Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
The ROCCAT Magma employs a very simple and clean layout with RGB LED backlighting, media buttons, and a detachable wrist rest. The layout is also island-styled, meaning the backplate is exposed with the switches sitting on top. As a result, the backplate is easier to clean since it is fully exposed. The ROCCAT logo is printed just above the arrow keys with the product name below in smaller font. The plastic backplate looks and feels decent, although it looks a lot better with the RGB lighting illuminating it. This matte plastic may not have the same make quality as aluminum, but it still hides fingerprints well. The sides and the bottom are made from a quality textured plastic.
The detachable wrist rest does its job fine, albeit nothing special. My average-sized hands were able to sit comfortably on the wrist rest when using this keyboard for various typing purposes. The wrist rest is designed to connect to the keyboard by physically interlocking them together. It will fall off the keyboard when lifted. However, it does not move when the keyboard is planted on a surface, which is likely the case every time you use it. A magnetic attachment would have been better for keeping the wrist rest connected in my opinion for ease of use. The wrist rest does pick up dust pretty easily, which could be annoying depending on how clean you want your wrist rest to be. The design is very plain, with the ROCCAT logo on the bottom right being the only noteworthy feature. I do also wish the surface of the wrist rest was made out of a softer material such as foam, but this is an economy keyboard.
The ROCCAT Magma measures in at 3.90cm height, 45.20cm width, and 15.70cm depth; very similar to the ROCCAT Pyro. The wrist rest adds 6.5cm of depth to the keyboard. These measurements make for a standard medium-profile QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard weighs about 870g according to ROCCAT’s website, which is a little more than average for a plastic backplate membrane switch keyboard.
The ROCCAT Magma came to us with a typical QWERTY ANSI layout with 104 keys. As such, the keyboard is packed with the full numeric keypad on the right side with all of the indicator lights. These indicators glow white when the function is activated, which includes Caps Lock, Number Lock, Scroll Lock, and Windows Lock; the last denoted as “Game Mode” here. The bottom row is spaced out in a standard fashion with the Windows, Fn, Ctrl, Alt, and Menu keys all being equal in size. Every key on this keyboard is backlit as we will see very soon.
All of the secondary keys are located towards the right side of the Magma. These secondary functions are activated by holding down the Fn key while pressing your desired secondary key. F5 and F6 act as volume decrease and volume increase respectively while F8 is used as a mute button. The scroll key at the top activates the Game Mode function, which disables the Windows button. Finally, the up and down keys adjust the RGB lighting brightness. Key functionality can be further customized in the ROCCAT Swarm software, which we will explore later in this review.
The ROCCAT Magma uses acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic keycaps. Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) keycaps are better because the material is harder and retains its color better, but again, this is a budget product. The keycaps on the Magma feel smooth and are nice on the fingers when pressing down on them. The lettering of each key is printed with a laser etching process, which removes the black cover to reveal the translucent plastic. The font choice looks good and is legible thanks to the size.
There are three types of keyboards in the market today. Membrane or dome keyboards are the cheapest and easiest to manufacture but generally have poor typing feel and response due to squishy keys. Next is the scissor-switch keyboard, which can be thought of as an enhanced rubber dome with two extra interlocking plastic pieces connected to the key and the keyboard. This creates a better tactile response and typing experience in comparison to the aforementioned membrane. Mechanical keyboards cost the most because each key switch is an independent part.
The ROCCAT Magma features rubber dome switches. They are quiet and have a tactile bump right at the very start. They feel decent for what they are, although it is important to keep in mind this is not a mechanical keyboard. Because the base is made out of plastic, there is quite a bit of keyboard flex, although this is to be expected given its price.
The ROCCAT Magma is a 26-KRO keyboard, where 26-KRO stands for 26-key rollover. Keyboards with limited NKRO capabilities are much more susceptible to ghosting issues. When too many keys are pressed at once, your system will be unable to register any more strokes. While the ROCCAT Magma is not an NKRO keyboard, up to 26 inputs are detectable by the hardware regardless of how many other keys are activated at the same time. 26 keys are more than enough anyway, since you only have 10 fingers, haha.
The back of the ROCCAT Magma has the USB cable leading out. This cable comes out from the center and is not detachable. The ROCCAT Magma uses a USB Type-A connection. The cable extends around 1.8m in length, which I would say is more than enough length to route around tough spots on your desk. The USB connector is not gold-plated, which is perfectly fine as the color of the ground shield will not add any performance to the keyboard. In the photo, the ROCCAT logo is visible on the USB connector with a keyboard icon on the flip side.
The bottom of the keyboard itself contains a total of six rubber strips with three on each side. These are there to help keep the ROCCAT Magma in place when in the middle of an intense game or essay, depending on what time in your life you decide to purchase this keyboard. Two flip-out feet are also located on the back to prop up the ROCCAT Magma. The feet contain rubber on the tip and body, ensuring the keyboard will stay in place whether the feet are propped up or not. The 870g weight is also heavy enough to keep the keyboard from moving when in use. The wrist rest uses the exact same rubber strips on its bottom as well to further help keep the keyboard in place during operation. With the addition of the wrist rest, there are a total of twelve rubber strips on the bottom side.
After finishing my visual inspection, I propped the ROCCAT Magma on my desk and have been using it for about two weeks now. In games, I generally found the dome switches provided decent feedback. The keys made very little noise, regardless of what application I was using the Magma for. Dome switches are not as precise as mechanical or optical switches, but if you are not that hardcore and want to save some money, it is a fair compromise. When typing up this review and other documents, the keys felt comfortable to use and offered a good amount of resistance to prevent accidental actuation. I did not encounter any issues like debouncing or chattering while testing the Magma.
The backlighting on the ROCCAT Magma is the star of the show. The entire top plate is illuminated with the AIMO RGB lighting, which looks great. The AIMO RGB LED lighting also shines through the keycaps, illuminating the printed font on each key. The font is very easy to read, regardless of what brightness you have set, if any at all. As mentioned earlier, the brightness is adjustable by pressing Fn in combination with the up or down arrow key, where the up key increases the brightness and the down key decreases the brightness. There are four brightness levels on the ROCCAT Magma along with the option to deactivate the lighting completely. The RGB lighting effects look great and all the different colors add a unique look to each key. These effects can be customized in the ROCCAT Swarm software, which will be discussed right below. With all that said, it is important to note the keys are not individually lit. The plastic backplate serves as one large RGB lighting diffuser with a total of five lighting zones. At a retail price of only $60, the cost cuts are clear with this design. Nonetheless, the RGB lighting is aesthetically pleasing to look at.
The ROCCAT Swarm software is commonly used for the company's peripherals. The ROCCAT Magma works along with the latest version of ROCCAT Swarm, which is a 160MB download from ROCCAT's website at press time. This program unifies all your ROCCAT peripherals into one application. After installing the corresponding hardware module, you will be prompted to update the keyboard firmware. Updating the firmware was a quick and painless process.
After selecting the ROCCAT Magma at the top for configuration, you can see there are four tabs for changing options on the Magma. The first one is marked by a thumbtack and is used for users to pin the configuration options they choose on the next three tabs to save their favorite options to a single page. The first tab is marked General Features. One section allows users to add Sound Feedback to your keyboard on each key press. Another section lets you change the key press repetition options, including the repeat delay, repeat rate, and cursor blink rate. Users also have the option to fully reset the settings on their keyboard here. The second tab is marked Key Assignment, where users can change the functionality of each key, including the assignment of macros. You can also change the function of keys in Game Mode, as mentioned previously. Finally, the last tab is marked Key Illumination. As you might guess, this tab lets you change the effects of the backlight. This lets you choose typical static, breathing, and reactive modes. They also have their AIMO lighting for a fluid reactive and learning lighting that is said to learn your application usage and react accordingly. I kept the Magma on AIMO lighting most of the time and I thoroughly enjoyed the reactive nature of this setting, especially with the fully lit backplate. Finally, you can also use the fully custom mode to change the LEDs on a per-key basis.
There are two more tabs underneath for managing profiles and macros. A total of five profiles can be created and saved for the ROCCAT Magma. Macros here include actions for a library of games such as League of Legends, CS:GO, and DOTA 2. You can also record your own macros here. Overall, I found ROCCAT Swarm to be mostly straightforward and easy to use. Unfortunately, it seems like the software has stayed the same since forever, which makes it feel outdated compared to Corsair iCUE and Razer Synapse.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software