ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO Overview
With the Vulcan 120 AIMO out of the box, we first noticed the sharp looking brushed aluminum top plate that really allowed the black keycaps to stick out from the keyboard. The Vulcan 120 AIMO’s 104-key size does take up quite a bit of desk space coming from a 10-keyless keyboard, especially with the large surrounding bezel. We would have loved to see a nice, sleek surrounding on this keyboard, similar to that of the Suora FX we previously reviewed. That being said, the brushed look is nice, and is accented by a polished, beveled edge that joins it to the remaining plastic base.
The build quality of the Vulcan 120 AIMO is quite good, with minimal seams between materials and components. The aluminum top plate adds a good deal of rigidity to the keyboard, and at no time during our testing of the Vulcan did we notice any flexing or instability, even with the feet extended.
From the side, the Vulcan has a pretty low profile, and this angle really shows off the Titan switches and reduced-height keycaps, which we will cover shortly. Extending the two feet on the bottom of the keyboard increases the angle of the keyboard to a very comfortable position.
ROCCAT has included a few extra control components with the Vulcan 120 AIMO, including three rubber buttons and a rotating knob. Found in the top right corner of the keyboard, just beneath a ROCCAT nameplate, these buttons and knob allow for quite a bit of keyboard adjustment. The leftmost button is used to mute your system sounds, and flashes when enabled, but stays solidly lit when disabled. The center button, labeled with the ROCCAT “FX” designation, is set to control the keyboard’s illumination with the knob by default, though that can be changed in the Swarm application. The button on the right is set to adjust the system volume in conjunction with the control knob to its right, but this button can also be customized with a variety of optional functions. As noted, the control knob can be used to cycle through or adjust up and down various settings, depending on how you configure it in the Swarm application. We found this to be a really great feature that is much quicker to access than on-screen options. Each button is illuminated with a nice white glow, though we would have really liked to see some RGB lighting here as well.
While typically found towards the top edge of keyboards, the indicator lights for NUM Lock, CAPS Lock, Scroll Lock, and Game Mode are all placed at the bottom right corner of the keyboard, just below the numpad. Each indicator is illuminated with the same white color as the rubber buttons previously mentioned, and this slight variance from most other keyboards is a nice touch.
As we mentioned earlier, the Vulcan series of keyboards come equipped with ROCCAT’s very own custom Titan mechanical switches. The Titan switches offer a tactile operation, similar to that of Cherry MX Browns. With a 1.8mm actuation travel distance, and 4.0mm total travel distance, the Titan switches are very responsive and quick. Additional stabilization is provided by a special housing that surrounds the keycap stem to reduce wobble, which is even more important when you consider the keycap design. Instead of a full sized keycap, the Vulcan 120 AIMO uses a reduced height key, similar to those found on low-profile mechanical keyboards. This allows the transparent upper-body of the Titan switch to provide more under-lighting, and provides a great look. The only real drawback we saw with regards to the Titan switches was that custom keycaps may not be compatible due to the upper portion of the switch body and the modified stem housings. For more information regarding the Titan switches, take a look at ROCCAT’s dedicated page – Titan Switch.
The keycaps themselves are all concave, save for the bottom row, which took a bit of use to get used to. The keycap surface is a smooth, matte finish, which really looks nice, but started to pick up fingerprints and finger oils right away.
Flipping the Vulcan over gives us a look at the very plain underside of the keyboard. Two wide rubber strips are placed at the bottom of the keyboard, while two more are along the top edge. Two wide feet are also present, and allow the Vulcan to tilt up a bit for an alternate angle.
Included with the Vulcan is a removable wristrest. We really like the magnetic attachment design, as connecting and removing the wristrest is very simple. What we don’t like is that this is one of the cheapest feeling wristrests we have encountered. The plastic is quite flimsy, and it just doesn’t feel as sturdy and of the same quality as the keyboard itself. That being said, it operated just fine in our testing, and the full-width rubber strips kept it in place and attached to the keyboard.