ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard Review

ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard 3 1

The first 65% keyboard from Roccat is the Vulcan II Mini. It distinguishes itself from the competition with a highly detailed design that emphasises its RGB lighting in particular. This new Roccat Vulcan II Mini is in line with the current trend, as almost all major brands now have a 60 or 65% reference.

ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard 4

We can notably mention Razer with its Huntsman Mini and Blackwidow V3 Mini, SteelSeries with its Apex 9 and Pro Mini, the K65 RGB Mini and K70 Pro Mini Wireless from Corsair or even Fnatic Streak 65. Only Logitech G still seems a little behind, but we imagine that their model will not be long in coming. With a little competition delay, can Roccat dominate this format that players love. Inside, only a USB-C to USB-A cable and a user manual are included. 

Specification

ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini
$CHECK PRICE
ReleasedAug 30, 2022
Dimensions324 x 116 x 31 mm
Weight542g
Form Factor65%
Adjustable heightYes, double kick stand
Processor32-bit ARM Cortex M3
Connectivity1.8m braided USB-C to USB-A cable
SwitchesRoccat Titan II optical red
Profile On-board5
LifespanUp to 100 million presses
Polling rate1,000Hz
RGBPer-key dual LED
SoftwareROCCAT SWARM

Design

The Vulcan II Mini looks a lot like the other keyboards in the same line, especially the Vulcan and Vulcan TKL Pro, both of which we’ve already shown you on Top2Gadget.

One of the best things about these keyboards is how they look. The different versions of the Vulcan stand out quite a bit from the competition thanks to their airy, slim designs that put the focus on RGB lighting.

Roccat mini

The main difference between this version and the Mini version is its size, which is now 65% smaller, as its name suggests.

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ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard 1

As a reminder, this design is even smaller than the TKL models because it doesn’t use the number pad or the F1–F12 keys. On the other hand, with the 60% models, we still have direct access to the direction arrows and an extra column on the right side of the keyboard.

ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard 5

Once placed on a desk, the latest addition to the brand knows how to be discreet. With dimensions of 324 mm x 116 mm x 31 mm, the Roccat Vulcan II Mini fits into even the smallest spaces while giving the mouse a large area to move on. An essential point if you are used to playing with low sensitivity. To give you a better idea, the animation below compares the Roccat model to a few other references that have already passed through our hands.

The keyboard finishes are like previous Vulcans. A thin chassis is reinforced by an aluminium top plate. 

We also find these “floating”-looking keys, with keycaps that only cover the upper part of the mechanical switches. It’s kind of a signature of this Vulcan range, and we have to say that the result still looks just as good. Note that you can now swap out these keycaps for more traditional ones (cross stem) if you want to.

Roccat doesn’t specify the default keycaps’ design, but everything points to ABS plastic. It’s not durable, and fingerprints show up quickly.

All deleted keys’ actions are accessible via the FN key. You can also use shortcuts to control music, volume, and RGB lighting. Classic.

The Vulcan II Mini is compatible with the brand’s EasyShift[+] option. The feature provides alternative mapping and many shortcuts.

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You can either use your Roccat mouse or hold down the TAB key to use this option. These options are adjusted in the Roccat Swarm software shown below.

Two retractable feet at the back of the keyboard allow two-level tilting. The base’s front rubber insert ensures stability.

Performance

The Vulcan II Mini inaugurates the brand’s new optical switches: the Roccat Titan II Optical. They take up a design fairly close to the manufacturer’s previous linear switches, still with a total stroke of 3.6 mm, an activation of 1.4 mm and a force of 65 g

They’re responsive and last for 100 million clicks. All this is possible thanks to optical switches that never come into contact with the PCB since, as a reminder, everything works like motion detectors.

It also offers the pleasant sensation of mechanical switches. Like the Kone XP Air mouse, this keyboard has Easy-Shift[+], which expands each key’s programmable features. AIMO lighting synchronises the colours of all Roccat peripherals.

Connectivity

The Roccat model works only when wired, via a USB-C connector placed in the center of its rear edge. For once, we would have liked the manufacturer to finally offer a switch to wireless with this new version in compact format. The keyboard could thus have been placed as an alternative to the Corsair K70 Mini Wireless, Razer Blackwidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed ​​or Cooler Master CK721.

Roccat Swarm Software

As explained above, the Roccat Swarm software can configure keyboard options. If you already have it, launch it and update it from the manufacturer’s website. Roccat has updated its products but not its drivers. Its old-fashioned look threatens to become retro, but it’s not a bad thing to highlight to attract the nostalgic.

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The software lets you create up to 5 configuration profiles that can be automatically loaded by games or apps. It’s versatile enough despite its small size.

Roccat software

From the “Key assignment” tab, you can change the EasyShift [+] secondary key mapping. Here, you can choose from Roccat’s actions or create your own macros.

Roccat Swarm software is Windows-only. It’s mostly a gaming keyboard, but macOS users might like how customizable it is and how simple it looks.

Still, there’s hope. Neon, Roccat’s second driver. The latter version is modern and has more features. Despite being a new product, the Vulcan II Mini isn’t compatible with the latest drivers.

Roccat must ensure this keyboard’s compatibility with the new driver. Even though the retro look might appeal to people who like the past, the lack of customization is quickly felt.

Backlight

The Roccat Vulcan II Mini has two LEDs per key. The brand promises better backlighting and more color mixing. The difference is small. Brightness is barely above average. Extra customization is a plus, but one-LED RGB isn’t too limited.

Good backlight quality. saturated, but not accurate, colours. Dark backplates prevent colour mixing, reducing diffusion. The Vulcan II Mini’s backlighting is good. The dual LED backlight isn’t revolutionary. It’s hard to reinvent something as basic as a keyboard light.

Conclusion!

Roccat’s first ultra-compact mechanical keyboard is the Vulcan II Mini. Fans can choose from the classic “Full-Size” version, the TKL model, or this new 65% version.

The keyboard isn’t revolutionary. Aside from its design, the rest is classic. Roccat’s $149 price tag could have included wireless connectivity or a “Hot-Swap” design.

At that price, it’s hard to recommend it over the competition. Fnatic Streak65 and Razer Huntsman Mini (60% format) are both under $100. The Cooler Master CK721 offers a 65% format and wireless for less than $140.