Review: Roccat Ryos MK FX Gaming Keyboard

This thing is HUGE!

Roccat has always been one of those brands that I’ve been faintly aware of, yet never actually bothered to check out. Compared to bigger brands like Razer and Corsair, Roccat sits in the background, working on its products and not bothering anybody else, like a hermit in the forest whittling wooden spoons.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Roccat Ryos MK FX is an incredibly robust gaming keyboard. It has a few minor problems, but it’s still a mighty impressive piece of kit, and very easy for me to recommend.

Product: Roccat Ryos MK FX Gaming Keyboard
Manufacturer: Roccat
Input: Two USB 2.0+ Ports, one 3.5mm sound jack, one 3.5mm microphone jack
MSRP: $169.99

The Ryos’ build quality is fantastic, and the keyboard really feels like it’s built to last. The exterior is entirely plastic — bar the chunky braided cable — but in no way feels tacky or cheap. It’s a huge, heavy board, and the addition of incredibly sturdy rubber feet means that this thing isn’t sliding around your desk unless you want it to. I have to put quite a bit of effort into pushing the Ryos across my glossy surface. The large, unremovable wrist-rest adds even more to the bulk of the keyboard, which might be an annoyance to some, but it is a very comfortable and well-positioned wrist-rest that I’ve found to be more of a boon than a hindrance.

The RGB lighting (because this is 2016, and every peripheral has to have RGB lighting now) is bright and vibrant, and the various lighting options in the configuration program all look gorgeous. Some are too distracting to actually use, but hey, as long as they look good, right? The letters are etched into the keys so there is zero chance of them ever fading away after prolonged use.

The Ryos has some neat design choices that I’ve never seen before. First, there are headphone and microphone jacks on the top left corner of the board. That’s really helpful for setups like mine where the PC is placed to the right of me, meaning that a headphone cable is usually draped across my body while wearing them.

The second handy feature is the three extra macro keys placed under the spacebar. While there is a more standard row of macros to the left of the board, I’ve always struggled to find reasons to use them because of their slightly awkward placement. The three T buttons, on the other hand, are in the perfect place to be quickly hit with the thumb with minimal effort. They can be re-bound in the configuration program, meaning they soon became my dedicated media keys. It’s such a small and seemingly insignificant design choice, but Roccat really great did a job with those three little buttons.

Under the keys lie Cherry MX Brown switches, which, I have to admit, I’m conflicted about. MX Browns are designed to be both quieter than other switches and more easy to type lightly with, but they do, unfortunately, come at the cost of tactile satisfaction.

I’ve found the browns to feel kind of gritty and have none of the clicks I prefer from a mechanical keyboard. It’s not a problem when typing quickly, where the MX Browns feel more comfortable than a lot of other switches out there; but, for slower presses when gaming, it really shows how there isn’t a smooth press to any of the keys. Which switch you prefer is almost entirely a personal choice, and plenty of Internet arguments have erupted over which switch is best, but I’m just not a fan of browns.

The second minor problem I have is that there are no USB ports on the MK FX model, which is something I’d expect from a keyboard of this price. Instead, they’re included in the more expensive MK Pro model. On my old keyboard, I used the USB port for my Steam Controller’s dongle, but that had to be relegated to the kind of dodgy port on the front of my computer instead. While the audio jacks are definitely a nice addition, I don’t think they’re nice enough to replace the universally-useful USB port.

My final problem isn’t technically one with the keyboard itself, but one with the configuration software. Roccat Swarm, the program that lets you control key bindings and lighting settings, is an absolute nightmare to get working. I had to install it a grand total of six times to get both the Ryos and the Roccat Nyth mouse working together. Configuring the settings isn’t much easier, either, with options sometimes just flat-out not saving or labeled in confusing ways. I thought I had broken my left shift key until I found out that an incorrectly named option had actually disabled it. Once it works, it works, but getting it to work was a painful experience that I’d like to never have to experience again.

It is worth noting that those three problems are incredibly minor, and shouldn’t be considered deal-breakers in the slightest. Switches are personal taste, everyone has more USB ports than what they know to do with these days, and once Swarm’s configured you never have to even look at it.

They do nothing to discount the fact that the Roccat Ryos MK FX is absolutely fantastic, and I am looking forward to using as my main keyboard from now on. It’s sturdy, has a high build quality, is comfortable to type with, and those few extra special design choices that make it well worth the price.

Not a bad job for the wood-whittling hermit of the gaming world, eh?

[This review is based on retail hardware provided by the manufacturer.]

Joe Parlock