Tech Up! Roccat Magma Review

By Michael McCann 04.05.2022

Roccat already impressed, back in late November last year, when Cubed3 took a look at its Elo range of headphones. About the Elo X Stereo it was said that, "... exceeds expectations of what a budget gaming headset can be..." and that "Roccat really hit the sweet spot ... between affordability and a top quality product." Therefore, it was really noted in particular for excelling in those categories, such as quality and functionality, relative to the product being pitched at the more affordable end of the market. Now Cubed3 has the Roccat Magma membrane RGB gaming keyboard that is targeted squarely at that exact same market. Much like the headphones, the gamer keyboard market is a similarly crowded space, and it can be daunting to distinguish between options for the average punter. Egress! Time to see how it all stacks up.

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Of course, the biggest and most immediately striking feature that does distinguish the Roccat Magma from the rest of the pack is that of the RGB backplate. One must only peruse the promotional pictures of the product for a scant moment to see how cool this feature is. Essentially, the keys all sit on a transparent plate that, when plugged in, is illuminated from behind by five banks or zones of colour. Although it's not quite as vivid as what is presented in the promotional material, the effect is still incredible and, from some angles, can give the impression that the keys are floating on a solid block of light. The colours can sweep or undulate across the backplate or have a more defined solid or stepped look, the brightness too can be adjusted, and it can fully adapt for many different user cases or tastes. If scrutinised, it is possible to see the increments of which these LEDs are switching between colour across the backplate, as well as some of the structure in the shell blocking light from passing through it but, overall, it's a very impressive look and a really great vibe for a device. All of this is completely customisable using Roccat's own AIMO lighting engine, which also means that it can sync with other products in Roccat's range that also utilise this feature.

The build quality and design sensibility are laudable for a product within this price range. The shell is made of plastic but feels durable, as does the palm rest that is included as an extra bonus in the package. This palm rest, it must be said, follows a trend of Roccat giving customers that little extra bang for their buck for what is included in the box. It hardly feels like an essential inclusion, but it is much appreciated and goes a long way in generating a positive perception and expectation of Roccat products in general. It has been noted by other outlets that the very slight ribbed texture that dresses the palm rest and surrounding chassis can be a magnet for dirt and dreaded skin flakes, yet Cubed3 did not find this to be an issue at all during its time with the Magma. Indeed, the design was found to be a subtle and distinctive aesthetic that gives the keyboard a bit more character without overstepping the mark or distracting from the RGB.

Aimed at the middle-to-lower tier of the market, the Magma doesn't have the mechanical key switches that are customarily touted as a banner feature of more expensive gaming keyboards. Often sold to gamers on the basis of assisting with response times, as well as having that good ol' "feedbacky" feel, it is actually the mechanical switches that can be the main contributor to the higher cost of these keyboards. They have many more moving parts, and whether or not it improves accuracy when playing is a point that is probably negatable for most average players. All of this is a roundabout way of saying that the keys on the Roccat Magma feel good, and surprisingly pleasing for a membrane input. There's a solid bounce at the bottom of a keystroke that honestly feels quite tactile and satisfying to type on, as well as use in games. The WASD area can be totally programmed and take advantage of Roccat's Easy-Shift button, a function that augments keys in that area with a hold down of the Caps Lock key. No more crab-like stretching to open inventories or weapon switching, and it would likely be a dream to use in titles such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, too. There is one other considerable upside of membrane triggers in a keyboard also, and that is of maintaining a reasonable decibel level when in use. It's just much, much quieter.

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Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
Once again, this is a lower budget win for Roccat, giving even some more expensive options on the market a run for their money. There are some downsides, most notably the lack of any USB pass through, but ultimately this is a trade-off that has to be made for getting a good, full-size keyboard within an affordable price bracket. It's much better to get the essentials right - those things that are going to be encountered during daily driving - and, pleasingly, the Roccat Magma gets this. Certainly, if mechanical switches aren't also the deal-breaker then this is, hands down, one of the best feeling membrane keyboards out there, performing consistently across games and for productivity. There's nothing quite like it... but don't forget that RGB, either, as really that's what it's all about. Just look at it!

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