ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Review

mrwooshoo - 2013-11-03 14:43:36 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: mrwooshoo   
Reviewed on: December 2, 2013
Price: $139.99

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Introduction:

ROCCAT has always been successful in the gaming industry with the trusty mice and keyboards it turns out. In this day and age however, there are tons of companies releasing multiple variations of mechanical keyboards, and ROCCAT wanted to get involved, too. It wanted to compete with companies that have been producing mechanical keyboards for years; how was ROCCAT going to handle this challenging situation? By bursting onto the scene with the MK line. The most recent of these is the Ryos MK Glow Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It is one of three mechanical gaming keyboards in ROCCAT's Ryos arsenal and falls in the middle, between the Ryos MK and the Ryos MK Pro.

The MK is almost identical to the MK Glow, with the only difference being the lack of "Glow". The MK Pro, however, has a media hub with two USB 2.0 ports, audio input and output, a second 32-bit ARM Cortex processor, and comes with your choice of mechanical keyswitches. The MK Glow and the MK both come standard with Cherry MX Black. All three are ROCCAT's entries into the mechanical keyboard market.  ROCCAT has some fairly interesting and, hopefully, refreshing ideas on macro key setup involving the Easy-Shift[+] key. This little key has the potential to open up the whole keyboard for mapping macros, but I will cover that later. So far, this keyboard shows a lot of promise. Let's see if it lives up to my expectations.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Closer Look:

The box that the MK Glow comes in is actually rather simple in design, but rather cluttered in content (features, features, features!!!). The front has a black and blue color scheme with a little bit of chrome thrown in, and no real significant designs (like I said, simple). The main focuses of the front are the slightly scaled down replica of of the keyboard from a top down view and the model of the keyboard in the top left corner accompanied by the ROCCAT insignia. Other than that, there are a ton of features listed on the front of the box. Too many, in my opinion, and some of them are even repeated in multiple locations. The features on the front of the box are in two locations: in the top right corner and from top to bottom on the left hand side. Features mentioned on the left are the: Powerful 100+ LED Key-Illumination, Extreme Customization Fully Re-Mappable, N-Key Rollover for Advanced Anti-Ghosting, Complete with Industry-Leading Cherry Switches, and Record and Store on Board over 500+ Macros, (In smaller chrome and white print) Advanced ROCCAT Driver Macro Presets for Games & Apps, and ROCCAT Achievements Display Tracking Your Gaming Skills.

Just below this, running across the bottom left, are four other pieces of information: ROCCAT Talk, Featuring R.A.D., [MMO Approved], and [FPS Approved]. The features listed on top right of the box are: three Thumbster Extra Keys, six Brightness levels, Anit-Ghosting Capability, 1000Hz Polling Rate, ROCCAT EasyShift[+], and ROCCAT Talk Set Bonus. Additionally there are little markers on the picture of the keyboard listing some of the physical features such as: Media & Hotkeys, 1.8M Cable, Micro-Dotted Anit-Smudge Surface, five Macro Keys, Thumbster Keys, and Extra-Large Ergonomic Wrist Rest.

Before I forget, the bottom right corner of the box is dedicated to the Black (medium) Cherry MX Key Switches. What I learned after taking in all of the listed features on the front of the box was that ROCCAT's box designers are very fond of hyphens and love to dish out tons of information. I mentioned repetition earlier and what I was referring to was the: ROCCAT Talk, Thumbster Keys, and the Anti-Ghosting. I think listing each feature is okay, a little exhaustive, but okay. However, I think just once is enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of the box goes on to list all of the features, again, as well as a few additions, like the 32-bit ARM cortex processor with 2MB flash memory... wait, what? (Honestly, that should have been on the front!) Anyway, to return to my previous train of thought, the back of the box also lists the technical specifications, the system requirements, and the contents. There isn’t much on the sides at all, just shots of the keyboard at different angles.

 

After opening the box you will find... another box. This one is completely unadorned and black with the ROCCAT insignia on the center. Opening this box shows off the keyboard itself behind an acrylic shell; underneath which is the quick installation guide. I am also making a note of the slight bit of damage on the lower part of the box, though I am unsure if this was caused by packing or shipping. Finally, we get to the main attraction.

 

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Closer Look:

The keyboard itself seems very wide considering it only has five macro keys on the side. It has a pretty standard key layout, the INS, Home, Pageup, Pagedown, DEL, and END keys are oriented horizontally rather than vertically like the rest of the keyboards I have. One thing that sets this keyboard apart from others is the large, solid palm rest. This monster of a palm rest isn't even removable, so be prepared to make room. The solid feel that the palm rest gives is something I personally prefer to the removable ones. The backdrop to the keys is the micro-dotted, anti-smudge surface that leads to a polished frame. I think this adds to the edgy, angular look that the keyboard seems to be going for. The whole look is wrapped up with the ROCCAT name and insignia written boldly on the bottom edge of the palm rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The back of the keyboard is unadorned, like the back of most keyboards (all of the ones I have seen anyway). However, the wire routing system is very versatile. The 1.8m USB cable can be run to the left, right, right and left, up, or down configurations, so, if for some odd reason your computer is stored behind you, there is still a way to rout your cable in its direction. Other than the cable routing, there are just the rubber feet, which are gigantic. There is even an extra rubber grip that runs almost the entire length of the board. These should keep your keyboard grounded through an earthquake of gaming. The keyboard is at a very generous angle already, in my opinion, but it does have risers that are also rubber tipped. The cable for the keyboard is not braided or removable. I don't see this as a particular problem, but others may disagree. 


 

 


Other than the five macro keys on the side, and the three thumbster keys, there are no keys that aren't on any regular keyboard. All of the features on this board are accessible through the “function” key or the Easyshift[+] key. The Easyshift[+] key is essentially like the “function” key, but works for any re-mapped keys that the user comes up with. This key is located where the “caps-lock” is supposed to be on a typical keyboard (don't worry, this can be set as the regular caps lock in the driver program from the ROCCAT site). The “function” key is probably the most important key on this keyboard. With it, and the F12 key, you can map any combination of keys to the thumbster or macro keys at any time. By that, I mean that whole words or shift+commands can be mapped to single keys. You can sort through the profiles you have mapped using the thumbster keys at their default settings. T1 and T3 allow for sorting through the profiles, and T2 is a shortcut to open the driver software. These keys can also be remapped if you don't like the settings like this.

The “function” key also does the usual media controls, like fast-forward, play, volume, and mute, by utilizing the F1-8 keys. The F9 and 10 keys with the “function” key open My Computer and Google search, while the F11 + “function” key changes the brightness setting on the keys. I do wish that there were standalone media keys, and other function keys, but with a completely illuminated keyboard and a 32-bit ARM cortex processor it seems like some other bells and whistles had to be left behind. Speaking of the “caps-lock” key and the Easyshift[+] key, the indicators for the “number-lock” and the “caps-lock” are located above the arrow keys.

 

 

 

Underneath each one of the keys is a Black Cherry MX Key switch. These are medium resistance switches and are a very good choice for this keyboard. I believe this to be a good choice because this model doesn't come with any other switches, and picking the medium was probably the best option. I like the Black in particular because of the response. If there was any more resistance or any less I would be just a bit unhappy, but these are perfect. This is very much my opinion of the switches and will most certainly be different for other users.

 

The rest of the pictures are just to display the keyboard, its different angles, and what it looks like with the LEDs on. So, enjoy!

 

 

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Closer Look:

The software that ROCCAT provides for the Ryos series is a little tedious. With a little push in the right direction (like a tutorial), the software would be great. However, without any sort of direction, I think the software falls a bit short of amazing. The actual interface is very well put together, in my opinion. There is one window that has four tabs at the top; one each for Main Control, Key Assignment, ROCCAT R.A.D., and Update/Support. At the bottom of the window are five gaming profiles that are anchored throughout all of the tabs so you are always aware of what profile you are on.

The customization starts on the Main Control tab. The first box on the left lets you decide whether or not to activate the Easy-Shift[+] key. The next box down lets you place the Windows Start menu key on either side of the spacebar (i.e. switch the “fn” key with the Windows Start menu key).  The next box below is for disabling keys in Windows for gaming. And the last box on the left is for character repeat settings. The box on the top right is for the brightness of the keys, followed by the box that tells the keys to dim after a certain amount of time passes. The box below the key illumination boxes is for configuring sound feedback. This funny little thing tells you when you are switching between profiles, recording macros, or if you have unlocked a ROCCAT achievement trophy. The way it informs you of these actions is not with a simple alert noise but a very loud, specific, and overly dramatic voice. It is kind of epic and kind of silly at the same time. Finally, the last box on the page, at the bottom right, is for resetting the driver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is the Key Assignment tab. This tab is for assigning keys, of course. There is a virtual keyboard that you can select keys from with the mouse. Once your key is selected, you can change the primary and secondary function of the key. The Easy-Shift[+] must be used to access the secondary key functions. Here is where the difficulty begins. You can select key functions with the drop down menus on the left of the keyboard. There are a good number of games that the keyboard comes prepared to assign functions for. These have predesignated actions in game that are easy to select and assign.

However, making your own macro is harder. First, you have to select Macro Manager and then select a game from the same list supplied earlier. Next, you change what keys correlate to what action by activating the record function in the program and then typing the combination desired. Okay, but what about making a key assignment for a new game? Well, I was able to enter a new game name and create an action, but I am as of right now unsure of how to apply that new function to the game in question. Other than this little conundrum, you can reassign all of the letter keys to other letter keys for primary functions and assign anything to the secondary functions. Always, at the bottom of the page, are the Game Profiles, and once you are done mapping keys and such, simply click on “save profile”. Now there are only five selectable profiles, however, any number of configurations can be made (select “create profile”) and then assigned to a profile. It seems as if the boasting of 500+ macros that ROCCAT has been doing proves true (amazing, right?).

 

The third tab is for ROCCAT's trophy page. Trophies unlock after a certain number of key hits. Finally, the last tab is the Update/Support tab. This is for downloading driver updates and accessing online support quickly. The firmware automatically updates when the driver program runs; it should tell you to disconnect and reconnect after the firmware updates. Gosh that was a lot to cover, but in the end well worth it. The program allows for a completely absurd amount of customization and places gaming in the hands of the user. When I started trying to use the software I was very disappointed. Now that I understand how to use it, I am very impressed.

 

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Specifications:

Color
Black
Interface
USB
Key Switches
Mechanical
Anti-Ghosting Keys
113
On-Board Memory Size
2MB
NO. Gaming Profiles
5
NO. Macro Keys
5
NO. of Thumbster Keys
3
Polling Rate
1000 Hz
Response Time
1 ms
Back-light
Blue
Wrist Rest
Yes, attached
Weight
3.5lbs
Multimedia Keys
12
On-Board USB Ports
None
Keystroke Lifecycle
50 million strokes
Cable Length
1.8m
Dimensions (L x W)
50.8cm x 23.4cm

 

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Features:

 

 

 

 

Information provided by: http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Keyboards/ROCCAT-Ryos-MK-Glow/#crb_2

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Testing:

The ROCCAT MK Glow was put through a week of testing. The testing included daily use, web surfing, gaming, and programming. After the week was through I had a good idea of what I liked and disliked about the keyboard. This is the limit, unfortunately, of what I can tell you. Because keyboards are so different and customizable these days, everyone under the sun is going to have a different opinion of what they like and what they dislike. Take for instance the color of the LED's. This keyboard only comes in blue. I personally know someone who hates blue at their computer desk and instead prefers red. I am quite taken with the blue, however, and I have always had blue in mind as the color scheme of my desktop setup. So with that in mind, here is what I liked and disliked about the keyboard.

Testing Setup:

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Results:

Now the first thing that I will mention is that the Cherry MX Black switches that lie underneath every key can be used in two different manners. The first one is the “click clack” method. The keys have a light enough resistance that consistently compressing them all the way down to the base of the keyboard is fairly easy and tireless. The other manner in which to use them is the “hover hand” method. The keys on the keyboard register at about a half to a quarter of the way through the keystrokes, and if you type in the “proper” manner (so says my other half), without letting your fingers rise very far off the keyboard, this is fairly easy to discern. Once in awhile I can get into a groove and float across the keys at the distance the they need to be pressed; it becomes much easier to speed up my typing and the noise produced is greatly reduced. 

Everyday Use:

As far as daily use goes, I find the keyboard nearly perfect. If not for the fact that I am still unused to the key spacing and the depth to which the keys compress, it would undoubtedly BE perfect in my eyes. Surfing the web was easy and I made quick use of the F10/www key, which automatically homed in to Google on my default web browser. Because the keyboard layout is so normal, I found it easy to find everything I needed. One major thing that can obstruct all users is too high of a brightness setting on the keyboard. Now, this is completely within my control, I just thought I would mention that max brightness literally makes this keyboard unusable for long periods of time. This is probably a personal problem, but nevertheless, you have been warned.

Working:

Regular typing for essays and such is like a dream. The keys are very smooth and I can flow through sentences and essays unhindered. Programming on it is just as good as typing and can be augmented to help more in some cases. For instance, if I wanted about a sentence long piece of code to be written into different locations on a page to see where it would be most effective, I could map it to a macro with the F12/REC key and then simply hit a single key for that entire line of code. This was very interesting to experiment with and may not be useful for regular users, but I thought it was really cool.

Gaming:

The main reason to purchase a keyboard of this magnitude would have to be gaming. The result: awesome, not perfect, but certainly different in a very good way. The thumbster keys are a great innovation in my short fingered opinion. I can never easily reach the macro keys on keyboards, so having some closer keys is truly a gift. The profile swapping can get in the way of utilizing the thumbster keys if you leave them as the profile keys. However, for games that have tons of different single key hot keys (like RTS games), the ability to remap the standard keys to other keys is invaluable. Then, there comes the power of the Easy-Shift[+] key; literally doubling your options and freeing regular keys from the standard configuration. This is especially useful for me in first or third-person games that toggle anything. There may be many keyboards that have more macro keys, but there is currently only three that can utilize the Easy-Shift[+], which opens up around 100 macros per profile!

There is also ROCCAT Talk, which can connect the keyboard to a mouse by ROCCAT that is compatible. I can’t test this function because I have no such mouse, but it is supposed to allow for even more key assigning and profile changing fun.
 

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Conclusion:

The Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Mechanical Gaming from ROCCAT was awesome, though it took me till the very end to finally figure that out. I liked nearly every aspect of this keyboard, from the Black key switches, to the blue color scheme, to the slightly overly complicated software. For pure gaming, this keyboard is sublime. The possibilities for customization are awe inspiring. Certain users will dislike the small number of standalone macros, but for those who are adventurous enough, there are more macros than ever before. It does require some extra space because of the solid, integrated wrist rest and extra mysterious width, but that is a total afterthought compared to making games play almost any way you want. Having every key light up and having your very own overly dramatic man voice tell you how to quick record keys is just a bonus.

For the price range there should probably be audio or USB ports, but we can't always get what we want. Now, in the end, this is the opinion of a single person and there are undoubtedly people who will disagree; to them I say “to each their own”. There are tons of keyboards on the market and I hope that there is one out there to meet your needs, and if you have a need for extras the MK Pro has both audio and USB ports as well as a second 32-bit processor that allows for some other goodies. For those who do like the setup of this keyboard, and are only interested in gaming, there is no substitute.

Pros:

Cons: