Despite its peculiar name, the Roccat Isku+ Force FX Gaming Keyboard packs a ton of unique features. These features such as its analog keys make it quite unique in the market. It also gives you a competitive edge over others.
Despite it not being a mechanical keyboard, Roccat manages to give the Isku+ Force FX a unique position on the market. In fact, you might even consider Isku+ Force FX features more than a mechanical keyboard especially if you’re a gamer.
First is the Easy-Shift[+] which essentially doubles the functions of the keyboard. MMO gamers would love this feature.
The three unique thumbster buttons under the spacebar offer additional buttons for your thumbs.
And lastly, the analog keys which uses the Force FX technology by Roccat. This is also where the Isku+ Force FX was named after. Instead of having a binary function (or on/off) for the QWEASD buttons, it responds to force or pressure thus giving you an additional and even more accurate control to your game. This function along with the others gives the user a competitive advantage.
Along with these features, the Roccat Isku+ FX has other standard gaming features such as macro keys, media buttons and more. Let’s take a closer look.
Roccat Isku+ Force FX Review – Whats in the Box?
Just like its name, the Roccat Isku+ Force FX’s packaging is also quite a handful. Right off the bat, it comes in a very bright and colorful packaging with the words “control intensified” on the front and the word “intensified” being bold. Of course we can now guess as to what Roccat built this gaming keyboard for and we expect a ton of controls as well as customizations. Besides these two words, we also have the keyboard itself with its illuminated keys in front. The analog feature is also highlighted as one of its main features on the front.
Inside the box you will find two user guides as well as three different stickers for the Roccat Isku+ Force FX.
Roccat Isku+ Force FX Review – Roccat Knocks it Out of the Park Again
While the Roccat Isku+ Force FX is the newer version, it is still quite similar to the old Roccat Isku FX which was released a few years back. Both have the large and quite noticeable wrist-rest and is a bit angled.
There are a lot of extra buttons added to the Isku+ Force FX. If we look at the left side of the keyboard, we immediately see 5 dedicated macros. Now this isn’t that much special since a lot of gaming keyboards also offer this feature. However, the “thumbster” buttons is quite unique. A bit odd but it does prove useful and makes sense. I’d imaging you would still have a bit of getting used to with the thumbster buttons but I’m sure, once you do get used to it, it will prove to be quite useful. I don’t know why other brands still haven’t copied this feature. I really like it especially if you’re playing MMO games that require a ton of keys for your character’s special skills. Or if you think you won’t ever feel comfortable using it in the heat of battle or feel awkward pressing it, you can always bind it to a key where you’re not in battle. Like take for example, changing equipment. Some classes like World of Warcraft would require different equipment for certain things and these three buttons is a very convenient way of changing equipment. Of course you can also bind it to other things as well.
Towards the top we can find the long line of dedicated multimedia keys. These include the volume buttons, play and pause buttons, and lastly the skip buttons. The placements of these keys are quite convenient and easy to spot. Putting them at the center makes sense since there aren’t many buttons you would want to put in the center and if you love music, the center is the perfect place to put these keys.
The QWEASD are special keys that feature analog control. You will see that the front of the keycaps have white lines that run across it. This is to designate the 6 special keys as analog buttons.
If you remove the keycaps, sadly, you wouldn’t find the very tactile mechanical switches. The keycaps are membrane keys. If you want that tactile feel, you won’t really get it from the Roccat Isku+ FX.
If we look at the underside, there we will find the four rubber anti-slip feet. There’s also the height extensions if you want it to be a bit more angled. And if you’re irritated by long cables, Roccat has given this a solution. The Isku+ Force FX has grooves on its underside where you can run your cable through it either to the left or to the right, depending on where your CPU is.
The USB cable like many others is 1.8 meters long but unlike most gaming keyboards, the Roccat Isku+ Force FX’s cable is sadly not braided. To me this isn’t much to ask, we’ve reviewed a lot of gaming keyboards as well mice and most of them are braided.
- Brand: Roccat
- Name: Isku FX
- Model: ROC-12-901
- Keyboard Interface: USB 2.0
- Design Style: Gaming
- Palm Rest: Integrated
- Keyboard Color: Black
- Backlit: Yes
- Type: Wired
- Operating System Supported: Windows 10, Windows 8 32-Bit, Windows 8 64-Bit, Windows 7 32-Bit, Windows 7 64-Bit, Windows Vista 32-Bit, Windows Vista 64-Bit, Windows XP 32-Bit, Windows XP, 64-Bit
- System Requirements: Internet connection (for driver installation), USB 2.0 port
- Pressure-sensitive Key Zone, Recognizable as Controller with Pressure-sensitive QWEASD keys
- RGB Illuminated Keyboard with 123 keys
- 36 Easy-to-reach Macro Keys with 3 Roccat Programmable Thumbster Keys
- Medium-height Keys, with an Optimum Keystroke Response
- Talk FX + AlienFX Support
- Lighting Effects for games
- Improved RGB Key Illumination, Enhanced Lighting, 6 Adjustable Brightness Levels
- Macro Live! Recording, with Dedicated M-Rec Button; for Up To 180+ Macros Stored in 5 Game profiles
- Roccat driver + macro manager, includes macro presets for certain games and apps
- Lock-fast keyboard feet for slip-free play & perfect height
- Roccat Swarm, Software Suite Optmised
- 3 Unique Easy-Shift[+] Zones, for Easy Key Duplication
- 8 Configurable Media & Hotkeys for Quick Access to More than 25 Functions
- Ultra-fast profile switching indicated by 5 blue status LEDs
- Extra-large Granular Wrist Rest, with Newly-improved Sweat-and-smudge-resistant Surface
- 36 easy-to-reach macro keys
- Enhanced anti-ghosting capability
- 5programmable macro keys
- 3 Status LEDs (Caps Lock, Easy Shift[+], Num Lock)
- Cable channels for better device organization
- Roccat talk – set bonus
- 1000 Hz polling rate
- 1 ms response time
- 1.8 m USB cable
Using the Product
Like most peripherals, the Roccat Isku+ Force FX is easy to install. Just plug it in and you’re ready to go. However, if you want further customization and you want to use the keyboard its fullest, we suggest you download the Roccat Swarm as it gives this keyboard better customizability.
We also urge you to take advantage of the Easy-Shift[+] as well as the analog keys in as these are the main features of the keyboard. Using the Easy-Shift[+] is easy. Just hold down the Easy-Shift[+] button along with the other button and you will now have access to another function of that button provided you gave it another function.
The Roccat Swarm is what gives the Roccat Isku+ Force FX its power and tremendous customization. But first let’s talk about the generals of the Roccat Swarm. The Roccat Swarm is divided into four main tabs.
The first tab gives the option to tinker with the basic settings for the peripheral like repeat rate and sound feedback. Sound feedback is quite amusing. You can give your keyboard a sound feedback like the name suggests while you press its keys. If you want it to sound old, you can choose the “typewriter” to make it sound like one.
The second tab is the key assignment tab. There are a ton of options in this tab as well as configurable buttons. All of the buttons of the Roccat Isku+ Force FX can be edited or re-assigned. The extra keys like the macros don’t have a default function so you will have to give it your own.
The third tab is the lighting tab. Like the name suggest, this is where we can configure the RGB lighting of the Roccat Isku+ Force FX. There are a handful of ways you can customize the lighting in this tab. The colors provided by the Roccat Isku+ Force FX keyboard are really vibrant.
The fourth and last page is where you can set the analog feature of the keyboard which is called the Force FX technology. You can choose from a variety of presets on this page depending on what games you would want to play and how you want to play. You can also create your own profile here.
But what exactly are analog keys? These keys respond to force or pressure unlike the typical keys which are either on or off.
The Isku+ Force FX has 6 analog keys which are QWEASD. These are obviously the keys that most gamers use. There’s also two different modes thus making use of the analog keys in various ways. “Smooth steps” is the first. Basically the keys simply respond as to how much pressure has been applied to them. If you want your character in game to move or turn slowly, you can slightly press the key and if the game supports it, they will move slowly, walk fast or even run if you press the key really hard. The next mode allows users to assign up to 3 functions to each of the analog keys which are the QWEASD keys. And depending on how much pressure you put on the key, various actions will be done. Of course you would have to configure this yourself. This essentially gives you more “buttons” and this makes these analog keys multiplied by 3 since you can assign 3 different actions to each key. This type of feature can really revolutionize gaming. Granted it’s in its early stages but the Roccat Isku+ Force FX gives us a glimpse of the bright future for gaming peripherals and its capabilities.
Another unique and helpful technology especially made for gamers is the Easy-Shift[+] technology. I personally love this feature and I’ve talked about this in the past as Roccat has continually added this technology to their peripherals and they have also continually improved it.
What this does is basically double the functions that you are able to map on your keyboard. Take for example the 5 dedicated macro keys on the left of the keyboard and the three thumbster buttons below the spacebar. In total there’s 8 buttons but using the Easy-Shift[+] technology allows you to store another function for it. The Easy-Shift[+] acts as a modifier so if you press it while pressing another key, its other function will be executed instead. This is obviously quite useful to games that require a lot of buttons.
The Roccat Isku+ Force FX already looks quite unique and premium and it does with its features along with its unique functionalities and buttons. The analog keys, Easy-Shift[+] and the three thumbster buttons are quite useful and you won’t see these on other brands. These three along make the Roccat Isku+ Force FX Gaming keyboard quite special.
Sure it’s not a mechanical keyboard but for most gamers and non-gamers a membrane keyboard is quite enough. In fact the software features as well as the keyboard quality along with its keys are more important than the mechanical keys.
The analog keys make the Isku+ Force FX a worthwhile buy. Most keys are binary but the unique analog keys respond to pressure instead giving you a lot more versatility and creativity when using this keyboard. This also gives a competitive edge on gaming as you control your game even more accurately using this technology.
Where to Buy
Are you looking to step up your game? You can pick up the awesome Roccat Isku+ Force FX for around $130AUD from retailers. You can read more about the Roccat Isku+ Force FX over at the Roccat website.