Back to Roccat with the Vulcan mechanical keyboard. After a very typical Ryos, a very minimalist Suora, the manufacturer adds a mechanical model full of charm, less oriented gaming than what the German manufacturer has accustomed us to. Will this aesthetic change succeed the German manufacturer?
A new high-end flagship from the German brand, this keyboard is available in three versions, Vulcan 80, Vulcan 100 and Vulcan 120.
The Vulcan 80 forms the basis with a configurable backlight in “Roccat Blue” color and multimedia keys, the entry ticket for the entry-level Vulcan is € 129.99.
The second model, the Vulcan 100 tested today, adopts an RGB backlight and modifies the design of the multimedia keys with a more worked design using a wheel system for sound management and backlighting. The advertised price is € 149.99.
And finally, the 3rd model, the Vulcan 120, takes up the design of the Vulcan 100 by adding a magnetic palm rest. We increase the fare by € 10 to land at € 159.99.
When you open the box, you will notice that the space to wedge the palm rest is present. Once the flap is open, you can remove the keyboard from the box and its plastic bag.
The bundle is rather thin, but you can still take advantage of a few stickers bearing the image of the brand, a quick start guide and a recycling guide.
Once placed on the desk … mazette, what a beautiful piece! With its brushed aluminum plate, its finesse and the flat keys, we are really in front of a premium keyboard. The construction is solid although it is possible to twist it a little by forcing. The finesse also makes it more fragile. On the physical level, only one criticism or rather a question on the presence of two screws at the top left of the keyboard. Are they useful for design or only for disassembling the keyboard? We do not understand the usefulness of their presence, but here, we nitpick.
Under the function keys F1 to F12, there are various secondary functions accessible via the FN key. We can then switch between 4 profiles, open Windows Explorer, an Internet browser, an email client or the calculator. But also manage multimedia with the Play / Pause, Stop, Previous and Next Track functions.
As for macros, The Vulcan has 6. They are located above the directional arrows. We would have preferred to see them closer to the left hand to access them more quickly but the easyshift function of the manufacturer allows to assign a second function on almost all keyboard keys.
To use the macros, you must activate the Game mode via the FN + Scroll Stop combination. You can check its activation via the indicator at the bottom right of the keyboard. And besides, the caps lock, Scroll stop and Numeric lock LEDs are all placed at the bottom right. Quite unusual place that will make us irretrievably look at the top of the keyboard before remembering that the LEDs are below.
Above the numeric keypad there are three backlit buttons for the Mute function, volume selection or backlight selection. To the right of these buttons, the Vulcan hosts a wheel that strongly reminds the potentiometers on the amplifiers. Very practical, it allows the adjustment of the sound but also of the light intensity. The notches are very well marked, something rare to underline…
This mechanical keyboard introduces the Titan switches, developed by Roccat and manufactured by TTC. They have a relatively low activation point at 1.8mm for a maximum travel of 3.6mm. They are slightly tactile while keeping this relatively silent advantage, we are far from the Cherry MX Blue or MX Brown and their noise reminiscent of the old typewriter. The Titans are advertised as 20% faster than the competition, it is difficult for us to judge above all that we do not know against which switches they are compared.
Each switch is also fitted with an RGB LED for backlighting. This system can manage up to 16.8 million colors. Due to its very airy structure and the translucent shell switches, the light diffuses very well.
We could regret the absence of USB port or Jack sockets on this keyboard, but the finesse being on the Vulcan, the choice not to add them makes sense.
Turning over the keyboard, we see that Roccat has not skimped on the rubber. There is no doubt that it hangs perfectly on the surface on which it is placed. Two pads will be used to raise the keyboard. They too are provided with a rubber band.
Roccat has chosen to provide a relatively thin keyboard. In addition, as the switches are not hidden by a cover, they protrude slightly from the fairing and reinforce the impression of overall height of the keyboard. This height is all the more reinforced by the use of small flat keys. We had fun swapping the flat keys with so-called “normal” keys on the Roccat Ryos MK Pro and Low Profile keys on the K70 MK.2 Low Profile. Obvious observation, the keyboard loses its originality, its charm and falls back into normality. We can clearly see that the finishing work carried out on the Vulcan pays off.
Apart from an adaptation time to touch just the middle of the keys, this gap between the keys is not without advantage since it greatly facilitates cleaning. A simple brush stroke removes dust and other residue. No need to remove the keys.
Last point to address before moving on to the software, noise. The Vulcan is a rather noisy keyboard due to the use of mechanical switches, especially the space bar. We can of course limit the noise by limiting the pressing force and thus not fully press the button. But it is at the cost of a greater slowness to type long texts.
Since 2015, Roccat Swarm software has been used to configure the brand’s various peripherals. It made it possible to unify all the peripherals within a single software.
The keyboard settings are structured around 3 menus which are: General characteristics, Key allocation and Key lighting.
Let’s start with the “General Features” menu. In this menu is the audio return with several noises that you can add when a key is pressed, when you change your profile or even in standby and out of standby. This is also where you can reset the Vulcan settings and also set the delay for character repetitions.
Next is the key assignment menu. here, we find everything related to macros, reassigning keys, adding a second function to the keys via Easy-shift, creating a timer, opening applications or even assigning functions systems. Note that there is a package of presets depending on the game, just load it via the button “Collection of presets”.
The backlight adjustment is complete but not complex. You first choose the type of lighting you want from: AIMO, Wave, Snake, Full lighting, Beat 2.0, Breathing 2.0, Extinction, Wave Effect and Custom Mode.
Then you select the animation speed, the color (s) and the light intensity. In “Custom” mode, it is possible to choose the backlight for each key, or to use groups of keys (ZQSD, arrow keys, function keys, etc.)
The software does not offer the amount of adjustment from some other manufacturers but it is very easy to use!
With the Vulcan 100, we can say that Roccat is close to perfection. With its anodized aluminum dress bringing finesse, rigidity and neat aesthetics, it has a high-end finish. It makes the link between the gaming and office keyboard. Much less massive and more refined than what we have seen with the old keyboards of the brand, the turn made is a real success.
In terms of price, that of the Vulcan 100 is well thought out compared to the competition. We will think in particular of Corsair and its K70 MK2 which exhibits its switches since 2013 whose price is equivalent to the Vulcan in its version 120 with the palm rest.
- Quality of finishes
- Easy to use software
- Switch heights
One area of improvement for Roccat would be to switch to quieter, Low Profile switches. And with that, his Vulcan would be perfect!