Roccat makes one of their best mechanical gaming keyboards a little better with some new lighting tricks, App integration, and more. But really, it’s still just another great keyboard from a company that’s smart enough not to mess with success.
Roccat has consistently delivered excellent gaming peripherals, and I’m not sure I’ve ever given any Roccat devices that I’ve reviewed less than 4 stars—at least not yet. But hey, everyone has their day—even Razer made the rather deplorable TRON mouse once upon a time.
Feature highlights and specifications
The Ryos MK FX adds full-color, per-key RGB LED lighting to Ryos keyboard’s already rich feature set. It’s a virtually no-compromise keyboard, although I think a USB pass through connector would be more useful than the 3.5mm mic/stereo pass through connectors.
The review unit was backed by Cherry MX brown switches (my 2nd favorite switch type, personally speaking). Roccat’s software drivers, now called Roccat Swarm (I guess Roccat is using a bee-theme now), makes nearly every key on the keyboard programmable to a nearly ludicrous level. Twin onboard processors eliminate any potential (and practically speaking, largely theoretical) lag introduced by software-side driver processing.
The Ryos also sports 8 dedicated programmable keys—5 along the left-hand side of the keyboard and 3 below the spacebar.
Roccat Ryos MK FX specifications
- 2×32 bit ARM proccessors + 2MB Flash memory
- Anti-ghosting with N-key rollover
- CHERRY MX key switches (review unit was equipped with Cherry MX Brown Switches)
- 50 million keystroke rated durability
- 8 programmable macro keys (3 below the spacebar, 5 along the left side of the keyboard)
- 94 total programmable keys
- 1000Hz polling rate / 1ms response time
- 1.8m braided USB cable
- 1 x audio in, 1 x audio out
- Built-in (non detachable) spacebar
Based on Cherry MX Brown switches, the Ryos KM FX is noisy abut not “clicky” like Cherry MX Blue (or Razer Green used in the Razer BlackWidow keyboards) switches. Cherry MX Brown switches provide a firm, balanced feel and are particularly good for typing and gaming.
Roccat’s software drivers are among the best of most peripheral makers, bar none. And their color-programming interface is more intuitive than that found in Razer’s Synapse software, which seems to get increasingly less intuitive.
The programmability of the Ryos is also outstanding, if not almost over-the-top. You can program virtually any key to do nearly anything—simple macros, multi-key macros, and multi-key macros with mouse and other functions thrown into the mix. I sincerely wish had time to exploit this feature thoroughly for all of my favorite SMITE characters.
The Ryos MK FX’s color effects are also more flexible and customizable than what you get with Razer’s Synapse software. You can make specific keypresses cause waves and splashes of light, for example—and more importantly, it’s pretty easy to do.
Unlike the Logitech Orion Spark, the Ryos MK FX has ‘halo’ lighting that surrounds the keys as well as shines through them, whereas the Orion Spark/s LED’s illuminate the key only. It’s not an important difference. It’s purely aesthetic.
Generally speaking, the Roccat’s lighting engine is a little more flexible than most similar keyboards from competitors without being overly difficult to customize.
The sole exception that comes to mind is Corsair’s K95 RGB, which offers extensive programmability for its lighting effects, but it’s not very intuitive and takes time to learn.
And taking a play from Logitech’s playbook for the Orion Spark keyboard, Roccat now offers an App that you can pair with the Roccat MK FX you can pair Roccat’s Swarm Connect App on your smartphone with Roccat devices.
The Smartphone App is interesting, but I’ll be honest — I doubt I will use it much, and I’d be surprised if few, (or any) developers take advantage of it.
Regardless, I love that Roccat as a company isn’t afraid to try new and interesting ideas—such as making it easy to 3D Print your own keys for the Roccat Nyth mouse, or put achievements into their software. Roccat isn’t content to just mimic other companies, and that’s one of the things I like about the company and their products.
Overall: Highly Recommended
The Roccat Ryos MK FX is an excellent mechanical keyboard with very few compromises. If you can stomach the $170 price you’d be hard-pressed to find a better gaming keyboard.