Roccat Skeltr Smart Communication RGB Gaming Keyboard Review


Roccat Skeltr Smart Communication RGB Gaming Keyboard Review


By now you'll probably know if the USP of the Skeltr is something which appeals to you. If it does, and if you must have it in your life regardless of cost or other considerations, then little we can say will sway you. If, however, you're on the fence then all is not as it seems. Roccat claim that by reducing the amount of distraction you have, or indeed time it takes, when you get a message and have to reply to it, you're in the game longer and thus are less likely to die/get overtaken by competitors/lose the battle. Let's examine exactly how this works.

Currently if you're playing, let's say an FPS for simplicity, and your phone goes off then you keep your left hand on the WASD keys to keep you moving around and avoiding death whilst your other hand quickly slides down your notification screen, sees who wants you, and either replies, ignores it until the end of the round, or just swipes the spam email away and carries on playing. It takes barely a moment and even whilst doing so you can still keep your character moving. Sure your hand is off the mouse - or the keyboard depending upon which is the more important control method in your title of choice - for a moment but it isn't that long.

So how does the Roccat speed this process up? By using the button on the right you can switch the keyboard from your PC to your phone, and thus reply instantly. But this is, in effect, worse than the above option. For a start by putting both hands on the keyboard you've got one off the mouse, so it's not any better than the current solution. Secondly, because the keyboard is now focussed upon your phone you no longer have control of your character, so you're a sitting duck. Thirdly, you have to have your phone on the application so that you can quickly reply. Great if you're in a chat application, but no use at all if you get an email or a text and you're in another app. You have to take your hand off the keys to swipe your screen and change it to the relevant app, then hit the reply button or whatever, then change the keyboard to control your phone, type your reply, go back to the app that you had running all the time and then put your keyboard back into keyboard mode. How on earth is that easier than just picking up your phone? It isn't. And that is before we've addressed the fact that all of us have our phones in cases - you'd be insane not to - and have our screens automatically time out. So before you start playing you need remove your case, turn off the screen time out, connect the phone to the keyboard, attach the charger cable, balance it in the slot at the back and all that to end up with a system which is slower, more likely to kill you, and more unwieldy than the current "quickly pick it up" method.

So if the USP is a good idea in theory that is utterly hopeless in practise, that hefty price tag becomes untenable. Yes you can use the Roccat Power Grid app to display a multitude of things, but that isn't unique to this keyboard. Any Roccat offering will do likewise and for far less investment. The keys themselves are fairly bland to type on, with not quite enough return spring force so it slows down your typing when compared to something like their own Isku, and certainly much worse than a mechanical offering. Similarly the lighting is a bit limp. The Roccat Ice Blue is gorgeous and bright, but many colours have varied brightness with purples and yellows being very dull. This limits your customisation and is very noticeable if you have the keyboard colour cycle. Lastly the keyboard is very plastic. Not exactly wobbly or flexible, but if it was priced at around £70 you'd feel a little short-changed, let alone £150.

In short the Skeltr is an similar to the Isku, except with worse key lighting and a massive price hike to include a feature that doesn't really work, and once you take away that then you're left with a very expensive, mid-range keyboard that's almost impossible to recommend. It's the first really disappointing Roccat product. It gets our innovation award for bravely trying something new, even if it wasn't wholly successful. 

Roccat Skeltr Smart Communication RGB Gaming Keyboard Review  

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Most Recent Comments

03-10-2016, 10:50:43

Interesting idea. I already have my phone propped at the top of my keyboard. Biggest advantage of the STRIKE 5 is the OLED display section, makes a great rest for my phone. Adding in the communication between phone and keyboard is a very niche feature. Definitely overprice also!Quote

04-10-2016, 18:06:15

I've been using Roccat's Power-Grid on a cheap 7" tablet for Elite Dangerous and I can see where they're coming from with this.

I love the idea of being able to hold the tablet in place on the keyboard and power it as it goes. I think the switching between the two devices button is a good idea if you're not in the middle of a game. Well maybe it would work with slower paced games as well. It would be nice to be able to type on the tablet without having to pick it up.

I find I'm often switching over from my main display screens to my ancillary panel and it's reasonably quick as long as you're not in the middle of combat. I usually have a web browser or iTunes open so if you didn't have multiple monitors then yeah this tablet/phone stand would work well.

I don't think anyone would really answer their phone half way through a round of counterstrike or whatever.

Ultimately though it saves a little bit of desk space and the price of either an extra Bluetooth keyboard or a tablet cover with built in keyboard attached.

Probably not worth the price premium but I agree it's an innovative idea.Quote

05-10-2016, 04:43:22

Originally Posted by jimma47 View Post
I don't think anyone would really answer their phone half way through a round of counterstrike or whatever.
If someone called me half way through a CS match they'd get ignored and called back later with some abuse lolQuote

05-10-2016, 04:54:43

Originally Posted by SuB View Post
If someone called me half way through a CS match they'd get ignored and called back later with some abuse lol
When are you playing CS again?Quote

05-10-2016, 05:45:51

Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
When are you playing CS again?
I'm not, I lost my edge a long while ago :PQuote

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