Genesis Thor 400 RGB mechanical keyboard hands-on: Everything you'd expect for roughly US$100
Roughly one year after my pleasant encounter with the excellent RX85 RGB mechanical keyboard, the time has come for a new gaming peripheral from this company headquartered in Poland to land on my desk. The recently released Genesis Thor 400 RGB keyboard is closely related to the Thor 401 RGB, as the only difference between them is the type of switches used: Kailh Red for the 400 RGB, and Kailh Brown for the 401 RGB.
Although the price depends on the retailer and region, the Genesis Thor 400 RGB should be available for less than US$100 in most areas of the world. Today, we will take a closer look at this piece of hardware and come out with a verdict, as usual.
Box contents, design, build quality
The Genesis Thor 400 RGB comes in a typical box for its manufacturer that looks good and offers enough protection for the contents. The box contains the keyboard, its Quick Installation Guide, and a keycap remover. Its use is straightforward, but those who never used such a tool should watch this short video to get the idea. With a bit of imagination, this accessory can be used for managing cables.
Overall, the keyboard looks just as pictured on the box. However, the symbols for the alternative functions are washed out when comparing the real thing to the one on the packaging. This is not a big problem, but I consider it something worth being mentioned. The volume/backlight mode knob looks and feels great, but I have a problem with its size and position (a bit larger than I'd like, and just a bit misplaced, in my opinion).
Shortly after starting to use it, most users will conclude that the Thor 400 RGB is built using quality materials and feels like a piece of hardware made to last. When subjected to extreme force, it will probably bend or break, but this is not a military-grade rugged accessory, after all. In normal conditions, it is supposed to last for years thanks to the guaranteed life of 50 million keystrokes of the switches and the double injection keycaps used in its making.
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Specs, features, real-life usage
The Genesis Thor 400 RGB uses Kailh Red switches with a travel distance of 1.8 mm travel distance and 45 grams actuation force, as well as a response time of 8 ms. Although it feels snappy enough in most scenarios, I find the Thor 400 RGB to be slightly slower in response time than the RX85 RGB. On the other hand, the Kailh Red switches employed in the Thor 400 RGB are less noisy than the Kailh Brown used in the RX85 RGB.
The magnetic detachable palm rest looks great and feels solid. Since it is not covered by any material, cleaning it is very easy and it will not disintegrate as it happened with the faux leather cover of my old Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which also had an abysmal software companion.
Fortunately, the software that is required to customize the Genesis Thor 400 RGB is easy to use and works as intended. While the custom RGB lighting presets can be adjusted without its use, recording and managing macros cannot be done without it. In addition to the lights settings, the Thor 400 RGB software features four separate profiles: Office (without the ability to assign macros) and three custom profiles, each of them allowing the user to assign macros, that can be accessed via the multimedia function keys.
Typing on the Genesis Thor 400 RGB is always a pleasure and the keys are well sized for my (rather thin, to be honest) fingers. The default RGB lighting presets look good and adjusting the intensity and speed (where applicable) of these setups is very easy. The popular PRISMO effect is obviously in the list as well. Sadly, the software does not allow the adjustment of the polling rate. On the other hand, enabling Gaming mode (thus disabling the Windows and contextual menu keys) is very easy and can be done by using the Fn + Windows key combination.
The good, the bad, and the truth
This mechanical keyboard has a sturdy aluminum body (with plastic underneath, of course), onboard memory for storing the custom profiles and macros, as well as durable Kailh Red switches. The anti-slip rubber feet and detachable palm rest get their job done properly and the overall experience is quite pleasant.
When used in gaming scenarios, lag could become a problem in intense situations. Although the Thor 400 RGB features n-key rollover, the polling rate cannot be adjusted and the 8 ms response time might not be enough for some users. While using the software application, I bumped into a few Chinese language text strings. Nothing to make the software unusable, but enough for a bad impression. Lastly, I don't like the looks of the screws that can be easily noticed (using silver-painted screws could be a good idea, since changing the design to make them invisible is now something that easy to do) and the size and placement of the volume/backlight mode knob.
The Genesis Thor 400 RGB looks and feels great without even taking its price into account. As mentioned above, there is not too much to improve to make it nearly perfect. However, the Thor 400 RGB already delivers almost everything a user could ask for the price, and this is what matters in the end.
Disclaimer: The author of this review received the Genesis Thor 400 RGB mechanical keyboard from Genesis free of charge for the purpose of testing.
Genesis (official product page)