Roccat is well known for its more budget-friendly gaming accessories, but in the case of the Roccat Pyro, you don't need to sacrifice performance to reach that lower price tag. At $99.99 / £89.99, you're paying a little more than competitors such as the Logitech G413 (and you don't have as much macro flexibility as something like the SteelSeries Apex 5), but you are getting extra RGB customization for your cash.
In short? Those looking for the best gaming keyboards inhabiting a sweet spot between price, mechanical performance, and customization will be well served by the Roccat Pyro.
Average price: $99.99 / £89.99
Size: Full board
Switches: TTC Red
Media keys: Dual-function, volume dial
Wrist rest: Detachable
USB passthrough: None
The Roccat Pyro offers a full deck of TTC's linear red switches, a Cherry clone that offers a similarly speedy experience, tuned to a 2mm actuation point. Unlike the cheaper Roccat Magma, you're also getting per-key RGB LEDs here, with full customization through Roccat's Swarm software as well. That's already excellent value for money, especially considering other mechanical keyboards under $100 / £100 drop this aesthetic control altogether.
Media keys do share the function row, but a separate volume dial comes in handy for on-the-fly adjustments. You'll be able to remap the full deck using the aforementioned Swarm software, while also configuring specific secondary commands in certain WASD zones using the Easy Shift functionality. This mode allows you to hold the caps lock key to unlock a range of extra feature in-game, and comes in particularly handy for mapping similar commands to the same key press.
Roccat's typically bulky yet angular design language has been eschewed in the Pyro, giving way to a far more subtle and sleek aesthetic. Nowhere is this more apparent than the gorgeous brushed effect sitting underneath the main board. Sure, the chassis is still plastic (using the same mold as the cheaper Magma model, no less), but it feels remarkably durable with very little of the flex you might expect at this price point.
Its key caps don't fare as well. These are a smooth ABS plastic which, while in keeping with the budget price point, don't hold a grip too well. However, they do feel particularly soft which makes for a comfortable experience overall.
Elsewhere, the ridged effect running along the bottom of the deck is repeated in the detachable palm rest. While you are getting excellent grip here, the build of the rest is considerably flimsier than the board itself and consists of cold hard plastic which won't hold up for longer sessions.
Special mention must also be made for the volume dial, which looks like it's been ripped straight off an amplifier. Not only does this make the whole board feel just that little bit cooler, but the raised height of the dial also came in surprisingly handy when volume needed to be shifted on the fly.
The TTC red switches inside the Roccat Pyro feel particularly smooth, but the board still manages to stay tactile throughout both gaming and typing. With a fast snap-back that makes moving across the deck particularly easy, there's a freshness to these key presses that comes with that linear switch, but it's accentuated by the smooth keycap material.
Heavier use does reveal a slight twang across the board, though. There's no ping that some may associate with a cheaper gaming keyboard like this, but the spring sound is apparent during periods of faster typing sessions. That said, there's surprisingly little wobble on the caps themselves.
Overall - should you buy the Roccat Pyro?
At under $100 / £100, the Roccat Pyro is priced particularly well. You're not quite getting the reflex sensitivity of a more tactile switch, or the build materials of a premium chassis, but for the money you're spending this is an excellent option. Responsive and snappy, and with excellent customization options, those new to mechanical boards or looking for a cheaper alternative to fancy, tournament-grade features will be right at home here.