ROCCAT Vulcan TKL Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Apr 12, 2021 at 11:04 am
ROCCAT Vulcan TKL Picture
8.9
Gaming
4.0
Mobile/Tablet
7.4
Office
7.5
Programming
5.4
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
TenKeyLess (80%)
Mechanical
Yes

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is an excellent mechanical TenKeyLess gaming keyboard. It has a solid plastic body, a sturdy-feeling brushed metal backplate, and flat profile keycaps with exposed, transparent switch housings that showcase the RGB backlighting. The unit we tested has ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches that feel light, responsive, and offer good feedback. If you prefer a different feel, it's also available with ROCCAT Titan Linear switches. It has outstanding companion software offering plenty of customization options, but it's only compatible with Windows. Unfortunately, the latency is a bit high for a wired gaming keyboard, and the larger stabilized keys sometimes have an extra stiffness that makes them harder to actuate.

Our Verdict

8.9 Gaming

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is excellent for gaming and has a great build quality with a sturdy-feeling brushed metal backplate. It has thin, flat keycaps that expose the switches beneath and showcases the superb full RGB backlighting. The unit we tested has ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches that feel light and responsive and offer good tactile feedback, but it's also available with ROCCAT Titan Linear switches if you prefer. Unfortunately, the latency is only decent, and only alphanumeric keys on the left side of the keyboard are macro-programmable.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Full RGB backlighting with plenty of customization options.
  • Light and responsive-feeling switches.
Cons
  • Latency is a bit high for a wired gaming keyboard.
4.0 Mobile/Tablet

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is a wired keyboard that isn't designed to be used with mobile devices or tablets.

7.4 Office

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is decent for office use. It feels well-built and has a metal backplate that adds rigidity. The ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches on our unit are light and responsive, offer good tactile feedback, provide great typing quality, and are quiet enough that they shouldn't bother those around you. Unfortunately, some of the larger stabilized keys are a little stiff and may disrupt some people's typing experience. Also, while the keyboard's low profile should feel comfortable and is unlikely to cause fatigue even during long typing sessions, it may still benefit from a wrist rest.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Great typing quality.
Cons
  • Larger stabilized keys feel heavier to actuate, especially the backspace.
  • No included wrist rest.
7.5 Programming

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is good for programming. It has a great build quality, full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys. Despite the lack of a wrist rest, the low-profile keycaps are comfortable to type on, even for long periods. The unit we tested has ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches that provide great typing quality, but it's also available with ROCCAT Titan linear switches if you prefer. The companion software offers plenty of customization options and the ability to set macros. However, only the alphanumeric keys on the left side of the keyboard are macro-programmable.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Full RGB backlighting with plenty of customization options.
  • Great typing quality.
Cons
  • No included wrist rest.
  • Only the alphanumeric keys on the left side are macro-programmable.
5.4 Entertainment / HTPC

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is inadequate for home theater PC use. It's wired-only, so you'll have to sit within cable distance, and it doesn't have a trackpad, so you'll likely need to use a mouse for navigating menus. Despite these shortcomings, it has a sturdy-feeling build, full RGB backlighting, media hotkeys, and a dedicated mute button and volume wheel. It's compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, but the software and certain buttons don't work on macOS and Linux.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting with plenty of customization options.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • Lacks a trackpad.
  • 8.9 Gaming
  • 4.0 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.4 Office
  • 7.5 Programming
  • 5.4 Entertainment / HTPC

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.3" (3.2 cm)
Width 14.2" (36.0 cm)
Depth
5.3" (13.4 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.54 lbs (0.700 kg)
8.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL's build quality is great. It has a plastic body and a brushed metal top plate that adds good rigidity. The keycaps are ABS and very thin, allowing for a more dramatic effect from the LED lighting. However, they're prone to developing shine from finger oils. The alphanumeric keys are all quite stable, but some of the larger stabilized keys on our unit sometimes had an extra stiffness that made them harder to actuate, especially the backspace key. The rubber feet offer a good amount of grip and have five contact points. Unfortunately, when the incline feet are extended, the rubber surfaces make a loud screeching noise when pushed across desks, though the feet don't collapse.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
Wrist Rest No

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has adequate ergonomics. It has a flat, low profile with exposed switches and thin keycaps. There's one additional incline setting, but there's no wrist rest included. While it isn't uncomfortable to use for long stretches, using it with a wrist rest would likely help hand posture for most people.

10
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Great
Effects
Yes
Programmable
Yes

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has full RGB backlighting with individually lit keys and no color bleeding. However, the color temperature of the white lighting is fairly cold, which may not be to everyone's taste.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 5.9 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has a standard rubber cable, though it's detachable, so it's easily replaced if damaged.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
Dedicated only
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel Yes
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator Caps & Scroll Lock

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has labeled media hotkeys, a dedicated mute button, and a volume wheel in the top right corner. You can set macros to the keys on the left side of the board, including 5, T, G, and B, but you can only use them while in game mode, which you activate by pressing Fn + Scroll Lock. There's an Easy-Shift[+] function on the Caps Lock key that lets you set a second layer of macros on these same keys. While you can't set macros to the other keys, you can reassign them by selecting from a preset list.

Design
In The Box

  • ROCCAT Vulcan TKL keyboard
  • USB-C cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
ROCCAT Titan Tactile
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
56 gf
Actuation Force
43 gf
Pre-Travel
1.7 mm
Total Travel
4.0 mm

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL we tested has ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches that have a short pre-travel distance, only require light force to actuate, and offer good tactile feedback. It's also available with ROCCAT Titan Linear switches which don't have a tactile bump to overcome but should provide an even more responsive feel and a smooth buildup to actuation.

7.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

This ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has great typing quality. While it doesn't have low-profile switches, the ABS keycaps themselves have a low-profile design that may take some getting used to. That said, the keycaps are slightly curved and comfortable to type on, and all the keys feel very stable. The unit we tested has ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches that feel light and responsive and offer good tactile feedback. It's also available with ROCCAT Titan Linear switches which we expect to feel more responsive but without any tactile bump. Unfortunately, the Spacebar, Shift, Enter, and Backspace keys are stiff and take extra effort to actuate, which may hamper the typing experience for some.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The typing noise is quiet and unlikely to bother those around you. The unit we tested has ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches, but it's also available with ROCCAT Titan Linear switches, which we expect to be even quieter.

7.3
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
11.9 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has decent latency. It's a little high for a wired gaming keyboard, but most people are unlikely to notice any delays for everyday tasks or casual gaming. However, competitive gamers may prefer a keyboard with lower latency.

Software and Operating System
9.1
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name ROCCAT Swarm
Account Required
No
Profiles
5
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
Software
Ease Of Use
Okay
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL has outstanding companion software with plenty of customization options. You can set macros for specific games and applications. Unfortunately, they can only be mapped to alphanumeric keys to the left of and including the T, G, B, and 5 keys, and setting them is a little clunky.

The software includes in-depth light controls and features ROCCAT's AIMO intelligent lighting, which is advertised to react organically to your behavior and changes based on your setup, the apps you use, and other ROCCAT devices you connect.

7.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is fully compatible with Windows. The Pause/Break and Scroll Lock keys don't work in macOS, but all keys work in Linux. Unfortunately, there's no software for macOS or Linux.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the ROCCAT Vulcan TKL in black with ROCCAT Titan Tactile switches, but it's also available with ROCCAT Titan Linear switches. Though not a variant, the ROCCAT Vulcan TKL Pro is virtually identical to this keyboard, except it has a braided cable and Titan Optical Linear switches. You can see the label for our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL is an excellent TenKeyLess gaming keyboard and occupies the lower end of ROCCAT's Vulcan lineup. Like the other Vulcan keyboards, it features very thin keycaps and exposed switches. This floating key design may take some getting used to, but it's very effective at showcasing the RGB lighting. Unfortunately, the latency is a bit high for a wired gaming keyboard. Despite this, it's a solid choice if you're looking for a TKL with superb lighting and aren't concerned with having the absolute lowest latency possible.

For other options, check out our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best keyboards.

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition

The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition is a better gaming keyboard than the ROCCAT Vulcan TKL. The Razer has much lower latency, all of its keys are macro-programmable, and its software is more intuitive. However, It's only available with Razer Linear Optical switches. On the other hand, the ROCCAT has lower profile keycaps with transparent switch housings that showcase the RGB lighting and a dedicated mute button and volume wheel. It's available with either ROCCAT Titan tactile or linear switches. Unfortunately, only half its alphanumeric keys are macro-programmable.

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL

The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL and the ROCCAT Vulcan TKL are similar TenKeyLess gaming keyboards, but the SteelSeries is slightly better overall. The SteelSeries has better ergonomics with an included wrist rest, all its keys are macro-programmable, and it has a mini OLED screen. It's available in either SteelSeries linear Red, tactile Brown, or clicky Blue switches. On the other hand, the ROCCAT has low-profile keycaps with exposed switch housings that showcase the RGB lighting, and it has a removable USB-C type cable. It's available with either ROCCAT Titan Tactile or Linear switches. Unfortunately, it has significantly higher latency, and only the alphanumeric keys on the left side of the board are macro-programmable.

ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO

The ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO and the ROCCAT Vulcan TKL are very similar keyboards visually and performance-wise, but they have a few notable differences. The  Vulcan 120 AIMO is a full-size keyboard with an included wrist rest and lower latency. On the other hand, the Vulcan TKL is a TenKeyLess keyboard with a detachable USB-C cable. Both keyboards have dedicated mute buttons and volume wheels and are available with either ROCCAT Titan tactile or linear switches.

Redragon K552-RGB

The ROCCAT Vulcan TKL and Redragon K552-RGB are TenKeyLess gaming keyboards, but the ROCCAT is a better keyboard overall. The ROCCAT has a detachable USB-C cable and companion software that offers plenty of customization. You can also set macros using the companion software, though you can only set them to alphanumeric keys on the left side of the board. It's available with either ROCCAT Titan tactile or linear switches. On the other hand, the Redragon has significantly higher latency, no companion software, none of its keys are macro-programmable, and it's only available with clicky Outemu Blue switches.

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