Roccat Magma Review | PCMag

Roccat’s Magma ($ 59.99, though available online for up to $ 15 less) stands out from the entry-level gaming keyboard crowd by the time it’s unboxed. At first, his milky white keystroke seems out of place, but as soon as Magma is plugged in, Roccat’s intentions are clear. Forget the RGB lighting that simply shines through the captions or letters printed on each key. Don’t think of the puny light strips placed along the edges of a keyboard. Instead, let the spectrum of colors illuminating the Magma’s entire facade wash over you, distracting you from the unfortunate compromises Roccat made with the device to hit the price tag.


Membrane drain

Roccat has outfitted the Magma with “advanced membrane keys” meant to deliver the responsiveness PC gamers have come to expect without the loud clicks and clicks of mechanical switches. This is not uncommon for low-cost keyboards, but as mechanical models become more affordable, price should no longer be the primary reason someone opts for a membrane keyboard over one of its elastic competitors.

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Roccat Magma WASD Buttons

(Photo: Nathaniel Mott)

The rubber membrane sits under a complete 104-key layout with a dedicated function row, numeric keypad, etc. Seven of the function keys also serve as media controls (three for volume, four for playback), and the nearby scroll lock key is also used to toggle Magma’s built-in game mode, which disables the Windows key for prevent it from being triggered by accident. The Caps Lock key also serves as a trigger for Roccat Easy-Shift[+], an awkwardly punctuated feature that lets you assign secondary functions to the keys surrounding the crucial WASD cluster.

Roccat Magma game mode button

(Photo: Nathaniel Mott)

This is a proven layout that prioritizes functionality over office space. Unfortunately, it’s easy to accidentally activate Game or Easy-Shift mode[+] and suddenly you find yourself taking unexpected actions. I spent over a minute frantically trying to escape a game’s chat box, only to find myself repeatedly switching between fullscreen and windowed mode before stumbling upon the sequence that m finally allowed me to focus on the game at hand.

This problem can easily be attributed to a lack of familiarity with the Roccat software. Sadly, Magma suffers from a bigger problem: it’s just not fun to use. Most of the keys are soft when pressed, but ironically others are too stiff. This is especially noticeable with the Shift key, which often seemed to get stuck halfway through a key press. Typing isn’t exactly quiet either, although it is quieter than with most mechanical keyboards. True silence can be worth a poor typing experience; slightly muffled clicks are not.

Roccat Magma front edge

(Photo: Nathaniel Mott)

On the positive side, Roccat has made some efforts to improve the ergonomics of the Magma. The keyboard comes with a palm rest which I found quite comfortable to use (although nearly impossible to clean, as its textured rubber traps debris as if its life depended on it). There are also two extendable feet at the bottom of the keyboard, which can be used to change tilt or typing angle. These features aren’t convincing enough to make the Magma a must buy, but it’s nice to see an entry-level keyboard take user comfort into account.


Compromises abound

Unfortunately, the rubber membrane is not the only limiting factor for Magma. Roccat also opted for the 26-key rollover rather than the n-key rollover, which most players won’t notice but still counts as a negative when compared to other keyboards. There is also no backlight per key; instead, the keyboard is divided into five light zones that each have 10 lights capable of producing 16.8 million colors. The USB cable is also made of thick and easily bendable rubber, instead of a premium material.

These compromises extend to the software provided. Roccat Swarm is basically fine – it lets you assign different functions to keys, control the Magma’s backlight, and save up to five profiles for in-game use. However, the installer appears to have been pulled. straight from Windows Millennium Edition, and it’s clear that Roccat hasn’t optimized the app for use on 4K resolution screens, judging by the often chunky text and heavily pixelated keyboard images in the software.

Roccat Magma software screen

None of these issues should be a deciding factor. The difference between 26-key and n-key reversal will be indistinguishable to most players; the five lighting zones seem correct thanks to the translucent facade; and Roccat Swarm isn’t the worst peripheral software I’ve used. It’s also not surprising to find a relatively poor quality cable on an entry-level keyboard; many companies reserve premium connectors for their high-end products.

But all of these compromises make it clear that Magma is strictly an entry-level choice. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself – better to have options for all budgets than to sell only high-end products – but it keeps Magma from going over its weight class and forces you to keep your modest expectations.


This keyboard is not lava

If that sounds like an ASCII shrug from a critic, well, the Roccat Magma is an ASCII shrug from a keyboard. There are no flaws that justify jumping on the product entirely, although mechanical keyboard enthusiasts may disagree simply because it sits on a rubber membrane, but there is nothing to make the keyboard stand out from the crowd. ‘lighting.

Roccat Magma arrow keys

((Photo: Nathaniel Mott))

If you’re looking for a relatively quiet, full-size gaming keyboard that emphasizes RGB lighting at a great price, the Magma is worth checking out. You’ll make a number of compromises, but at least you won’t spend a fortune in the process. If you’re not ready to make the sacrifices, you’ll find plenty of other gaming keyboards on the market, although most come at higher prices.

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