In a world where gaming keyboards are incessantly offering oodles of flashy lights, analogue switches, per-key actuation, optical switches, and the like, using the Roccat Pyro for a few weeks feels like you’ve been brought back down to Earth for a moment. It’s a much more rugged and simplistic mechanical board that doesn’t need any theatrics or special features to get by, especially for its more wallet-friendly price point of $130 (£90) or so.
Roccat Pyro specs
Switch: TTC Red
Keycaps: ABS, laser-etched
Lighting: Per-key RGB
Onboard Storage: Up to 3 profiles
Extra Ports: None
Connection Type: USB Type-A
Cable: 1.8m non-braided cable
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Price: $130 / £90
Its construction is a nice blend of hard-wearing plastics alongside a metal top plate that’s both smooth and adds some welcome structural rigidity to the Pyro. There’s a nice weightiness to the board with some good build quality which means the Pyro should be able to withstand long typing sessions with ease, alongside a couple of desk smashes if you do happen to lose some rounds of CS:GO (just play with bots, makes life easier).
You could argue its smaller chassis and overall design leads to the Pyro being condemned for being a little nondescript compared to the competition, but I’d argue the other way. Its more minimalistic manner is a welcome change to the feature-packed mad lads from Asus, Razer and others that occupy the top-rankings on best gaming keyboard lists like ours for instance.
There is a nice little wrist rest present that clips into place with relative ease, and at this price, is a welcome addition to the Pyro’s feature set. It’s comprised of some grooved plastics, the same as the keyboard’s own surround and is comfortable in short bursts, but if you use it for too long, might end up leaving a couple marks on your wrists, so do just be careful.
You do get some handy media controls in the Pyro’s top right with a nicely twiddly volume knob being the standout feature alongside some other dinkier keys for actual media playback. All the buttons feel pretty tactile to the touch, and not like pressing down on a wet sponge, which makes a welcome change to a lot of the other, more expensive ‘boards out there.
However, the Pyro does have to run out of talent at some point. There aren’t any additional macro keys, nor is there a USB 2.0 passthrough, which, whilst not expected for the money, may have been a nice addition.
The switches here aren’t full-fat Cherry MXs unfortunately, and instead come in the form of some Red clones courtesy of TTC. As clones go, they feel pretty good finger with a consistent light force that makes them ideal and pretty snappy for FPS gaming.
I’ve always been more of a tactile switch fan, as is evident in the Unicomp Model M review I wrote a few months back, and therefore something with a little more feedback would have been preferable with the Pyro, but for the general gaming crowd who just want a light keypress, you’ll all be in luck here, and be pwning noobs as you go in no time at all.
Full N-Key Rollover and anti-ghosting are present with the Pyro which does give its gaming chops more pedigree and just helps to make sure no dodgy inputs are recorded so you can focus on slapping up the competition as opposed to worrying about whether you pressed the wrong key.
The Pyro’s real party piece though comes in the form of its sumptuous RGB lighting. Whilst I’ve never really been the biggest fan of RGB full stop, the Pyro’s is certainly smooth to look at, and is distinctly sharp and vibrant in contrast to other keyboards at this price. This goes hand in hand with the decently made keycaps that, with their two-shot moulding, does allow the RGB lighting to be shown off clearly.
Want to fiddle with the effects? Well, Roccat’s bundled Swarm software will have you covered on not only this front, but also the simple point that you’ll be able to remap functions and program macros in an intuitive manner. It’s all wrapped up in quite a sharp interface too, which ties into Roccat’s own branding rather well, and makes it feel like you’re getting the complete experience.
It doesn’t take the form of some useless bloatware that other peripheral manufacturers choose to bundle with their products, or take an age to install, so you can handily
All in all, the Roccat Pyro is a fantastic all-round gaming keyboard that not only ticks the right boxes, but also does it at a price point that most people will be able to afford. If you’re looking for a down-to-earth keyboard that’s well-built with snappy switches and gorgeous RGB, then this is the one to go for, just as long as you don’t mind not having big statement features.
A brilliant all-rounder, helped by its sharp looks, decent linear switches and helpful marriage of software and lighting. Well worth a pickup if you’re in the market for a do-it-all keyboard that won’t break the bank.