PCs

Review: Roccat Pyro Mechanical Keyboard: A Spark of Affordability

Ergonomics: Entry-Level Aesthetics

The Roccat Pyro, priced at €100, offers a more budget-friendly option for mechanical keyboards. Lacking dedicated macro keys, it maintains a compact design (44.7 x 15.2 cm without palm rest). However, using bare plastic, particularly in the base, compromises the finish. The aluminum plate covering the keyboard surface adds a touch of elegance, but the wrist rest, though plastic, aids in comfortable typing. Detachable and adorned with horizontal lines, it may accumulate dirt over time.

The keyboard, with non-adjustable retractable feet, stands at a fixed height of 3.6 cm. Connectivity is simple with a 1.8 m USB-A cable, although no additional ports are provided. While lacking the plush feel of high-end models, the wrist rest raises hands to an ergonomic height. The Roccat Pyro’s Game Mode key, preventing accidental Windows key activation during gaming, allows further customization via the Roccat Swarm software.

Customization with Roccat Swarm Software

Roccat Swarm facilitates key assignments and backlighting adjustments. Multimedia functions are integrated into the F keys, with the “Game Mode” key enhancing customization options. The “Easy Shift[+]” key, activated during Game Mode, opens up possibilities for additional macros. The Swarm software also controls keyboard backlighting, allowing color changes and effects such as waves and ripples. Brightness adjustments can be made precisely through the software or incrementally using arrow keys.

Struck by Red TTC Mechanical Switches

The Pyro employs red TTC mechanical switches, akin to Cherry MX Reds, offering a lifespan of 50 million clicks. With an actuation force of 45 cN, an activation distance of 2 mm, and a total stroke of 4 mm, these linear switches are gaming-friendly. Though not as swift as other models like Cherry MX Speed or Brown, they outpace membrane or scissor switches. However, they are relatively noisy, with a metallic resonance noticed on certain keys, especially in the center. The anti-ghosting technology ensures simultaneous key presses without misinterpretation by the PC.


Durability and Practicality

The Roccat Pyro, with its red TTC mechanical switches, promises durability with a 50 million-click lifespan. The linear switches, mirroring Cherry MX Reds, are optimized for gaming with an actuation force of 45 cN and an activation distance of 2 mm. While not as rapid as some premium models, they outperform membrane or scissor switches. Despite their average noise level, users may find it challenging to minimize typing volume at high speeds, with specific keys exhibiting a metallic resonance, notably in the center.

Enhanced Gaming Experience

The keyboard’s Game Mode, activated by a dedicated key, proves beneficial during gaming sessions, preventing unintentional Windows key presses. When engaged in Game Mode, the “Easy Shift[+]” key unlocks additional macro possibilities, expanding the keyboard’s capabilities for gaming enthusiasts. This intricate system managed through the Roccat Swarm software, enables users to tailor key assignments and create a personalized gaming experience.

Backlighting Brilliance

Roccat Swarm doesn’t just stop at key assignments; it extends to vibrant backlighting control. Users can customize the keyboard’s backlight per-key basis, experimenting with various colors and dynamic effects like waves and ripples. The software allows for precise brightness adjustments, catering to individual preferences. This feature adds a layer of aesthetic appeal to the Roccat Pyro, enhancing its overall visual allure.

Connectivity and Physical Design

The Pyro maintains simplicity in connectivity with a 1.8 m USB-A cable, ensuring compatibility with various devices. However, it lacks additional ports such as microphone/headphone inputs or USB ports. The detachable wrist rest, while not as luxurious as higher-end counterparts, serves its purpose by providing a comfortable typing angle. Though restrained in some aspects, the overall physical design offers stability during use, with non-slip pads and retractable feet.


User-Friendly Software: Roccat Swarm

Roccat Swarm is pivotal in enhancing the Roccat Pyro’s user experience. The software’s user-friendly interface simplifies customization, allowing users to redefine key functions and tweak backlighting effortlessly. The “Easy Shift[+]” key, while initially appearing complex, adds versatility to the keyboard, offering a seamless transition between regular and customized key functions. This dynamic customization and the ability to save profiles make Roccat Swarm an asset for users who want a tailored and adaptable keyboard setup.

Build Quality and Material Choices

While the Roccat Pyro positions itself as an entry-level mechanical keyboard, certain build quality aspects reflect its more budget-friendly nature. Using bare plastic in the keyboard’s base and wrist rest may not match the premium feel of higher-priced competitors. However, the brushed aluminum plate covering the keyboard surface adds aesthetic value and contributes to the keyboard’s structural integrity. The decision to include non-adjustable retractable feet, while limiting in customization, maintains simplicity and stability during use.

Auditory Experience: Mechanical Switches and Typing Noise

The choice of red TTC mechanical switches brings both benefits and considerations. With characteristics akin to Cherry MX Reds, they offer a tactile feel suitable for gaming. However, the accompanying noise level, a common trait in mechanical switches, might be a factor for users in shared environments. The observed metallic resonance on specific keys adds a distinctive auditory aspect, which, depending on user preference, can either enhance the typing experience or be perceived as a drawback.

Versatility Beyond Gaming: Practical Daily Use

Despite being marketed as a gaming keyboard, the Roccat Pyro demonstrates versatility for daily use. The absence of excessive gamer-centric features, such as dedicated macro keys, allows the Pyro to transition seamlessly into professional or casual tasks. Though geared towards gaming, the tactile feedback from the red TTC switches can also contribute to a satisfying typing experience for various applications.

Final Verdict: A Budget-Friendly Gaming Companion

In conclusion, the Roccat Pyro offers a compelling option for users seeking an affordable mechanical keyboard with gaming-centric features. While certain compromises are evident in material choices and build quality, the inclusion of red TTC switches, customizable backlighting, and the Roccat Swarm software make it a noteworthy contender in its price range. For gamers on a budget who prioritize functionality and customization, the Roccat Pyro stands out as a reliable and cost-effective companion.

Conclusion: Balancing Affordability and Performance

Roccat’s Pyro manages to strike a balance between affordability and performance in the realm of mechanical keyboards. Priced at €100, it presents a cost-effective option without compromising essential gaming features. While some compromises are evident in the choice of materials and certain design elements, the inclusion of red TTC mechanical switches, customizable backlighting, and the Game Mode functionality contribute to a compelling package for gamers on a budget.

Pros:

  1. Affordability: Priced at €100, the Roccat Pyro offers a budget-friendly option for those looking for a mechanical gaming keyboard without breaking the bank.
  2. Compact Design: The keyboard maintains a compact form factor, making it suitable for users with limited desk space.
  3. Customizable Backlighting: Roccat Swarm software enables users to customize backlighting on a per-key basis, adding aesthetic appeal and personalization options.
  4. Game Mode Functionality: The dedicated Game Mode key prevents accidental Windows key activation during gaming sessions, enhancing the gaming experience.
  5. Red TTC Mechanical Switches: Similar to Cherry MX Reds, these switches provide a tactile feel optimized for gaming, with a lifespan of 50 million clicks.
  6. Versatility: While marketed as a gaming keyboard, the Roccat Pyro is versatile enough for everyday tasks, thanks to its tactile feedback and lack of excessive gamer-centric features.

Cons:

  1. Material Quality: The extensive use of basic plastic compromises the overall finish and may not match the premium feel of higher-priced competitors.
  2. Limited Connectivity: The keyboard lacks additional ports such as microphone/headphone inputs or USB ports, limiting its versatility in connecting peripherals.
  3. Non-Adjustable Feet: The non-adjustable retractable feet limit customization options for ergonomic preferences, although they maintain simplicity and stability during use.
  4. Typing Noise: The red TTC mechanical switches, while providing tactile feedback, produce relatively noisy typing, which might be disruptive in shared environments.
  5. Build Quality Concerns: Certain build quality aspects, such as the accumulation of dirt on the wrist rest over time and the observed metallic resonance on certain keys, raise durability concerns and may affect the overall typing experience.