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I’ve been using a Logitech G910 for a number of years without any grievance. It is a solid keyboard with all the features of which you could ask. Then, I got a care package from ROCCAT with a few accessories, which included the Vulcan 122 AIMO. This is the Arctic White version, which I thought I would resent. My house is white tile with white walls throughout most and I could use some more spice or color at my desk. Then I opened the box and set the keyboard up. First, the specs.
- 1.8mm actuation point (tactile, silent)
- 3.6mm switch travel distance
- 512kb integrated macro & settings memory
- All keys remappable
- ROCCAT® Easy-Shift[+]™ technology
- 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based processor
- 1.8m USB cable
- 1000Hz polling rate
- ROCCAT® Swarm software suite
- RGB per-key illumination with 16.8m colors
- Removable ergonomic palm rest
- Height: 3.20 cm
- Width: 46.20 cm
- Length: 23.50 cm
- Weight: 1150 g
ROCCAT Vulcan 122 Review
With the specs out of the way, I want to get in to how this keyboard actually feels. I can go full tech on you and break down every aspect of the keyboard and it won’t give you the overall feel of using this keyboard. I do want to touch on a few of the things discussed in the Spec Sheet, but I’ll do that throughout the coming analysis.
There are a abundance of things that I need to discuss in this review. They are all conditions you will need to know before you make a buying determination. I don’t like click-clack mechanical keys which has kept me away from some of the most respected keyboards on shelves. That was a concern with this as well as I had fallen in love with the Logitech’s restrained tone. I type a lot, as you might imagine, and when recording or on stream, I don’t want to take a ton of extra steps to mask the vociferous keys. The Vulcan is almost thoroughly hushed.
Is It All PR Talk?
From the Spec Sheet, you will notice a number of interesting PR-centric words that I want to break down. First, the switch travel distance. Few will be able to visualize the actual distance that needs to be traveled to register a button press but it is extremely comfortable. There is no raised cover, just a aluminum or brushed steel base with raised keys. You can see the switches in full between the keys and the foundation.
Next is the Easy-Shift[+] technology. This may not be a huge deal for many people considering the keyboard but when we discuss the mouse it is a game changer. I’ll admit, I haven’t used it all that much yet, but I am slowly incorporating its uses. I can see myself increasing the use of Easy-Shift in the future as it essentially adds new macros and another keyboard through some simple setup in the Swarm Software Suite.
Speaking of the software, it is remarkable. Each key can be customized to your liking with presets for WSD, the F-row, the number pad, and personalized keys as well. If you want your keys to create a light show of your own design, it is incredibly easy. On top of that, the software has already included a number of popular games to enable macros. Simply choose the game and browse the macros, or create your own custom. I will likely use this most in games with a lot going on. Sea of Thieves, for example, would benefit from the timing of lowering sails with a single macro press. This way I could look around and scan the horizon while lowering the sails. There are plenty of other options, of course, this is just the first that leaped to mind.
In addition, the software allows you to customize the keyboard even deeper. AIMO Illumination encourages you to turn all accessories towards the ROCCAT brand as the lighting of all your accessories will work in harmony. Want the keyboard to sound like a typewriter, have traditional clicks, or sound like you are in a fight in the halls of an imperial ship with lasers firing with each hit of a key? You are covered as each sound will play through your computer speakers or headset. You can also set a number of profiles so you can quickly switch from one thing to the next. I’ll be setting a number for writing, Adobe products, and gaming. Small tweaks, but a nice option.
The Touch, The Feel, of Vulcan 122
Here is where I want to simply talk about how the keyboard feels. I can go on for days about the technical aspects, but all of that means nothing if the keyboard doesn’t feel right. The board can lay flat and takes up a relatively small amount of space compared to my previous keyboard. It also has rests on the back to set it at an angle. At this point, I’m not sure which I prefer.
The box also includes a magnetic wrist rest. It doesn’t snap on or need to be harnessed to the keyboard, it simply uses a powerful magnet which makes it easy to attach and remove. I’ve done half of this review with the rest and half without and I can’t say for sure which I prefer for long periods. I’ve also used the feet and put the keyboard flat, but again, both feel wonderful.
My biggest concern was the freestanding keys. With nothing around them it almost feels like they forgot to put a cover on the keyboard. It actually feels wonderful. After a few speed tests I averaged around 80 words a minute with a 99% accuracy rate. This is a little slower than my average on my previous keyboard but I have had three years of experience with that. I imagine this will be a much easier keyboard on which I can quickly type as I finish acclimating to the layout.
At times I will hit a key I didn’t mean to hit as my fingers move from one to the next. This is a learning process and not a huge negative. If you have big hands or fingers expect to run into this issue on occasion as you adjust. Another thing that threw me off initially was the small bump under the W key. I’m used to F and J having the bumps to keep you on your home row, and starting with this board I would occasionally hit the W key as if it were F without looking. It makes perfect sense from a gaming perspective, but be aware that there will be a few adjustments to make coming from a non-gaming focused keyboard.
With a fancy knob to control PC volume and a ton of options, I am extremely pleased with the ROCCAT Vulcan 122. The AIMO lighting is the best in the industry and the keys feel wonderful when pressed. I do have a few concerns about the wrist rest discoloring over time. Fortunately, most of the keyboard is covered in a brushed metal finish. The keys, while white, seem to be of a material that won’t discolor but only time will tell.
For a mechanical keyboard it is hard to find a nice click feel without the cacophony of sound that comes with different switches. ROCCAT really knocked it out of the park in this regard. As a little dirt or dust showed up on the keyboard it was extremely easy to blow off with just my breath. The myriad of options has my head spinning. Overall, this is a top notch keyboard that has already replaced my Logitech.
That Logitech was a piece of typing genius that I swore by for years, but it has been dethroned and it will now sit as a backup in a drawer somewhere. Cost is key, so you have to decide if the MSRP of $160 is worth the ask. I can say that if I saw this and the other keyboard side by side, I would have been much happier with the Vulcan 122 AIMO.
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