There are a few OEMs that come to mind when you think about gaming gear. While Turtle Beach is one you’ve likely heard of before, ROCCAT might not be, unless you’re over in Europe. The company is based in Germany and has been around since 2007. While ROCCAT has had a North American presence, they are hoping that their acquisition last year by Turtle Beach will help them gain more ground over the pond. Our ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO review takes a look at one of the many mechanical gaming keyboards they offer up. Read on to see if it lives up to it’s 2019 iF Design Award.
The ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO has the following features and specifications:
- 1.8mm actuation point (tactile, silent)
- 3.6mm switch travel distance
- 512kb integrated macro & settings memory
- All keys remappable
- ROCCAT® Easy-Shift[+]™ technology
- 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based processor
- 1.8m USB cable
- 1000Hz polling rate
- ROCCAT® Swarm software suite
- RGB per-key illumination with 16.8m colors
- Removable ergonomic palm rest
- Dimensions: 3.20 x 46.20 x 23.50cm (1.26 x 18.19 x 9.25 inches)
- Weight: 1150g
- Compatibility: Windows 7, 8, 10. Requires USB 2.0 Port and internet connection for driver installation
What’s in the box
- ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO mechanical gaming keyboard
- Removable ergonomic palm rest
- Quick installation guide
- Disposal information guide
- Roccat stickers
Mechanical gaming keyboards run the gamut when it comes to design. From the chunkier plastic housing to the heavier metal frames, there is definitely a design for everyone. The ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO mechanical gaming keyboard is a low-profile keyboard. It features an anodized aluminum plate that not only looks sleek but is strong and sturdy. The keyboard feels super solid while not being overly heavy.
As is the case with most mechanical gaming keyboards, this one is of the full-sized variety. It has your typical five row alphanumeric keys with a a sixth row above for Fn keys. The arrow keys and special keys like home, del, ins, and more are to the right of the main keyboard. Finally, the full-sized number pad is on the right side of the keyboard.
The Vulcan 120 AIMO also has a volume mute button, an FX toggle button, and a volume toggle button located above the number pad with a dial. When the volume button is lit, the dial controls your volume. When the FX button is lit, it adjusts the brightness of your RGB backlighting. The caps lock, num lock, scroll lock, and game mode indicator LEDs are actually below the number pad. It’s an unusual spot and does take a bit of getting used to. As for branding, the ROCCAT wordmark is on the upper right of the keyboard.
Speaking of RGB lighting, the keyboard does a good job with extra lighting. This is due to the custom Titan Switches. With a clear dust-resistant housing cap on top and a shorter keycap, the per-key RGB lighting (which supports 16.8 million colours) shines through more than typical full-sized keycaps. The lighting can be configured with the ROCCAT Swarm software. In addition, the keyboard supports the company’s AIMO lighting engine. I’ll talk more about the app in the Software section, but personally I liked the AIMO lighting option as it automatically syncs with other AIMO-supported devices like ROCCAT mice and headphones. It also learns and reacts organically (magically?) based on your usage, offering a nice smooth, colourful lighting effect.
The edges and bottom are black plastic, solid as well. The bottom edge is a bit thicker and has a groove in it for the removable ergonomic palm rest. More on that below. The bottom of the keyboard has two rubber-like strips across the top and bottom edge for added grip when on your desk. There are also a pair of feet on the back if you want a slightly higher angle on the keyboard while using it. The braided cable is attached in the center of the back of the keyboard and ends in a USB Type-A plug.
The included palm rest is a nice touch as well. While it does add some added comfort, it’s not very soft as it’s just a thin plastic piece. With a simple design, the ROCCAT icon logo is stamped into the lower right. It attaches to the groove in the bottom of the keyboard via magnets and does stay in place quite well.
While the ROCCAT Swarm application looks a bit dated, it is pretty full of functionality. For the Vulcan 120 AIMO, there are three main tabs: General Features, Key Assignment, and Key Illumination.
Under General Features, you can set a sound feedback (yes, you can make your keyboard make beam, typewriter, sci-fi, or other sounds while typing), adjust the character repeat options, and reset the keyboard to its default setting.
The next tab lets you reassign your keys, as well as macros. Speaking of macros, there is a persistent tab on the bottom where you can choose from preselected macros, including ones from popular games like Apex Legends, or create your own. Key assignment is super easy with the apps drag & drop functionality.
The last tab lets you select from six preset lighting effects, the AIMO Intelligent Lighting, or create a custom lighting setup. It’s pretty self-explanatory and easy to use. In addition, there is also a tab across the top for the aforementioned AIMO feature. Under this tab, you can toggle AIMO, see you’re current AIMO learning progress, and toggle ROCCAT Talk FX, and Alienware’s Alien FX.
Finally, in addition to the macro tab on the bottom, there is a Profile Manager tab which lets you set up to four different profiles to save and quick access by using the F1 through F4 keys on the keyboard.
ROCCAT Swarm Screenshot Gallery
The Vulcan 120 AIMO is the company’s first keyboard featuring their in-house developed Titan Switches. Designed from the ground up, these tactile silent keys offer a 1.8mm actuation point with a 3.6mm travel distance. According to the company, these switches recognize input 20% faster because of the design. Unlike most other switches, the Titan Switches are a bit higher as they include a clear plastic piece to allow the RGB lighting to shine through stronger and brighter. As a result, the key caps are about 50% lighter than standard keycaps, allowing even faster response.
When typing, the keys do in fact feel lighter than other keyboards I’ve tested in the past. Typing is super responsive, and the keyboard is relatively silent as far as mechanical gaming keyboards are concerned.
On the gaming front, the keyboard performed admirably for games like Heroes of the Storm, Diablo III, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone. There was no input lag or lost keystrokes, which is obviously an important feature when gaming so as to not fall behind the competition.
Not only is it great for gaming but it also works great for general day to day use. While it is louder than a standard keyboard, it isn’t as loud as clicky keyboards so it’s not terribly distracting when used in an office environment. Honestly, I have no complaints about the performance of this keyboard or the ROCCAT Titan Switches it uses.
With an MSRP of US$159.99, the ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO isn’t exactly cheap. Then again, neither are other decent mechanical gaming keyboards. Considering they can run upwards of $200, the Vulcan 120 AIMO is pretty reasonably priced given the performance and build quality. If you’re looking to pick one up in the U.S., this gaming keyboard is sold exclusively at Best Buy stores.
If you’re a gamer looking to upgrade your mechanical gaming keyboard, the ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO is an excellent choice. With per-key RGB lighting, media volume controls, an included palm rest, and solid, responsive Titan Switches, this keyboard doesn’t disappoint when it comes to gaming.
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ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO
- Sleek design with bright RGB lighting
- Solid build quality
- Excellent responsive ROCCAT Titan Switches
- Onboard profile storage
- Macro support
- Volume control buttons/dial
- Straightforward ROCCAT Swarm app
- Reasonably priced as far as gaming keyboards go
- As mechanical gaming keyboards are, it is pricey
- Palm rest, while works, could use some padding