Roccat's Ryos and the Power-Grid
The ROCCAT Ryos
The Roccat Ryos is the company’s first offering of a mechanical keyboard. Late to the game but a worthy contender in today’s offering of mechanical keyboards for gamers. I have been a fan of the mechanical keyboard since the days of the IBM model M (with buckling spring action) or “clicky keyboard” and was pleased to see ROCCAT’s offering.
A mechanical keyboard is one where each key is has it’s own independent mechanical switch, providing a crisp response and tactile feel – so you know when a key is depressed and activated, unlike the soft touch of most standard keyboards. It is a feel that many gamers appreciate.
The Ryos is a solidly built keyboard, and it employs Cherry switches which seems to be the switch of choice in mechanical gamer keyboards (Razer, Logitech, Corsair all use them as well) but allows you to actually choose the switch type. It offers Cherry MX Black, Brown, Blue and Red – these are not just colors, but actually denote the switch pressure. Black requires the most actuation force but is linear – it does not have the tactile “bump” when it actuates, the Brown has a light tactile “bump” about mid-way, the Blue is the “clicky” of the bunch and Red is the lightest – basically a lighter version of the Black. There were two keyboards with different Cherry switches on hand and each had its own distinct feel.
The Ryos come in three flavors. The MK is purely a programmable mechanical keyboard without the blings and whistles. It contains a single 32bit ARM processor, 2MB internal Flash memory to store all the macros you might want to create and features backlit keys. The Glow adds individually lit keys and the MK Pro (MSRP $149.99) has the bling and whistles. It adds an additional processor and per key lighting. This allows you to customize the key bindings to light up your key map for each different game you play or software you use. It also features Audio I/O ports and 2 USB ports. The Ryos will be available in the first quarter of 2013.
ROCCAT’s Power-Grid is available currently in beta on iOS and Android. With the software installed on your PC and the App on your smartphone, you can basically use the phone as a wifi remote for your PC, and frankly, it looks amazing. It is actually a suite of tools. Four default tabs come with the Power-Grid. The Incoming Center tracks your communication. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email and even your preferred RSS feeds. The System Stats tracks your computer system. Are you over-clocking? You can set it to keep track of CPU and memory usage, system heat, etc. Sound Control gives you access to your system audio and you will also be able to access your choice of media player. The last screen is the News Center which will provide a bunch of curated feeds. Yes, they even were kind enough to show it with MMORPG.com.
But that’s not all. You can set up “grids” of icons which can represent macros for other software. Games, Photoshop, Word, you name it. I was able to see a Skyrim “grid” as well as a League of Legends “grid” and created on the fly, a “favorite” grid of icons. The app is surprisingly versatile and responsive. Every tap on the iPhone was an immediate response on screen. Very simply, everything you can do on your PC with keyboard can be placed in a button macro and then that button dragged onto the phone. Currently, they plan to launch on PC and although it works on iOS for the iPhone/iPod – there aren’t plans to put it on MAC.
ROCCAT expects that developers will release their own custom “grids” for download and gamers will share and exchange grids with their friends. Devs can even add features to track kills, mission times, etc. The best thing about the ROCCAT Power-Grid? It’s free. If you already own ROCCAT peripherals and use ROCCAT Talk, you will be able to use Power-Grid as an interface to do things like change mouse sensitivity or colors on the fly. Once approved by Apple, ROCCAT’s Power-Grid will be available on iTunes. The Android version is currently in beta.