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Roccat Isku Keyboard Review

By on October 19, 2011
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Must…customize…everything…

Good: Many customization options; comfortable keys and wrist rest; gorgeous gamer-y design; caters to an exhaustive list of gamers needs
Bad: Backlighting could use some improvement
Price: AED 420
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Usability

The biggest problem I had with keyboard was getting used to all the key positioning. At first, I had to actually look a few times to see what key I was pressing. The extra keys Isku adds also cause some confusion; for example, I am used to go to the leftmost top key to press ESC, well in this case, the leftmost upper key is the first macro, and I am embarrassed to admit that a few times I pressed and was annoyed that it didn’t execute the ESC function. But all that is hardly a problem, and once you get used to all the key positions, Isku is really fun, and more importantly efficient to use.

I popped in Street Fighter IV to try the keyboard out (what what?! SFIV is fun with a keyboard), and the difference in performance was noticeable. The keyboards response time is excellent, and given they key’s smoothness, some key combinations that were clumsy with keyboard became easy and simple to pull off. They keyboard has improved my performance (but didn’t make me a better player, no gaming hardware does that), and I’m happy to say, my online rank rose, and I’m proud to say I am now in the top bajillion players in the leaderboard.

I tried out other games from Deus Ex to Empire: Total War, and while none of them do require a keyboard of this caliber, it was still an enjoyable experience using the keyboard, if not for the extra customization then for the comfort that this keyboard provides. However, the people who will get the most kick out of a keyboard like this are the RTS and MMORPG players. With more customization than you can count, you will be able to assign macro keys for everything from building various units to regulating your undead warlock’s breathing rate.

But then again, keyboards aren’t only for games (no seriously), and the keyboard functions just as well outside WASD land. The typing flows smoothly, and keys feel great, and although users of mechanical keys may feel that typing on this keyboard is a downgrade, most people will find this typing on the keyboard to be smooth and comfortable. The macro keys can give you some handy shortcuts for use outside of gaming. I assigned a macro for quick switching between Arabic and English typing keyboard, and given my work which requires me to switch often, and sometimes mid sentence, between Arabic and English, it really streamlined my work.

Throughout all this, they keyboard provides good comfort for your hands and wrist, and you can go on tryping for long hours without feeling tired. The wrist rest, aside from its convenient design, also includes material that will hold of prespiration, so no more sweating from your palms and all the uncomfort that may cause.

Conclusion
We cannot crown the Roccat Isku as king of keyboards, but we still have to recognize it as one of the best keyboards we have used. While the customization might be over the top for regular users, hardened MMORPG and RTS players will find it to their liking. Unfortunately, the backlit keyboard was a bit of a letdown, but it is by no means a failure, and still serves its purpose, yet there is still plenty of room for improvement. None the less, the Isku is still a great product, and despite what flaws it may have, it continues Roccat’s track record of delivering quality gaming products, and it makes us even more eager to see the sort of innovations Roccat will provide in the future.

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