Roccat’s Analog Keys on the ISKU+ FORCE FX Keyboard is a Game Changer
While Roccat has their own set of RGB LED peripherals, the company is not relying solely on this hype to propel themselves forward but looking towards innovation on functional fronts as well. During CES 2017, Roccat demonstrated their latest update to the Isku keyboard with the Isku+ Force FX, a gaming keyboard with a pressure-sensitive key zone for providing analog input. There have been various solutions being teased for the past year regarding analog keyboard input such as the Wooting One which utilizes FlareTech switches and Japanese manufacturer Topre who demonstrated the feature live at Computex 2016 but the Iksu+ Force FX is actually available now and the best part is that it retains the same price point as the original Isku. Roccat’s solution uses a special chemical layer utilizing polymer-piezoelectric composite material rather than an optical switch.
The Isku+ Force FX features a pressure-sensitive gaming cluster area on the QWEASD keys. Users can also toggle the ForceFX feature so that these keys act like regular keyboard keys but can also switch to a “Smooth Step” mode where the amount of pressure is registered per incremental input acting as an analog key. There is also a third mode that allows assignment of up to three function on a single key press, accessible via CTRL and ALT modifiers. The analog input is a welcome change for gamers who would like to play racing games and other titles which benefit from analog button input. Since Roccat’s Isku+ Force FX is also compatible with their Swarm Driver software, users can adjust this pressure-sensitive input further, adjusting the amount of sensitivity required or limit it to a certain percentage. Plus, with the Swarm software, users can easily manage profiles, change LED colors and use Roccat’s Talk function to synchronize multiple peripherals.
The Isku+ Force FX keyboard itself is fully RGB illuminated in all of its 123 keys and features six levels of brightness. It has anti-ghosting clusters over USB despite being a membrane keyboard, and has three unique Easy-Shift[+] zones, three thumb keys as well as a bank of five macro keys. MSRP is $100 USD and is now widely available.