ROCCAT is a name synonymous with creativity. Not afraid to break free of the style and design of other brands, they have worked hard to distinguish themselves as unique in a sea of gaming peripherals. While consistently producing solid gear, there has been a shift in the target demographic in the last couple of years with peripherals catering to a more competitive audience. In fact, I recently covered their Kone XP Air gaming mouse and was thoroughly impressed with their attention to detail in design and build quality.
The Vulcan II MAX is ROCCAT’s latest gaming peripheral to target that competitive gaming market. This newly released full-size keyboard comes packed with features and functions to make any gamer’s head turn. Packed with full N-key Rollover (NKRO), a 1.4 mm switch actuation point and ROCCAT’s own TITAN II Optical switches, the Vulcan II MAX leaves it all on the field for gamers to test their metal with precision and lightning response time. How well it all comes together, however, is what this review is all about. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the Vulcan II MAX from ROCCAT.
- Current Price: USD $229.99 (Amazon)
- Form Factor: Full Size
- Cable: 1.8m 2xUSB-A
- Switch Lifecycle: 100 Million Clicks
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
- On-board Memory: 4MB (used for profile settings)
- Profiles On-Board: 5 total
- Keyboard Rollover: Full Key (NKRO) with 100% Anti-Ghosting
- Software: ROCCAT SWARM
- Switches: TITAN II OPTICAL RED
- Switch Style: Linear
- Actuation Point: 1.4 mm
- Travel Distance: 3.6 mm
- Dimensions: 18.23 x 9.29 x 1.32 inches
- Weight: 1040g (without plan rest) 1300 (with palm rest)
If You’re Going To Do It, Do It With Style
ROCCAT is nothing if not creative in its design for its many peripherals. The Vulcan II MAX is no exception. Packed with ROCCAT’s own AIMO illumination software support, each switch comes equipped with dual-LED performance allowing for a much more robust and immersive lighting effect for each key. This results in incredibly smooth and quite gorgeous lighting effects across the whole board.
The keycaps have a very unique design, opting for a flat top design, bucking the trend of most modern keyboards. I can confirm though that if you like a more traditional keycap, the TITAN II switches are compatible with most third-party cross-shaped mount keycaps. In fact, I had no issue swapping out the included caps for some Corsair ones I had laying around the office. The included caps, however, look exceptionmally sharp and allow for more RGB lighting effects to illuminate the board.
Speaking of the board, to contrast the flood of light coming from each switch is a flat black aluminum top plate. Lined with a glossy bevelled edge, the board takes on a sleek almost racing stripe-like appearance. The Vulcan II MAX looks incredibly sharp and leverages the dual-LED switches well.
To add to this already gorgeous affair is the included silicon palm rest. This translucent palm rest also follows ROCCAT’s creative design philosophy. Unlike other palm rests that simply perform the action of resting the aforementioned palms, ROCCAT decided to leverage the rest a bit more and designed it to actually plug into the bottom of the board. What makes this unique is that the board is equipped with a series of LED’s designed specifically to illuminate the palm rest. The result is a glorious light show every time you turn on your computer.
A small media control panel adorns the upper right corner of the Vulcan II MAX allowing for quick volume and media control on the fly. Finally, a braided 1.8m Dual USB-A cable powers the whole system. The board is a sleek, beautiful design that feels rugged and durable to use. The red linear-style keys produce a soft clicking sound that is quite quiet by today’s standards. The Vulcan II MAX is a board that mixes style and functionality exceptionally well.
Pack with Features May Be An Understatement
Thanks to ROCCAT’s SWARM software you’ll find no lack of feature control and programming to be had on the Vulcan II MAX. Sound feedback on click, Character repeat and profile cycling are all present and work well out of the box. Macros can easily be programmed onto the board from the key assignment tab of the software as well. One of the unique features that come with the Vulcan II MAX is ROCCAT’s Easy-Shift technology which allows you to essentially assign a whole second set of functions to keys and swap between the two sets on the fly with a predetermined modifier key.
I had originally come across this tech while reviewing the Kone XP and found it to be a unique way of handling more complex setups. In the case of the Vulcan II MAX the Easy-Shift, when combined with profile switching, allowed for some great and specific key setups for various software I use. It was actually quite handy when editing audio in Reaper and video with Davinci Resolve. While a bit of work to program, once set, it allowed me to quickly use shortcuts and access features within that software that generally require menu flipping or macros.
Finally, the SWARM Software allows for full control of the keyboard RGB illuminations. There are a host of options and presets to play with. Every key can be edited individually or entire zones selected with the click of your mouse. Additionally, the Vulcan II MAX supports ROCCAT’s AIMO Intelligent Lighting allowing it to sync up with any other ROCCAT devices you have plugged into the system.
The included media controller, while basic in design, does offer a quick audio controller on the fly. It has a nice tactile turn response while the skip back, play/pause and skip forward buttons all respond quickly and without latency. The whole package, from programming keys to managing colours and effects, is easy to manage and quickly learned which is a testament to the SWARM software as well as ROCCAT’s design of the keyboard.
Solid Execution With A Couple Of Caveats
The Vulcan II MAX doesn’t shy away from being a premium keyboard. In fact, it leans hard into it. Everything from the dual-LED switch design to the use of their own TITAN II optical switches shows that ROCCAT has faith in their product. For the most part, they have produced an excellent and unique keyboard.
The TITAN II optical switches feel responsive and quick. The actuation distance of 1.4 mm really is quite small so you don’t need to press hard for a press to be registered. Interestingly the switches have just enough resistance that I didn’t find myself accidentally typing keys that my fingers brushed which was quite nice as some optical switches tend to be overly sensitive to movement.
The full rollover that ROCCAT boasts in its description is absolutely accurate. I’ve not had any issues at all during my testing with ghosting. It should be noted that NRKO doesn’t apply when using modifier keys. This is something to keep in mind when playing MMOs that rely on modifier keys for hitting that second or third action bar. However, when using the keyboard without a modifier key active, the Vulcan II had no issues with response to keystrokes.
The optical reds are linear and fast in their response. The keyboard has no issue keeping up with my 100-plus word/min typing while testing and this speed translated exceptionally well to games. Doom Eternal and Prodeus both responded with lightning speed during testing and I never once ran into issues with keystrokes not being registered.
The keycaps, while a little different than what I am accustomed to, have actually become some of my favourite ones to use. They don’t have quite as concave a center point as most caps and I like the way my fingers rest on them. Additionally, they really look great atop the switches.
While I am traditionally more of a tactile brown switch guy, I have to say that the reds feel good and responsive; just not as clicky as I typically like. Granted, the rest of my family have been thankful for the clicking reprieve that has come since switching to the Vulcan II MAX.
The palm rest is an interesting piece of hardware. Conceptually and even visually I love it. I have used a palm rest for over 25 years and hate to type for any length of time without one. The fact that ROCCAT not only included one but managed to turn it into one of the most gorgeous pieces of the keyboard is impressive. Even the texture of the silicon is comfortable to rest my palms on for long periods of time.
However, It is unfortunately much too thin to really support my palms for long periods of typing. In fact, I found that after about ten minutes or so of typing, I had to swap it out for my old one. Thankfully during gaming sessions, the thinness of the rest doesn’t really impact my experience. It’s only when typing that it becomes an issue. If there were only one thing I could have changed on this board it’s that.
Another thing to be aware of with the Vulcan II MAX is that it requires two of your USB-A ports in order to function. In all fairness, there are a ton of RGB lights on this board. The fact that it doesn’t need its own dedicated PSU is impressive. It has no problem functioning off of a USB hub so there is a simple solution if you find yourself short on USB ports.
The Vulcan II MAX from ROCCAT is an excellent board. Packed with features and built for response and durability, it really does have a lot to offer gamers. Its unique design also means you’ll stand out in a crowd while making everyone eat dirt in a PVP match. The thin palm rest was a bit of a drawback and it’s important to realize that you’ll be eating up to USB ports to get the Vulcan II MAX up and running but these really are minor issues. Overall the Vulcan II MAX is a premium keyboard that offers more than enough features and functions to warrant its premium price point of USD $229.99.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Purchasing products through our links may result in a small commission to support the site. Authors are not compensated from affiliate purchases or clicks.