Fans of Roccat products are probably familiar with the corporate style of their keyboards — large, massive, with a fancy design and a bunch of additional functions and buttons. However, the model that we will consider today is not at all like that. The Suora mechanical keyboard looks surprisingly restrained and concise, especially against the background of all other products from the company’s lineup. On the other hand, this style cannot be called boring. On the contrary, it looks very elegant and modern. But let’s deal with everything in order.
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||104|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||50|
|Switch type||TTC MX Brown|
|Changing the angle of the body||+|
|Built-in memory, KB||+|
|Ability to record macros||+|
|USB cable length, m||1,85|
|Braid material||Nylon braid|
|Material||Plastic / Metal|
|Software||Да (Roccat Swarm)|
|Removable palm rest||–|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||436 x 127 x 35|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 7, 8, 10|
|Average cost, $||105|
Contents of delivery
The packaging looks nice. Color printing with three-dimensional images of the keyboard, descriptions of its features in nine languages and short specifications, is clearly able to attract the attention of the buyer to his shelf. Inside there is no special protection against damage — just a couple of cardboard inserts and a plastic bag.
The package is missing — there are only two brochures in the box. The first provides information about the features of the disposal of the product, and the second is a short instruction on how to use the product.
Appearance and design
Roccat Suora is made in the «skeleton» style, which is gaining popularity nowadays — minimal in size and a flat case without a frame, over which the keys hang. In addition to the purely aesthetic advantages of such a design, it is also convenient to clean it from dust if you dismantle the button caps. The fact that the upper part of the body is a solid sheet of metal gives a special charm and solidity to this keyboard.
The key layout is absolutely standard and it’s great. The left Shift key is long, the Win button is in its rightful place (however, instead of a logo in the form of a window, Roccat decided to draw its own brand, in the form of a predatory cat’s head). The F1 key is located exactly above the number «2», as it should be. No additional time to get used to touch typing is required here. Cyrillic and Latin engravings are applied next to the top of the buttons by burning out the opaque cover of the keycaps, so it is hardly visible without backlighting. But when the backlight is on, all characters are read perfectly.
Function keys F5-F12 in combination with the Fn button perform such functions as launching the My Computer menu, calling a browser application, email client or calculator, player control (rewind, stop, start/pause, fast forward). Print Screen in combination with Fn cycles through modes and backlight brightness. The Enter key is single row.
Above the numeric keypad there are four additional buttons that take the place of the usual Lock-indicators. The first three of them are responsible for sound control (Mute function, reduce and increase the volume). And the fourth, Game mode, activates the game mode profile. In Game Mode, alternate key assignments are used (if assigned), the Win key is disabled, and the Ins, Home, Del, End, PgUp, and PgDn buttons can play macros M1-M6. The Roccat logo and name flaunts above the block of arrows.
A surprise awaited me under the removable keycaps. The mechanical switches here are not Cherry MX at all, and not even their often found variations from Kailh. Brown TTC mechanisms are installed here. They are similar to their more famous counterparts in almost everything, except for the backlight LED. It has a cylindrical shape and gives a narrowly concentrated upward light. For comparison, ordinary spherical diodes give off quite a lot of light to the sides. In terms of tactile sensations, the TTCs are reminiscent of Cherry MX Brown, but with a softer touch and feel. They also tend to make a slight spring chime when retracting, which I don’t recall for Cherry.
If you look at the keyboard from the front, its thickness causes a slight delight. The case itself is no more than 10 mm in height, the remaining 25 mm are reached due to the size of the caps and the gap under them. By the way, note that all typing keys have a curve in the middle, while modifiers like space or Shift are flat.
Folding legs change the angle of the body and raise its back by another 12 mm. In profile, you can see how all the rows of buttons differ in height and slope, which makes it easier to get into them by touch.
There are no additional external ports and connectors on the back. But on the back side, the full name of the device and the name of the driver for it are engraved. The cord enters the keyboard case at the back and exactly in the center. There is a rubber anti-kink protection at the junction.
The USB cable is encased in a nylon sheath and is fairly rigid and has good shape retention. Near the connector there is a ferrite magnet to eliminate interference and signal interference. The total length is 1.85 meters.
The bottom of the case is made of matte plastic. There are no screws here. Four good rubber feet are pasted along the front edge. There are no rubber stickers on the back, but even without them there is no sliding on the table.
But the folding legs have rubber blotches that prevent slipping. Legs have only one locking position.
The blue backlighting on the keyboard looks great. All fonts are read normally and no reflection is visible in the eyes. Eleven levels of brightness allow you to adjust the backlight for any user. Although even at maximum brightness, it does not blind the eyes. In addition, there is also a breathing light effect. The only thing that is rather unusual at first is that the diodes are so bright that, reflecting from the back of the button caps, they create a kind of blue halo around the perimeter around the Suora. By the way, instead of Lock indicators, the Caps, Scroll, Num Lock and Game Mode buttons themselves glow, indicating their activity, even if the backlight is turned off.
If you look at the LEDs peeking out from under the buttons from behind, they give a soft glow and do not blind, as happens in most other similar skeleton solutions.
For software, Suora uses Roccat Swarm universal gaming driver version 1.90 (current keyboard firmware is 1.10). Immediately after connecting the keyboard to the PC, we were asked to update its firmware. The nice thing is that this driver allows you to return the latest working version of the device firmware if something went wrong. The basic screen that meets the user when the software starts looks empty, but, in fact, all the necessary settings can be placed on it by pinning them here by clicking on the hairpin icon. At the top there is a ribbon with a choice of the device that you want to configure. Below are five tuning profiles to choose from. Changes can be applied both manually and automatically, for which there is a corresponding switch.
The profile manager allows you to import and export them, associate them with the start of certain programs, rename or delete them.
The macro manager has a fairly wide selection of ready-made commands, grouped by the most popular modern games. But of course, you can write down your own version of the command. When recording, only keyboard shortcuts are accepted, taking into account delays and repetitions, mouse clicks are not registered.
In the settings section of the keyboard itself, the first thing that caught my eye was the “sound feedback” settings. If, for some reason, the warm tube thump of his newly acquired Roccat keyboard is not enough for the user, he can supplement it with the sounds of clicks, typewriter keystrokes, laser beam and neon beeping, which will be output directly to his headphones or stereo system. Luckily, this option is disabled by default and has an adjustable audio level. Another useful panel here is resetting all parameters to factory settings. As far as the direct input of characters is concerned, the delay time, repeat speed and cursor blinking frequency are regulated for them. A little lower there is a window in which you can check these parameters by typing something.
Button reassignment is implemented somewhat strangely. The entire top row of keys and the left / right Fn button are not available for changing commands. Six macros can only be recorded to the M1–M6 buttons. And all other keys can be assigned the execution of any available character from the keyboard. Why and where such a configuration option can be useful in practice is not entirely clear to me. By the way, each key has two alternative commands — for working in normal mode and in the game.
The backlight has three options for functioning: constantly on with 11 brightness levels to choose from, in the «breathing» mode — uniform fading followed by a set of brightness, and backlight off mode. Everything is also quite modest.
In the general settings of the program, you can adjust the settings for automatic software updates of the product and choose one of the 16 available interface languages.
In the update center, you can view the current firmware of the device and a list of changes in it. In addition, a firmware recovery tool is available from here.
The monitoring section allows you to adjust the flow of information that will be displayed on the screen of a paired mobile device.
The help section has a built-in form for contacting user support and a list of the most frequently asked questions from users.
Let’s move on to testing the keyboard.
Ergonomics and testing
The ergonomics of the Roccat Suora turned out to be rather strange. Despite the fact that the case itself is low, in combination with the keys, its height reaches 35 mm (and with extended legs — all 47 mm). As a result, the palms have to deviate a decent angle back, which can cause fatigue in the wrist joints. During long gaming sessions or when typing for a long time, there is a strong desire to add a palm rest here. But in terms of tactile sensations, everything is pretty good. A completely standard layout, a pleasant to the touch key cover with caps depressed in the center, good button travel (medium pressing) with a noticeable return make everyday work more pleasant for this keyboard. Separately, I note that the long keys do not warp when you press the edges, because, in addition to wire stabilizers, they are also equipped with guide struts. There are some complaints about the sharp bottom edges of the keycaps, which can scratch your hands (this is especially felt on the left Ctrl and the extreme right Enter). Well, the only thing that causes a slight annoyance for me is the chime of the springs of the TTC switches when the button is reversed, which was not observed in analogues in the form of Cherry MX Brown. Because of this, the keyboard is quite loud when typing heavily, approaching the noise level of the MX Blue switches. The blue backlight looks great, Latin and Cyrillic characters are equally easy to read both in the light and in the dark. The software is beautiful, but poorly functional. Therefore, if you do not plan to write macros, there is not much point in installing it. Although the keyboard is claimed to support full anti-ghosting (NKRO) when connected via USB, in fact it is unable to handle more than 30 simultaneous keystrokes. This can hardly be called a disadvantage, since this number of non-blocking buttons will be more than enough for any player. Or even three at once.
Roccat Suora is a stylish mechanical gaming keyboard from a renowned brand. It looks nice, well made, comfortable enough to use and has a wonderful blue backlight. Among the advantages of Suora, it is worth noting the relatively low price, both in comparison with other Roccat products and with the closest competitors on the market.
However, the TTC Brown switches installed here were practically not used in keyboards supplied to our region, and still remain a “dark horse”, about the reliability of which there is practically nothing to say. Whether the wear and tear will be faster than that of Cherry counterparts, or vice versa — the switches will work without hesitation for the entire declared resource, only time and experience will show.
The characteristics of the Roccat Suora make it a fairly versatile keyboard, and it will be equally comfortable both in any genre of games and for high-speed typing of large amounts of text.