The ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO simply put, has surprised me more than any other gaming keyboard has to date. I expected great things from the keyboard, but it ended up exceeding all of my expectations. As an all-round gaming keyboard, it ticks all of the major boxes and provides a fantastic range of features and functionality.
Firstly, the design is simply stunning. The build quality is second to none and the ‘Titan’ mechanical switches have a lovely tactile feeling to them. At approximately £149.99, it is very competitively priced too. You can get mechanical gaming keyboards that are cheaper, but there are also many that are considerably more expensive. The 120 AIMO is one of the keyboards in the higher-end of the ROCCAT series, and it shows. The Titan switches are a recently-introduced technology that is developed by ROCCAT. The idea behind the switches is simple. The company wanted to develop a switch that gave you swift keystrokes but also gave you a tactile feeling. With a 1.8mm actuation point and 3.6mm travel distance, this certainly achieves the desired outcome. ROCCAT also claims that the switches are housed in such a way that the wobble from keypresses are significantly reduced. The keycaps are also 50% lighter than standard keys. In reality, I really couldn’t tell the difference between the Titan switch and let’s say, Razer’s counterpart. I absolutely loved typing on the 120 AIMO and the keypress-experience on this keyboard cannot be faulted. Did I mention that the switches are supposedly dust-resistant?! I don’t quite know how that’s possible, but ROCCAT claims that this is true.
One of the key features of the 120 AIMO is the aluminum plate that acts as the structure of the entire keyboard. Most of the other keyboards I have tested in the past are made out of some form of plastic. The metal body of the 120 AIMO maximizes endurance and durability. More importantly, it just makes you feel as if you’re paying a lot of money for a truly premium product.
When ordering the keyboard, always keep note of the layout. ROCCAT’s website actually has a large variety of keyboard layouts, whilst most other retailers only stock a small combination of layouts. Considering that this was my first ROCCAT product, the unboxing experience of the 120 AIMO was also very pleasant. There wasn’t too much to fiddle around with, which is exactly how I like it. The moment you open the box, you’ll be presented with the keyboard, the wrist rest and some instructions. Naturally, the first thing you’ll notice is how polished and beautiful the aluminium plate looks. It does mean that the 120 AIMO isn’t the lightest of keyboards, but as long as this is sitting on your desk, nobody really cares about its weight. If anything, I’d prefer a heavier keyboard in case I end up putting more force on it whilst playing a tough game of Warzone.
In addition to the standard keys you’d expect on a keyboard (including a number pad), the 120 AIMO contains three shortcut buttons that are made of rubber and a volume dial. All of this is in the top right corner. There are also some LED lights on the bottom right. The cable for the keyboard actually exits directly from the middle, which may frustrate a few gamers who are obsessed with uncluttered gaming stations. Some gamers prefer the cord on the side of the keyboard, but it’s really down to personal preference. If it helps, the cable is completely braided so you’re less lightly to damage or tangle it.
Every single key on the keyboard provides a configurable LED light, and each one can show 16.8 million colours. ROCCAT has its own software, Swarm, which is its answer to programming the keyboard to suit your needs. In Swarm, you can configure all of your colour patterns. I have to admit that the LED lights on this keyboard are far superior to most other keyboards I have tested – the brightness is fantastic.
I always give kudos to any keyboard that comes with a wrist rest. It is a small ask but makes such a huge difference. The 120 AIMO also comes with a wrist rest that is detachable magnetically. It is however made out of plastic. I’m a fan of cushioned wrests even if they might wear out quicker. Extended gaming sessions require a cushioned wrist rest. Having said that, it does contain a bunch of rubber strips at the bottom so it doesn’t slip away. For a £150 keyboard, I did hope for a more comfortable wrist rest.
The typing experience on this keyboard is great thanks to the Titan switches. I’m usually sceptical about fancy marketing terms used for new technology, but these switches really do deserve a name of their own. In an online test, I managed to achieve an impressive 130wpm using this keyboard. Most importantly, I enjoyed typing every one of those words! The key spacing is also fitting for my hands, since I only made two mistakes when typing.
For gamers who aren’t so tech-savvy and want to get as much as possible out of the keyboard, they can download the Swarm desktop software and connect their keyboard to the computer. The software should recognize the keyboard immediately and give it some default settings. You can then override the settings to suit your needs e.g. light colours, patterns, macro keys and even typing sounds. The latter is one of the more unique features – you can change how the typing sounds! Regarding macro keys, you can assign F1-F4 to be macros. There are other keyboards that provide more sophistication when it comes to macros, but for most gamers who play FPS, you’d expect that the options available would be enough.
With all of the above in mind, the ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO is one of the best keyboards that I have ever used. At £149.99, it provides the right level of durability, aesthetics and functionality for the price point. What sets the keyboard apart is its sturdy aluminum frame and the proprietary Titan key switches that provide an excellent typing experience. Whilst the keyboard falls short when it comes to the lack of a comfortable wrist rest and no screen, these are minor points that should not detract from the fact that this is ultimately a fantastic mechanical gaming keyboard.