ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO Review
Over the last couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of using Roccat’s Vulcan 120 AIMO RGB mechanical gaming keyboard to see if this slick, futuristic-looking, German designed keyboard is worthy of your money?
At first glance, looking at the Vulcan 120 sitting in the box provided nothing more than a simple, modern, somewhat conservative approach to a premium keyboard. I instantly pictured the Vulcan 120 on an office desk rather than a hardcore gaming setup. But as soon as I took a closer look at the Vulcan 120 my opinion started to change. Instead of the cheap, plastic plating seen on most keyboards, Roccat has instead opted for a sleek aluminium plating that provides a touch of elegance and quality. Then as soon as you plug in the Vulcan 120 that is when it really shows its wild side, a side where you knew it belonged on the desk of a true gamer.
The RGB on the Vulcan 120 is phenomenal and probably the best I have ever seen on a keyboard. This is thanks to a couple of key factors- 1 being that each key is lit up by LEDs built into each switch that illuminates 16.8 million colours and is controlled by its software, Roccat Swarm. And number 2, the design of the keycaps is simply unique. Unlike traditional keycaps, the Vulcan 120 does not cover the entire switch, but rather only the top of the key is covered. This design may sound simple and rather unusual, but this is truly what allows the Vulcan 120 to shine like no other!
The keyboard also features embedded multimedia and RGB illumination controls located at the top right side of the keyboard. These controls consist of a dial knob with 3 buttons; The first is a mute button, for muting! The second being an FX button that can change the RGB effects on the fly with the dial doubling up to control the brightness along with volume control. It has the dimensions of 462mm x 235mm x 32mm, weighs 1150g, and is an exceptionally well-built peripheral.
On the back, there is a 1.8m braided USB cable with no cable routing options like I have seen on other premium keyboards. Along with this, there are two kickstand feet to help sit the keyboard up on an angle for your comfort preference. Unfortunately, the Vulcan 120 does not contain a USB passthrough that would have been a nice addition to see in a premium keyboard.
There are no dedicated macro keys on the Vulcan 120, but thankfully for any MMO or MOBA players out there, Roccat has included six dual-purpose programmable macro keys that can be programmed using the Roccat Swarm software.
It also comes with a magnetic wrist rest that is a nice addition and does compliment the design of the keyboard. However, it is made from plastic and could have benefited from using a padded material.
Enter Roccat’s very own Titan switches — These mechanical switches have an actuation point of 1.8mm and 3.6mm travel distance. They are similar to the Cherry MX Brown switches having a tactile feel whilst being light and fast and a pleasure to type on. These switches are the best all-rounder in my opinion with gaming or typing being no problem. They are not too loud or clicky but due to the unique design of the Vulcan 120’s keycap, could have been quieter if they covered all the switch. Of course, if Roccat did this then they would have killed some RGB effects and this would have been a crime in my opinion. The Vulcan 120 also features anti-ghosting, n-key rollover, a polling rate of 1000Hz, and Roccat stating that the electrical bounce time of the keys is reduced by 20%, compared to Cherry MX Switches, to 4ms.
The Titan switches are built in-house by Roccat and feature a reduced debounce and increased stability. Traditionally, when a key is pressed the switch tend to bounce on the electrical contact, cycling from on and off, but Roccat’s Titan switches utilise high-quality mechanical components that bring the physical bounce of the switch to an absolute minimum. The result of this is that the keystroke is recognised much earlier after its actuation in some cases 20% to 30% faster than other keyboards and feel fantastic to press.
I ran the Vulcan 120 through a variety of games such as CS:GO, VALORANT, Warzone, and Green Hell. I was impressed by its performance and response, and once I got used to the spacing of the keys, I was back to normal at the top of the table in VALORANT and being carried like always by NOVA 2’s in CS:GO. The spacing of the Vulcan 120’s keys is slightly further apart than some keyboard’s on the market, but never did I feel let down by the keyboard and it is a pleasure to game on.
Roccat Swarm and AIMO
Powering the stylish Vulcan 120 AIMO is Roccat’s own software, the Roccat Swarm. After initially downloading, installing and then updating the product’s firmware, Roccat Swarm is extremely easy to use. The software provides a lot of adjustable settings such as Macros, button remapping, Easy-Shift[+], and the ability to change sound feedback, if that’s your thing.
Easy-Shift[+] allows you to make any key into a programmable button, much like a “Function”, “CTRL” or “Alt” key on a keyboard. This feature allows you to map different commands and effectively doubles the number of functions of your keys.
Roccat AIMO is an intelligent lighting system that works through Swarm and reflects your in-game status using RGB illumination. Basically, the AI studies your actions in-game and then knows what you will do be you even know you will. The software then represents these actions on the keyboard with RGB lighting — I hear it even clicks before Dr Disrespect does!
ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO
- PERFORMANCE - 90%90%
- DESIGN - 95%95%
- QUALITY - 90%90%
- VALUE - 87%87%
Walking into this review I was a SteelSeries fanboy, but now I have a new peripheral that has kicked the gate wide open to challenge what I think is the best. The Roccat Vulcan 120 has shown the world why German engineering is amongst the best in the world. The Roccat Vulcan 120 does come with a premium price tag of $250 AUD, but its exquisite Titan mechanical switches, sleek aluminium plating, elegant modern design, and unique keycaps have made this keyboard the perfect option for any office or gamers lair, and a true top contender of best keyboards available in 2020.