Roccat's new Vulcan keyboard is striking, with short keycaps and exposed switches

Image via Techradar.

I've never seen a gaming keyboard that looks like the Roccat Vulcan. A recent trend in mechanical keyboard design has been cutting back on the housing for a bare key look, like the Blackwidow Chroma X, but Roccat's designers did something dramatic with the Vulcan. They stripped back as much plastic as possible from the standard keycap. If the typical keycap is a thimble, these keys are more like tables, with just enough of a lip to remain stable while typing and keep you from catching your finger on an edge. They also have enough depth into them to be slightly concave, like your standard keycap; they're not flat like laptop keys.

This bold design is all in service of a new custom keyswitch, one Roccat designed in part because, according to general manager Thaddäus Tetzner, they weren't happy with the approach most other switches have taken. Variations like the Razer Green, Logitech Romer-G, or various other speed-focused switches tend to go for lower actuation force or shorter throw in the name of faster gaming performance, but didn't offer the kind of satisfying tactile bump he wanted. Roccat's new switch has a slightly higher actuation point than a Cherry Brown, so it's a bit faster, but still feels pretty similar.

Except, weirdly, smoother. It's still noticeably a tactile switch, not a linear one, but it manages to feel distinct from the Cherry Brown and very smooth under the finger. That probably comes from its unique construction, which Roccat has written a bit about; it's engineered to be more stable than Cherry, and is better at keeping out dust and debris. The design also helped Roccat ensure the RGB lighting really shines, with even illumination throughout the keycap. 

That's a lot of detail to get to the point that it feels fantastic to type on, and I use a Cherry Brown keyboard every day. I don't know if the Vulcan has my new favorite switch just yet, but I love the design of the keycaps and the simplicity of the casing. The magnetically attached wrist rest, which will come with one model of the keyboard (Vulcan 120 Aimo), is also a nice option. There will be a couple other variations: a model without special media keys (Vulcan 80 Aimo), which has single-color backlighting rather than RGB, and one with RGB but no included wrist rest (Vulcan 100 Aimo).

The Vulcan will be available later this year.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).