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Roccat Skeltr Smart Keyboard Review

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Roccat Swarm Configuration Software

Roccat’s Swarm driver powers most of their new peripherals. Overall, as far as driver suites go, I’ve been impressed with Swarm in the past. No silly cloud profiles required (although they can be enabled for additional features that require a network connection, which is the right way to go about this rather than forcing another always-on user profile that wouldn’t otherwise be necessary to allow a user to configure a device). Roccat’s products still save profiles on-board, so you can configure your settings once and take them with you (or uninstall the driver if you don’t plan on making further changes), which is a feature I still look for and appreciate. With all that being said, let’s dive in to the Swarm application.

The Swarm driver accommodates most of Roccat’s newer devices. It arrives as a “barebone” framework where each device detected will download its own driver as needed – you’ll receive a message as such when plugging in the Skeltr for the first time.

A tutorial is available with video links to help users make the most of their new device. The Swarm application is scattered with tool tips and bits of information so it’s isn’t difficult to find your way around.

First up is the Settings tab, where various feedback elements (audio/visual indications of profile switching or other events) and keyboard settings can be configured. Curiously, the LED feedback section didn’t contain the ability to turn the “sleep effect” completely off; you can only set a timer from one minute to thirty. This lead to a bit of frustration, as you’d commonly return to a keyboard in a dark room that had either changed colors on you or turned off completely – many times it wouldn’t return to its previous state without selecting a different color or loading a different profile in the Swarm application. This is something I’d definitely look forward to a software fix on (the version tested was v1.90 Swarm / v1.22 Skeltr driver).

The Key Assignment tab is exactly what it sounds like – each key on the Skeltr can be remapped or programmed for a custom function. The Caps Lock tab is set to activate Roccat’s EasyShift[+] function by default – if you use Caps Lock often, this may take some time to get used to. Sure, one could easily remap this key, but the EasyShift[+] ability is one of the best features available on Roccat devices in my opinion.

The thumb keys have their own set of functions they can perform – anything from profile changes (default) to opening applications or folders. The Caps Lock key is relocated here in the Skeltr’s default profile (to the left thumb button when “EasyShifted”).

The List View of the Key Assignment tab allows the user to scroll through a list of all available programmable keys. Simply drag and drop the chosen function on the left to the appropriate key on the right.

The Key Illumination tab controls the lighting settings for all five zones on the Skeltr. Zones can be selected by clicking on them (the entire set of keys is one zone, with four others on the side LEDs). Those zones that have focus will apply the chosen effects upon clicking “Apply.” An Auto Apply option will – unsurprisingly enough – apply changes instantly.

There are various presets – steady/fully lit, blinking, breathing (the typical fade in/out), pulsing (a rapid “on” then a fade to off), heartbeat (a double pulse). The live heatmap and fade FX presets don’t seem to apply to the Skeltr.

Macro functionality is on par with most products in this category. Intervals can be recorded or fixed.

The sequence of keys for each macro can be displayed in a list or grid format. Either way, it’s pretty simple to edit individual portions of a recorded macro which is always convenient. With our look at the configuration software complete, let’s put the Skeltr through its paces and see what it can do.


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