The Ergohacks Verdict
Mechanical keyboards have become an essential tool for both typing and gaming. They are more ergonomic and require much less pressure when typing. Roccat, a well-known brand in the world of gaming hardware, manufactures the Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Keyboard. The Ryos has the additional benefit of choice. It’s available in the four most popular Cherry switches – blue, black, brown, and red. I use the Black (my personal preference) which require the most force to use. The keys are full sized and spaced in a standard layout with a slightly matt finish that looks good and doesn’t smudge. The keys are full sized and feel great and are very solid to type on.
It is a highly customizable keyboard. There are 5 dedicated macro buttons to the left of the main keys that can produce any predefined set of keystrokes. There is also a function key that lets any other of the main keys trigger a macro – think a shift key but instead of a capital letter, you get a macro. Then there are three extra flat keys just under the space bar that let you change profiles. Imagine one set of macros for World of Warcraft, one for Photoshop and one for your IDE and you’ve got the idea. The drivers come with a number of predefined layouts for both games and productivity programs which are good starting points. Individual keys can be disabled either permanently or under specific circumstances – for example stopping the windows key working when there’s a game in full screen mode. The drivers come with a number of predefined layouts for both games and productivity programs which are good starting points. Individual keys can be reassigned permanently – want to get a B when you press the A key? You can. The customisation is stored and processed on the keyboard itself and if you plug into a different computer it goes with you.
The individually lit keys are customisable to any pattern you’re looking for and can be reactive – type and watch pattern move under your fingers based on what you type. It’s also the only keyboard I’ve ever seen with a ‘screen saver’. Stop typing for a while and it can do a riff on the old Windows Starlit Sky screen saver. The level of illumination is controllable from off or an almost unnoticeable glimmer to a very bright light and this can again be changed depending on the profile or circumstance. There’s a certain amount of leakage between the keys but it’s only really noticeable when you turn the illumination level down in a darkened room and even then you’ve got to look for it.
Most importantly I’ll repeat it – it’s a great typing experience. In the last month, I’m informed by my software spies that I’ve typed 485,641 individual keystrokes. My fingers are grateful that they’ve been through the Roccat Ryos MK Pro keyboard. I’ve used the Ryos for over a year and it remains as good a keyboard as one day one. Highly recommended.
Price: ± £77 (RRP £150)
The Rycos has a distinctive look and is made out of a smudge resistant black plastic that happily hides fingerprints. It’s a blocky and angular design with an integrated and non-removable wrist rest that makes the whole keyboard quite large and weighty. That weight has an advantage – it makes the keyboard completely stable, but it would overwhelm smaller desks. As well as the keys the keyboard also acts as an audio and USB pass through and there are two USB 2.0 ports on the top right edge of the keyboard and headphone and microphone sockets on the top left.
Product Dimensions: Width 50.0 cm, Height 4.4 cm, Length 23.0 cm,
Weight 1610 g
Illumination: Per-key illuminated mechanical keyboard with 113 keys
Switches: Cherry MX
3 programmable thumbster keys
5 programmable macro keys
94 other programmable keys
1000Hz polling rate
1ms response time
Cable: 1.8m braided USB cable
Ports: 1 x audio in, 1 x audio out, 2 x USB 2.0 ports
The keyboard needs two USB 2.0 (or 3.0) ports close to each other and if you want to use the audio pass through a 3.5mm headphone and microphone socket. The drivers and R.A.D. software are available for Windows from XP to Windows 10 but are not available on the Mac. Third party drivers are available for Linux.
Roccat is a German computer accessories company that specializes in gaming hardware. They were founded in 2007 and make keyboards, mice, controllers and a number of more unusual things like a lap-stand for using them on the couch. They’re also notable for their sponsorship of Team ROCCAT a popular League of Legends and Starcraft 2 eSports team.
We based our Ergohacks Verdict on 12 months of tinkering, testing and using the Roccat Ryos MK Pro Mechanical UK Layout Gaming Keyboard with Per Key Illumination – MX Black kindly provided by Roccat. It is still in daily use. This article was first published on 3 September 2016 and last updated on 12 September 2017.