The Arvo is a compact gaming keyboard so has a non-conventional layout. It is quite similar to that of the SteelSeries Merc Stealth we reviewed recently; the number pad, arrow keys and function buttons are combined into one area. The implementation of this is notably better here than on the Merc; there is a dedicated ‘Mode’ button in the top right hand corner of the keyboard that switches between numpad and gaming modes. The arrow keys are illuminated in gaming mode which enables the user to distinguish between the two.
Even though ROCCAT have opted for traditional-style keys for the main body, the keys on the top row are unusually shaped, this adds a little flare to the design. They have also included three gaming shortcut keys below the space bar that can be configured to any function or macro using the bundled software.
Another unique function of these three keys is the ROCCAT Timer which counts down, ideal for timing respawn items in games. The ROCCAT Timer can be executed, paused or stopped to within a fraction of a second.
Build quality is good; the construction is generally solid throughout and the materials used are of decent quality. ROCCAT have integrated a metal plate into the construction of the keyboard to improve strength and durability. It seems to do its job quite effectively; there is no flex at all in the keys unless you apply a vast amount of pressure.
During the testing process, we noticed that the keyboard wasn’t lying flat on the desk – this caused the keyboard to rattle significantly during typing. After a few minutes of investigation, we concluded that the unit itself was warped slightly. It would seem that if the Arvo is subjected to any twisting or bending, the board doesn’t return to its original shape. Thankfully twisting back in the opposite direction rectifies the problem which we assume is restricted to our review sample.
The Arvo doesn’t have a USB hub or any audio connectors like many other gaming keyboards so it only needs a single USB 2.0 connector to function. In a similar fashion to the rest of their range, ROCCAT have used plastic cable shielding rather than braiding.
When typing the keys are very responsive but travel is a little shallow and the action is quite spongy. It is also worth noting that this is one of the noisiest keyboard that has ever passed through our labs.
On the whole, the gaming experience provided by Arvo is good. The three macro keys are perfectly located for easy access and are easy to distinguish between thanks to their different shapes. Performance is affected to a degree by the shallow action of the keys but this will depend, to an extent, on personal preference.