Roccat recently introduced its Vulcan II series with two gaming keyboards. This article focuses on one of the two, the Vulcan II Mini Air. As the name suggests, the keyboard prides itself on being a small, portable and wireless version of its wired counterpart. Let us see if it lives up to its name.
Looks and Accessibility
Let’s make one thing absolutely clear: this keyboard is stunning. It is small, sleek and features a sturdy body. You get an aluminum top plate that contributes to its durable build. The keycaps feel solid under your fingertips and offer a slight curve to allow your finger to rest easily. The most attractive feature of the keyboard is its stunning RGB lighting which we’ll talk about in further detail. The Vulcan II Mini Air weighs 578g without its 1.8m cable attached. Compared to other wireless keyboards, this is a pretty impressive score and easily falls into the lightweight category. In terms of portability, the Mini Air certainly lives up to its name and is ideal for gamers on the go. You would have to compromise a little on comfort, though. The absence of a palm rest on this keyboard has the potential to put some people off especially considering the $179 price tag attached to it. However, at the end of the day, this is a personal preference, so if it isn’t a complete dealbreaker for you, you have nothing to worry about. The Mini Air sports a double kickstand with adjustable height. While I found them easy to use, I would’ve appreciated a little more range in height. Even with the kickstands opened all the way, I felt like my keyboard wasn’t elevated enough. This was by no means a major gripe though, and the intuitive design and ease of use easily overpowered this little complaint for me.
As mentioned, the stunning light show on this keyboard is one of its most attractive features. The Mini Air offers per-key illumination with its standard AIMO lighting which is immensely bright, vivid and vibrant. You get four MBs of onboard memory which translates to five different profiles. And all of these profiles are easily switchable with the help of a single click. It gets better: you get to personalize the speed, color and brightness of each of these profiles, and even design a completely new profile for yourself. Roccat’s best-in-class lighting paired with transparent switch housing doubles the aesthetic value of the keyboard.
The Mini Air does require a bit of practice. You might find yourself struggling in the beginning but once you get used to its keys, it might get a little manageable for you. I did find the experience a bit too smooth for my liking though. The glossy keycaps made my fingers slip quite often. Some gamers look for keys that are matte and overly smooth, but if you like a bit of friction on your keys, then you’re not going to like typing on this keyboard. I used this keyboard for all my computing tasks for a couple of days, and I’d say my experience would have been a ten out of ten if only the keys could have offered a little more stability. It wasn’t just the keycaps, the keys moved around in their places a bit too much, too. The Titan II optical switches offer excellent actuation force that makes the keyboard ideal for gaming. Feedback is fast, precise and requires very minimal effort by the user. Another feature that increases the Mini Air’s suitability for gaming is its fairly loud, tactile keys. They offer brilliant feedback and tactility which is exactly what most gamers look for. The keyboard offers a 65% layout with full arrow keys and a charging port on its left to facilitate a cable-free setup. Thankfully, there is also a port on the top to plug your dongle in. I appreciated this thoughtful feature as it reduces the chances of loss. The switch lifecycle on this device is 150 million keystrokes. You also get full N-key rollover on the Mini Air which means you can press multiple keys on it at once and the anti-ghosting feature ensures that all your key presses are registered and executed individually. I thoroughly tested all of these features for a couple of days and was quite satisfied with each one of them.
Battery and Price
The Mini Air connects to your devices via its 2.4GHz dongle and Bluetooth 5.1. Roccat claims that its battery can last 150 hours in standard mode and up to 750 hours with the RGB disabled. Though I didn’t get to test it all the way, these are both pretty impressive scores. Hence, even if they’re both slightly exaggerated claims, they’re significantly greater than what competitors offer. The Mini Air is expensive and we cannot deny that. Think of it as an upgrade device that you would invest in. The long-lasting battery life and stunning RGB does justify the price for sure. The keyboard also serves the kind of looks and build that would make sense for this price point. However, the absence of a palm rest and the slippery keycaps might put you off. If budget is an issue, definitely look elsewhere. And if a gorgeous light show is one of your biggest priorities in a gaming keyboard, this is the keyboard to go for.
Is It Hardcore?
The Vulcan II Mini Air features slightly slippery keycaps. You also don’t get a palm rest and the price is a little too steep. However, with its extremely long-lasting battery life and the best RGB lighting you’d come across, this keyboard makes sense for a particular niche, too.