Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Gaming Keyboards Compared

Roccat Ryos MK Pro Design

Roccat's a brand that's been focusing its efforts the last couple of years on making a bigger name for itself in the U.S. market. And the Ryos MK Pro is Roccat's flagship keyboard -- a mechanical beast that invites you go Cherry MX picking, as it's offered with Cherry MX Blue, Red, Brown, and Black key switches. The one we have in for review sports Cherry MX Browns.

Roccat Ryos MK Pro

Like Razer's BlackWidow Ultimate, this is a full-size keyboard made even bigger by a non-removable wrist rest. It has an angled design that distinctly sets it apart from typical keyboards, along with subtle accents like a thin glossy outline that borders the key space. The various areas that separate the key clusters feature a dotted pattern, while the rest is matte black. There's definitely no mistaking this for anything other than a gaming keyboard, though it's a shame the wrist rest is permanently attached -- you'll need plenty of desk space to give this plank a home.

In addition to being the only other full-size plank in this roundup, there are several other similarities the Ryos MK Pro has with Razer's entry, such as a single backlight color, only it's blue instead of green. However, the MK Pro uses per-key backlighting, meaning that not only is each key cap individually backlit, but you can customize the lighting of each key. In fact, Ryos includes a handful of presets for different situations. Out of the box, the WSAD keys, arrow keys, Function keys, dedicated macro keys, and thumbster keys (below the spacebar) are lit up while the rest are dark.

Part of what makes this keyboard so great is what you can't see. It's packing a pair of 32-bit ARM Cortex processors, one of which handles the per-key illumination so that the lighting effects don't rob the keyboard of any performance, like anti-ghosting with N-Key Rollover (NKRO), robust macro options, and its Easy-Shift[+] function, which we'll discuss a bit later. There's also 2MB of built-in memory to save configurations across five profiles and store over 500 macros.

Roccat Ryos MK Pro Number Pad
Roccat Ryos MK Pro M Keys

Five dedicated macro keys labeled M1 through M5 take up a horizontal row located within relatively easy reach of the all-important WSAD keys. With a little practice, you'll be able to quickly tap any of the keys with your pinky finger without taking your ring, middle, and index fingers off of the WSAD cluster.

On the right side is a full-size number pad. This is the benefit of a full-size plank over the more compact ten-keyless (TKL) variety. This makes the Ryos MK Pro better suited for work chores when it comes time to save your game and crunch some numbers.

Roccat Ryos MK Pro Thumbster Keys

You'll find three angled thumbster keys labeled T1 through T3 that sit beneath the space bar. They're low profile keys that sit flush with the wrist rest, making accidental taps a non-factor (we spent a lot of time testing the keyboard and never managed to tap any of the thumbster keys by accident). The thumb buttons essentially serve as additional macro keys, giving you a total of eight to play around with.

Roccat Ryos MK Pro USB
Roccat Ryos MK Pro Audio

Plugging the Ryos MK Pro into your system requires two free USB ports, at least if you're planning to take full advantage of the keyboard. However, you get them back in USB Hi-Speed form via a pair of USB 2.0 ports on the upper-right side of the plank.

On the opposite side are separate ports for your headphone and microphone. We like the convenience of having all these built-in ports, albeit it comes at the expense of a thickly braided cable bundle.

Roccat Ryos MK Pro Bottom

Rubberized feet adorn the bottom to prevent the Ryos MK Pro from slipping around during those intense virtual battles (or frustrating key punches when calculating end-of-year taxes). Roccat also carved in some cable management grooves, though they're of questionable value in this case -- they're too slim to tuck most of the keyboard's braided cables into, and we're not sure how many people will want to route their mouse cable underneath the plank. But hey, it's there for anyone that wants to use it.

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