the Thorium with the vast majority of what their manufacturers describe as ‘budget’ peripherals actually coming in at around the £40-50 mark )
With a much larger set up the Thorium 300 is easily the most comfortable of the two keyboards thanks to its wider base-board allowing for the housing of additional macro buttons on the left of the QWERTY keys, as well as the highly practical built-in wrist protector on the lower segment. There is also the added functionality of the top section ‘menu bar’ that allows users to form presets for their favourite homepage, search engine and email provider on one side, and also video playback and volume controls on the other.
All of the buttons are softly lit using pleasantly shaded LED’s, and this means that users can comfortably perform keystrokes without eyestrain for late night or darkened room gameplay. No need to worry about software and updates, either, as Windows 7 and 8 both auto-install everything you need to keep your new Element Gaming keyboards operating at optimum output.
Lastly comes the the wired USB cable which comes in the form of the much preferred threaded cable. ( as opposed to the basic plastic cover of the Thorium 100 ). This type of detail is, more often than not, only ever found on keyboards, mice and headsets with a much higher price tag, and yet Element Gaming have included it here in what ahs to be accredited to them as a nice touch.
All told the new Thorium range from Element Gaming is a fine opening slvo for this fledgling company, and will, we are sure, be the foundation of a gamer favourite, should this standard of care, product performance and finish be added to all of their future products.
Both keyboards performed well under testing in both the standard office atmosphere as well as in the online arena. The Thorium 100 is more than capable of delivering for casual gamers playing browser based and simpler format titles, and the Thorium 300 more than handled anything that Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Path of Exile threw at it.
If you are looking for an entry level keyboard before setting off an that eternal path to gaming Nirvana then we can highly recommend the Thorium range, particularly the 300, as your starting point. The build is more than capable, and will not let you down in moments of pure panic and stress when you are surrounded by legions of the undead during heavy battles in Diablo 3. At less than £30 what more could anyone ask? Scores on the doors for the Thorium range look a little something like this:
Thorium 100 is worthy of a sturdy 6 out of 10and the Thorium 300 achieves a well deserved 7 out of 10. Do NOT be fooled by the price, these are keyboards that will stand you in good stead regardless of the task you set them.
To take a look at the entire Element Gaming range and place your own order for either, ( or both ), of these cracking keyboards then click here to be whisked on over to the eBuyer website.