I’m currently sat here staring at the screen thinking of what to type and my eye keeps getting caught. The blistering light of the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro draws my eye and keeps it there. The way its light reflects under the touch, the way it pulses when used — these are all very minor parts of using this keyboard that signal how expensive it is. That cost might not be worth it for some, but if you’re in the market, this is an incredibly appealing package.
Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro — How does it look?
The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is a very compact build, one noticeably smaller than the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog, my previous keyboard. Getting used to the smaller frame and loss of num pad took some time but the comforting keys eased that transition. It’s immediately noticeable how pretty the Vulcan looks. With a pulsing colour scheme and bright labelled keys, the look is almost explosively colourful with a slick frame underneath. There’s an outward prettiness that hides how sturdy the TKL actually is.
The lack of a number pad might make general use a bit slower but the compact feel leaves gaming much smoother. As you may guess from the whole TKL part of this keyboard, this is a version of the Vulcan keyboard in a tenkeyless form factor, leaving it at 80% of the size of the standard. On my large desk, on top of a Roccat Sense AIMO XXL mousepad, the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro appears to be very small. The appeal of this will likely depend on your preferred typing style and the size of your hands. I have rather big hands so this took a little while to get precise with, but after just a handful of weeks, it became comfortable and efficient.
The build quality of the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is also worth mentioning. There's a sturdiness to it with the aluminum base and a nice braided USB C cable accompanies it in the box. Plug this in the top and you're ready to go. There's something so easy about using the TKL Pro, and this is absolutely by design. From the base to the software to the keys, this is a keyboard that feels comfortable and well put together immediately after taking it out of the box.
Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro — how do the keys function?
Fitted with Roccat’s new Titan Optical Switch, the keys fit a nice balance between different styles. They are low profile and quick to the switch making movement very fast. Clicks often feel instantaneous. They also feel sturdy with an aluminum layer, meaning you can hit them fast and not worry about any wobble with the keys. This is badly needed when typing quickly or gaming for a long time.
You can put up feet on the back of the keyboard to hold it on a slant or lay it flat where the grooved keys and light design really shine. The feel of the TKL Pro is just very hard to critique, fitted with a multitude of small but noticeable improvements to most keyboards. Although it’s light to carry, the aluminum base feels and looks great, leaving no worry of small breaks or wear over time. For an extra added bonus, a small volume wheel and mute button on the top right add extra functionality with the keys that the Roccat Swarm adds upon.
What is the Roccat Swarm?
Essentially, Swarm is how you customize Roccat hardware. It can change small things like the layout of colours and the sound keys make or big things like making custom functions. For the most part, it’s rather solid but I’d like to see more options in the future. You can choose to have keys sound like a typewriter or make a buzz, but sounds come across as very synthetic and not worth using outside of a gimmick to show friends. Colour changes are nice and worthwhile if you have multiple Roccat devices but the generic colour pulls the TKL Pro does on first use is possibly the nicest function anyway.
Outside of this, the functions and macros are worth exploring to make up for the lack of a number pad. Someone with enough time can make up for that space with efficient shortcuts — I was not that person. Functionally, you could make multiple profiles and switch around the keyboard between games with a single key but I never really found this worth doing. It’s nice to know the option is there though.
Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro — Verdict
The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is a lovely compact keyboard with plenty of great functions and some solid design choices. If you can stomach a more compact space and the large price tag, this is a truly excellent keyboard. Although the Roccat Swarm function could be better, it gives just enough customizability to work for most. With the Vulcan TKL Pro, Roccat has adapted the original Vulcan in a few meaningful ways that make this a much more appealing choice, regardless of the compact size.