Roccat Magma Membrane RGB Gaming Keyboard Review
In the gaming peripheral space, membrane keyboards aren’t the marquee player they once were. Mechanical switches rule the day, with their snappy responses and endlessly debatable subjective strengths and weaknesses model-to-model.
But membrane keyboards still hold some interesting advantages. They’re cheaper to produce, and thus cheaper to buy. They’re quieter than mechanical models, with a smoother response that won’t upset other people in your environment. The soft feel of each keypress can be less fatiguing if you’re extra hard on the keys during an intense session. Also, the enclosed design of the keys means they’re not that likely to succumb to dust particles gumming up the works.
While membrane keyboards aren’t normally that exciting to look at, Roccat is trying to change that. Thanks to some impressive new industrial design, the Roccat Magma membrane keyboard is one of the most eye-catching gaming keyboards on the market, at any price.
NOTE: Roccat graciously sent me an early retail production unit of this keyboard to review at my discretion. I don’t receive anything if you decide to buy one, and none of the links in this article are affiliate links. I had full editorial control over this article. Click here to see my reviews policy.
The Roccat Magma sells for just $59.99 (official site here). It has a solid plastic construction with a permanently-attached USB cable covered in a durable-feeling rubberized coating. I know that braided flexible cables are all the rage these days, but I actually think the stiffer coating here is great because your keyboard just sits in one spot on your desk. In the box, you get some documentation, and a snap-on wrist rest that’s easy to attach and detach. While it’s not padded, the subtly- textured surface still feels nice for long typing sessions, and it’s neat that it’s even included at this price. The bottom of the keyboard has flip-out feet for angle adjustment, but I found the default angle comfortable.
The most impressive thing about the Magma is its visual design. The top plate is a gorgeous transparent creamy piece of plastic that lets the five AIMO RGB lighting zones shine brilliantly through. The lighting is perfectly even and smooth, and it looks great. Since this is an AIMO peripheral, it hooks easily into the Roccat lighting ecosystem in their Swarm software.
The only small downside it has against other AIMO keyboards in their lineup is that it’s not quite as “high resolution” in terms of lighting effects.. On the other Roccat keyboards I’ve used, the different lighting effects can move precisely through each key thanks to per-key lighting, but here they’re limited to changing the five zones, so the overall look isn’t quite as dynamic or detailed. Fortunately, the zones blend seamlessly into each other and the effect is still very impressive, particularly for a keyboard with this low price point.
Typing and gaming are both enjoyable on the Magma. It has the soft, gentle feel that you might expect from a membrane keyboard. However, the raised mechanical-style profile of the full-sized keycaps helps improve the feedback compared to thinner keyboards, and the anti-ghosting tech inside works to make sure that all the keys in the “gaming area” will register no matter how many you press at once.
I haven’t used a membrane keyboard on my main desk for a number of years. The last one I reviewed was Razer’s “mecha-membrane” Ornata, and at the time I found that it did a reasonable job of making membrane keys feel more clicky. The Magma is a much better experience than the Ornata. It doesn’t have a clever design trick or pseudo-clicks in the keys (or the volume knob of the V2 model), but the size, key profile, layout, and typing feel are all solid enough that you will have an enjoyable time using it. And the visual look is so much cooler than Razer’s.
Oh, and it sells for forty dollars less too. Razer is making a lot of money off of those clicky metal bits, aren’t they?
If you’re looking for a gaming keyboard that’s both quieter and more affordable than most mechanical models, but still has a great industrial design, the Roccat Magma is an excellent choice. It has a better build than some of the cheap OEM mechanical boards I’ve tried. While the feel of the keys might not wow you right away if you’re used to mechanical keys, after about a day your brain will adjust and the experience is still good.
This is the nicest membrane keyboard I’ve ever used, and it has a good feel, design, and feature set for the money. In spite of the lower “resolution” of the lighting effects, it’s one of the best-looking keyboards you can buy right now in my opinion. It’s great to see this level of flair lavished on what’s essentially a nice budget keyboard. The Magma is a perfect entry-level keyboard for the Roccat peripheral family, and I can’t wait to see if they include this creamy vibrant top plate in more keyboards in the future.
Originally published at https://www.worldbolding.com on May 20, 2021.