As someone who has in the last ten years found myself typing more and more on my computer I was blessed around five years ago to discover and start using mechanical keyboards. The difference between a standard membrane keyboard and a mechanical one is huge. I’ve been through a number of mechanical and they’ve all been expensive. Roccat have been one of the companies to watch in the space since their debut in 2007 and their gamer focused style is very distinctive. For the last month I’ve been using the Roccat Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Keyboard and it manages to be two thing at once I’d not have expected – a great mechanical keyboard and a reasonably priced one at £57.
The Rycos uses Cherry switches for it’s keys which are the industry standard. There are four types available and I got 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.
Beyond the keys the Rycos is very customisable. First there are 5 dedicated macro buttons to the left of the main keys that can produce any predefined set of keystrokes. Next there’s 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 of a program like a game had full screen the Windows key could be disabled. Finally you can reassign keys 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 i 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.
Price: ± £57 (RRP £150)
Paid extras: None
Delivery costs: Free Delivery
Ships to: U.K., Europe. U.S., Canada
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.
The Rycos has a very 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 weightless has an advantage in resulting in a typing experience that’s completely stable but it’ll 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. The USB ports seem reliable and I’ve found them well placed for USB drives and my N52.
Environment & People
If you’re after the cheapest keyboard you can get the Rycos MK Pro isn’t going to be for you and indeed there are both gaming keyboards and mechanical keyboards on the market for less. It’s the most economic combination of a mechanical keyboard with decent switches, a solidly built frame and decent macro and customisation options I’ve seen.
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.
I’ve used a lot of mechanical keyboards and in the last month I’m informed by my software spies that I’ve typed 485,641 individual keystrokes in the last month. My fingers are grateful that they’ve been through the Roccat Ryos MK Pro keyboard. The keyboard is stable and solid with great keys. If you’re someone who types a lot and has a larger desk it’s a great choice. If you’re a gamer or a productivity seeker the configurable macros and customisation take a little getting used but are even bigger draws. The only drawbacks of the keyboard are the non-removeable wrist rest and it’s total size which will not suit smaller desks. Highly recommended and a great choice.
The review is based on the Roccat Ryos MK Pro Mechanical UK Layout Gaming Keyboard with Per Key Illumination – MX Black kindly provided by Roccat. Read more about Ergohacks’ eco and access icons used in reviews. This article was first published on 5th September 2016.