Review: ROCCAT Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
As a PC gamer and writer, my keyboard is my lifeline. It’s the tool I use to create words, kill monsters, and sometimes even doubles as a pillow after pulling an all-nighter. I play PC games that range from MMORPGs to FPS, which is why I go out of my way to pick a keyboard that will fulfill my needs of being both comfortable and functional in everything I do. The keys have to light up for those in-the-dark gaming sessions, be easy to press down, and not be loud enough to wake up whoever might be sleeping in the same room.
It also has to have enough extra features outside of simply just being able to see the keys well in the dark in order to keep my interest. Things like macros are a great thing to have, especially to heavy gamers who have the need to bind multiple keystrokes into a single button, media keys for us music lovers out there, and let’s not forget extra USB plugs and audio jacks for our other random pieces of hardware we all have lying around.
Sturdiness is also a must for those of us who spam buttons and can’t afford breaking a keyboard just as much as we can’t have it flapping around on us like a fish out of water. The Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard has many of these great necessities that should satisfy many PC users out there.
This Roccat keyboard is a massive, but sleek-looking, piece of light-up black plastic that has a lot of little extras to fit many different needs. The blue illumination is attractive and seems to match up perfectly with my case’s own blue LCD lights. The box for it alone is surprisingly huge, and there wasn’t a lot of extra cardboard to go with it.
The downside was that, as I looked for a way to remove the large wrist rest that is attached to the keyboard’s front, I was disappointed when I found out that it’s a permanent fixture. Anyone who doesn’t have a lot of room on their desk might have problems right away considering how large this keyboard is. I had to push both of my monitors back considering I don’t have a desk with an extra slide out for keyboards.
Touching the keys, I found them smooth and easy on the fingers, however they’re a bit shallow. Moving away from my own keyboard, I had to get use to not pressing down as hard. It only took a few hours to get adjusted before it no longer felt uncomfortable. The wrist rest is also quite cozy when you start in on a long gaming session, but you will find that the material used to make it does start to retain heat after a few hours. I found myself putting my hands in proper typing position just to let the heat dissipate before using the rest every now and then.
The sturdiness is also quite amazing and, unlike mechanical keyboards, there isn’t an annoying clacking sound after every push of a button. Typing could not be heard over my headset while using voice chat online, even when doing some pretty heavy button mashing sessions.
To the left are five macro keys that can be programmed on the go with a nifty recording button located on the upper left hand side next to LED-lit slots that tell you which profile you are currently in. There are also three thumb macro keys at the bottom just underneath the space bar. This is definitely a great perk for those who love to have macros available to them and in close proximity.
The only real downside to this keyboard is the poor lighting used. Sitting in my chair at my desk and looking down, I could see that the top parts of all the keys no longer have light. Even using the stands underneath to adjust the angle of the keyboard doesn’t seem to fix the issue. Also, the media keys have no lights at all. Illuminated keys are a great idea, but skipping out on not having any under the media keys seems like such a waste. The default color is a light grey, which can be barely seen against the black background. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit the wrong button trying to change or pause a song.
All in all, this is a great keyboard for anyone looking for size and girth. The typing noises are reasonable and it goes great if you already have a black and blue themed PC tower. I’m not a fan of the wrist rest that I can’t remove, though. It makes the size of the keyboard a bit too large for my desk, which is actually a moderate sized wooden table, so that can give you some idea on just how big this piece of hardware is.
Still, if you have the room and might be looking for a less noisy or more programmable keyboard, you should be happy with this model.