WHEN it comes to computer peripherals such as Keyboard and Mice, I’ve always largely opted for products from the big name companies such as Razer, Logitech and SteelSeries, perhaps unfairly neglecting other brands purely out of brand preference.
One brand I’ve always seen but never heard a great deal about is Roccat, a German company specialising in PC accessories that only a few years ago were acquired by Turtle Beach.
Despite never really hearing a great deal about their products, I’ve recently gotten my hands on the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro Keyboard, and after using it for a few weeks, I’m not sure why Roccat aren’t getting credit where it’s due.
Available in Black or White with Linear Red switches, the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is a small yet stylish wired mechanical keyboard that also manages to be both lightweight and well built. Just for reference, the model I used was the white model with Linear switches.
The front face of the board is made up of brushed aluminium, giving the board a classy look, with arctic white keys adorning the metal plate. The back of the board is cased in a less sturdy plastic, however the board still feels solid overall.
Connecting the keyboard to your PC is achieved with the included braided USB-A to USB-C cable, which can be detached from the top of the keyboard to allow for quick and easy transport or storage. In a world where many PC peripherals still opt for the frustrating relic that is Micro USB, it’s good to see that Roccat instead opted to get with the times.
Being a big fan of numpads on keyboards, the transition from a traditional sized keyboard to a tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard was one I feared may be rocky. This was far from the case however, as I quickly fell in love with the smaller overall footprint of the board, saving me more precious desk space in the process.
I was a little let down however by the media control options present on the board. Yes, a volume knob and mute button are great, but when other boards of this size feature additional quality of life perks like Play/Pause and fast forward/rewind options, it would’ve been nice to see them here too.
Another nitpick would be the slight yet annoying pinging noise that comes from the board while mashing away at the keys. I believe it’s likely just a result of the sound bouncing off against the aforementioned aluminium plate, but it’s still annoying nonetheless.
Seeing as my entire experience with mechanical gaming keyboards thus far has been with the forever loud but loveable blue clicky switches, I was keen to see how the experience with the linear red switches would differ. They may not click as much as my beloved blues, but they do provide a smooth and satisfying typing experience both casually and competitively.
These aren’t your everyday red switches either, as the Vulcan Pro TKL: utilises Roccat’s very own Titan Switch Optical, which are built not only to be faster than traditional mechanical switches, but also more durable, with a lifetime of 100 million keystrokes (which seems like a lot of typing).
Having played some matches of Fortnite, whilst also indulging in one my favourite indie shooters Lovely Planet 2: April Skies, it’s clear to me that this keyboard is more than suitable for gaming. I also found it a pleasant keyboard to type with outside of gaming, whether it be just casual browsing or programming. I also used it to type out this review.
Having spent time with the Vulcan TKL Pro, as well as Roccat’s Burst Pro Air Wireless Mouse, it quickly became clear to me how much Roccat adores stuffing their peripherals full of RGB lighting.
Each key on the Vulcan TKL Pro comes bursting to life with colour the moment you plug the keyboard in, with the lighting brighter than I’ve seen on many keyboards I’ve used previously. There’s so much colour that it reflects on the front aluminium plate, making the board look even more fantastic.
If the default lighting settings aren’t to your liking, or you simply want to tweak with the keyboard a bit further, the Roccat Swarm software (which can be found on the Roccat website) is a worthwhile companion app to download.
The Key illumination mode focuses on the RGB lighting for the keyboard, and allows for you to set different lighting styles. You’ve got your relatively standard wave cycle mode, alongside a fully lit mode that sets your keys lighting to one specific colour, leaving you free to alter the colours as you see fit.
Custom mode as the name suggests gives you the most freedom, allowing for customisation per-key. Roccat’s AIMO intelligent lighting is also available, and will sync the lighting up with other Roccat devices if you have them connected, which is neat little feature. Also present are gimmicky settings such as a mode that mimics the classic game Snake, with a trail of RGB lighting slithering across the keys.
Key assignment mode allows for setting up keyboard macros, with this setting offering handy shortcuts for various different things, such as System, Internet and Multimedia shortcuts. While I’m sure not everyone uses macros, they are a great way to set up shortcuts to applications you commonly frequent.
There are even some wacky features present in the Swarm software, such as the ability to have audio play via your computer when you press a key. One of these sound effects for example is simply called “Typewriter Sound”, and it rewards each key press with the clickety-clack sound you’d expect to hear from a typewriter.
If you’ve ever wanted to roleplay as a struggling writer clacking away at their typewriter wrapping up what they hope is their big break novel, then the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro will allow you to do just that, with far more RGB lighting than a typewriter ever had.
You’ve also got the ability to save up to five custom profiles, so you can shift between lighting and macro setups to your heart’s content.
I still hold on firmly to the belief that Logitech’s G HUB platform is the best peripheral customisation software, however I still really like the features and level of customisation afforded to the Vulcan Pro TKL by the Roccat Swarm platform.
At a price point of roughly $230 AUD, the Vulcan TKL is very pricey, especially seeing as you could get ahold of the Logitech G915 TKL at roughly the same price point, which not only has a similar form factor, but a greater array of media controls and wireless connectivity.
In saying that though, if you’re in the market for a wired tenkeyless gaming keyboard that is satisfying to use and look at, then I would suggest considering the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro.
Written by: @GrumpyGoron