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ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review

The Ryos MK Pro has been anticipated since CES 2013, and we finally get a look at what has to be the features king of mechanical keyboards.

@chad_sebring
Chad Sebring
Published Mon, Feb 10 2014 9:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: ROCCAT

Introduction

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 99 | TweakTown.com
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When I walked in to see ROCCAT last year at CES, there was product introduction for their various products like mice, gaming keyboards, and mouse pads. What really sticks out in my mind after all that? It was when we were led into another room in the suite to have some one on one time with the engineers at ROCCAT. In the room was a desk, a couple of chairs, a full system running, and on the desk top were two things I had never seen before: the per-key illuminated Ryos MK Pro, and a dock holding a cell phone with the Power Grid application that Charles Gantt wrote about at the end of last year.

At this time, they had everything functional; there were just some software and final design tweaks that had yet to be finalized before this keyboard could hit the market. However, after just a minute or two with the engineers running through some of the features, I knew they were onto something that the rest of the world had never before seen in a keyboard. On top of the per-key illumination (which means each key or a group of keys could be turned on or off), ROCCAT had developed little programs to take things a giant step further.

This all brings us to today, where the Ryos MK Pro is fully functional and available for everyone who wants the latest and greatest in mechanical keyboards to get one. Don't confine yourself to the basic thought of just turning the LEDs on and off either. These programs that are run via the software are some of the coolest lighting effects and visual indicators, and can even be set up to do things you may have never even thought of.

Things like a starry sky as an idle setting for the keys, or like the volume of the system lighting up the numbers as the volume is told to increase or decrease, and with the Power Grid app, Macro keys, Thumbster keys, and of course ROCCAT Talk: the Ryos MK Pro is raising the bar in what can be found in a mechanical keyboard.

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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While we did sort of spill the beans a bit early on some of the features, the chart above shows we just touched on what the Ryos MK Pro offers. Of course, we hit on the per-key illumination with what they say offers "insane customization possibilities", but we never even mentioned the Easy-Shift system that allows a second layer of functionality to most of the keys. This keyboard does offer N-key rollover support, is powered by a pair of 32-bit ARM Cortex processors, and even keeps track of certain keystrokes for an achievement system found in the software.

The Ryos MK Pro also offers options of red, blue, black, and brown Cherry switches, and we received one with Cherry MX browns in our sample. There is a smudge proof design with textures and micro-dots used to keep this keyboard looking clean for longer. It also offers two USB 2.0 ports and HD Audio support via a pair of 3.5mm jacks. Lastly, the Ryos MK Pro offers a built-in wrist rest, offers channeling underneath to route mouse or headset cabling, and of course comes with ROCCAT Talk to allow the mouse and keyboard to possibly do functions for each other if needed.

Aesthetically, this keyboard has a one of a kind design as well. The corners are cut at angles; in fact, the only true straight surface is the back edge of the keyboard, the rest is a play on angles and little design additions that not only make this look good, but also add just a bit more width to the top half. This additional width allows users to more room get a grip on the keyboard to move it around than what we see with most mechanical keyboards. Where things would typically be shiny plastic on a ROCCAT product, this time around there are only micro-dots of shininess, as the rest of these parts are matte in finish. Other parts are given a texture to them, and both the dot system and the textured parts won't show fingerprints, effectively making cleaning much less of a hassle with this ROCCAT keyboard.

Finding one of the Ryos MK Pro keyboards is rather easy, as stock showed up just about everywhere we looked. What will surprise you a bit is that even with all the additional features that this keyboard offers, on top of the normal feature set of a ROCCAT keyboard, customers will not have to sell a car or mortgage the house to afford this.

In fact, the Ryos MK Pro is priced right along with many other, more mundane, offerings in mechanical keyboards. That alone will turn a lot of heads, but is all this a gimmick, or is there real sales value in what ROCCAT spent all of this time on? This is exactly what we plan to go over as we cover the latest and greatest from ROCCAT in the Ryos MK Pro mechanical gaming keyboard.

PRICING: You can find the ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard retails for $169.99 at Amazon.

Packaging

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The Ryos MK Pro comes in a box where the front offers a ton of information. Down the left side are six features highlighted on light blue stripes. Around the large image of the product inside, there are also nine features, and pointers showing what each is discussing. At the top left, we see this is a U.S. layout, and at the bottom they show the Cherry MX Brown switches are being used in this sample.

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The long thins sides of the packaging offer very little to the middle and right end of them, so we got much closer to what is offered. Here is a mix of those light blue and chromed letters delivering the company name, product name, as well as what the product is specifically.

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The shorter thin sides of the packaging both offer a look at the right end of the Ryos MK Pro, and again offer similar to what we saw on the longer panel; just that this time they add the web address too.

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The other long thin side also included what we see here. Basically, what we find is the serial number to the left, the product number to the right, and the indication that this product was designed in Germany.

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On the back, they also are sure to deliver as much information as possible. The left shows a bit on the software, switch choices, and it covers ROCCAT Talk. The features are listed in the middle under an image of the keyboard, and are repeated in nine other languages. At the top right, they also cover the Easy-Shift system, the smudge proof design, the USB hub, tech specs, system requirements, and the contents in this box.

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Opening the outer box will reveal an inner black cardboard box. After opening the second box, we find the Ryos MK Pro under a fitted plastic shell, and all of the bits that offer the shiny micro-dots are also covered in blue plastic for added protection. The paper work is found under the keyboard, and the cabling is tucked in the back; the cardboard is extended there to help keep the keyboard from sliding around as well.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Fresh out of the box, we are dealing with a large keyboard with the full number pad to the right, the Macro keys at the left, and the built-in wrist rest. From this far away, it seems that the entire keyboard has all textured plastic components, but there is a mix of things going on to spruce up its looks beyond the angular design and shape.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 09 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the left side the keyboard, it is easy to see that the top half of the keyboard is wider than its lower section to allow for an easy grip. Also, at the back edge, where it angles from the side to the back edge, there are two 3.5mm jacks for headphones and a microphone to be attached here.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 10 | TweakTown.com

The left edge of the keyboard offers 5 M-keys for setting up Macros. We can also see, since we are so close now, the micro-dot design that offers a fair bit of gloss effect, but keeps the oil and dust deposited here from looking so bad in the long term.

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Moving over a fair bit, we see the basic 72-key U.S. layout of the keys, and three Thumbster buttons under the space bar. We should also point out that the F-keys do also offer dual functionality as multimedia keys, as well as lighting controls, and Macro recording.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 12 | TweakTown.com

Each key cap is cylindrical in shape where the keys curve from side to side, but even over the entire height of the key cap. They are also only slightly textured, and feel very smooth to the fingers.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 13 | TweakTown.com

Since ROCCAT keyboards have that Thumbster key bump that they have to deal with, it seems logical to offer a built-in wrist rest to surround it, and offer customers a much more comfortable angle of attack on the keys. They also use this area for a large logo and the company name to sit between your hands.

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Above the number pad, you are given the keyboard naming; unfortunately this does not light up with the rest of the keyboard.

ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Per-Key Illumination Review 15 | TweakTown.com

The number pad offers the 30-key layout we are used to finding. At the left, in the middle, is where the lock indicator LEDs are located, and another thing is that the number pad is geared to be used for movement as well.

Ryos MK Pro Continued

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We made sure that we have the switches that the box showed us; we do in fact have Cherry MX brown switches under all but the Thumbster keys on this keyboard.

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The key caps first cast in white to allow the LED light behind them to shine through. The keys are also cast in black on the outside, and allow the legends to show through the top.

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The right side of the keyboard is sitting at a bit more of an incline since we have extended the feet at the back of the keyboard for this shot. In the same location, we found the audio connections on the opposite side; we now are given a 2-port USB 2.0 hub to connect other devices here, and keep the wiring mess down on the desktop.

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Dead center in the back of the keyboard, a thick braided cable is found for connectivity. This is currently bundled with the Velcro strap supplied by ROCCAT; while offering two USB 2.0 connections and the pair of 3.5mm audio jacks, when unfolded we have 1.8 meters of length to connect the Ryos MK Pro.

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In this image I want to discuss the many ways you can run wiring under the keyboard. After connecting to the hub, for say a mouse, you can run along the back and into one of the grooves, and then simply pick the best route of six available options for it to run through.

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At the front there is a large foot like this one at either side, which would make the Ryos stick to almost any surface. They have also run a thin rubber strip under the wrist rest, and since this is where most of the weight will be, it will definitely keep this keyboard situated in one location, and it won't move back while gaming.

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The back also offers a pair of large rubber feet, one at either side, but something that only a few manufacturers do, is to also add rubber to the tips of the adjustable feet so that while even having a smaller foot print, it will still grab and keep the keyboard situated where you put it.

Accessories and Documentation

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With anything ROCCAT, somewhere in the box is a folded up Quick Installation Guide with print on both sides. While I am sure it is easier to print two sides of one sheet, when unfolded it is hard to use around the desk. However, does offer a lot of information to get you not only connected to a PC, but it also sorts through things like the very detailed software that is currently using 83.5MB of space on my drive.

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Once it is unfolded, this side of the paperwork explains how Easy-Shift works, how to record Macros on-the-fly, and it also shows the default settings for what Easy-Shift offers out of the box. At the very right side, it describes the per-key illumination, and shows that via the software there are tons of ways to customize it. At the bottom left corner, there are in depth instructions for to how to record a Macro. The rest of the bottom offers ten languages of instructions on how to get the Ryos MK Pro connected, software installed, and ready for customization.

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The flip side offers much of what we saw on the packaging, as they cover the features, and things that they offer when choosing or using this keyboard. They do also offer contents, system requirements, and full technical specifications, in case you missed it in your eagerness to get the keyboard out of the packaging.

Inside the Ryos MK Pro

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After opening up the Ryos MK Pro, the Thumbster buttons were the first thing we got into. I really like that they did not opt for membrane switches here, and while they are not mechanical in the truest of senses, the pad style switches do offer a much better feel to them, and is easy to tell they are in use, with an audible click and a bit of force needed to activate them.

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As we inspected the PCB for residue, or anything out of the ordinary, we see that they do take their time to clean off the flux, and only random spots around the work has a little remnant of some of the flux, but nowhere near as bad as I have seen on other samples.

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The NXPLCP1752FBD80 is a Cortex ARM-3 MCU used with the Ryos. This is the main controller that is 32-bit, can run at 100MHz, is full speed USB 2.0, and also offers some built-in memory for storing Macros and such.

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To the top of the NXP controller, there is the WXIC 25L1605E BIOS IC that allows room for the basic programming and functionality of this keyboard. To the right is the LPC1111F Arm Cortex-MO controller. While based on 32-bit architecture, this chip is really designed for 16-bit or 8-bit applications.

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Near the top we also find the audio connections, and the PCB is at the left. This seems easily fixable if things were to go wrong, and even has a detachable cable, so removing and fixing this PCB would be no problem at all either.

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At the right, near the top, we also find another smaller blue PCB that allows for the USB hub functionality, and it uses the Cypress CY765742 low-power USB 2.0 TetraHub controller to allow for low latencies, and stable connections to the devices plugged into it.

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After reassembly, we always like to power things up, and make sure we got everything together correctly. Once we powered the Ryos MK Pro, we found that the M-Keys, The F-Keys, the WASD keys and the arrow keys are all now illuminated with bright blue LEDs. Keep in mind, we could not get images of every lighting function that this is capable of, think of this as just the jumping off point into a bunch of cool ways to illuminate the Ryos MK Pro.

Software

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In the main control tab we are given quite a bit to deal with. First, we look into how the Caps Lock key will work, as it can be set to be the Easy-Shift key, the ROCCAT Talk key, or you can set it to what is it supposed to do by name. You may also swap which key to use as the Function key, and you also have the ability to disable five keys on the keyboard at any time. The last bit on the left allows you to control the repeat rate and delay of the keys.

To the right, they offer a slider for the LED illumination intensity, and below you can set the idle state. So, after a set amount of time, there are eight options of what the keyboard will do after that time has expired. The last bits cover the sound feedback for certain things, and just how loud that will be, along with a driver reset button for when things go bad. At the bottom of all the tabs, you will also see the five profiles that you can make all of these settings work with.

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The key assignment tab does exactly what you think it would; it allows you to reassign keys to what you need them for. The image to the right allows one to click on any key, and it will show at the left. You can change not only its default function, but you can also assign the Easy-Shift function as well. At the bottom right corner, you will locate the Macro manager button that opens another window to allow you to record the macro, name it, with use of delays, repeatability, and you even can say how many times to repeat the command on a scale of 1 to 255 as well.

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The key illumination is where things get really interesting. The layer illumination will let you set the lighting differently for the normal use, Macro use, and Easy-Shift use, and to show each obviously as functioning at that time of use. Below that, you can pick any key on the board and make it stay on, turn it off, or make it blink while the others do as they are told at the right. There are also effects to be used like fade and ripple effects.

It also offers a delay on how long the effect lasts after hitting a key. To the right, you can use automatic settings, manual settings, or dive into the LED Macro manager that allows you to take lighting schemes to individual Macros. At the bottom are boxes you can check to turn on and off certain blocks of lights, and you can even make the keyboard show volume levels, and allow for the Macro lighting.

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You can see we tested this keyboard for quite a while messing with LED options and getting a few reviews written with it so far, and this is what R.A.D. is for. It will count the total key strokes, stats on specific ones, and will also offer trophies for achievements as you use the Ryos MK Pro for longer than we have so far.

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The Update and Support page not only shows what versions of firmware and software we are currently running, but it also will provide you with one click links to where you can obtain newer versions of the wares. The right then offers three ways to address issues, or where to discuss your love of the product via the support page link, the forums link, and even an email request link.

Final Thoughts

On the most basic of levels, the Ryos is a fully functional mechanical keyboard that anyone would enjoy gaming or typing on. I also like the fact that there are options for the switches as well; this means that if you are not a fan of the Cherry MX browns and their slightly tactile feel and 45 grams of force needed to actuate them, you have options for softer, more silent switches, or you can go to something like the blues that are stronger and slightly louder audible click in the keys travel. As I go to check the R.A.D. count, we are now at near 147,000 keystrokes, and in that time, the Ryos has been a real pleasure to use, and I know going back to cherry MX greens is going to feel like a workout now. With this in mind, as just a mechanical keyboard, the pricing is only a bit on the expensive side; but wait, there is more, much more.

ROCCAT has always been a leader in software for their products, and are definitely on top when it comes to the depth of features that they offer. The Ryos MK Pro offers all of the favorites we saw in their rubber dome offerings, like Easy-Shift, ROCCAT Talk, Thumbster buttons, Macros, Profiles, and the list goes on and on. With Easy-Shift we almost have two keyboards worth of keys to use at once; ROCCAT Talk allows us to take a ROCCAT mouse and swap functionality of the two, like putting the space bar as the right click of the mouse, or adding the left click of the mouse to any key of the board that fits your needs. Whatever the case may be for your writing and gaming needs, the Ryos MK Pro shines brightly above all the rest.

The sad thing is that we haven't even covered the lighting yet. While at first when I saw this at CES I was very intrigued to say the least, over time I started to think of it as almost a gimmick. However, in the time I have used this keyboard, I find myself always playing around with the lighting effect, and tinkering around in the Macro managers, just to see what I am able to do with the LEDs on this board. While I could see eventually staying with long term settings for my usage, I can also see showing this off to anyone who steps in the office, as I know it will likely blow their mind.

For those of you who still believe that mechanical keyboards are just some marketing mumbo-jumbo, and there are no benefits, consider the fact that we at TweakTown type our butts off, and take to any advantage we can get. I have converted a few of the team to mechanicals, and they say there is no way they will ever go back to rubber dome offerings, and it just can't be marketing or a placebo effect that makes us all get the advantages of what they have to offer.

Even if you are already a fan of mechanical keyboards, where the Ryos MK Pro is placed, not only do you get a solid mechanical keyboard, but the software is the key here, and it allows for things that we never even though possible before. So, either way, as a beginner, or an enthusiast, you cannot deny that this is the most feature rich design on the market today, and if you are going to spend large for a mechanical keyboard, it is really hard to consider other options when the Ryos MK Pro so heavily dominates the game currently.

PRICING: You can find the ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard retails for $169.99 at Amazon.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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