Roccat Vulcan II Max Review

What do you find at the end of a rainbow? A leprechaun gaming on the new Roccat Vulcan II Max. Yes I’m a dad so bad jokes are a staple of my life but once you see how absurdly bright and colorful the RGB on this new board is, you’ll cut me some slack. The Vulcan II Max, as its name implies is the second generation of the amazing Vulcan line of keyboards and the Max implies “Maximum RGB”.

The incredible Vulcan 120 AIMO is one of my favorite boards of all time thanks to its retro-futuristic design aesthetic with cut off keycaps that reveal the exposed switch stem for brighter RGB and the dedicated media controls which have since become commonplace on other boards.

Retailing for AUD $369.95, the Vulcan II Max is one of the more expensive boards out right now and yet it’s notably missing any wireless connectivity. Who spends this much on a gaming keyboard that isn’t wireless? Roccat seems to think that some excellent craftsmanship, Titan II Optical switches, Easy-Shift tech and Christmas tree level of RGB and a translucent wrist wrest is enough to sell you.

While I can’t deny that this is still one of the best looking gaming boards around, it’s not enough to justify the hefty price tag and make me give up my wireless keyboard.

Roccat Vulcan II Max Review

The Vulcan II Max is a full-size board, something that I’m still struggling to get used to after a year of exclusively using TKL and smaller sizes. It feels like it takes so much room on my desk and I have to awkwardly shimmy it so that the QWERTY section is right in the middle otherwise I’m constantly typing on the wrong keys. It also means my mouse if far off to the right in a rather uncomfortable location with limited room for movement.

The board measures just over 18-inches wide and about half that in depth. It’s not very tall though thanks to the low profile keycaps but you can adjust the height thanks to two-height feet on the back. The board still feels as premium as ever thanks to the use of anodized aluminium on the top plate and premium plastics for the case.

The included wrist wrest is made from some sort of silicon and it fits into a set of notches in the front of keyboard. Just snap it in and it will diffuse the RGB coming out of the front of the Vulcan; effectively extending the lightshow. Like it’s predecessors, you still get the dedicated media keys and volume dial on the top right of the chassis but it now looks a little cheap and outdated compared to other boards with OLED displays and metal dials. That said, the buttons and dial feel solid with great tactility to each press and turn of the dial.

Overall build quality is excellent without any rattle or flex anywhere. Most of the keys don’t exhibit any wobble but a few do though you really have to go looking for it. The keyboard is wired via a single, non-removable braided cable with two USB-A leads on the end. Usually, this would mean the board has USB passthrough but not here. In fact, I’m not really sure what the extra lead does because I thought it had to do with lighting but the keyboard works fine with just one of them.

Keys and customisation

The Vulcan II Max uses the same exposed switch and low profile keycap design of its predecessors. This not only gives a visually striking appearance that’s quite different from other mechanical keyboards but is also critical to the bright RGB. With the light unimpeded by thick PBT caps, the Vulcan is able to shine unlike any other keyboard of its type.

Roccat is using a Dual LED design so each key gets an extra light diode to really brighten up the board. You are literally bathed in a wave of color and the switch stems look like shining crystals. And it’s not just for show as some of the lights can actually be status lights. The F5 key which has the secondary function of launching Roccat Swarm software is also a status light for new updates. The F1-4 keys are also profile switches so the board can let you know which profile is currently active.

There are a a few prebaked lighting modes but you can also create your own using the Roccat Swarm software. Additionally, you can set all your macros and shortcuts and have everything saved to one of four profiles that are stored on the Vulcans 4MB memory. A big thing to note is the Easy-Shift tech which essentially doubles the number of functions you can assign to the board. I like this feature on Roccat mice but on a full size keyboard, I’m not sure I need 200 plus mappings. You can also do on-the-fly Macro recording directly on the board.

Turning to the keys themselves, Roccat is using its in-house Titan II Optical switches which come in either Linear Red or Tactile Brown. I have the Reds and they feel more like browns to me and also kind sound like them too. Roccat claims a 1.4mm actuation with 3.6mm total travel distance using 45G of force but they don’t feel as loose as the ROG NX-Reds on the Asus ROG Azoth.

That’s not to say they feel bad, I actually like it more than Cherry MX Reds which are just too smooth and leads to a lot of unintentional presses and mistakes. However, in gaming this works well and the Titan II are as responsive as ever so you won’t be making any false presses while in the heat of a gun fight. They are also great for typing and aren’t too clacky to annoy the people around you but certainly much louder than those on the ROG Azoth.

While the Vulcan uses some low-profile key caps, the Titan II switches are compatible with most third-party cross mount keycaps so you can change things up to your liking. I don’t think you can swap out the switches themselves though, but I could be wrong. The stability of the keys is great especially the larger keys like the space bar and enter keys.

Something else to note is that the Vulcan II Max is only 1000Hz polling rate which is slow for a premium wired gaming keyboard. Boards like the Corsair K70 Pro RGB and the Razer BlackWidow V3 are capable of 8000Hz polling. While most of us won’t notice the difference between the polling rates, I mention it given the cost of this board.

Verdict

The Vulcan II Max is every bit a Roccat board. Great design, quality materials and oozing a sense of style few other brands have achieved. There’s not a lot to complain about this board. It does everything you need a gaming keyboard to and looks stunning with its RGB. But ultimately, it doesn’t really do anything special that a $100 keyboard can’t and remember you are paying a hefty $370 for this board.

For just a few dollars more, you can get the aforementioned Asus ROG Azoth which I think offers far more bang for you buck and includes swappable switches, tri-mode wireless, and a 2000 hour battery life. To me, the Vulcan is priced $100 too much for what it is — just a solid, wired mechanical gaming keyboard with great RGB. Period. You can do better for less.


Roccat Australia kindly provided the Vulcan II Max to PowerUp Gaming for the purpose of this review

Roccat Vulcan II Max Review
LIKES
Gorgeous design and solid build
Exceptional RGB lightshow
Titan II Optical switches
DISLIKES
Very expensive for a wired keyboard
No USB passthrough despite double USB cable
Slow 1000Hz polling
3.8
Kizito Katawonga
Kizito Katawongahttp://www.medium.com/@katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

━ more like this

Binge Guide: The Best Stuff Streaming on Netflix in July 2024

When it's a slow month for video games, I feel the best option is to put down the controller, resist the urge to go...

JBL Quantum Stream Wireless USB-C Review

JBL surprises with a product that is decidedly not for gamers but more for the content creators among us.

Suicide Squad: KTJL Season 2 Put on Ice, Fans Asked to Chill

Fans waiting to get their Mrs. Freeze fix have been left out in the cold today, thanks to the new content drop for Suicide...

Astro’s Playroom Updated With Another Where’s Wally Bot Challenge

Many is the time when I've scrolled past Astro's Playroom in my PS5 Library and thought, "I've clocked that, but I'd take any excuse...

Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 Review – Killer App

Steelseries returns with a midrange headset that is boosted by an excellent app with 100's of game audio presets and a 60 hour battery