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Roccat Isku Gaming Keyboard

When was the last time you ventured to your local PC store to take a look at the keyboards they have to offer? I have and it is an adventure within itself. The shelves were filled with numerous choices there had to be at least forty keyboards to decide from. Basic, media, wireless, wired, mini, mechanical and gaming keyboard were part of the selection. Chances are many of you enter the store with what you want already in mind especially when it comes to gaming keyboards. And if your mind is open and want to take a look at a really killer keyboard you may want to walk yourself over to the Roccat Isku. You may walk out with one.

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When was the last time you ventured to your local PC store to take a look at the keyboards they have to offer? I have and it is an adventure within itself. The shelves were filled with numerous choices there had to be at least forty keyboards to decide from. Basic, media, wireless, wired, mini, mechanical and gaming keyboard were part of the selection. Chances are many of you enter the store with what you want already in mind especially when it comes to gaming keyboards. And if your mind is open and want to take a look at a really killer keyboard you may want to walk yourself over to the Roccat Isku. You may walk out with one.

 

Introduction to the Roccat Isku Gaming Keyboard

When was the last time you ventured to your local PC store to take a look at the keyboards they have to offer? I have and it is an adventure within itself. The shelves were filled with numerous choices there had to be at least forty keyboards to decide from. Basic, media, wireless, wired, mini, mechanical and gaming keyboard were part of the selection. Chances are many of you enter the store with what you want already in mind especially when it comes to gaming keyboards. And if your mind is open and want to take a look at a really killer keyboard you may want to walk yourself over to the Roccat Isku. You may walk out with one.

Roccat’s take on the Isku

The Isku is the only keyboard in the world to feature our groundbreaking Easy-Shift[+]™ technology, which offers you the wonder of 36 easily-customizable macros strategically positioned in 3 spots in the easy-to-find WASD zone. This means you can fire off orders without ever having to re-adjust your hand position – so you won’t have to take your eyes off the screen to look for keys. Simple and ingenious.

And because the Easy-Shift[+]™ key works just like the standard shift key, activating your macros is as simple as typing an uppercase letter.

The Easy-Shift[+]™ zone gives you an impressive 28 macros keys – including 8 dedicated keys that can be doubly programmed. Plus, the ability to instantly switch between 5 profiles lets you enjoy up to a whopping 180 macros – enough customization to meet even the most demanding warrior’s needs.

Specifications

  • Illuminated keyboard with 123 keys
  • Enhanced anti-ghosting capability
  • 3 programmable Thumbster Keys (T1-T3)
  • 5 programmable Macro Keys (M1-M5)
  • 20 additional Macro Keys (Easy Zone)
  • 5 Profile-Status LEDs
  • 3 Status LEDs (Caps Lock, Easy Shift[+]™, Num Lock)
  • 1000Hz polling rate, 1ms response time
  • 2m USB cable
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Features

  • BLUE KEY ILLUMINATION
    with 6 brightness levels
  • 3 Easy Shift[+]™ Zones
    for easy key duplication
  • 36 easy-to-reach Macro Keys
    including 3 Thumbster keys
  • Macro Live! Recording
    with dedicated M-Rec button; 180+ macros in 5 profiles
  • 8 CONFIGURABLE MEDIA & HOTKEYS
    25+ assignable functions
  • Medium-height keys
    with an optimum keystroke & pressure point;
    advanced anti-ghosting; 1000Hz polling rate
  • ROCCAT™ DRIVER + MACRO MANAGER
    incl. Sound Feedback; Macro Presets for games,
    multimedia and office apps
  • Extra-large GRANULAR wrist rest
    with special surface texture
  • Integrated cable channels
    for better device organization
  • Non-slip base
    with lock-on keyboard feet
  • Ultra-fast profile switching
    5 Profile-Status LEDs
  • ROCCAT™ TALK© – SET BONUS
    by combining products

Closer look

Technically, the Isku is filled with more features then we have time to go over. But physically, it has one of the best looks we have ever seen. The keyboard arrives in a black and blue theme that Roccat shares across many of their gaming items including mice. Dressed in black with blue lettering and back lighting the keyboard is the definition of gaming. The Isku is a fairly large keyboard measuring 9.9” high and 20” long.

The Isku was designed to be the best for gaming and in order to try to reach this goal was the replacement of the keys and their many functions and its ability to communicate with other Roccat products like the Kone Plus gaming mouse (review coming).

One unique feature we saw with the Isku is the Easy Shift [+]. Simply pressing this button on the Isku will tell the Kone [+] mouse to select a particular macro. This eliminates the need of pressing the macros changing button on the mouse. One less step needed when fragging for your life. Along with the Roccat Talk you can execute mouse macros right from the keyboard. These two features once mastered can give you one real advantage when gaming.

The Easy Shift [+] feature and all the keys in which it uses are all located right at your fingertips around the WASD keyboards. The twenty-eight keys are placed there as most of the gaming commands come from these four keys. The macros keys are assigned using the included software which we will talk about later. The twenty-eight keys allows for up to thirty-six possible macro combinations.

Three of the macro keys are located right under the spacebar so you thumbs can also get into the across. So, not only can your thumbs can be used for more than just jumping in a FPS but maybe to execute a quick and simple command like engulfing one of your health portions in a RPG.

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The Isku does come with a typical numeral keypad for those that will use their keyboard for more than just gaming. This is a feature that is common on all gaming keyboard but not many mechanical keyboards but as of lately more companies are offering keypads on their mechanical boards.

The REC button that sits at the top of the keyboard does something we have never seen in our lab. It will allow the user to record a series of strokes while in a game. So from that point on commonly used action can be executed from one key.  The LEDs to the left of the REC button tells the user just what profile level they are currently in.

In order to keep the user from using their own muscles to keep their wrist and hands at the popular typing position, Roccat integrated a rubberized wrist rest in the Isku. The rest is what gives the keyboard its rather large surface area.

There are also the media keys what many of us cannot live without. They are pretty standard keys which allow you to control the function of a media player as well as the sound levels of your speakers. There are even two keys that will open your web browser and Windows Explorer.

Flipping the keyboard over we see it uses four rubber feet to keep it from moving around and every direction.  Two flip levers are used to give the back of the keyboard additional height. We saw that cable management was possible as there are grooves placed in the bottom to run the cords of your keyboard as well as your mouse.

Testing

I am the first to tell you that I am not the best gamer in the world. I have friends that are currently playing Diablo 3 and have started and half way completed the Hell level and I am only half through the normal level. I die a lot. To take that in consideration while reading this section.

I currently have two video games loaded on my PC due to a total reinstall of Windows. There two games are Diablo 3 and Call of Duty: Modern War 3. The overall experience was great but it did take some getting used to as the Isku is a totally different beast than my Cooler Master Trigger mechanical keyboard.

The depth in which it took to make the key do what it supposed to was about the time between the two keyboards. The Isku did have less sound coming from it when using the same force I normally use when typing or beating on it while gaming.

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The true gamers out there will find that having the use of macros keys around the WASD keys are great and more useful than the five macros keys sitting off to the left of the keyboard. It was a more comfortable feeling pressing this keys in the event of gaming rage.

I personally but the thumb macros keys to use. In Diablo, I used them for the simplest of functions like keeping a health portion and passive defenses.

Software Screenshots


Main Control


Easyzone Control


Media Keys


Advance Controls


Driver/Firmware Updates


Basic Macro Editor

Conclusion

The Roccat Isku is one of the better gaming keyboards I have tested and I have tested several. The Isku offers levels of customization that is unheard of. The five macros keys on the side, the macros keys around the WASD keys and the thumb macros are more than enough to satisfy the most advanced gamers. The REC feature will allow the gamer to record macros once in a game and when it gets to point where you need or want a series of keys assigned to just one. And adding the macros abilities of the Isku you can control the macros of the Kone [+] mouse as well. Its gets no more customizable than the Isku.

The looks of the Isku definitely says ‘Gamer’. It’s not a look for everyone but a gamer but this is who the keyboard is targeted at. The all black look with blue backlighting looks cool. But on the highest brightness level is hard on the eyes in my case but on lower levels is more suitable. The keyboard is rather large and takes up a lot of territory on your desktop. And the fact that the wrist rest is not detachable is not helping it in this area.

General typing on the Isku isn’t going to blow you away as many think general typing on a gaming keyboard is not a pleasant one. For the chicken picking typist will not feel a difference. The more advance and faster typist may feel the mechanical keyboard is more suitable. But this is a gaming keyboard and it is great at that. Except for the distance of the macros keys on the side.  

The Roccat Isku is a bargain compared to some keyboards. The prices online begin at $90.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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