Roccat Isku FX Gaming Keyboard Review
Ben Sheene / Jul 7th, 2014 No Comments
With only 10 fingers, gamers need to make the most out of what they have. Any good peripheral needs to be user friendly and maximize efficiency without being cumbersome. For PC gamers, a quality keyboard is essential; after all, five of those fingers are usually wrapped around a mouse. The Roccat Isku FX gaming keyboard aims to give PC gamers ultimate control. There are tons of customization options, but gamers may think the keyboard is more style than substance.
First impressions on a piece of hardware are crucial. Most PC gamers experience space issues trying to puzzle together a desk filled with a monitor, mouse, keyboard and all other manner of mess. The Isku FX isn’t bulky, too heavy or in any way an eyesore. Decorating hardware with too much branding is a common trap that many hardware companies fall into. Against the black plastic of the keyboard, silver lettering unaggressively decorates two parts of the keyboard. The Roccat logo is etched on the comfortable wrist rest in a centralized location. It’s a necessary touch but doesn’t take away from the keyboard’s overall aesthetic.
Capable of a wide range of colors, illuminated keys provide the Isku FX with some personality. The ability to change colors with selected profiles is also a bonus. Since the brightness can be adjusted, it’s never overbearing but can be hard to see in bright light.
The face of the Isku FX is built with care. Macro keys are placed in the traditional location at the left edge. The sparingly used multimedia keys (volume control, playback, etc) are located at the upper side but unfortunately lack illumination. Three “Thumbster” buttons located below the spacebar are quite practical and functional. The back of the keyboard contains one unique treat with the cable channels. Users can rope the Isku FX’s cable under the keyboard rather than have them tangled around their desk. In terms of cable quality, a braided cable would have been preferred on this model.
The biggest issue with the keyboard’s design is that it is a membrane keyboard rather than a mechanical one. While this can be a matter of personal preference, the feedback and physical “click” experienced with a mechanical keyboard is not present. However, others might be overjoyed by the lack of constant clacking.
Getting macro keys right separates good gaming keyboards from great ones. Roccat could have settled for the basic five macro keys and crafted a decent keyboard. While the Isku FX’s software can handle the job of assigning macros, the coolest part is pressing the record button right above F3 and assigning keystrokes to a macro button. This “Macro Live!” tech is a smart way to implement on the fly techniques during games or just experiment with what works best.
Thumbster keys allow for fast switching between profiles so players can change preferred layouts between games. The Isku FX also includes Easy-Shift[+]. Located where most keyboards have the Caps Lock key, Easy-Shift[+] turns the WASD zone of the keyboard into a hotbed of macros. In this case, activating a macro is almost like typing an uppercase letter. For those with good memorization, Easy-Shift[+] is a great feature to use. In terms of using it during the heat of a busy match or when the action gets frantic in a game, it’s easier said than done. Regardless, the sheer amount of options for macros is an impressive selling feature for the Isku FX.
[adsense250itp]Like other Roccat products, the Isku FX boasts achievements for players to unlock. After installing the software, achievements can be unlocked after reaching certain typing and gaming milestones. Keystrokes and more can unlock a nice digital high-five. Sure, it might not really mean that much but Roccat recognizes the trend and applies it to their hardware.
The Isku FX also implements another Roccat feature with Roccat Talk. With Roccat Talk, players can have the keyboard and mouse combo “talk” to each other. Macros, Easy-Shit[+] options and even illumination can be activated with this feature. It’s certainly cool when it works but doesn’t always feel practical. More than anything, it’s a selling point to entice a purchase of two Roccat Talk enabled devices.
Gamers interested in a solution to their keyboard needs should be impressed by the amount of features packed into the Isku FX. Whether through sheer amount of options or the ability to record, the keyboard does macros right. This essential tool should make all PC gamers consider the keyboard.
For a suggested price of around $100, the Isku FX is on the expensive side, especially when compared to mechanical keyboards. But a quick search will reveal the keyboard selling at cheaper prices. If you are a die-hard FPS player or a pro at MOBAs, the Isku FX will have some features to make you notice it.
tags: gaming keyboard , hardware , isku fx review , review , roccat , Roccat Isku FX