Review: Roccat Ryos TKL Pro mechanical keyboard

The Roccat Ryos TKL Pro is a ‘small’ form-factor mechanical gaming keyboard that combines Roccat’s powerful software and rich features to create one of the best—albeit also one of the biggest—ten keyless keyboards in its class.

Roccat has created an extensive and impressive array of PC gaming peripherals, and they have repeatedly demonstrated that Roccat can proudly match and sometimes exceed the best products that industry heavyweights such as Razer, Logitech, and SteelSeries can offer.

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The Ryos TKL Pro proves it again, and became an almost instant favorite. In addition to gaming with it at home, I used it regularly on a work computer where space was tight—even despite its prodigious and non-removable wrist rest.

Feature highlights and specifications

As a small form factor board the Ryos TKL is larger than most of the boards in its class because of its non-detachable wrist rest. This is its only real (albeit minor) design flaw—a feature shared with other Roccat keyboards. (I guess they just like the design.)

On the other hand, the TKL also uses some of the extra space it consumes by providing 3 dedicated macro keys—a relatively rare feature in the 10-keyless form factor. In addition, Roccat’s software, much like Razer’s Synapse software for Razer peripherals, lets you create macros (up to 470 total) and assign them to virtually any key on the keyboard by using the Easy-Shift and FN keys.

Roccat Ryos TKL Pro specifications

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  • Compact, ten-keyless form factor
  • 91 total programmable keys
  • Available in 4 key switch types: blue, black, brown and red. (Review unit equipped with brown.)
  • Per-key illumination (blue)
  • 3 dedicated macro buttons
  • Can store up to 470 macros in its internal memory
  • 2 x 32-bit ARM processors to eliminate potential software driver latency
  • 2 MB built-in flash memory
  • N-key rollover
  • 1000 Hz polling rate, 1 ms response time
  • 1.8 m rear-exit braided USB cable
  • Dimensions: 23.3 cm X 40.4 cm
  • Smudge-proof, glossy look

Macros and setting are stored in the keyboard’s onboard memory and processed by dual ARM processors, so there’s no software driver/PC processing required. It’s not much (if any) of a real-world advantage in terms of eliminating and noticeable, real-world latency, but it makes for good bullet points on the box.

And like other Roccat peripherals, the Roccat software can talk to you and even award achievements. It’s silly but oddly endearing, and believe it or not it can be useful at times, informing you when you’ve changed profiles or walking you through recording a macro. (Don’t worry, you can turn the voice feature off if you like.)

The TKL Pro also provides per-key LED illumination and a range of special effects, adding some fancier lighting options than most of its competitors, although only in blue for this particular model.

Performance

The Ryos TKL Pro is a great keyboard for gaming or typing, with the performance you’d expect of just about any keyboard backed by Cherry MX brown switches.

Note that the TKL Pro is available in other switch types; the review unit just happened to have Cherry MX Brown switches—my second favorite switch, generally speaking, after Cherry MX Blue—although I’ve developed a growing fondness for Cherry MX Red switches too…

The addition of the 3 ‘Thumbster’ keys (as Roccat calls them) below the spacebar and Roccat’s excellent software give the Roccat Ryos TKL Pro a strong edge over many—if not most—small form factor mechanical keyboards in its class.

The Thumbster keys, however, would be better if they were a little bigger and easier to press. They are quite stiff and have a very low profile, and may have been a little ‘over-engineered’ to prevent accidentally triggering them but at a cost to usability.

Overall: 8/10

The Roccat Ryos TKL is a versatile and powerful mechanical keyboard, but it does consume more desk space (and a bit more wallet space at around $140) than other competitors in its class.

Be sure to weigh its larger-than-average depth because of its wrist rest into your buying decision. Otherwise the Ryos TKL Pro has virtually everything its competitors have and a little more.

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