Please note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also work with other affiliate partners and may be compensated from the links below. Details here.
Today, we are going to take a closer look at the Roccat Vulcan 122 AIMO Gaming Keyboard, which since its release has managed to impress a lot of gamers, including us. Before we get to the review, we want to quickly mention that Roccat has been on point with their latest products and reviewing them has really been exciting for us.
No wonder the Vulcan made our top ten list for the best gaming keyboards of 2020.
First things first, let me tell you the Vulcan has really a lot to offer. The biggest turn on is probably the design. This thing looks just fantastic on the desk and even better in a dark room with all the RGB lighting turned on. Besides that, it has a plenty of features we are all going to cover and discuss more in this review.
- Size: Full Size
- Backlighting: RGB Per-Key Illumination with 16.8m Colors
- Interface: USB
- Cable: 1.8m Braided
- Palm Rest: Yes
- Software: Roccat SWARM
- Onboard Memory: Yes
- Weight: 1150g
- Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Alright, ready to find out if the Vulcan is right for you?
Switches – I am Titanium!
Well, not necessarily made of titanium, but still very solid and sturdy. We are talking about Roccat’s own Titan Switches, which bring some nice features and are also a welcomed refreshment over all the CherryMX switches that everybody puts on their keyboards.
For starters, you can choose from linear and tactile versions of Titan switches. Sadly, there is no clicky option, which is kind of disappointing, considering how popular they are among gamers. Oh well, maybe some day.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you a feedback on the Titan linear switches because our Vulcan came with tactile switches. Sorry if you’re a linear type of gamer, but we can only afford to buy one keyboard per review. On the bright side, we are glad to report it was a good choice. These switches feel super responsive for gaming and also pretty damn comfortable for typing.
They are just a bit louder compared to CherryMX brown switches, but definitely not too loud, where it would get annoying to use the keyboard for typing.
By the way, we wrote this whole review on the Vulcan.
In case you are wondering, these tactile switches have an actuation point of 1.8mm and total travel distance of 3.6mm. Nothing out of the ordinary, they feel just right. In terms of sound, they are comparable with brown CherryMX brown switches, but like we said a bit louder and crispier.
If you want to hear a soundtest, you can check out this video:
However, the best thing about these switches may be their design. Every switch features a full plastic housing, which adds massively to the overall durability and longevity, but more importantly, allows the RGB lighting to spill out much more on your keyboard and create a beautiful scenario. Besides that, It also allows for a quick look under the hood so you can see into the inside of each switch.
According to Roccat, they also added another feature to balance the keys, so they don’t wobble as much. And honestly, they’ve done a good job – the keys are perfectly balanced, which is very important for both gaming and typing, especially with these shortened keycaps.
If you want you can read more about the technology behind the Titan switch on their website. We don’t want to get any further into the technical side of things, we try to focus more on giving you feedback on the overall experience and feeling.
In our opinion, these titan tactile switches are really good. They sound and feel exceptionally well, plus gaming on them is really a treat. Besides that, cleaning the keyboard will take you less than five seconds if you have an air blower at home.
If you’re someone that enjoys lot of RGB lighting on their peripherals, you will definitely like the RGB on the Vulcan. The colors are super vibrant and accurate and thanks to the see-through plastic housing of each switch, they spill out all over the keyboard and make for an incredible visual experience.
The backlighting is a 16.8m color per-key RGB, meaning every key has it’s own LED. This allows for some neat lighting effects and endless customization.
(Image Credit: Roccat.org)
As for the preset lighting schemes, you can pick from eight different effects including: wave, snake, fully lit, heartbeat, breathing, fade, ripple and of course the AIMO organic intelligent lighting, which is by far the best one of them and our go-to. With this effect, the whole keyboard changes colors continuosly and also reacts to every keypress.
If that’s not enough for you, you can also make your own lighting effects within the SWARM software and save them to your profiles (four total), if that’s something you are interested in. But we strongly recommend you trying out the AIMO intelligent lighting – it is simply brilliant.
Overall Build Quality and Design
Rating the overall design of any product isn’t easy. Everybody is different and we can see the Vulcan not being everyone’s cup of tea. Design aside, it has a top of the line build quality which literally breathes premium and it is definitely going to last. We can easily tell that every detail has been thought of and nothing on this keyboard feels cheap in any way.
For starters, the Vulcan features an anodized aluminum plate, which grants the highest level of durability. Seriously, you would think the keyboard is not that sturdy because of the low profile design, but this thing feels like a brick. We tried bending it and twisting it, all good there – great job Roccat.
Additionaly, there is the shortened keycaps, dedicated media control buttons and a volume wheel, which can be used for adjusting volume as well as for controlling the lighting of the keyboard. Despite the keycaps being shortened, they feel super stable with virtually no wobble, which isn’t always the case with other keyboards. Also, the volume wheel is textured and is very pleasant to use, which is also a plus.
On the back of the keyboard there is a plenty of rubberized feet that do a good job of preventing the keyboard from sliding around on your desk. Even if you try to push it from the side it is fairly difficult to get it moving. Besides that, there are two kick stands to help you adjust the angle of the keyboard for a typing session.
The Vulcan also comes with a palm rest, which unfortunately, we removed immidiately after we put that thing on. Why? Well, first of all, it is not very comfortable. Secondly, it feels kind of cheap to be honest. However, if you’re used to having a palm rest on your keyboard, it is not the worst of the bunch.
To take a full advantage of the Vulcan, you will need to download the Roccat SWARM software from their website. It takes a couple of minutes to download and pair it with your keyboard. After that, you will be all set and ready to start customizing the Vulcan to your liking.
The software itself is pretty simple and easy to navigate in. Within the software you can set up your macro keys, utilize the Easy Shift feature, make your own custom lighting or pick from a number of different preset effects. You can also further customize the presets in terms of brightness and speed of the effect.
Like we said, the SWARM software is fairly easy to use and if you have some experience with these kinds of softwares, you will get used to it in no time.
The Vulcan comes with a bunch of features that can be utilized both on the keyboard itself or within the dedicated. software. We explored and tried out every single one of them and have to say that some of them are more useful than others. Here is a quick overview of all of them:
- Profiles with Onboard Memory – This one is pretty straight forward, it lets you save up to four profiles on your keyboard which you can then cycle through with Fn + f1 – f4 keys. That removes the need to use the SWARM software every time you want to change up your lighting scheme.
- Gamemode – Gamemode is activated by pressing the Fn + Scroll button and it further activates (and deactivates) several keys and features on the keyboard. First of all, it deactivates the windows key to prevent you from accidentally tabbing out during your gameplay – it happens to all of us every now and then. Besides that, it also activates the macro keys which are located on the navigation and editing keys. Lastly, the gamemode also activates the Easy Shift feature.
- Easy Shift – With the Easy Shift feature you can assign a secondary function to any key on the left side of the keyboard (via SWARM software), which virtually doubles up the keys on your keyboard. You can come up with your own setup or you can use one of the presets for different games, which can be found in the software menu. I mean, as cool as that sounds, we really struggled to make a good use of it. The six macro keys are more than enough for us. Unless you happen to play WoW or any other game where you have a lot of spells and keys to use, you won’t find this feature very useful.
- Media Buttons + Scroll Wheel – Last but not least there are the media buttons and a decent tactile scroll wheel which can be used for both controlling the Lighting and volume. To switch in between various lighting effects, you need to activate the Fx key and then use the scroll wheel. For volume adjustments you will need to activate the speaker button.
Altogether, almost all the features on the Vulcan have been well thought of and will make your life (and game) much easier.
The only feature we struggled to make a use of was the Easy Shift. Roccat advertise this like something you need to have on your keyboard but as much as we tried to make it work for us, we couldn’t think of any game that would be suited for this. But we mainly play FPS games like Call of Duty or Overwatch so who knows, maybe you will have a better idea on how to use it properly.
We had a lot of fun gaming and playing around with the Vulcan. It is a fantastic looking keyboard that is super responsive, which makes it an excellent choice for gamers. Besides that, it provides a maximum amount of comfort, meaning you can smash games all day long without getting your fingers fatigued.
There is definitely a lot to love here and we are confident to recommend this keyboard to anyone who’s looking for a comfortable, great looking keyboard that’s going to stand out, perform well and last for a long time. Plus the price has gone down since the first release and right now you can get it on amazon for the lowest price ever!