With the Isku, Roccat has given us a a keyboard that can do all but author books. An imposing gaming monster where no feature was spared, all designed to provide the most complete gaming experience. Now with the Arvo, Roccat has taken a different turn. It is still intends on providing a gaming keyboard, a but a more compact one, which doesn’t provide the all encompassing functions of the Isku, but aims at satisfying different needs and functions
The Arvo is a compact little keyboard that is meant to save as much space as it can on your desk, and you will notice right away how small it is and how little space it occupies on your desk. Like all Roccat products, the keyboard has a great design, and while other gaming keyboards go for an imposing design, this keyboard sports a slick and slender look, and does not feel lacking in any way despite its small size and build.
The first thing that will draw your attention is that there that arrow keys and the Numpad have been combined together, where each key has two functionalities, first for the numbers, and the second for the arrow keys and the Delete/Home/ Page Up/Page Down...etc keys. The functionalities can switched with the the press of the top right Mode key, with the change being indicated by the back light on the arrow keys going on and off.
So, despite the measures taken to reduce the keyboard size, all basic keys are present, along with three extra thumbster keys below the spacebar. Also, the keyboad has no wrist wrest, which some might find irritating, but then again, this is a compact keyboard after all, and the wrist rest isn’t exactly a necessity.
The keyboard also has rubber pads at the bottom of each edge to hold the keyboard in place (we all know how annoying it can be to have a the keyboard sliding on the desktop in heated gaming moments), as well as two retractable stands in the upper corners to lift the keyboard and give you the ideal angle for gaming.
Don’t expect as much features on this keyboard as with regular gaming keyboards; to reduce the size of keyboard, many functions and features had to be sacrificed. However, this is still a gaming keyboard, and gaming features are present.
The keyboard includes five Macro keys; three thumbster keys and two numpad keys. The thumbster keys are particularly ingenious, as they are right below the spacebar and accessible with the thumbs without having to leave the WASD area, which can be especially helpful in FPS games. The other two macro keys can only be enable during “Gaming Mode”, i.e. when the arrow keys, not the numpad, are enabled. The other interesting featuring is the ability to enable disble keys such as the windows keys, Caps Lock keys and Tab Keys.
Once you’ve assigned Macros and settings that are needed for playing, say, an MMORPG, you can switch profiles and assign different Macros for an RTS, and then a different profile for Media Player Functions.
Using the keyboard took a while for me to get used to. The biggest problem was they keys are smaller in size and closer to each other than regular keyboards. This created problems in finding the right key without looking for it, and led sometimes to pressing two keys at the same time. While one can get used to this, you can’t help but feel that the keys are maybe too compacted, and you would’ve been more comfortable with a larger keyboard.
Other than that, there aren’t any drawbacks. The keys are all comfortable medium height, and lovely to type on, and while at first I hated the idea of having only the numpad or the arrow keys active at one point, the situations where you would be needing both at the same time are very minimal, and thus it hardly counts as a problem.
The Arvo is a great keyboard. However it is still a compact keyboard, and it does not replace a proper full size gaming keyboard. However, for those looking for smaller sized and/or compact keyboards, the Arvo is as good as they come, with a slick design, great usability, and a features that aren’t normally available in other compact keyboards.