Hardcore gamers. Full-time typists. People with a fair bit of disposable income. These are the target markets for Roccat's high-end gaming peripherals, including the $229 Ryos MK Pro, an incredibly well constructed and fully featured mechanical keyboard. It's ridiculously customisable, too, if you're the kind of gamer that needs to set up 50 different macros for your weeknight WoW raids.
What Is It?
- Keyboard Type: Mechanical
- Keyboard Size: Full Size
- Mechanical: Yes
- Switch Type: Cherry MX Red/Black/Brown/Blue
- Backlighting: Yes (Blue, per-key customisable)
- Warranty: 2 Years
The $229 Ryos MK Pro is Roccat's most serious, hardcore-gamer-focused mechanical keyboard. It's fully customisable, and I mean fully — the blue backlighting illumination is adjustable per key, you can set a secondary function for each regular keyboard key, you can set the function of five separate macro buttons and three thumb keys. You can access dedicated media controls, connect a pair of headphones and a microphone, two USB 2.0 devices. (To do this, you have to connect no less than four jacks from keyboard to PC — two USB and two 3.5mm — to access all those functions.)
As you can see from the pictures above and below, the box that the Ryos MK Pro comes in is massive.
This is a big keyboard. Honestly, compared to a regular tenkeyless like the Tt eSPORTS Poseidon, it's massive — at 508mm x 234mm with its nonremovable wrist rest, it's the kind of peripheral that you need to seriously dedicate desk space to. If you have an under-desk tray for your keyboard, you might need to check that you have enough space for the Ryos MK Pro alongside your mouse.
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It's big, but it's also beautiful. Roccat has finished the Ryos MK Pro in a fingerprint- and smudge-proof satin black, although the keycaps themselves are regular laser-etched plastic. A mix of matte body and glossy accents makes the keyboard actually look surprisingly attractive, and Tron-like when used in concert with similarly accented Kone XTD mouse.
What Is It Good At?
The Ryos MK Pro is one solid piece of computing hardware. It's a weighty and large keyboard to start with, and especially stable thanks to five rubber feet and the under-body cable channel to hide away any headphone cable you might want to run underneath. Flip-out feet means you can raise the rear of the Ryos if you're in a suitable seating position to need the raised profile. The braided cable may be super thick, but that means it's very, very sturdy and shouldn't fray or break over time (as I've seen on other integrated-cable 'boards).
If you like your keyboards and mice to have a bevy of extra buttons, the MK Pro is the keyboard for you. Integrated into the wrist rest under the Space bar are three customisable keys that you can map to any function you might like with Roccat's software, and five dedicated macro keys to the keyboard's left that you can lock series of key functions to; any MOBA or MMO or RTS gamer will find these dedicated keys and customisable macros super handy.
The massively customisable illumination that the Ryos MK Pro offers has to be its standout feature; you can switch on and off illumination for each and every one of the keys, and you can set up particular profiles — maybe for night-time typing where you'd want the entire board illuminated, or for gaming where you'd want WASD and some function keys, or for old-school platformers where the directional pad and A/B might come in handy instead.
You can set keys to only light up when you tap them, and turn off a few seconds later (similarly adjustable). Lighting is controlled by a dedicated onboard ARM processor, rather than Roccat software — although that's what you use to load profiles and so on — and the end result is that the tap-to-light function is instantaneous. Set sleeping lighting patterns and the Ryos MK Pro will pulse slowly, run its lights from left to right, or cycle fascinating hieroglyphic patterns.
As with other high-end keyboards, the Ryos MK Pro uses Cherry MX mechanical switches — and you can choose from soft linear Red, hard linear Black, soft clicky Brown and hard clicky Blues. My test keyboard used MX Reds, which I actually quite like for typing as well as gaming, but your mileage may vary. In any case, as long as you pick the right keyboard setup to suit your needs, you won't have to worry about them breaking — the MK Pro oozes long-term reliability.
What Is It Not Good At?
It's expensive, obviously. No matter how much money you have to spend, dropping over $200 on a keyboard is not something that many people will do. Sure, it's an investment in a peripheral that will probably last longer than the USB socket you're connecting it to, but it's still a lot of money. You need to make a clear case for purchasing the Roccat Ryos MK Pro, and iut's entirely up to you and your rationale as to whether this board is worth the extra cost over a similarly featured and reliable and sturdy $150 or $180 or $200 mechanical gaming keyboard.
Roccat's software is OK, but not great. If you have a couple of different devices, it's well worth installing — as a one-stop shop for managing your peripherals — but when you only have the keyboard attached, it's a little clunky. Roccat Talk lets your devices communicate with each other seamlessly — you could set up a macro to move your mouse to a particular on-screen location and run several key-presses — but the setup process is super in-depth. This isn't something that you want to be tinkering with unless you really have the time to dedicate to getting it done properly.
That has to be the Ryos MK Pro's biggest problem. With the dauntingly large amount of customisation available, the complete utility of this Roccat keyboard is restricted to those gamers that really want to set up macros and map secondary functions and play with lighting. If you aren't this kind of person, you're not precisely the target market for this 'board, and it might therefore be a little too expensive for your needs. It's perfectly functional for anyone for typing or gaming, of course, but it's best for the pros.
Should You Buy It?
Roccat keyboards, mice and headsets are the Apple of the gaming world. They're all excellent quality, and they have some excellent bespoke features that make them a consistently high quality choice for your PC peripherals. You do pay a significant premium for them, though, and the Ryos MK Pro is no different. At $229 in Australia, it's on the upper level of what I could justify paying for even the most high quality keyboard, and especially so considering you can find an entry-level mechanical for around the $100 mark.
If you're willing to pay for the Ryos MK Pro, though, or if you can find it at a discount, you won't be disappointed. The choice of all the major Cherry MX mechanical switches makes the MK Pro an easy choice whether you're using it exclusively for typing, for gaming, or for a mix of both. The integrated headphone/mic and USB 2.0 ports are handy, the dedicated macro and thumb keys are useful once you've set them up, and Roccat's software is about as comprehensive as they come.
The Ryos MK Pro exudes a sense of quality — you do get what you pay for. This is a keyboard that will last a very long time, even if you don't take the best care of it. (By the way, this makes careful mechanical switch choice all the more important.) And considering that a keyboard is one of the five key peripherals of your PC — alongside the mouse, monitor, headphones and speakers — it's worth spending a little extra upfront to find something that you're really happy with.