ASUS is among the few companies that offer a full range of gaming products, from systems, laptops or components to monitors, mouses, keyboards, and headphones, all hosted under the ROG brand. While headphone and muse offerings have grown significantly over the past few years, in terms of mechanical clutter, ASUS has lagged behind, with a large hole on the mid-range and high-end segment. ROG Strix Flare thus aims to provide an attractive feature for gamers, adding some "special" capabilities, especially dedicated to RGB LED fans. For testing I had the Cherry MX Brown switch model, probably the most versatile on the market
Construction, design and accessories
The new ROG Strix Flare is at first sight a "normal" keyboard with a US "standard" layout, the keys being of normal size. The transition from a keyboard with the same format to Strix Flare is thus very natural, each button being placed exactly where we would have expected.
Despite the fact that we are dealing with a lightweight keyboard, made largely of plastic, Strix Flare does not offer the feeling of an "inexpensive" product. The top of the plastic is matte gray, very pleasant to touch and will not attract unwanted prints or dust. The fact that plastic is not glossy also has the advantage of better scratch resistance over time. On the right, above the numeric keys, ASUS decorated the keyboard with a skewed texture that goes up over the directional arrows, texture that extends over the rest of the palm included in the package.
The latter is made of the same solid plastic, and attaching and detaching it is very simple. We have a system based on two plastic grooves that fit perfectly into the dedicated holes on the cover on the back of the keyboard. As long as the keyboard is not raised from the table, the palm rest remains fixed and can be moved at the same time. To detach, just lift the keyboard a few millimeters. The palm rest of the rest is very well chosen and the slightly curved surface ensures increased comfort in long use sessions.
But the keyboard is slightly higher than we expected, the legs being quite tall, even in the standard, folded position. When lifted, the position of the wrists in use is not ideal, but there are users who might prefer the slightly sloping keys. Also on the back cover there is a small channel that can accommodate a cable, a useful addition for those who want to be disturbed by the mouse cable or the smartphone, for example
We appreciated the integration of some multimedia buttons on ROG Strix Flare, something we see more and more often on mid-range and high-end gaming keyboards. In the case of this keypad, they are positioned in the upper left corner where we have left-to-right the following: a volume wheel that unfortunately offers a very "plastic" feedback (but does its job), the " mode, which stops the shortcuts in Windows, a button that controls the key illumination when the ROG Armoury software and the standard multimedia control buttons: Play / Pause, Stop, Rewind, and Fast Forward are not installed
At the top, next to the textile-protected cable, there is also a USB pass-through port, which requires the connection of the second cable socket. It can be used to charge a smartphone, connect accessories and storage units. According to the ASUS website, the USB 2.0 pass-through plug is free of fast charging
In the RGB enlightenment chapter, ASUS chose to go a step further and integrated the lights not only under the keys, but also on the side of the keyboard and at the top, where there is a customizable logo. On the side, the RGB LEDs take on the color of the buttons on the edge, offering a similar effect to the "Ambilight" on Philips TVs, while the logo takes the color of the buttons on the top row of the numerals.
A layer of white plastic, which reflects the light, provided a neon effect around the buttons. This may be a bit too much for those who prefer only the illumination of the characters on the keyboard, but of course the light can be turned off completely. However, if you buy such a keyboard and turn it off, you probably should be turning to a RGB-free model, since the inclusion of the lighting system is also evident in the final cost of the keyboard. An advantage for those who are sensitive to reflections on the screen is that the keyboard is "closed", the plastic around the keys being slightly raised, preventing the light from escaping through the sides. The downside is the fact that tangles or dust can be tightened under the keys, cleaning is difficult. The lights on the sides are pretty subtle even in the dark and knock down to the table where they should not be reflected. They remind us of the neon-tuned cars that we saw in the early 2000s in movies such as Fast & Furious or racing games such as Need for Speed Underground.
I was talking about a customizable logo previously, the keyboard being equipped with a transparent plastic piece on which the ROG logo is displayed. It can be removed and replaced with anything else of the same shape (eg a 3D printed plastic piece). ASUS includes a "blank", completely transparent plastic and a selection of white sandwiches with various ROG inscriptions and logos, but any customized logo can be applied here as long as it is white. Also, engraving this plastic could provide a similar effect. It is an interesting addition that probably only those who are very preoccupied with the personalization or those who participate in eSports contests with other team members will use it