Roccat Arvo and Apuri Review
Published: 4th May 2010 | Source: Roccat | Price: £28.99 & £46.99 |
Arvo Testing and Conclusion
Testing keyboards is always subjective. However there are various things we can get a feel for as we go so hopefully it'll all be clear by the time we're done.
Firstly let's have a look at, well, the looks. The most obvious thing about the Arvo is its compact nature. Moving the arrow keys and home cluster around really shrinks the size and if you're limited for desk space this is already a boon.
Secondly the actual design. Sometimes calling a design futuristic is a bit of a euphemism for "not practical" or "ugly". With the Arvo however it really is a great looking bit of kit. Roccat have the Arvo as the keyboard element of their "Smart Desktop Management System" or SDMS, along with the Kova mouse, Sota mousepad and Apuri USB/Bungee. There is definitely a great design thread running through all of these and together they match perfectly. So often we see keyboards being a rectangular lump and any tweaks and tricks solely limited to lighting, that to see a redesign that works, whilst still keeping standard key sizes and placing so vital for the touch typers amongst us, is a testament to Roccats design team.
As for the keys themselves they are a halfway house between laptop style keys and full-size keys, Roccat call them "Medium Height" and that's close enough. They are about full-size in height, but type with only a slightly longer key-press than laptop keys. They do take a little getting used to though. If you're one of these people whose muscle memory relies upon feeling the bottom of the keystroke as a "stop" rather than the key appearing on your screen then it will appear slower, whereas actually the key does engage long before that.
There is a lot of tactile feedback from the keys as they require a little press to push down, but spring back nicely. The best word really is bouncy. But in an entirely good way. The keyboard itself certainly wont move thanks to the very robust feet that are made of a material that definitely needs to be used on the Apuri. Build quality, again, is most definitely not an issue.
The cursor keys being embedded in the number pad really takes a lot of getting used to and is something that, in the limited testing time we have, I never quite got used to. It works perfectly well and any problems are solely as a result of me having typed with a certain style of keyboard for over a decade and not having long enough to adapt, rather than a limitation or issue with the Arvo itself. I'm positive those of you who are used to laptop keyboards will fit straight in without worry.
The Thumbster keys are positioned really well and within very easy reach. In fact they're so well placed I'm astounded that everyone doesn't copy this rather than give us keys off to the side or above the F keys. The macro ability of the Arvo, and it's software, truly is the star of the show though. Both the inbuilt macros and the customisation ability of the software in allowing you to create your own is second to none.
So what are the negatives? Well not a lot actually. Pricing wise it's about where you'd expect for a keyboard of such quality and features. We've seen it for around £45 and considering you're getting a high build quality keyboard, that looks the part, with epic software and great typing feedback it's almost cheap.
The only real negative is the compact nature. And this isn't so much of a negative as a design decision. I personally found it took a lot of adaptation and still hit the place I expected certain keys to be. There aren't many games or utilities as such that would be problematic to use with the Arvo, apart from Excel. Although if you're an accountant then you probably wouldn't be looking for a keyboard such as this.
It's very rare that a company set out to create a range of products for you and end up hitting the mark with all of them, but Roccat has. The Arvo, Kova, Sota and Apuri all match design-wise, have great build quality, performance and good pricing.
I have no hesitation in awarding this our OC3D Recommended award, and we'd love to see a full size one with Thumbster keys please Roccat.
- Macro ability
- Nice typing feel
- Very cool design
- Thumbster keys are a stroke of genius
- The numpad/cursor cluster takes some getting used to.