It’s going to start sounding like I have something against Roccat. In fact, just reading that, you can probably start to guess the direction this review is going to take, and if you remember my thoughts on the Roccat Kone [+] mouse, then you’ll be even more primed for what I’m about to say.
Basically... yes, the Isku looks good, but in practice, it’s easily one of the worst keyboards I’ve used in recent memory. In fact, now that I think of it, of all the dedicated gaming devices I’ve tested in the last few years, with one exception *waves at Razer* this is actually the one that lasted the least amount of time in our testing.
Short story? The Isku is just no good.
First up, it’s a harsh adjustment to go back to regular domed keys after using the sweet mechanical action of Corsair’s K60 board. It really is one of those situations where you wonder how you ever managed to use a non-mechanical model. However, I’m actually typing on one now; my work keyboard remains a trusty Microsoft X6, just about our last, best keyboard option. And it feels worlds ahead of the mushy action of the Isku.
It just feels like there’s something wrong with the keyboard; or, rather, that it’s just not every good. Continued use, both in day-to-day tasks and some pretty intense BF3 sessions, just reinforced our initial feeling of disquiet. Roccat boasts anti-ghosting to help with multiple key-presses, but we consistently found, for instance, that the R key – for reloading – was simply non-responsive; it would take two or three presses to trigger a reload.
The keyboard features a lovely ice blue lighting scheme, but it’s very poorly designed. Each key’s letter is so unevenly backlit that it can actually be hard to make out. I’m a handy touch typer, but even the best touch typists need to glance at the keyboard every now and then, and finding a key visually can be a real challenge on the Isku. For someone who’s not a touch-typist, I would imagine using Isku for typing anything other than a brief Tweet would be a process akin to rare and curious form of torture.
There’s a host of attractive extra features on the board, from Macro recording to the admittedly rather neat cross-talk function with Roccat’s own Kone [+] mouse (which is a really neat idea, if either bit of kit were actually any good), but if the most basic functions of the Isku are at best frustrating, all the features in the world cannot save it. There are cheaper and more satisfying non-mechanical option out there, and frankly, for only a few dollars more you can go mechanical yourself – and trust me, once you do, there’s no going back.