Review: Roccat Kone, Kave and Isku Gaming Accessories.

Isku Gaming Keyboard


We’ve seen a lot of keyboards on our desk - big, small, simplistic and complex. Roccat’s Isku keyboard falls into the bigger and more complex. But don’t fret, it’s not a bad thing. Actually, it’s a good thing in our opinion.

Upon first unwrapping the Isku, we noticed that it was large. The footprint of the Isku is easily one of the largest of any gaming keyboard we’ve tested. Most of the heft comes from the built-in wrist pad/guard. Many keyboards include a separate wrist guard piece that can be clipped on. Roccat, instead removed the choice and simply made it all one big mold. We don’t have any issues with the built-in wrist guard and therefore actually like it’s larger size.

Sadly, much like the Kone[+]‘s lack of braided cabling, Roccat once again left out the higher-end, higher quality option from the Isku. It’s nothing that affects gameplay, really, but in the end that added little touch is missing. Overall, we feel Roccat should have just gone the extra 1/4 mile.

Moving on, gamers of the night will be pleased to know the Isku is packed with full-key backlighting meaning no guess work in the dark. We get some manufacturers’ decisions to go with partial backlighting on the more commonly used gaming keys, but we want to use a keyboard in more than just one scenario. We don’t like switching keyboards for the task at hand. Partial backlighting makes that mandatory as typing on a non-backlit keyboard in the dark is all but impossible. Kudos to Roccat for that.

Key layout is the usual QWERTY layout with one exception — the CAPS LOCK key is replaced with a [+] key for switching to a second tier of macros thereby doubling the allowable macros available at any one time. Along the far left side of the keyboard are 5 special macro keys that can be configured to whatever your heart desires.

Design aside, people who love to tweak button layouts and configure umpteen macros will feel right at home with the Isku. Seriously, this keyboard is packed to the gills in terms of macro creation/functionality. For starters, the Isku supports 5 separate profiles for various scenarios. What’s unique with the Isku in regards to key layout are three additional “Thumbster” keys located roughly ~1-inch below the spacebar. They too can be configured for any function/macro your heart desires. By default, the Thumbster keys are set to toggle between key profiles.

Up top you’ll find media keys (volume up/down, play/pause/advance/previous, etc). Finally, the right side of the Isku features you normal arrow keys and number pad.

Software


As we touched on above, the software for the Isku is pretty complex. A small learning curve is necessary to fully harness the power that Roccat built into the Isku’s driver. But, once you wrap your head around all of the options Roccat provides, your gaming session will be so much more enveloping and custom tailored to you. In FPS the breadth of options might be overkill. Though, we can certainly see gamers of MMORPGs and other similar style games which require 1-2 dozen macros and keyboard shortcuts loving the Isku.

The Isku software is nearly identical to the Kone[+]‘s with tabs for: Main Control, EasyZone Control, Media/F-Keys, Advanced Control and its own update/support tab. The Main Control tab controls key assignments for your special M1-M5 macro keys along the left, Thumbster keys underneath the spacebar, and EasyShift[+] key. EasyZone houses the main gaming key cluster (1-5 | G-T | A-G | Z-B). Media and F-Key controls are handled in the corresponding tab while advanced controls such as key illumination, sound feedback, character repeat settings and the ability to enable/disable various keys.

A Great Keyboard

The larger than life footprint and built-in wrist pad may not be everyone’s favorite, but we feel the slick looks and incredibly detailed software make Roccat’s Isku gaming keyboard worthy of the upper echelon of gaming keyboards. That said, if it is a more mechanical feel that you’re after, look elsewhere. Roccat does not currently make any mechanical gaming keyboards (we hope that changes though).

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 9/10

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