Review Roccat Vulcan II Max Optical Gaming Keyboard

ROCCAT is a name synonymous with creativity. Not afraid to break free from the style and design of other brands, they’ve worked hard to stand out as unique in a sea of ​​gaming peripherals. While solid gear is consistently produced, there has been a shift in the target demographic in recent years, with peripherals targeting a more competitive audience. In fact, I recently dealt with them Kone XP Air gaming mouse and was deeply impressed by their attention to detail in design and build quality.

The Vulcan II MAX is ROCCAT’s latest gaming peripheral to target that competitive gaming market. This recently released full-size keyboard is packed with features and functions to make any gamer’s head spin. Packed with full N-key Rollover (NKRO), a 1.4mm switch actuation point, and ROCCAT’s proprietary TITAN II optical switches, the Vulcan II MAX puts it all on the field for gamers to test their metal with precision and lightning fast response time. How well it all comes together, however, is what this review is all about. So grab that coffee, sit back and check out our review of ROCCAT’s Vulcan II MAX.

Specifications

  • Current price: USD$229.99 (Amazon)
  • Form factor: full size
  • Cable: 1.8m 2xUSB-A
  • Switch life cycle: 100 million clicks
  • Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
  • Built-in memory: 4 MB (used for profile settings)
  • Profiles on board: 5 in total
  • Keyboard rollover: full key (NKRO) with 100% anti-ghosting
  • Software: ROCCAT SWARM
  • Switches: TITAN II OPTICAL RED
  • Switch style: linear
  • Actuation point: 1.4mm
  • Travel distance: 3.6mm
  • Dimensions: 18.23 x 9.29 x 1.32 inches
  • Weight: 1040 g (without plan rest) 1300 (with palm rest)

If you’re going to do it, do it with style

ROCCAT is nothing but creative in its design for its many peripherals. The Vulcan II MAX is no exception. Packed with ROCCAT’s proprietary AIMO lighting software support, each switch is equipped with dual performance LEDs, enabling a much more robust and immersive lighting effect for each key. This results in incredibly smooth and quite gorgeous lighting effects all over the board.

The keycaps have a very unique design, opting for a flat top design, bucking the trend of most modern keyboards. However, I can confirm that if you like a more traditional keycap, the TITAN II switches are compatible with most third-party cross mount keycaps. In fact, I had no problem swapping out the included caps with some Corsair caps I had lying around the office. However, the supplied caps look exceptionally sharp and allow for more RGB lighting effects to illuminate the board.

Speaking of the board, to contrast the luminous flux emanating from each switch is a flat black aluminum top plate. Lined with a glossy beveled edge, the board takes on a sleek, almost race-stripe appearance. The Vulcan II MAX looks incredibly sharp and makes good use of the dual LED switches.

To add to this already wonderful affair is the included silicone wrist rest. This clear wrist rest also follows ROCCAT’s creative design philosophy. Unlike other palm rests that simply perform the action of resting the aforementioned palms, ROCCAT decided to use the rest a bit more and designed it to actually tuck into the underside of the board. What makes this unique is that the board is equipped with an array of LEDs specifically designed to illuminate the wrist rest. The result is a glorious light show every time you turn on your computer.

A small media control panel graces the top right corner of the Vulcan II MAX, allowing quick volume and media adjustments. Finally, a 6ft (1.8m) braided dual USB-A cable powers the entire system. The board has a sleek, beautiful design that feels robust and durable. The linear style red keys produce a soft clicking sound that is quite quiet by today’s standards. The Vulcan II MAX is a board that combines style and functionality exceptionally well.

Package of features may be an understatement

Thanks to ROCCAT’s SWARM software, there is no lack of function checking and programming on the Vulcan II MAX. Sound feedback on clicks, character repeat and profile cycles are all present and work well out of the box. Macros can also be easily programmed on the board via the Key Assignment tab of the software. One of the unique features of the Vulcan II MAX is ROCCAT’s Easy-Shift technology, which essentially allows you to assign an entire second set of functions to keys and instantly switch between the two sets with a predetermined modifier key.

I had originally come across this technology while reviewing the Kon XP and found it a unique way to deal with more complex setups. In the case of the Vulcan II MAX, the Easy-Shift, coupled with profile switching, made for some great and specific key settings for different software I use. It was actually quite useful when editing audio in Reaper and video with Davinci Resolve. While it was a bit of work to program, once set up it allowed me to quickly use shortcuts and access functions within that software that generally require flipping menus or macros.

Finally, the SWARM software allows full control over the keyboard’s RGB lighting. There are plenty of options and presets to play with. Each key can be edited individually or entire zones can be selected with a mouse click. In addition, the Vulcan II MAX supports ROCCAT’s AIMO Intelligent Lighting, which allows it to sync with other ROCCAT devices you have connected to the system.

The included media controller, while simple in design, does provide a speedy on-the-fly audio controller. It has a nice tactile turn response, while the jump back, play/pause and skip forward buttons all respond quickly and without lag. The whole package, from key programming to managing colors and effects, is easy to manage and quick to learn, which is a testament to both the SWARM software and the ROCCAT keyboard design.

Solid performance with a few caveats

The Vulcan II MAX doesn’t shy away from being a premium keyboard. In fact, it leans hard into it. Everything from the dual-LED switch design to the use of their proprietary TITAN II optical switches demonstrates ROCCAT’s confidence in their product. For the most part, they have produced an excellent and unique keyboard.

The TITAN II optical switches feel responsive and fast. The actuation distance of 1.4mm is really quite small, so you don’t have to press hard to register a press. Interestingly enough, the switches have just enough resistance that I didn’t accidentally type keys my fingers brushed over, which was quite nice since some optical switches tend to be overly sensitive to movement.

The full rollover that ROCCAT mentions in its description is absolutely correct. I’ve had no problems at all during my testing with ghosting. It should be noted that NRKO does not apply when using modifier keys. This is something to keep in mind when playing MMOs that rely on modifier keys to hit that second or third action bar. When using the keyboard without a modifier key active, the Vulcan II had no issues responding to keystrokes.

The optical reds react linearly and quickly. The keyboard had no problem keeping up with my 100+ word/min typing during testing, and this speed translated exceptionally well into games. Doom Eternal and Prodeus were both blazingly responsive during testing, and I never encountered any issues with keystrokes not registering.

The keycaps, while a bit different from what I’m used to, have actually become some of my favorite ones to use. They don’t have such a concave center like most caps and I like the way my fingers rest on them. Plus, they look really great on top of the switches.

While I’ve traditionally been more of a tactile brown switch guy, I have to say the reds feel and respond well; just not as clicky as I normally like. Admittedly, the rest of my family has been thankful for the clicking reprieve that has come since switching to the Vulcan II MAX.

The wrist rest is an interesting piece of hardware. Conceptually and even visually I love it. I have used a palm rest for over 25 years and hate typing without it for long periods of time. The fact that ROCCAT not only included one, but managed to turn it into one of the most beautiful pieces of the keyboard is impressive. Even the texture of the silicon is comfortable to rest my palms on for long periods of time.

However, it’s unfortunately far too thin to really support my palms during prolonged typing. I even found myself having to replace it with my old one after about ten minutes of typing. Fortunately, the thinness of the rest during gaming sessions doesn’t really affect my experience. It only becomes a problem when typing. If there was only one thing I could have changed about this board, it’s that.

Another thing to be aware of with the Vulcan II MAX is that it requires two of your USB-A ports to function. Honestly, there are tons of RGB lights on this board. The fact that it doesn’t require its own dedicated PSU is impressive. It runs on a USB hub without any issues, so there’s an easy solution if you’re short on USB ports.

Final thoughts

The Vulcan II MAX from ROCCAT is an excellent board. Packed with features and built for response and durability, it really has a lot to offer gamers. The unique design also makes you stand out in a crowd as you make everyone eat dirt in a PVP match. The thin wrist rest was a bit of a drawback and it’s important to realize that you’ll eat up USB ports to get the Vulcan II MAX up and running, but these are really minor issues. All in all, the Vulcan II MAX is a premium keyboard that offers more than enough features and functions to justify its premium price $229.99.

The product described in this article has been provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Purchasing products through our links may result in a small commission to support the site. Authors are not compensated for affiliate purchases or clicks.

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