Its been forever since Roccat released another entry in its keyboard line and with 2013 the year of the mechanical keyboard, Roccat was seriously lagging behind. The company broke news of its upcoming mechanical keyboard, the Ryos and since then its been a long wait for everyone to get their hands on the keyboard. The US was the first to get access to Roccat Ryos with the world following a few months after and now the Ryos has finally landed in the B2G labs.
Today we’ll take a close look at the new flagship keyboard from Roccat, the Ryos MK series. In this new line of keyboards, Roccat has the Ryos MK, Ryos MK Glow and Ryos MK Pro all of which with varying degree of features. In the labs today is the top-end of this stack, the Ryos MK Pro. We’ll see how Roccat delivers the mechanical experience and adds the Roccat touch to it.
- PER-KEY ILLUMINATION insane customization possibilities
- EASY-SHIFTâ„¢ BECOMES EASY KEYBOARD assign a secondary function to virtually any key
- N-KEY ROLLOVER means advanced anti-ghosting
- HIGH-POWERED HARDWARE two 32-bit ARM Cortex processors + 2 MB of flash memory
- ROCCATâ„¢ ACHIEVEMENTS DISPLAY keep track of your vital statistics
- KEY SWITCHES TO SUIT EVERY GAMER CHERRY MX key switchs in blue, black, brown, and red
- SMUDGE-PROOF GLOSSY LOOK killer look â€“ with no fingerprints
- INTEGRATED MEDIA HUB audio in/out and two USB 2.0 ports
- COMPLETE COMFORT, ROCK SOLID jumbo-size integrated wrist rest
- CLUTTER-FREE, SUPER-STABLE SUPPORT in-built cable channel and five rubber feet
- ROCCATâ„¢Â TALKÂ®Â â€“ SET BONUS get more out of your ROCCATâ„¢ devices by combining their functions
- Per-key illuminated mechanical keyboard with 113 keys
- Advanced anti-ghosting with N-key rollover
- Choice of four CHERRY MX key switches
- 3 programmable thumbster keys (T1 â€“ T3)
- 5 programmable macro keys (M1 â€“ M5)
- 94 other programmable keys
- 1000 hz polling rate, 1 ms response time
- 1.8 m rear-exit braided cable
- 1 x audio in, 1 x audio out, 2 x USB 2.0 ports
Ryos Mk Pro – Closer Look
The Ryos arrives in a wide and shallow box. Note the designation in the bottom which shows which key is which so you know just what you’re getting. The Ryos series comes in 4 Cherry MX key variants: Red, Blue, Brown & Black.
A large box inside protects the keyboard during transit.
Further protection comes in the form of a giant plastic cover which shields the keys from accidental presses.
Inside the packge is a humble bundle of the Ryos board and some documentation.
The Ryos series of keyboards follow the design of the previous flagship keyboard from Roccat, the Isku. The same wide body layout and thumbster keys are present as well as the overall layout is the same. The primary difference from the latter is of course the mechanical keys which are much more elevated.
The Ryos features a thick braided cable which comprises of the primary USB twin jacks and audio passthrough jacks for mic and output.
The upper corners of the Ryos MK Pro are home to the audio passthrough and USB ports. Good thinking from Roccat of putting the USB ports at right side for easy hook up to a mouse. Problem is though is that if you use thick USB connectors, it tend to obstructs the other port.
Ryos Mk Pro – Lighting
The lighting option for the Roccat Ryos MK Pro is rich. You can set illumination individually or via clusters. The Ryos MK Pro is also capable of using effects when pressed: 1) Fade effect and 2) ripple effect. The former illuminates a key when pressed and fades it out after a few seconds and the latter disables all lighting and ripples out the lighting from where the key is pressed.
A sleep function is built-in to the Ryos MK Pro allowing it to go into a sleep mode where the keyboard lights will enter a random pattern and change every few moments when not in use.
Ryos Mk Pro Software
One of the key feature of Roccat’s products is the amount of customization you can do with them, especially in their keyboard and mouse line. Roccat’s software driver is the engine that drives these customizations and it is expected that they will stick to a formula that works.
The Roccat Ryos software allows per-key command binding, macro recording, and custom illumination mapping. Unique to Roccat products are their Easy+Shift and Talk function which lets users combine their Roccat products to work together, allow advanced keyboard+mouse combinations and shortcuts. A rich assortment of pre-defined commands are also present in the key mapping grid.
Roccat also has the unique RAD screen featuring stat recording to show the user’s keypress statistics. A unique feature for the Ryos MK series is the programmable LED function. Users can bind key illuminations to a macro which pretty much does nothing but Ryos offers an advanced SDK to let users tailor the driver to greater levels.
The Ryos interactive light technology is still in its infancy and although it was advertised as a feature, it will be up to you on how to program this feature. No game as of now supports the feature and Roccat has yet to mature the tech. For a developer insight on the feature, check out this blog post on Gamasutra by Roccat CEO Rene’ Korte.
User Experience & Conclusion
Mechanical keyboards have reached the point that all of them will feel the same and it is more or less build quality, feature and overall looks that dictate just what level the keyboard is on.
For the Roccat Ryos MK Pro, the company has included an outstanding amount of features into the product starting off with its lighting capabilities, followed by an wide set of personalization and shortcut options. The omnipresent macro is there but activating these macro is where the Ryos excels at with its Easy+Shift feature. Going more advanced, the Ryos SDK provides higher level of illumination and customization that is only limited by the developers’ imagination.
The Ryos MK Pro is a sturdy keyboard with a very wide body. This may go against some folks who need something to carry around but for primary desktop piece, the Roccat Ryos is centerpiece worth being proud of. Its sleep mode is just adorable and makes the keyboard quite an accent piece when not in use.
Not everything’s quite sunny for the Ryos though. As mentioned, its programmable key lighting support is reserved for game devs and programmers who know how to work with it. This is quite a diminishing feature as one of the main reason I got the Ryos MK Pro was because of the possibility that can be used as a hit indicator or HP meter. Another hit to the Ryos is its somewhat lighter feel compared to other mechanical keyboard giving it a cheap feel but unless you’re going to be lifting your keyboard daily, this is just nitpicking.
Overall, the Ryos MK Pro is an excellent choice for advanced gamers who want the best of the best. While it does not feature custom color LED keys, this is far too little to put a dent on the mass offering of the Ryos MK Pro. The keyboard’s tech is in its infancy but there is a bright future ahead for it and once game devs embrace this, the true power of the Roccat Ryos MK Pro will SHINE through. As it is right now, it is still a formidable weapon for any gamer with its large salvo macros, shortcuts and custom bindings.
If you are looking for a high-end keyboard with extensive programmable features for your gaming, heck even to help you try out game +HID development, then the Roccat Ryos MK Pro is the only choice. Nothing else comes close.