ROCCAT is a name synonymous with creativity. Unafraid to free themselves from the style and design of other brands, they have worked hard to stand out as unique in a sea of gaming peripherals. While consistently producing solid gear, there has been a shift in the target population over the past two years, with devices targeting a more competitive audience. In fact, I recently covered their Kone XP Air Gaming Mouse and was very impressed with their attention to detail in design and build quality.
The Vulcan II MAX is ROCCAT’s latest gaming peripheral to target this competitive gaming market. This new full-size keyboard is loaded with features and functions to turn any gamer’s head. Featuring full N-key Rollover (NKRO), 1.4mm actuation point and ROCCAT’s own TITAN II optical switches, the Vulcan II MAX leaves everything out in the field for gamers to test their metal with precision and a lightning response time. However, the quality of it all is the subject of this review. So grab that coffee, relax, and check out our ROCCAT Vulcan II MAX review.
- Current price: US$229.99 (Amazon)
- Form factor: full size
- Cable: 1.8m 2xUSB-A
- Switch life cycle: 100 million clicks
- Polling frequency: 1000 Hz
- Onboard 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: 1040g (without plan rest) 1300 (with palm rest)
If you’re going to do it, do it in style
ROCCAT is nothing if not creative in its design for its many peripherals. The Vulcan II MAX is no exception. Featuring ROCCAT’s AIMO lighting software support, each switch is equipped with dual-LED performance allowing for a much more robust and immersive lighting effect for each key. This results in incredibly smooth and quite gorgeous lighting effects across the board.
The keys have a very unique design, opting for a flat top design, unlike the trend of most modern keyboards. I can however confirm that if you like a more traditional keycap, the TITAN II switches are compatible with most 3rd party cross keycaps. In fact, I had no problem swapping out the included caps for some Corsairs I had around the office. The included caps, however, look exceptionally clean and allow for more RGB lighting effects to illuminate the board.
Speaking of the board, to contrast the flood of light coming from each switch is a flat black aluminum top plate. Lined with a shiny beveled edge, the board takes on an elegant, almost racing appearance. The Vulcan II MAX is incredibly crisp and makes good use of the dual-LED switches.
To add to this already gorgeous case is the included silicone palm rest. This translucent palm rest also follows ROCCAT’s creative design philosophy. Unlike other wrist rests that simply perform the aforementioned action of resting the palms, ROCCAT decided to leverage the rest a bit more and designed it to actually plug into the bottom of the board. What makes it unique is that the board is equipped with a series of LEDs designed specifically to illuminate the palm rest. The result is a beautiful light show every time you turn on your computer.
A small media control panel adorns the top right corner of the Vulcan II MAX allowing for quick on-the-fly volume and media control. Finally, a 1.8m braided Dual USB-A cable powers the entire system. The board is a sleek and beautiful design that feels sturdy and durable to use. Linear-style red keys produce a soft click sound that’s fairly quiet by today’s standards. The Vulcan II MAX is a board that blends style and functionality exceptionally well.
Pack with features can be an understatement
With ROCCAT’s SWARM software, you won’t miss out on functionality and programming control on the Vulcan II MAX. Click sound feedback, character repeat, and profile cycling are all present and work well out of the box. Macros can also be easily programmed onto the board from the software’s key assignment tab. One of the unique features that comes with the Vulcan II MAX is ROCCAT’s Easy-Shift technology which essentially allows you to assign a full second set of functions to the keys and switch between the two sets on the fly with a modifier key. predetermined.
I had originally encountered this technology while looking at the Kone XP and found it to be a unique way to handle more complex setups. In the case of the Vulcan II MAX, Easy-Shift, when combined with Profile Switching, allowed for excellent specific key configurations for various software I use. It was actually quite handy when editing audio in Reaper and video with Davinci Resolve. Although a bit of work to program, once set it allowed me to quickly use shortcuts and access features in this software that typically require menu rollovers or macros.
Finally, the SWARM software allows full control of the keyboard’s RGB lighting. There are tons of options and presets to play with. Each key can be edited individually or entire areas selected with a single mouse click. Additionally, the Vulcan II MAX supports ROCCAT’s AIMO smart lighting, allowing it to sync with any other ROCCAT device you have plugged into the system.
The included media controller, although basic in design, offers quick on-the-fly audio control. It has a nice tactile response while the rewind, play/pause and skip forward buttons all respond quickly and without latency. The whole package, from key programming to color and effect management, is easy to manage and quickly learned, which is a testament to SWARM software as well as ROCCAT’s keyboard design.
Solid execution with a few caveats
The Vulcan II MAX does not hesitate to be a high-end keyboard. In fact, he leans heavily on it. Everything from the design of the dual LED switches to the use of their own TITAN II optical switches shows that ROCCAT has confidence in their product. For the most part, they produced an excellent and unique keyboard.
TITAN II optical switches are responsive and fast. The 1.4mm actuation distance is really quite small, so you don’t have to press hard for a press to register. Interestingly, the switches have just enough resistance that I didn’t find myself accidentally tapping keys that my fingers brushed against, which was kind of nice since some optical switches tend to be too sensitive to motion.
The complete bearing ROCCAT boasts of in its description is absolutely accurate. I had no issues during my tests 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 get to that second or third action bar. However, when using the keyboard without an active modifier key, the Vulcan II had no issues with keystroke response.
Optical reds are linear and fast in their response. The keyboard has no problem keeping up with my 100+ wpm typing during testing and that speed translated exceptionally well in games. Both Doom Eternal and Prodeus responded lightning-fast in testing, and I never had any issues with unregistered keystrokes.
The keycaps, while a bit different from what I’m used to, have actually become some of my favorites to use. They don’t have a central point as concave as most caps and I like the way my fingers rest on them. Plus, they look really great on top of the switches.
While I’m traditionally more of a tactile brown switch type, I have to say the reds feel good and responsive; just not as clickable as I generally like. Certainly the rest of my family has been grateful for the respite that has come since switching to the Vulcan II MAX.
The palm rest is an interesting piece of hardware. Conceptually and even visually, I love it. I’ve been using a palm rest for over 25 years and hate typing for a long time without it. The fact that ROCCAT not only included one, but managed to make it one of the finest bits on the keyboard is impressive. Even the silicone texture is comfortable to rest my palms on for long periods of time.
However, it’s unfortunately far too thin to really support my palms for long periods of typing. In fact, I found that after about ten minutes of typing, I had to swap it out for the old one. Luckily, during gaming sessions, the smoothness of the rest doesn’t really impact my experience. It’s only when typing that it becomes a problem. If there was one thing I could have changed on this forum, that’s it.
Another thing to know about the Vulcan II MAX is that it requires two of your USB-A ports to work. In all honesty, there are a ton of RGB lights on this board. The fact that it doesn’t need its own dedicated PSU is impressive. It has no problem running from a USB hub, so there’s a simple solution if you find yourself running out of USB ports.
The Vulcan II MAX from ROCCAT is an excellent board. Packed with features and designed for response and durability, it truly has a lot to offer gamers. Its unique design also means you’ll stand out in a crowd while making everyone eat dirt in a PVP match. The thin palm rest was a bit of an inconvenience and it’s important to realize that you’re going to eat up the USB ports to get the Vulcan II MAX up and running, but those are really minor issues. Overall, the Vulcan II MAX is a high-end keyboard that offers more than enough features and functions to justify its high-end price of $229.99.
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