(Pocket-lint) – On the face of it, the Roccat Pyro is an interesting option for those looking for a durable, feature-rich and comfortable gaming keyboard.
This ‘board has some premium features – but minus the massive price tag. It boasts an aluminium backplate, dedicated media volume wheel, a low-profile design, and some very nice software-level controls.
How does it handle when gaming and working throughout the day though? Here’s what we make of it.
Stylish budget setup
- Detachable palm rest
- Brushed aluminium top plate
- Linear (red) mechanical switches from TTC
At first glance, the Roccat Pyro doesn’t look like much. There are no dedicated media keys, no super low-profile keycaps, no in-your-face style.
Yet you can also see its subtle style. It’s got a really nice aluminium backplate that not only looks the part but is designed to be durable and withstand use and abuse. It also has a comfortable low-profile frame that sits close to the desk and ensures your wrists aren’t bent at awkward angles while working, browsing or gaming.
The wrist rest is removable and despite being made of ridged plastic somehow manages to be comfortable to use all day long. Although we did find it to be a bit of a dust and hair magnet – the same way we did the similar setup on the Roccat Magma.
For the Pryo, Roccat has opted to use TTC red linear mechanical key switches (more on these in a moment). These are a similar style to Cherry MX and have basically the same specs on paper. In practice, they’re perfectly pleasant to type on and accurate enough for gaming too. They have good feedback and a comfortable actuation. More importantly, they’re not so loud that they’re obnoxious enough to annoy your colleagues or your friends who might otherwise hear them over Discord.
The Pyro also sports a standard bottom row layout, which means it’ll happily work with any custom keycap set that fits Cherry MX-style switches. For testing purposes we opted to use Corsair’s Double-Shot Pro keycap mod set to see if an upgrade would carry and what it looked like on the keyboard.
We tested with a selection of red keys from that kit and they were easy to fit. The good news is the clear housing on the keyswitches also allows enough light through to easily light-up PBT doubleshot keycaps, despite the extra thickness they provide. It’s worth noting that the Pyro doesn’t have PBT keycaps as standard. They’re more of a plastic affair, which might well wear out over time with heavy and prolonged use.
We did notice that the standard keycaps do pick up a bit of finger grease though, which makes them a bit slippery compared to PBT ones. You are getting what you pay for, though, and as this is a more budget-friendly keyboard it’s hard to complain. It is, however, nice to have the option to upgrade if you want.
- TTC linear switches – 45g Operating Force, 2.0mm actuation, 4.0mm total travel
- 5 shared media control keys
- Easy-Shift button duplicator
- Game Mode button
This is a mechanical keyboard, so it’s comfortable to use when gaming for hours on end thanks to its low-profile design. The Pyro uses TTC red linear switches that actuate within 2mm – and while that’s not the shortest distance we’ve seen, it is a nice balance that registers well.
For gaming there’s also a Game Mode that you can activate by pressing the function key and scroll lock button together. This disables the Windows key but it also activates the Easy-Shift button.
Easy-Shift is described by Roccat as a “button duplicator”. In reality it’s much more interesting than that. This is a setting within Roccat’s Swarm software that allows you to remap numerous keys on the keyboard. Not all of the keys, but a lot of them. They can be remapped to do various things but they can also be assigned a secondary action.
This means you can add another button press or specific action – like launching an app, changing illumination, switching DPI and much more. Then to access that second action all you need to do is hold down the Caps Lock key, giving access to a multitude of features. Sadly, however, there’s not the ability to record and assign macros.
You can also programme the Roccat Pyro with different profiles so you can switch your setup depending on what you’re doing – whether that’s different games, different players, or different scenarios for work.
- AIMO lighting engine
- Per-key illumination
- 16.8 million colours
The Roccat Pryo uses per key RGB illumination with Roccat’s AIMO intelligent lighting. This provides organic lighting which changes depending on what you’re doing. The AIMO option within the software is one of the easiest and most satisfying RGB lighting sync technologies we’ve seen.
Alternatively you can choose from a selection of effects including wave, snake, fully lit, heartbeat, breathing, fade FX, ripple FX and custom. Custom mode lets you select keys like WASD, arrows, F-keys, NUM keys, or all keys. You can also drag or click to select the keys you want to highlight and then apply specific colour themes and effects of either fully lit, breathing or heartbeat.
This lighting isn’t anywhere near as impressive as that on something like the Corsair K65 RGB Mini – which has layerable lighting effects that can be stacked upon each other for some snazzy visuals. It also doesn’t visually surround the keys as it does on the Roccat Magma. Still, the Pyro is nicely customisable, not overpowering, and manages to glow wonderfully through the keycaps.
All told, the Roccat Pyro is an interesting option for those looking for a durable, feature-rich and comfortable gaming keyboard. It’s not the flashiest keyboard we’ve tried, the lack of macro recordings being a notable disappointment, but it’s still a fantastic device considering the price.
Highlights are the design accents, the Easy-Shift tech, the comfort, and the overall aesthetic. If you’re on a budget or are just a fan of Roccat products then this is a great option.
This membrane keyboard isn’t quite as fancy as the Pyro, but it is more affordable. The Megma also boasts some really nifty looking surrounding lighting thanks to that transparent backplate. Visually it’s a really appealing alternative with a lot of the same features as the Pryo.
Writing by Adrian Willings.