It’s hard to get excited about keyboards, we use them every day without even thinking about it, but the Vulcan is one of the few that really stand out and may well be my favourite keyboard ever.
So now I’ve sort of spoiled the surprise for those of you who like to read to the end to find out what I thought, let me give a quick run down of this new mechanical keyboard for you.
The first thing to note is that this doesn’t use the Cherry Switches that are much loved by gamers. Usually that’s a bad sign but here Roccat have worked hard to come up with an improvement over the mechanical switches that have been around in one form or another since the 1980s. Their ROCCAT Studios designed Titan Switches are faster and more accurate with less noise at the same time, no compromises in either direction and with a transparent housing and half height keys sitting on top to provide a great looking keyboard.
Think of the keyboard as a mix of traditional desktop and laptop, the tops provide comfort while the transparent base provides a faster, less cluttered access to the switch and allows light to shine through, providing one of the brightest and most colourful displays I’ve ever seen on a keyboard.
While they are still louder than a traditional keyboard, the keys on the Vulcan 120 aren’t as loud as the usual gaming keyboards, which is a great benefit for anyone playing late at night. Until now there’s usually been a compromise between the noise and the responsiveness but thankfully here everything works perfectly together.
The RGB side benefits from the transparent keys by bringing a lightshow to the keyboard that is virtually unmatched. It works alongside other Roccat devices such as the Aimo mouse and Khan headset to create a unified approach to lighting.
The Swarm software not only keeps drivers up to date but configures these light settings into a range of patterns or provides an AI controlled option that takes inputs from both keystrokes and software to provide an interactive set of colours to match your actions. At one point puddles of light followed my fingers as I typed, another set of colours appeared while playing Far Cry New Dawn or matched the screen when shutting down the PC. It’s often more subtle than you’d imagine but always pleasing.
While extra media keys have been kept to a minimum there are several buttons on the top right and a dial that can control lighting or volume, which is welcome. The rest of the keyboard is kept top a minimum to avoid clutter and even the keyboard edging is thin and minimal, with an optional magnetic arm rest should you wish to add it, though it’s a fairly forgettable piece of plastic and I’d highly recommend their foam based alternatives. The 100 model comes without the arm rest, so may be worth saving a bit of cash there.
Lighting aside, this is a beautiful keyboard to type on or game with. The feel of the keys are comfortable and travel is great, up there with the best of the mechanical keyboards out there. I really can’t recommend this Vulcan 120 enough for look or feel, it’s my new favourite keyboard.