ROCCAT SUORA FX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

ROCCAT's SUORA FX mechanical gaming keyboard does pretty much everything right except for a couple of minor issues.

@chad_sebring
Published Wed, Mar 29 2017 11:19 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ROCCAT

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Usually, when we think of ROCCAT keyboards, we tend to recall aggressively styled plastic framed keyboards, with a lot extra built into the frame. What we do admire about ROCCAT in all the time that we have been reviewing their products, is that they were innovators in software and features, and we are glad to see that carry through to the present day as well. Rather than an oversized, and some may call gaudy designs, ROCCAT has flipped the script and released a mechanical gaming keyboard that anyone will like the look of.

ROCCAT has finally come around to what many others are offering, and have moved into a rectangular shape, which offers an exposed top plate as well. This is something that much of the market has been leaning towards, and as Corsair knows well, it is a successful way to go when it comes to mechanical keyboard designs. As many other keyboard makers have done as of late, ROCCAT moves away from switches we have seen in the past and looks to TTC to fill the order for the switches used in this latest keyboard. All of what we know about ROCCAT keyboards is present; it is the shape and layout which gets renovated now.

Just on paper, we liked what we saw in ROCCAT's new Suora FX mechanical gaming keyboard, and when asked to look at it, we quickly accepted. There are two versions of this keyboard, there is the Suora, and the Suora FX we have here today. The main difference is that the Suora is backlit with blue LEDs and lacks some of the LED pre-set modes in the software, while the Suora FX is RGB and has a bunch of cool ways to display the LED backlighting. Outside of that small difference, you will find the same switches used, the same components on the inside, and the same design on the outside. So, whatever your liking is with LED backlit keyboards, ROCCAT has a pair of fresh and clean looks when it comes to finding the right keyboard to use from them.

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Within the chart provided by ROCCAT, there is not a whole lot to discuss. There is a list on the left which explains that the Suora FX has things like advanced anti-ghosting, a 1000Hz polling rate, and a fifty million click lifespan, even that it has multimedia keys and six programmable Macro keys. The right side tells us that the width if the Suora FX is 12.5CM and the depth is 43.0cm, but no mention of the thickness or its weight. The specifications also explain that Windows 7 through Windows 10 is supported, you do need internet access to get the driver, and that you need an open USB 1.1 port to use this keyboard.

Some of the things not mentioned are that the Suora FX is made with a plastic lower half to the frame, while the exposed top is made of an aluminum alloy, and it is painted black to match everything else. They did not mention the four lighting preset keys, they do not mention the hotkeys, and not a single nod to the RGB nature of the Suora FX. Shockingly, with this being the first "normal looking" mechanical gaming keyboard from ROCCAT, we would have assumed they would be all over mentioning that the Suora is compact and frameless, this is what sets this apart from the rest of their keyboards.

We also find it hard to locate any information about their warranty coverage, and while we know it has to be at least a year's worth, we do not see anything showing us that it is longer than that.

The ROCCAT Suora FX does run a touch on the high side when it comes to pricing, but it is not too far out of bounds. Considering this mechanical gaming keyboard does offer quite a bit, it is fair to ask $139.99 like Amazon, and Newegg currently is. However, we have recently been impressed with a couple of keyboards in the $100 range, so this does tip the scales for ROCCAT, and not necessarily in their favor.

ROCCAT gear has always come with a premium price, and just because they have heard the voice of the masses and delivered something more on the mainstream side of design, does not mean you lose any of the reliability, sturdy construction, or over the top software we have seen in previous peripherals. Quite the contrary. The ROCCAT Suora FX is a solid beast ready to help you get your game on, but at this point, we are unsure of its bang for the buck.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The front panel plays off the flash of white light on the left of the keyboard image, and delivers the name of the keyboard, a nod to the 16.9 million color choices, and that this is a US layout device, at the top. Lower on the panel we see that it uses mechanical switches, there is a frameless design, and that this is "raw power, unchained."

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This longer side of the box, we cropped out the names, so we could see the use of SWARM software, that it is MMO, MOBA, and FPS approved, and we also can see five features in blue boxes. Those icons cover the Game Mode button, the Breathing Mode of LED lighting, Per-key Illumination, 1000Hz polling rate, and anti-ghosting.

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Both smaller ends are identical and are similar in motif as the front panel is. There is the ROCCAT name and logo, the Suora FX name, an image of the keyboard viewed from the back, that this is an RGB illuminated frameless gaming mechanical keyboard, and even offers the site address.

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With just a pair of barcodes at the other end of this long panel, we decided to just get the company name, logo, product name and description, as it looks much better than white squares and black vertical lines.

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The back of the box covers much of what we have seen up to now, around another image of the Suora FX at the top. The lower section lists nine features, repeats them in another nine languages, and is also where the specs, contents, and requirements are found.

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The inner packaging is about as good as it gets. Not only does ROCCAT surround the Suora FX with plastic to protect it, but it is also placed in a cardboard tray which keeps it centered in the box. Taking it a step further, there is also a layer of dense foam that lays on top of the keyboard, to be certain that no matter how it is handled, it arrives in superb condition like ours did.

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Under the keyboard, we found some literature too, but no stickers this time. The guide is a fold out section of thick paper coated in plastic, which offers basic connectivity, tells you how to access the drivers, but beyond that, it is a cheat sheet to learn to use the dual function buttons. In certain areas, how you dispose of the product is important, and ROCCAT includes a guide for those matters as well.

ROCCAT SUORA FX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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The left side of the Suora FX is seen to have two parts to the frame, the lower part made of plastic, while the top is an aluminum alloy. All the switch bodies are exposed, and the keycaps are concave, but the first few rows are tilting away from the user.

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These seventy-four keys are US based use and are a QWERTY layout. Across the top, we see many keys with a dual purpose, but we see no fancy left side Macro keys, or anything Thumbster related. The font is clear and easy to read, with nothing unusual in the way any of the legends are presented.

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The F1 through F4 keys are there so that you do not need the software to play around with the RGB LEDs.F1 is Rainbow mode, F2 breathes in a spectrum of colors. F3 is an explosion of colors working away from each key that is pressed, and F4 puts the LEDs into a static mode illuminated light blue like the Suora.

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The next group has the F5 key to open This PC, and F6 opens your default web browser. F7 will open your defaulted email handler, and F8 will bring up the Windows calculator.

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Multimedia starts in the next block of four keys. The F9 is the back-track key; the F10 stops the track. F11 is used to play or pause a track, and F12 takes you to the next track in the playlist.

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On the right end of the Suora FX, there are thirty-four keys, not the typical thirty. There is an extra row at the top which continues with the volume end of the multimedia keys and is also where the Game Mode key is. We see that there is a standard set of arrows as well as arrows on the number pad, so left-hand gamers have a choice of which to use.

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Pulling double duty on six of the command keys, ROCCAT uses these to offer some Macro support. After importing or programming Macros via the SWARM software, they can be set to these six keys for usage while gaming.

SUORA FX Continued

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At the right end of the Suora FX, we see a mirror image of the frame at this end. We see more exposed switches above the top plate, and with the feet now extended, the angle of the keys has increased for easier access to them.

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Usually, we do not show the back edge, but on the Suora FX, the name of the keyboard is printed on this end, and ROCCAT also went through the effort to print what it is you are looking at from behind.

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The other end of the back edge is also adorned with text. The text here indicates the software that is used. If you are getting mesmerized by the lighting effects, this is what does it.

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Under the Suora FX, we find the product sticker right in the middle, two pads are on the front edge, and also a pair at the back, just behind the adjustable feet. At the back edge, we find three routes the cable can be sent through, to help elevate messes on the desk.

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The adjustable feet can be flipped out to add some height to the back of the keyboard. We can also see that the tips of the feet have a rubber pad on them, ensuring grip is not lost when in use.

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The cable that comes out of the Suora FX is sleeved and is nearly two meters in length. The cable does pass through a ferrite choke before it terminates, and the connector has the ROCCAT name and logo on it, and the connection is plain, not gold plated.

Inside the SUORA FX

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The first thing we always want to know is what kind of switches are used, and to gain a view of them we have to remove a few keycaps. The caps are molded white, painted black, and the legends are laser etched. There are black rings in the longer caps, which are what grabs onto the torsion bars.

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Each switch is made by TTC, they have blue stems in them, and in this instance, the torsion bars are exposed. The LEDs are visible and will create a flood of light between the keys, as well as shine brightly through them.

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Twelve screws hold the halves of this keyboard together. Once removed, we can separate the halves, exposing the ribs and support rails that are molded into the lower plastic section, which then helps to support the blue PCB.

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As we look closely at the PCB, we see a lot of residue from the soldering process. While the solder points are clean and tidy, there has been talk that flux can cause issues down the road.

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It is funny that we just saw this MCU in the Hermes P1, and while there is not much information on it in the wild, the HSAK3201 seems to be gaining popularity. All we can confirm about this IC is that it is 32-bit in nature, and is an ARM Cortex processor.

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All back together, it was time to power on the Suora FX, so we did. The keyboard comes to life with the Wave Mode in full display, sending a rainbow of colors from left to the right across the keys. The LEDs are bright, and typically the color reproduction in images is not this good.

SWARM Software

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We skipped over the pinned tab as it can be customized for each personal user's needs, so we moved right into the settings. You can attend to adding noises to key presses, adjust the key reaction time, you can adjust the repeat rate for key presses, and you can even reset all the settings made here as well.

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Key assignment is where the remapping and modifying the keyboard's functionality comes into play. Using the types of options that are listed in the small window on the left, you can drag and drop it on any of the keys, and set the layout to work the best for you, not against you.

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In the key illumination section, the options are near endless. There are seven preset options of ways to illuminate the keyboard, and the image of the keyboard will reflect your choices in real-time. In the custom mode, you can do everything from illuminating only certain keys, setting groups of keys to various colors, do just about anything you might think of that would be cool on the keyboard.

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The profile manager is where you will go to set up game specific or task specific profiles. There are five that you can use. You can add images to the profile; you can name them, link them to programs, tell it to auto-switch to said profiles, import previously made ones, or delete ones you may no longer use.

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The Macro Manager has a plethora of predefined options when it comes to games. The window on the left shows a list of many games, and by clicking on the title, it opens a list of Macros one might find handy. You can also import Macros from folders on the PC, and while making Macros, you can edit them, add delays, and set the loop setting for ones that need to be spammed.

Gaming and General Impressions

DOOM & OVERWATCH

Macros are not particularly handy for these sort of games, but we did spend a lot of or time with these titles. Movement is intentional, and each press of a key is greeted with a click. The TTC Blue switches are tough enough to require more than a resting hand for activation, but with some time, they are easy to get accustomed to, over say a red or brown switch option.

We did also mess around is a couple of MMO offerings, and here we found use to set up a few Macros to be able to spam commands and attack with a single press. This leads us to another fact about the Macro keys that needs addressing. They are not located conveniently, and we always had to take our eyes off the game and our hand off the mouse to use them. Outside of that, the Suora FX has been a welcomed companion in times when we get to sit and play games for a living.

Windows and Productivity

Moving from the Hermes P1 which has the same exact switches in it, there was no lead time in getting used to this Suora FX keyboard. Our speed is still just as quick, and while we still cannot pinpoint the exact reason, we are beginning to like the TTC Blue switches over Cherry MX and Kailh versions of the same thing.

There is no getting around the amount of noise that the Suora FX makes when your fingers are just a blur as you type, but we have always liked clicky keyboards, and do not have to worry about annoying anyone or impeding on someone's sleep patterns.

While clicking away at the Suora FX, we find the construction to be solid, and we are not feeling numb finger tips from the vibrations some keyboards produce. As a typist, we highly recommend this keyboard, even if it is geared towards gamers.

Final Thoughts

The Suora FX is the first foray into a "normal" keyboard for ROCCAT, and outside of a couple of minor details, we feel they did a good job of delivering a keyboard better suited for the masses. Frameless keyboards are nice and are done a lot to be able to flood the keyboard with LED light, and this is why it is done here as well. The RGB nature of the Suora FX is great to tinker with and customize, and the amount of light produces some of the brightest we have seen on any backlit keyboard.

Functionally using it to type, we find it to be comfortable to use long term, and for gaming, it works well with our left hand. The ROCCAT SWARM software is also something worthy of the space on the hard drive. Even though other ROCCAT keyboards come with a few more options here, what is offered with the Suora FX is enough to keep you happy, and keeps up with what we recall in the past, where everything is easy to find, and everything works as intended, right from the word go.

We did run into a couple of things that we feel need to be addressed. Since ROCCAT is asking a premium price for this keyboard, we feel that the lack of detail to remove flux residue from the PCB is something that should have been done. It may never cause an issue down the line, but a keyboard with lesser of an investment does it, why not do it here too. The only other thing that we found to be awkward was the location of the Macro keys.

We are glad that ROCCAT was still able to keep some of what has made their previous keyboards successful, but we would rather they be on the number to the left, not on the right where we have to stop and find them to use them. It breaks the flow of the game, and a few times we were getting pummeled while we hunted down the right key to retaliate with. Beyond that, we have no serious concerns with the design or the construction, as this is a solid contender to be under your hands.

We hate to keep bringing up the Hermes P1, but it is relevant to a keyboard such as the Suora FX. The Hermes offers ninety-five percent of what the Suora FX brings, but costs much less to obtain. While we like much of what ROCCAT has done here, we do feel that the $139.99 asking price is a bit too much with competition the way it is right now.

If you happen to catch this keyboard on sale, by all means, get one and try it out for yourself, it is a nice piece of hardware to use every day. With what we have seen in our time reviewing, ROCCAT may have priced themselves out of many hands with the Suora FX, but otherwise, we still say it is worth checking out.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance96%
Quality92%
Features94%
Value85%
Overall92%

The Bottom Line: ROCCAT's SUORA FX is bright with its RGB LEDs, it is the first normal looking keyboard from them, and they did nearly everything right with the design! It is just the cost and the location of the Macro keys that has kept this keyboard from the gold.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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.

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