Every PC gamer knows that a good keyboard is essential for performing well in games. Competitive gamers especially benefit from having a fancy keyboard with a bunch of different options to customize their experience so that certain actions taken within their matches are always easy to execute and you can focus on doing your part for the team. Even so, spending extended periods of time working with a keyboard can have significant drawbacks: the keys can either wear out or stop responding completely. The most common kind of keyboard is the membrane with rubber or plastic switches, which wear out comparatively fast, so you'll need to buy a new keyboard pretty often.
The ROCCAT Suora, however, is a mechanical keyboard. In theory, its mechanical switches in the keys should last extremely long, allowing you to forget about having to replace it for quite some time to come, perhaps forever. Mechanical keyboards also offer more precision and a better "keyfeel." It's also a customizable and more compact device that won't take up too much space on your desk and is easy to take with you to a LAN party or something.
The body is a little heavier than membrane keyboards and comes in black with a matte finish and keys illuminated by blue light emanating from under them. The intensity of the lights can be customized as well, and a "Breathing" mode is also available that lets your keys pulsate continuously. The keyboard itself also comes equipped with a 1ms polling rate, which ensures that your keystrokes are registered properly and are translated into actions quickly. It's a neat little package that offers more functionality than its minimal looks suggest. There's also a Game Mode key to the upper right of the keyboard that deactivates the Windows key when pressed and launches a profile of your choosing. Six macro keys on the keyboard can be bound to macros of your choice with the ROCCAT Swarm software (more on that below), and keys to control your media and launch specific apps like the Windows calculator can also be activated from built-in macros.
Nothing earth-shattering, really. The box contains just the keyboard and a quick start guide to help you set the thing up faster. The quick start guide is pretty straight forward, so you won't take ages to set the thing up.
The body itself feels durable and well-machined, with soft round corners and sleek-looking metal. The entire thing just feels sturdy, and by lifting up the stands in the back, the keys are tilted up slightly allowing you to reach the top buttons just a bit better than you could before. The cord it comes with isn't overly long, but most people probably will never see this as a problem. Its metal body is frameless, so the keys hover above the frame as opposed to being integrated into the frame like most keyboards. It's aesthetically pleasing, especially due to the aforementioned blue lights (no other colors are available) shining out underneath the keys. The keys themselves have TTC Brown switches underneath them, which have a great response time making sure that you never fail to press. As with all mechanical keyboards, the keys are pretty noisy, so if you're looking for a quiet setup, you may want to look further.
In addition to being resilient and compact, it also offers a few sweet customization options. Most of these come from ROCCAT's propriety driver software, ROCCAT Swarm, which you can download from their website. It allows you to bind most keys on the keyboard to a thing of your choice, set the intensity of the key illumination, and customize specific profiles that automatically get enabled when you start up the game that profile is set to. There are quite a few profiles built into the software, but you can create and edit your own if you can't find a premade profile or if want to edit an existing profile. ROCCAT Swarm also has macro functionality that lets you set your own macros. The software is very convenient for power users and easy enough to understand for people who aren't used to this amount of customization from their keyboards.
This keyboard is perfect for players who aren't familiar with mechanical keyboards but want to be. Its $100 price point might seem a little high to people who just want a new keyboard, but the build quality and the responsiveness of the keys make it easy to see why it's priced the way it is. Its relatively small size makes the Suora easy to take with you and leaves enough space on your desk to plop down other things you might need. The ROCCAT Swarm application is a really great tool for customizing your gaming experience, and the hovering keys and blue hue coming from the lights make it an aesthetically pleasing option for people who want a beautiful and functional keyboard without a ton of overwhelming options. You can't go wrong with this one.
The ROCCAT Suora keyboard was provided by ROCCAT for the purpose of this review.