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ROCCAT ISKU Keyboard Review

Hardware Reviews By Mobin Koohestani on March 31, 2012

I love Germans and just like all German products, they’re usually very well made. But to be quite honest with you, I’m not sure when the last time I purchased a German engineered peripheral was, but that’s probably because they’re too good to come by so easily. However, the German-headquartered brand, “ROCCAT”, has helped bridge that gap by providing gamers a solid line of products, including keyboards, mice, headphones, accessories, and more. With that in mind, the ROCCAT ISKU was my first dip into a German heavyweight of peripherals, and to say I was excited would be an understatement.

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The Features

The ISKU has some common and not so common features that gamers would expect. To start things off, I immediately looked at what I would be using consistently when playing: the macro keys. The ISKU conveniently features five macro keys on the left hand side of the keyboard. Now, this is where it gets a bit interesting. I personally do not use tons of macros when I play my games. For example, when I picked up my first-generation G15 or G510, it was bit overkill for me to have that many macro keys. On the other hand, I was disappointed that even though those two keyboards had so many macros, they only provided three different profiles you could physically access on your keyboard. With the ISKU, you do give up the amount of macro keys relative to some of the other keyboards on the market, but in return you gain five different profiles you can easily switch to on the keyboard. So when it comes down to the macro keys alone, it really is all a matter of preference. Even if you only play one game, you can still easily switch between all the profiles to get a total of twenty five different macros, and that’s if you’re only programming the M-keys. If you configured every other key that is configurable, you would have about 180. For me, the setup of the ISKU was perfect, and given that I’m usually playing four different games regularly at a time, I had no problems. The way you record macros is very easy because you only have to push the record button right next to the profiles, where you can make a macro on the fly. The ISKU features eight configurable media keys at the top of the keyboard, which is great when you’re playing music or watching videos.

Moreover, the ISKU features ROCCAT TALK, which enables you to combine the ISKU and Kone [+] (for example) and have them work together in different ways. You can set settings for one another with the other device. It is a very neat function that you’ll get when you combine certain ROCCAT products. Where the ISKU falls short on features is that you do not have a headphone or microphone jack, it cannot act as a USB hub, and it does not have mechanical keys like some of the other keyboards in its price range. Overall though, that definitely should not deter you, given that where the ISKU does excel is that it executes the features it does provide really well and makes your gaming experience very enjoyable, unlike many keyboards on the market.

The Design

The design of the ISKU is very neat. Immediately, you will notice this awesome, granulated wrist rest that adds a great deal of comfort when playing over an extended period of time. It seems many times you’ll spend a lot on a keyboard and all they give you is some cheap piece of plastic; thankfully you won’t be having that problem with the ISKU. You’ll also notice you get six different lighting brightness settings that can change between profiles. Moreover, the keyboard is separated into three Easy-Shift[+] zones, which makes accessing your macros very accessible. On the bottom of the keyboard you will find three Thumbster keys, which essentially can act as three very accessible macro keys. This is where the ISKU shines because you won’t be finding your thumbs getting in on the macro action very frequently, so I really enjoyed the option of using the Thumbster keys when gaming. The anti-ghosting keys have a good height to them, pulling at a 1000Hz polling rate as well. Finally, you will find that this keyboard’s non-slip base is very convenient. It’s one of those little things that we often complain about but usually don’t ever have it on our checklists on a keyboard. With the ISKU, both the feet and the base stay where you want them to stay, so you won’t have to shift around so much.

Verdict

Overall, I really did find my experience with the ISKU to be enjoyable. I have used the keyboard as my main for quite some time now, and I really do not have much to complain about. Like I said, there are little things here and there like the microphone/headphone jack, but I look past that when I weigh the rest of the features and design. What it comes down to is the price and what you’re looking for. Priced at around $89.99, it is a solid option. It if it were $15 or $20 cheaper, there’s no doubt I would rush in and say pick it up when you can. However, what I can tell you is that if you are in the market in searching for a reliable keyboard that has a lot to offer, the ISKU should be near the top of your list.  Feel free to check out the specs and other info over at Roccat's official site.

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