Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard

Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard


Roccat Isku impresses with its EasyShift functionality coupled with its ability to "talk" with the Roccat Kova[+] mouse.

Roccat strikes again

Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
Over the past couple of years, Roccat has continued to amaze us with their new products. Not only has Roccat joined the other gaming gear manufacturers in the relatively crowded market, but they have managed to introduce new innovations that set their products apart from the competition. One of these innovations is the recent addition of Easy-Shift[+] functionality to their mice, that effectively doubled the functionality of the mouse buttons, without increasing their number. Now, with their new Roccat Isku gaming keyboard, Roccat extends the Easy-Shift[+] functionality with the so-called Roccat Talk functionality, which allows the keyboard to pair up with the Kova[+] mouse and use the same Easy-Shift[+] key for both units. If that sounds too complicated, I'll get back to it later on. But, first, let's take a look at the basics of this new gaming keyboard.


Roccat Isku (Finnish for strike) Illuminated Gaming Keyboard is a full-sized gaming keyboard with a relatively angular design. The top edge of the keyboard hosts a set of media buttons. To the right, there is a single button to adjust the lighting level of the backlit keys. In addition to the ability to turn the light off completely, there are five levels of lighting that you can choose from. On the left side, you have a similar button set beside a single led light. This is a macro recording button, allowing you to record new macros whenever you choose to do so instead of having to launch the driver program to do so. Further to the left, there are additional five led lights signifying the five profile options that you can switch between. Furthermore, on the left side of the main keyboard, you will find five M-keys for your macros and in front of the space bar there are three additional thumb keys. With the design and all these visible special features, no one will mistake your keyboard for any cheap off-the-shelf equipment.

Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
The keyboard has an integrated wrist-rest, which makes typing a pleasure. It also makes the keyboard very sturdy and you can easily let the wristrest hang slightly over the edge of your table without it losing any of its stability. This comes at the obvious cost of size as the total dimensions of the device are 24,7 x 50,9cm. The keyboard feels good when you type – as good as any membrane keyboard out there – although it is perhaps somewhat louder than some. Thus, despite its looks, this is not a stealth keyboard.

The excellent driver software allows you to create macros for the macro keys, all the easyzone control keys (more about this later) and prepare separate keyboard profiles (up to 5) for different situations. In addition, it allows you to individually enable and disable certain keys for various profiles, these keys being the left and right Windows key, Application key, Left Shift key and the Tab key. Also, you can customise the sound feedback, illumination dimmer timer, key illumination brightness, character repeat speed and rate etc. Overall, the software gives you all the freedom that you would expect from dedicated gaming keyboard drivers. Well, except for perhaps one: backlight colour. There is no way to adjust the colour of the backlight to anything else than blue, which is a shame, really. As it is, I rushed to change my Kova[+] mouse colour to green as soon as I could, so it would have been nice to be able to make these two devices match.

Special keys and their uses

Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
In the previous section, we mentioned a set of configurable media buttons at the top edge of the keyboard. These are preset for volume settings, play/pause/forward/backward controls, as well as a WWW button that launches your browser and a Computer button that opens your home folder. However, all of these keys are customisable also to other functions from the device driver software. A similar reconfiguration possibility is also provided for the regular function keys.

The Easy-Shift[+] and Roccat Talk are definitely the main innovations of the Isku keyboard. With the Talk making the keyboard and the Kova[+] mouse able to communicate with each other, you can assign a key on the keyboard to work as the Easy-Shift[+] key for the mouse (press the key on the keyboard to use the secondary functions on all the mouse buttons), but it also gives an extra function to the Macro keys, Thumb keys and the so-called EasyZone keys on the keyboard. These EasyZone keys are the twenty keys on the left side of the keyboard, nearest to the default Easy-Shift[+] key which is Caps-Lock. This region is the usual hotkey zone for games with WASD controls and with Easy-Shift[+] you will suddenly have an extra function for each of these keys, if you so wish. I cannot really praise this innovation highly enough.


Roccat Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
Roccat Isku - Illuminated Gaming Keyboard is one of the best gaming keyboards I have had the pleasure to use. It may not have all the power and functionality of a Logitech G-19, but it is almost as nice to type on and ups the ante with the Easy-Shift[+] feature, making it perhaps even more lucrative for a heavy gamer who values multi-function keys. Overall, the only thing I miss is the option to change the backlight colour – and perhaps to have the media keys backlit as well as they presently fall into darkness if the lighting is dim and you are watching a movie.

If you are looking for a new gaming keyboard, the Roccat Isku is definitely something you should consider, at least if you do not mind a membrane keyboard. If you prefer a mechanical one, you should look elsewhere for your fix. For me, the choice between Roccat Isku and Logitech G-19 is a difficult one, which is saying much when you consider the price difference between the two.

Our total score: 9.0/10