The keyboard has long been the primary input device on the PC, so what can Roccat do to convince us the Isku keyboard is the finest example of button-pressing technology known to man?
QWERTY boards were around long before the monolith was dropped on prehistoric man so its got quite a task on its hands in the innovation stakes, but, by Jove, I do believe it's managed it.
As well as being heavily laden with extra keys and media buttons there's also a little bonus feature for those of the Roccat faithful. It has recently released a piece of software called Roccat Talk, which enables different bits of its hardware to talk (clever name, eh?) to each other.
The perfect rodent partner for the Isku then is Roccat's own Kone[+] mouse. But what possible benefits could be had from having your mouse and board chatting away?
The key to this cross-peripheral chatter is the EasyShift[+] function it added to the Kone mouse a while ago. This is an alternative to spraying a gaming mouse with more buttons than even the great lord Cthulu could manage and means that by holding down a single button other functions can be assigned to each of the other buttons. It's a simple solution, and works in the same way as the [Shift] key on a standard keyboard.
The Isku also comes with EasyShift[+] functionality replacing the [Caps Lock] and gives secondary functions to all the keys in the 'EasyZone' of the keyboard. The EasyZone stretches across the numeric keys from 1 to 5 and the 15 keys directly below, and provides an extra 20 possible secondary functions surrounding the WSAD keys, which makes them easily within reach of your gaming claw of a hand.
The EasyShift[+] button also transforms the five macro buttons down the left-hand side of the keyboard and the three 'Thumbster' buttons below the keyboard too. That secondary functionality doesn't have to be another keypress; it can be a shortcut, a quicklaunch or a pre-recorded macro. To say the Isku is versatile really is doing it an injustice.
The real star of this setup though is that Roccat Talk software. Being able to have the EasyShift[+] button on either the Isku or an attached Kone mouse – controlling both devices – makes for even more versatility.
We opted to have the EasyShift[+] button controlled from the Kone mouse with the corresponding button on the keyboard turning on the EasyAim function. This instantly drops the DPI level to a pre-defined setting to allow for finer granularity when aiming in an FPS.
There's also a ridiculously simple live macro recording button that guides you through the process vocally, even in-game. Though it does take a good long while to save those macros to memory. We had the keyboard playing Trials 2, aping our previous run with little success.
The versatility of the Isku means that for the online FPS guru and the MMO obsessive it's a great keyboard for both. It's also solidly built and responsive. The aesthetics may divide opinion, being rather angular and industrial, and the blue backlight isn't so easy on the eye in a bright office, but it's a board that pretty much has it all.
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