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Tecware Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

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Introduction to the Tecware Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The keyboard is arguably the most important input device on any PC, and if you spend any amount of time at a PC, you know that selecting a proper keyboard is paramount to your comfort and productivity, as well as the health of your fingers and hands. Like most gamers, I made the switch to mechanical keyboards when they began hitting the mainstream about a decade ago and have never looked back. So, naturally, when Tecware asked me to take a look at their Phantom L low-profile mechanical gaming keyboard, I quickly agreed.

Tecware’s Phantom L mechanical gaming keyboard is only offered in the standard 87-key TKL configuration and is designed for those looking to save some desktop space or who might be looking for an entry-level mechanical gaming keyboard that won’t break the bank. The Phantom L features 18 pre-set lighting modes as well as per-key RGB lighting customization via Tecware’s free software. The keyboard utilizes Outemu switches in a choice of red, brown, or blue, which are rated to 50-million actuations, but don’t worry if a key does fail because the Phantom L’s keys are “hot-swappable,” and Tecware includes four replacements with every keyboard. More on that later.


From The Manufacturer

Phantom L is Tecware’s first low-profile mechanical keyboard. This keyboard comes with Outemu Low Profile Mechanical switches (Red, Brown, Blue) that have reduced travel and actuation distances for faster key presses and less strain on the fingers. Keycaps are shorter but retain the contoured profile for a comfortable typing experience.

Technical Specifications of the Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard

  • Key Configuration: 87-Key / Tenkeyless
  • Key Layout: Standard US ANSI /QWERTY Keyboard Layout
  • Switches: Low-Profile Outemu Dustproof Mechanical Switches (Red, Blue, Brown)
  • RGB Resolution: 16.8 million-color RGB Per-key Customization
  • Switch Mounting: Hot Swappable Switches w/ Spare Switches & Tools Included
  • Key Type: Non-Fade Double-shot ABS Keycaps, Shorter than Regular
  • Software Support: Dedicated Software for Macro Recording & Custom Profiling
  • Connectivity: 1.8m Detachable Braided USB-C Cable
  • Performance Features: N-key Rollover, 1000Hz Polling Rate
  • Footprint Size: 351.5x133x30.8mm
  • Weight: 589g

Initial Impression of Tecware’s Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

I was quite impressed with how solid this keyboard felt straight out of the box, and to be completely honest, I was not expecting that from a budget/mid-grade mechanical keyboard, but this keyboard definitely surprised me. The aluminum top-plate adds a lot of rigidity, but I did notice a slight bit of flex if I pressed down too hard on the keyboard, something that would never happen during normal use. USB-C connectivity is a major plus, and the braided cable was not overly stiff, contrary to what you might expect from a $50 keyboard. 

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The keyboard did not come with any instructions, and that would typically not be much of an issue, but Tecware includes four replacement mechanical switches in the box as well as a switch pulling tool. I’m highly mechanically inclined, and using the puller to pull and install the replacement switches was fairly straight forward for myself, but casual users might find this process a little daunting. The lack of instructions is likely a packaging error, and I have been assured that instructions are included with each keyboard. Plus, you can always download it directly from Tecware’s website

I typically tend to gravitate to mechanical keyboards with larger footprints, wrist rest, number pads, and dedicated media controls, but I’m pretty atypical when it comes to peripherals. This keyboard features the perfect footprint for those with smaller workspace areas. It’s sized perfectly to toss into a backpack, making it a nice travel keyboard too. USB-C connectivity is nice too for those of us who have almost completely transitioned to the new standard. 

Productivity and General Use of the Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

I’m a writer and content creator, and a quality keyboard is at the core of how I earn my living. I typically spent 8-14 hours a day at my PC and will type about 20,000 words per week on average. The Phantom L that I received features Outemu Blue switches and are a little stiff to me at 60g actuation force. This is because my “daily-driver” keyboard utilizes Cherry brown switches, and they feel a good bit softer at about 45g of actuation force. Nonetheless, I was able to consistently hit my average of 90-95 words per minute throughout my testing.

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As I mentioned previously, I typically like a keyboard that has a built-in wrist rest, but I would be remiss if I listed that as an issue with this keyboard. Thanks to its low-profile design, I was able to comfortably type for several hours without experiencing very much wrist fatigue at all. I did experience slight finger discomfort, but I attribute that to 10-years of typing on Cherry MX Brown switches and my muscles being used to their lighter actuation force.

I’m one of those people who assigns custom hot-keys in software like Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, and the lack of a number pad really threw me off when editing photos and videos due to this reason. This is more of a personal preference, though, and unless you assign hotkeys to the number pad, this will likely not be an issue for you. Along these same lines, the lack of dedicated media keys threw me off, but I quickly adapted to using the function buttons to access those features.

Gaming on the Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard

The Tecware Phantom L packs in a couple of premium features for being a budget to mid-range mechanical gaming keyboard, including N-key Rollover, 1000Hz Polling Rate. But where it really shines is the software and ability to turn off specific keys and assign macros to custom key combos.


The Phantom L’s Blue Outemu switches have a very “clicky” tactile feel to them, and I actually really like these stiffer switches when gaming as I feel that the extra effort required to actuate them makes you commit faster to actions.  Being a very aggressive player, this feels like an advantage to me. With that said, the lack of dedicated macro keys, and a number pad really threw my gaming experience off in some games. For FPS games such as Call of Duty or Fortnite, this is not a big issue, but for games like League of Legends, WoW, or DOTA, key-binds feel less intuitive when having to press a function key as well.

Overall, the Tecware Phantom L performed well in games where I am not used to having dedicated macro keys and a number pad. My kill/death ratio was still pretty horrible in Call of Duty Modern Warfare, and I still whiffed 90% of my shots in Rocket League. If you are looking for a solid mechanical gaming keyboard that won’t break the bank, this is the keyboard for you.

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Tecware’s Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard Features 18 RGB Pre-sets 

The Tecware Phantom L features 18 Pre-set RGB lighting modes that can be toggled on-the-fly, or users can download Tecware’s PL software, and gain per-key RGB lighting control, something rarely found on mechanical keyboards at this price point. Unfortunately, there is no support for the major RGB standards, and the software will not save and open custom lighting profiles automatically on a per-game basis like many of the higher-end gaming keyboards.


Tecware kept the Phantom L’s brightness levels under control unlike many of the other RGB gaming keyboards in the $50 price range. For someone who likes to game in the dark, this is a very welcome feature and lets me game longer without the added eyestrain.

Final Thoughts on the Tecware Phantom L Low Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard


Overall, Tecware’s Phantom L low-profile mechanical gaming keyboard is a solid budget/mid-range keyboard that would be respectable in anyone’s gaming setup. The keyboard’s low-profile design and small footprint make it ideal for those with smaller gaming spaces or for anyone who wants mechanical keyboard comfort and productivity on the go. The RGB lighting presets and per-key RGB control provide for a stylish setup while not breaking the bank which allows you to invest the money you saved in other areas of your gaming setup.

At $50, this keyboard is a winner in every aspect of the word. It looks good, performs well, and is user-repairable where it counts, which is something unheard of when it comes to modern electronic devices. If you are looking for an entry-level mechanical that will serve you well for years, look no further than the Tecware Phantom L. 

 

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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