Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard review: for gamers on a budget

The Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard impresses, up to a point

Trust Callaz
(Image credit: Trust)
T3 Verdict

The Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard gives you solid key performance and a choice of 20 different RGB lighting modes for not much money at all. If the TKL form factor is the one that you're after, and you don't have much money to spend, then this could be for you.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Straightforward setup

  • +

    Solid feel and performance

  • +

    Affordable price point

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No companion software

  • -

    No numeric keypad

  • -

    No wireless option

The Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard is likely to appeal to gamers who don't have much desk space, or who move around a lot and need portability. It's a contender for one of the best gaming keyboards available right now, and we've been busy trying it out.

In case you're wondering, that TKL in the name stands for TenKeyLess: the ten keys in question make up the number pad, so this is not the keyboard to buy if those are keys that you rely on. For many users though, it's going to be an omission that they don't mind.

Even with its funky RGB lighting, the Trust Callaz GXT 834 isn't just for gamers, and you could certainly make the case that it's one of the best mechanical keyboards and one of the best keyboards full stop that you can buy. Read on for our full review of the device.

Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard review: design and setup

Trust Callaz

(Image credit: Future)

If you've used any Trust kit in the past, then you won't be surprised by what the Callaz keyboard offers in terms of its design and build: this is a no-nonsense, well manufactured, solid-looking input device. While it doesn't look or feel ultra-premium, it definitely gives off the impression that it'll last you a substantial number of years (Trust promises key lifetimes of 50 million presses).

When it comes to the key design specs you need to know about, the Trust Callaz measures 367 mm x 137 mm x 35 mm (14.4 inches x 5.4 inches x 1.4 inches) and weighs 659 grams (23 ounces). You can't really squeeze a mechanical TKL keyboard into a smaller space, though if you want something that's even more compact then you can of course go for one of the 60 percent keyboards on the market, which cut off even more keys.

The underside of the keyboard is very much plastic but there is a metal plating on the top of the input device that adds a little touch of class to your gaming setup. You don't get any dedicated keys for media playback and other shortcuts, but the function keys can take over these roles with the help of the Fn key at the bottom.

Caps lock and scroll lock are indicated by little blue LEDs down in the lower right hand corner of the keyboard, and the Trust GXT logo is there as well. Setup is as straightforward as plugging the keyboard into a spare USB-A socket – it will be up and running and ready to use instantly on both Windows and macOS.

Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard review: features and performance

Trust Callaz

(Image credit: Trust)

We're pleased to report that the Trust Callaz is a great keyboard to use: keys have a fair amount of travel and feel responsive to the touch, and the clicking sound you get from the Outemu red linear switches is noticeable without being too loud (it's hardly going to wake up the neighbours). The keys are well spaced and easy to hit, and we even like the font used on the keycaps.

With an 8 ms response time and support for n-key rollover – so the keyboard can accept inputs from multiple keys at once – you're going to have no problems gaming with this keyboard, and it won't let you down in the tightest of spots. It'll work fine for other computing tasks as well, and we felt as though it even improved our typing speed (though we've got no scientific evidence to back that up).

One disappointment is that there's no software to go along with the Trust Callaz keyboard: you can't configure shortcut keys or anything like that, and you can't adjust the RGB lighting except by cycling through the 20 different modes using the dedicated key on the keyboard. Trust makes decent utilities for its other gaming gear, so it seems strange that this device isn't supported.

You can change the speed and the brightness of the key lighting, and turn it off altogether, but it's not possible to adjust the colours or come up with your own lighting configuration. That said, the lighting is very well done, with vivid and bright rainbow colours on show. You do get a keycap remover included in the box in case you ever want to swap them out.

Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard review: price and verdict

Trust Callaz

(Image credit: Future)

The Trust Callaz is rather basic in terms of gaming keyboards, and it's priced accordingly. Check out the widgets on this page for the latest online deals, but at the time of writing you can pick up the keyboard online for around £45. You're not going to get a gaming keyboard like this for much cheaper, so everything else about the device has to be considered in that context.

We would have certainly liked to have seen a configuration utility and more control over the RGB lighting, and it's also a shame that the only connection option is via a (nicely braided) USB-A cable. There's no USB-C dongle included in the package and there isn't a wireless option here – although to be fair most gamers prefer to go wired.

Overall though the Trust Callaz TKL mechanical keyboard is one that we enjoyed testing and would be happy to use as our keyboard permanently. It's the mechanical switches and the keys that are most important here, and they function just fine – responsive, well balanced, with just the right amount of travel (4 mm) for our typing style.

Everything considered, this is going to appeal to those who want a keyboard specifically for gaming, and specifically in the TKL form factor – especially those who are working to a limited budget. If that describes you then the Trust Callaz could be the perfect fit, but for everyone else there are plenty of more advanced gaming keyboards out there (if you're prepared to pay a bit more money).

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.