Smart Keyboard Final Thoughts
I’ve said it before – the features users want in a peripheral can vary wildly from person to person, and the entire thing can be a terribly subjective experience. Some balk at the idea of spending anywhere close to $50 on a keyboard, let alone three times that. I personally feel that spending up on quality peripherals can drastically change your experience at a computer for the better – after all, it’s the only part that you actually interact with during use.
Peripherals are notoriously subjective and many reasons to choose one over the other fall to personal preference. If staying connected while gaming at your PC is important to you, the Skeltr has quite a bit to offer.
If you look at it from a pure “gaming keyboard” perspective, the Roccat Skeltr is priced to compete against the likes of – well, every RGB mechanical gaming keyboard on the market. The mobile device integration is unique and unmatched among other devices, but…the Skeltr falls short almost everywhere else when compared to gaming keyboards in the same price bracket. It isn’t a bad keyboard, by any means. A few frustrating experiences deter what would be an otherwise solid offering – well, at the typical membrane gaming keyboard price point. I’m just not sure it delivers an experience that can match its price tag.
Roccat Skeltr Conclusion
I’ll try and summarize my experience with the Roccat Skeltr in terms of Performance, Appearance, Construction, Functionality and Value categories, but as always I feel like I should add a disclaimer. You must understand that my own preferences and uses for gaming peripherals differ from most; while I try to view each keyboard as objectively as I can, I probably can’t avoid my own bias from affecting my conclusion in some manner. I implore you to think in depth of your OWN uses and preferences, and use my reviews as a guide or simply as another perspective.
The Skeltr, overall, was a solid performer. The potential for ghosting and missing key presses in certain combinations was worrisome, but it didn’t appear to be an issue while actually using the keyboard normally. The membrane keys were responsive and tactile, if a bit “cheap” feeling (when compared to mechanical switches). However, that didn’t mean the Skeltr couldn’t hold its own – I was able to type faster and more consistently on the Roccat Skeltr than any other keyboard I’ve tested in recent memory.
I quite liked the appearance of the Roccat Skeltr. It helps that it follows the same design language as the new Roccat Kova (which I rated highly in appearance as well). It’s interesting to look at yet manages to be relatively conservative despite the flowing, sculpted style. I’m not sure I’d want to explain its presence on my desk in a professional environment, but the Skeltr is right at home among other gaming peripherals.
I didn’t run into any issues with the construction of the Roccat Skeltr. It is primarily – well, entirely – made of plastic, although it feels quite solid overall and the matte surfaces especially are pleasant to the touch. It’s perfectly adequate for a membrane keyboard. Unfortunately, most of the competition in this category will be using steel backplates and aluminum construction; adequate doesn’t really cut it.
Functionality is where this keyboard shines. Some more control over color gradients and per-key illumination would help it among the similarly-priced (or cheaper) mechanical RGB competition, but AlienFX integration and Roccat EasyShift[+] functions are features you won’t find anywhere else. That’s before the Bluetooth integration and mobile device audio/input aspects are considered. Simply put, there is nothing else like it on the market right now that so seamlessly blends gaming with mobile devices. Still, it’s up to you if you’re willing to spend ~$50 to avoid taking off your headset to pick up a phone…
I didn’t know what price the Skeltr was going to retail for when I received it. The Bluetooth integration is great, and the mobile audio/input focus is unique and quite useful. Still, the (membrane) construction/appearance/gaming functionality is about par with gaming keyboards in the $80-$100 range – generally I’m pleasantly surprised by the features that Roccat packs into their devices and the price they manage to do so, but the Skeltr surprised me. $159.99 (Amazon | NewEgg) for a membrane keyboard? I’m not convinced most gamers will pass up the Corsair K70 RGB / Razer Blackwidow Chromas / G.Skill KM780 / MasterKeys Pro Ls of the world and trade mechanical switches for easier, convenient communication with the outside world. However, if that’s a feature you’re looking for, you can’t find it anywhere else than the Roccat Skeltr.
It’s really too bad. The idea is sound – I personally hate typing on mobile devices or any variation of an on-screen keyboard. A device like the Skeltr is perfect for someone like me – I just don’t think I’d be willing to pass up almost every other gaming keyboard on the market for the capability to answer phone calls or type from my keyboard to a mobile device. The Skeltr without the Bluetooth integration fits right in among $80-$100 competition, and I’d be absolutely tempted to pick one up to match the style of one of my favorite and highest-value mice of all time (the new Roccat Kova) at that price. For the extra $60 over that? I’ll just continue to pick up my phone when it rings…and I think most other gamers would too.
+ Great looks
+ Multi-color lighting is brilliant, even and well done
+ Extensive macro/modifier abilities with the thumb keys and EasyShift[+]
+ Surprisingly responsive membrane keys
+ Mobile device integration features are unique, surprisingly useful and well done
+ Only device on the market that allows you to switch to your gaming headset to take phone calls
– Expensive, especially for a membrane keyboard
– Missing features of gaming keyboards in lower price brackets
– Can’t disable “sleep” feature for lighting
– Limited anti-ghosting capabilities
– White version has (minor) backlight bleed-through on certain areas of the frame
Final Score: 7.60 out of 10.
COMMENT QUESTION: What would you have rated the Roccat Skeltr Smart Keyboard?