ROCCAT Suora FX Keyboard Review – Minimalism Perfected
A mouse and keyboard are a PC gamer’s most essential tools. In my many, many years of gaming, I’ve used a large variety of keyboards, but I had yet to try a minimalist, frameless design like the one ROCCAT features in its Suora FX mechanical keyboard. I’m not sure I can ever go back to the larger, bulkier keyboards I’ve used in the past. The Suora FX keyboard impressed me with its no-nonsense approach to functionality and style.
Simple Elegant Styling
I’m not a big fan of flashy devices. I tend to buy cases without a window, turn off most LEDs, and set my backlit keyboard to a single color or something functional. So the Suora FX’s sleek and simple design appealed to me from the very beginning. Its frameless design is built on a metal chassis which has a surprising amount of weight to it. I found this to be very useful during gaming sessions as I was never worried about the keyboard shifting at inopportune moments.
The Suora FX features fully RGB backlit keys with 16.8 million color support. It has several built-in lighting effects, ranging from breathing to wave, ripple, and of course solid. It’s certainly beautiful to look at the keyboard slowly breathe a wave of colors across its keys, though it’s probably not useful for day to day use. Fortunately, ROCCAT’s software lets you configure the lighting to your heart’s content. More on that later.
The keyboard itself features beautifully designed and robust feeling keys offering a tactile feel without being overly loud. The backlighting is evenly distributed with no real light bleed or unevenness. Everything about this keyboard felt solid and built to last. The design of the keys resting on a flat surface means that cleaning your burrito crumbs out is going to be effortless.
ROCCAT has foregone adding several macro keys to keep things simple and sleek. The only non-standard keys on the Suora FX are a couple of media keys and a dedicated Game Mode key. The Game Mode functionality lets you turn just about any key into a pre-defined and fully customizable macro key. This allows for the use of keys not commonly used in games to be bound to whatever macros you’ve got in mind. The six keys above the arrow keys are recommended for this, serving double duty, and are labeled as macro keys.
Aside from those keys, there’s not much else here. The one thing I tend to appreciate on a keyboard is an extra USB port or two, but sadly those are nowhere to be found on the Suora FX. It is by no means a dealbreaker, however, and the fact that I can convert any key I deem unnecessary into a macro key is lovely.
My one complaint about the Game Mode functionality is that I occasionally found myself either in Game Mode or out of Game Mode unexpectedly, thus causing me to execute macros that I didn’t intend to. It’s likely that the ROCCAT Swarm software is to blame for that, or perhaps my incessant need to alt-tab in and out of games. Either way, it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on the status of the Game Mode, which is quickly done because the key itself changes color depending on its state.
ROCCAT is using high-quality components on the keys as well, boasting a 1,000Hz (1ms) polling rate and n-key rollover to prevent ghosting, and claiming a lifecycle of over 50 million keystrokes. I don’t play a lot of games demanding rapid entry of keystrokes, such as MOBAs, but the Suora FX handled my ignorant bashing of keys during a variety of frustrating Destiny 2 events like a champ. In fact, I had to re-adjust a little bit as my previous keyboard was not quite as responsive as this one.
Swarms Are Messy
If there’s anything that lets the ROCCAT Suora FX down, it’s the included software. ROCCAT uses a product called ROCCAT Swarm to manage most of its accessories. This software is used to map macros, change lighting effects, and lets you adjust each key’s backlighting individually. Swarm is by no means terrible, but I found it to be less than refined, especially when compared to the excellent quality of ROCCAT’s hardware.
Navigating the software is not very intuitive, and at times saving options did things to the keyboard that were unexpected. Once you get the hang of it, however, it’s quite easy to configure things to your liking, set up different profiles, and arrange your lighting the way you prefer. I typically stick to a single color for the keys and highlight a few important ones to help me remember things when in-game.
Overall the Swarm software is merely okay, but at least software products can be easily improved over time. I’ll take a solid piece of hardware with reasonable software over a terrible piece of hardware with fantastic software any day.
Suora FX – A Great Option
ROCCAT’s Suora FX is an excellent keyboard that fully embraces its frameless and minimalistic design. The focus falls squarely on functionality, and it does so without sacrificing the features that gamers use. Not only will you gain back a little bit of desk space, but you’ll also be able to put this keyboard through as many hours of gaming abuse as you can muster.
In a market where high-end gaming PC accessories can easily break the bank, ROCCAT has the Suora FX reasonably priced at USD 129.99, which puts it slightly below several of its competitors. I highly recommend this keyboard to anyone looking to step up their accessory game while keeping their battle station looking tidy and organized.