ROCCAT Isku FX Multicolor Gaming Keyboard ReviewWaco - June 5, 2013
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ROCCAT Isku FX Multicolor Gaming Keyboard Closer Look:
Congratulations! You have made it to page two of the review! If you're looking for the conclusion and just happened to mis-click, just scroll to the bottom and try again. If you actually want to take a look at the ROCCAT Isku FX in depth, keep reading. Freed from its packaging, the Isku FX is actually quite attractive, if not somewhat larger than I expected. The palm rest is long enough that it should be fairly comfortable to type on for long periods of time and aside from the ROCCAT branding and model name and features plastered in various places, I like the overall look (I generally abhor branding and features on a product…once I've bought it, why do I need to be reminded?).
The first thing you'll notice that's a bit out of the norm on the Isku FX is the trio of buttons underneath the space bar. These buttons, dubbed the "Thumbster keys" by ROCCAT, allow you to perform nearly any function you assign that the keyboard is capable of performing. By default, the left and right keys cycle through the five keyboard profiles indicated by the five bright blue LEDs on the top left corner of the keyboard. The numpad, on the other hand, is relatively standard-fare and has no unusual features or surprises. Note here that the inclusion of the full numpad and the inclusion of the five macro keys on the left side of the Isku FX do not exactly contribute to keeping the form factor anywhere near the "small" category. The Isku FX is quite large and is roughly the same size as a CM Storm Trigger, if not a little larger.
Up near the top of the numpad is the usual bank of indicators that let you know whether you have num lock, caps lock, or scroll lock enabled. The ROCCAT TALK logo dominates the area at the top-right of the keyboard and I have to say I wish ROCCAT had just left it blank. The lighting control button is here as well, but as you'll see later, it's more of a token button than anything functional. Moving over to the center of the keyboard, you can see the various multimedia buttons that thankfully work with zero software. I do have to note that these keys are not backlit in any way and are somewhat hard to read at first glance. After using the keyboard for a while, these keys are easy to hit with fairly good accuracy, but the initial learning curve is steeper than I'd like since they are somewhat hard to read. The top-left of the Isku FX contains the indicators for the currently active profile, the macro recording light, and the macro record button.
Flipping the ROCCAT Isku FX onto its back revealed a few neat features. The feet on each corner of the keyboard are the usual fare, but the cord routing is not. The cable for the Isku FX isn't detachable but it is routable in nearly any way you can imagine with the multitude of grooves pre-formed into the base of the keyboard. There's even the provisions in place to route the cable right up to the front of the keyboard if you so desire (I do not). If your desk can fit the Isku FX, the Isku FX can fit your desk in terms of wiring.
The end of the cord reveals the familiar comfort that is a USB 2.0 cable. The cable is labeled to avoid any back-panel confusion that is so common with nameless USB connections. Moving back up to the indicator area reveals a bit of a surprise, as well as a bit of a disappointment. The indicator LEDs, for lack of a better description, are blindingly bright. On top of that, the indicator panel seems to be entirely translucent, which means the indicators aren't quite so bright off-axis but will light up your ceiling with no trouble.
I apologize in advance for the next five pictures; the Isku FX isn't bright by any definition of the word and I had to shut off seven of the lights in our photo room to get the key color to show up somewhat decently. While the lighting isn't extremely bright, it does offer the full 8-bit RGB color space for each LED color (red, green, and blue) to allow for virtually any color you can imagine. The first photo showcases Clemson Orange (or as close as I could get to it), the second is full blue, the third is full green, the fourth is full white, and the last is full red. Again these aren't crazy bright even at full brightness, so I can't imagine a scenario where you'd actually use the lighting level button I mentioned earlier. I ran the lighting at full brightness during all my testing just to make it visible in a well-lit room.