Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro review: an atypical and successful optical-mechanical keyboard

If you regularly read our keyboard reviews, you know that TKL keyboards (no number pad) take up less desk space, offer better ergonomics, and allow the mouse to freely make large hand movements, which is very useful for competitive gamers in particular; this in exchange for versatility in office use.

The Vulcan TKL Pro has overall dimensions of 36 x 13.3cm and despite its advertised “low profile” design, its height remains substantial (3.4cm). While a palm rest comes with the Vulcan Pro version, TKL does not.

Transparent switches are clearly visible.

Transparent switches are clearly visible.

These are actually the keys key caps in English slang) which are particularly thin, but not bottom-mounted switches, resulting in a fairly classic key height. This gives the keyboard a distinct aesthetic as the switches and their LEDs are visible. Everyone will appreciate this design or not, but the finish is impeccable anyway, although the keys are in classic ABS rather than PBT, but are more durable and more “professional”. All of this rests on a brushed aluminum plate, giving the keyboard good rigidity and a premium look. However, be careful, this design with keys that do not cover the switches does not protect them well. They paid the bill during our test too, with a nice keyboard shower by the key…

The lower part of the case is also made of plastic, decorated with six non-slip rubber pads. If necessary, two legs can be extended to raise the keyboard. Finally, the braided USB-C cable that connects the keyboard to the PC connects at the back. It is removable, which is handy in case of connection problems or wear and tear over time.



USB-C cable on the back.


Under the keyboard.

Other than the F9-F12 keys, which combine multimedia shortcuts, the other “F” functions are left blank and can be assigned shortcuts in the Roccat Swarm software. We note the presence in the upper right corner of a very practical everyday wheel that allows you to adjust the PC volume, and a small button that is simply used to mute the sound. Shortcuts located at the level of the arrow keys allow you to control the brightness of the backlight in 5 levels or turn it off completely by pressing “Fn + CTRL”.

Multimedia keys and functions F.

Multimedia keys and functions F.

As with many Roccat keyboards, some keys are Easy-Shift compatible.[+] and offer a second function by activating the game mode in the upper right corner of the keyboard and holding the corresponding key (Caps Lock). While not easy to understand at first, this tool allows you to go much further in customizing shortcuts and macros, which may be interesting for some players. All of this is, of course, configurable in the Roccat Swarm software.

Roccat Swarm software.

Roccat Swarm software.

The latter also offers control over all RGB backlight settings, changeable key by key in this model. You can also apply a solid color for more restraint or a range of lighting effects.

In this Pro model, Roccat decided to install its own optical switches called Titan, which are even faster than mechanical ones. The process is different because the key is activated when the switch element passes in front of the light beam, whereas conventional mechanical switches are activated when two physical elements come into contact.

Red optical keyboard switches.

Red optical keyboard switches.

Optical versions are not only faster, but also have the advantage that they don’t need to be soldered to the keyboard PCB and are much more durable: the switches here are guaranteed for 100 million activations versus 50 million usually. Their actuation travel is 3.5mm, with a 1.4mm actuation point and 45g of force, slightly faster than the mechanical version of the “regular” red switches (2mm for 45g).

Typing is accurate and responsive.

Typing is accurate and responsive.

Typing is in any case very fast and accurate, especially since the keys have a curved shape that fits the fingers perfectly. Therefore, it is obvious that it is suitable for use games, and it is less noisy than many mechanical models. On the other hand, the aluminum plate results in quite noticeable chassis resonance, which is often the case with this type of keyboard.

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