A clever keyboard to unite the PC and the mobile device
- Manufacturer: Roccat
- Requirements: Windows 7+, two spare USB ports, iOS or Android compatible
Roccat’s impressive range of peripherals has expanded recently with the arrival of the Skeltr, a keyboard that was originally announced a couple of years ago. It is designed to unite the mobile and PC platforms, with a set of features you won’t find from any other manufacturer.
At first glance, it’s a large (520 x 250 x 30mm – including detachable wrist rest) membrane keyboard with five programmable macro keys to the far left of the keyboard and a further three programmable profile keys located under the space bar. It is RGB backlit, allowing a combination of 16.8 million colors in a variety of effects and setups. It has a 1000Hz polling rate, 512KB of memory and a 32-bit ARM CPU helping to drive its many functions and features.
The key feature of the Skeltr, though, is that it’s designed for use with both PCs and mobile devices, allowing an easy switching between the two and accommodating any phone or tablet with a deep groove that runs almost the entire length of the keyboard in which it can sit.
How it works is quite simple, really. The Skeltr is USB powered, using up a couple of USB ports on the PC, with an audio passthrough microphone and speaker cable at the end of a 1,8m braided cable. The USB connectivity enables both the keyboard itself for use on the PC as well as a built-in Bluetooth 3.0 and for providing power to a USB port at the rear of the keyboard.
While you’re working on your PC you can have your mobile device sat in the keyboard’s groove, powered via the USB port to the rear – and, should you receive a message or need to type on your device, you simply press and hold a key in the top right of the Skeltr to activate the Bluetooth element and swap functionality to the device. When you’re done, you press the key again to change back to PC mode.
The Skeltr is a good keyboard with an interesting set of features
In practice, it works well, but only after you’ve paired the keyboard with your device. At first, we encountered a few issues with the switchover; either the PC failed to release the keyboard or the device failed to enable it. However, after a few attempts the two platforms started talking to the keyboard and it worked as well as Roccat envisaged.
Realistically, we don’t often have the need to change from PC to device, since all our emails, messaging and so on are conducted within individual browser tabs or a third-party program on the PC. Our phones are simply there to handle calls, which the Skeltr can intercept through another set of keys and send to a headset connected to the mic and speaker ports at the rear of the keyboard.
There’s potential here for the Skeltr to be the keyboard of choice for a hot-desk setup, where tablets are used instead of PCs and power comes from a powered USB hub. It’s an interesting idea, but not one that’s utilised much at present.
The Roccat Skeltr is a good keyboard with an interesting set of features. How useful it’ll be is difficult to predict, but there are no-doubt users who will be drawn to its unique pairing of PC and mobile provision. At around £150, though, it’s expensive -even for those who do need to use a keyboard for both platforms, mm David Hayward
Interesting, but a bit expensive and perhaps unecessary