I need to get a few things off my chest. Sometimes I review things I don’t want to review. Sometimes I review similar products and it starts to feel a bit mundane and repetitive. How different can a computer mouse actually be from another? Is one keyboard truly that much better than another? Well, the reality is yes – depending on how you use it. Thus, I present to you Roccat’s latest keyboards, the Vulcan II Mini Air and the Vulcan II (Mechanical) in a review that makes this user excited to keep testing their products.
The Mini Air
I may be the world’s biggest naysayer when I ramble on about how much I hate wires and wired keyboards/mice. I’m also not typically a fan of mini keyboards. Wires are unsightly, and when you change components, move your PC, or update accessories as much as I tend to, cords get ugly fast. I abhor managing them. Therefore, I thought I would simply find balance in the Vulcan II Mini Air. Sure, it’s a mini keyboard, but dude, it’s wireless! In fact, when given the option to review this accessory, I even wrote their PR rep – “finally” in my excitement to finally escape wires with Roccat’s latest.
The other part of me still thinks – but dude it’s a “mini”. This means no tenkey. I typically hate this (don’t believe me? See the last paragraph of the wired version here. How do people live without it? After a few weeks of using it, I suddenly realize – it’s pretty easy actually. In fact, the Vulcan II Mini Air breathes new life into this old soul. I happened to be traveling with my PC to a cabin during my testing. My workspace became a simple table with limited space. Where I once found solace in a large keyboard with all options at my fingertips, I now didn’t have the space for it. Now, I realize why so many gamers don’t mind having a mini, and fortunately the Vulcan II Mini Air gives us all the beautiful debut of no wire.
The 65% form factor features much more than no wire though. I still love the brilliance of the LEDs, and they pair insanely well with AIMO (LED light matching with Roccat products) and the brilliant Kone XP Air mouse. A detachable USB-C cable and 2.4GHz wireless dongle is included in the box. This allows for a wired feel when I charge it, and a lossless experience during games if I don’t. Bluetooth connectivity allows me to connect it with up to three devices simultaneously should I so desire.
Wanna take a guess at what game I tested this the most with? If you are followed July’s trends, you probably got it. Diablo 4 (not for kids!). I stuck with a mouse and keyboard approach to the game throughout its entirety. Slaying baddies with the Vulcan II Mini Air is a blast and works just as well as a full-size. I adjust the keyboard to its highest height (of three heights) and blast my way to the finale in a game that puts button mashing (mostly using keys 1-4 above WASD) to the test. No issues of course. The tested lifecycle on the switches is 150 million. I doubt I hit 10k in several weeks of use.
Battery life is stellar on the keyboard, and adaptive LED lighting ensured it doesn’t lose charge while not in use. My apologies, as I did not personally measure how long it lasts, but I do know it charges fast, and I can use it with the wire while it charges anyways.
This little destroyer is perfect for college dorm rooms, travelers, minimalists, and space savers alike. My only question is – when is wireless going to be on your full-sized keyboards Roccat? This is the keyboard that gets me excited for more and makes me “insanely happy” because of the potential for the future.
The Vulcan II Mechanical Keyboard
Now to the good stuff. The Vulcan II Mechanical, like many of Roccat’s keyboards, is a monster and may just last forever. It is the FIRST to feature Roccat’s redesigned Titan II Mechanical switches. Two options are available in Red/Linear. I am testing the Linear switch. They are less “clicky”, smooth, and quiet which I find welcome relief from when working in a group. For those who want a bit more response, the Brown/Tactile switch option may be the way to go.
The exciting thing about mechanical keyboards is their ease of use and mod-ability. I took a few keys off and notice that Roccat includes cross-shaped mounts for those who love to further personalize their board with a variety of keycaps. I’m not that deep into it, but I can tell you, I’ve messed around with different key options, and it is pretty fun to customize.
Naturally, this keyboard also comes equipped with AIMO capability making for an awesome synced lighting experience when combined with other Roccat brand products. As usual this is a sight to behold, though most companies offer something similar when you pair their products together. I just happen to think Roccat’s look the best.
The Vulcan II Mechanical comes with a braided USB cable, and it’s got a lot of length if your PC sits far away. I don’t mind that it’s not detachable, but obviously I’m still waiting for a wireless option. The media center at the top right of the keyboard is perfect for quickly pulling up and adjusting on the fly. My favorite is always the volume knob which simply takes a press to mute.
One thing that really stood out to me while using this new board is the smoothness of the keystrokes. Initially, I could not quite figure out why they feel so silky smooth and responsive. Later, I discovered they actually come pre-lubed from the factory. This makes sense. Even while typing this article, I’m impressed by the overall response and ease of which I type. I like “clicky” keys as mentioned above, but the Linear red switches are really growing more on me.
Diablo 4, Baldur’s Gate, and Apex feel great and perfectly responsive. Albeit the first two games aren’t exactly frantic, first-person shooters are. There is no chance this keyboard will fail on anybody anytime soon as it is rated for 80-million keystrokes.
Comfort isn’t quite at the level of the Vulcan II Max. This is due to the plastic wrist pad, where the Vulcan II Max opted for a rubber texture. For the price, I’m hoping Roccat can start upping its comfort on the wrists going forward.
All in all, both of these keyboards have a ton to offer. The mini is a welcome addition for wireless fans, while the Vulcan II Mechanical is a beautiful monster of a keyboard. Both boards are of the quality I’ve come to expect from Roccat and they don’t skip on comfort or responsiveness. It is so great to see wireless enter the market from this company (I know I’ve said it a lot). I can’t wait to see the same happen for the full-size keyboards in the future.