If there is one area where ROG has surprised me in terms of peripherals it’s their very appealing keyboards. ROG otherwise known as Republic Of Gamers is a division of ASUS who bring us some very colourful products, to say the least. Since the older ROG Claymore caught my eye on release I’ve been keeping tabs on what may be the next keyboard and here it is, the ROG Strix Flare from ASUS. Unlike the Claymore, this keyboard feels more professional but is still packed with similar impressive features.
The Flare is visually pleasing on the eye with a relatively simplistic 2-tone plastic being used, a quarter of which is made to look like brushed aluminium. They let the RGB shine through quite literally as each key is backlit along with some lighting on the sides and illuminating the see-through Perspex slide at the top. The RGB switches are enhanced with this white base covering the bottom which is a nice touch. The keyboard comes with a choice of Cherry MX switches but the one I’m using features Cherry Red switches. The keyboard features onboard memory, a USB passthrough, and some robust media keys but this luxury keyboard comes with quite a high price tag so let’s have a look.
- Design – very attractive looking keyboard.
- Removable Wrist Rest – increased comfort.
- Great Features – customisable RGB and dedicated media keys.
- Choice of Switches – customise with the range of Cherry MX switches.
- Durable – sturdy keyboard with little give.
- Intuitive Software – user-friendly and easy to use.
- Material – plastic all over.
- Price – expensive price point.
Keyboard Size & Weight
- Weight: 1,256g with cable
- Size: 100%
- Length: 45.4cm – 17.8 inches
- Width: 15.5cm – 6.1 inches
- Height: 3.1cm – 1.2 inches
- Switches: Cherry MX RGB Red / Brown / Blue / Black
- OS Support: Windows 7, Windows 10
- Media keys: Yes
- RGB: Yes
- Passthrough: Yes
- Connection: Wired
- Cable length: 2m
- Cable: Braided
Table of Contents
What’s in the box
As you can imagine the box is filled with brightly coloured neon lights dashing from the product to simulate the intense RGB featured in the keyboard. The packaging is stylish and far from boring as you would expect from ROG and has the product on the front. To the back, we have an annotated keyboard image with all the features laid out and where to find them. The keyboard came in an extra fabric/polyester sleeve to protect the product further.
Inside we have:
- ROG Strix Flare keyboard
- User Guide/ Stickers
- Detachable wrist rest
Keyboard Design Section
Size & Weight
Now the Strix Flare length is 45.4 cm and is a 100% (full) keyboard. It’s your standard size and has a nice chunky feel whilst also being fairly low profile with a height of 3.1 cm. I quite like the height, it feels like a substantial sturdy keyboard without taking over the desk. The keys sit in the body and with a width of 15.5 cm, there is some extra room for the excellent media keys featured at the top. With a weight of 1,256 grams, the keyboard does have a bit of heft to it. It’s not so heavy you would struggle to transport it, in fact, it’s probably slightly below average in terms of weight for a full keyboard but seeing as its main material is plastic that’s no surprise. There is an internal steel plate which gives it this weight and plants it on the desk but we won’t be moving it around too often so the weight doesn’t matter too much.
The keycaps are made from an ABS plastic and have been laser engraved for the backlighting to shine through the key vibrantly. It’s a common material and process to use with RGB mechanical keyboards and unfortunately will still wear over time. The laser etching looks great when the board is lit up and the black coating contrasts well with the lighting and white base. The keycaps are floating off the base which makes the board easier to clean but I would have liked to see the case being a lower profile to show off the fact they are floating but it’s still a nice feature.
The Strix Flare we have here features the Cherry MX RGB Red switches but is also available with the Brown, Black and Blue switches. The Cherry MX Red’s have a low actuation of 45g and have no tactile response to tell you when a key press is made. This speed of pressing is usually best suited for gamers as they look for greater response times from their peripherals. The Red switches can be easy to accidentally press from time to time but it’s not something I noticed in-game too much it was more with typing at the office or when on the internet I’d see some typos. As a gamer, the Red MX switches are my first choice and always will be but have a look at our switch guide here to see what switches you may prefer.
Design, Case/Internals, Shape & Texture
The design is simplistic but great, it’s a full keyboard but doesn’t feature an extra 10 or so keys along the sides and everything sits in its natural place as a no-nonsense high-end board. As mentioned its made from plastic all over but does feature an angular quarter, designed to look more like brushed aluminium. This is a nice touch but for the price, I was expecting some real brushed aluminium such as what you find with the Corsair K70 keyboards.
Anyway, complaints aside it’s a lovely looking keyboard and once it’s plugged in and flashing away you don’t really want to turn it off. It’s more or less a perfect rectangle and the bezels (edges) are quite thin providing a nice border to your lit up keys. There is a bit of extra room at the top of the board as Asus has added a variety of media keys. The media keys have been placed on the left-hand side which is great for right-handed gamers. This is a superb idea as your left hand will travel less to press the media keys and you won’t have to take your right hand off the mouse again. The media keys themselves are brilliant and on the furthest left, there is a volume scroll bar. These scroll bars have never really been something that interests me if I’m honest but after getting to use to a keyboard with one for the last few months I can’t ever go back to a board without as it’s just so convenient. The volume bar is clickable and this function allows you to instantly mute volume, again a great feature. To the right of the bar, we have the media keys and the most interesting button here is the windows key lock function button. I can’t remember the last time I used the windows key, it’s pointless but at least with this keyboard, I can lock it stopping any accidental tab outs that can come with these switches. The other keys are your simple play/pause and fast forward/rewind buttons and then another button to change the RGB brightness which has 4 levels.
The branding is all over the board but in a dignified way, the side that faces you has ‘Strix’ engraved into it. There is also a unique design feature to this board located in the top right corner which is a piece of personalised perspex you slide in and out of the board but as default comes with the ROG logo. There is a large ROG logo on the underside of the board but you won’t ever see that and most importantly the entire keycap set is in the Republic Of Gamers font which is an excellent touch.
Underneath the board is 3 large rubber grips to keep the board planted along with the steel plate inside. To the top as you would expect there are 2 folding stands that feel very sturdy and have the same rubber material on the bottom again providing grip. There is a groove running through the keyboard which seems to be cut out for another peripheral cable depending on how you are set up.
The cable is very thick and it has a nice tight braid to it giving it extra durability and to be honest, braiding is nicer to look at. It’s around 2 metres long and features dual USB connectors but the board has a USB pass-through so it’s not going to take up extra room.
Features & Performance
When you plug in the ROG Strix Flare for the first time you are met with an array of colours sweeping over the board. RGB backlighting is expected of a keyboard in this price category and this cycle does a good job of demonstrating the potential of the RGB feature. You can adjust the brightness in 4 different stages or have it turned off completely if you are a bit strange. The RGB lighting also lights up the perspex slide that sits in the top right corner, you can make your own personalised slide with the extra blank bit of plastic they provide in the box if you really wanted to. This personalised feature is cool but it comes at an extra bit of effort and I would have liked to have seen some stickers that came with the keyboard that I could customise this slide with rather than having to draw on it or print off templates from the Asus website. Both the left and right sides of the keyboard have some fantastic RGB strips illuminating the desk to match the colour/effect on the keys.
You don’t need to download the software to make use of the boards RGB functions as it comes with some preprogrammed light effects which you can control via the Fn key + left and right arrows which are labelled ‘mode’. It’s worth noting you get more customisation with the software and more colours but we will go into this a bit later.
The keyboard comes with a detachable wrist rest and is made of the same 2 tone plastic we see on the case of the board. The wrist rest is soft to touch but that’s down to it being a smooth plastic, It would of have been nice with maybe some padding for the price but its still comfy to use. As I mentioned the rest is detachable and it slots in place very easily. It’s a passive rest and will fall off if you move or lift the board but when playing it never loosened or let me down once so it works well.
A simple but great feature on a lot of modern keyboards is a USB passthrough. The passthrough on the Flare keyboard is located next to the cable and is pretty convenient. There are a few gamers like my self that have a peripheral which needs to be plugged in/unplugged regularly so it’s quite handy to have a port I can use without moving my system around. This passthrough could be great if you have a wireless mouse and want the receiver on your desk without using the USB extender wireless mice come with.
The board comes with some default profiles saved on to the onboard memory. These profiles like the colour effects are accessible by the user without installing software meaning you can start to personalise different keyboard profiles for different games or tasks. In much the same way as the colour changing before you start by holding down the Fn key and simply then press numbers between 1-5 on the number strip to select which profile you would like. The board offers on the fly Macros but you can also record them via the board too which is a great feature. To record a macro you simply press the Fn key in and then hit the right Alt key to start and repeat the process to stop recording.
Overall the keyboard was flawless, never let me down and great in-game. It’s a highly responsive keyboard with the Red switches implemented and with the addition of the media keys over near my ‘wasd’ hand for easier access it was a joy to use. Using the Red switches did mean I had the odd accidental tab out but when I finally realised there was a lock windows button this became one of my favourite boards (I’m easily pleased).
- Sound Test – test the noise when typing
- Compare the keyboard to similar competitors or to its own brands previous model
The Flare can be used without software but if you want to really get into the customisation and power of the board then you will need to download the ROG armoury software. The software is worth getting though as you delve deeply into the RGB by setting different lighting to each individual key if you wanted. Using Aura Sync you can synchronise your ROG peripherals to your ROG PC components which is a really cool feature and wait till you see a full system in RGB unison, it’s beautiful.
I enjoy ROG products, what can I say I’m a sucker for flashing lights but the ROG Strix Flare is more than that. Firstly with the RGB, the board looks excellent but the functionality was superb and the media buttons being moved over to the left made so much sense. The media buttons themselves don’t seem like some unwanted afterthought that will break down in a year but rather solid, sturdy, fit for purpose buttons. The volume scroll bar is possibly my favourite feature and I’m aware they are on most boards now but this is the first board where I have used that featured and I won’t be going back to the caveman ways of button pressing. This board is around £150 but that puts it in a similar price category to the main keyboard manufacturers and this isn’t something I’m used to from ROG as they like to charge a premium. Here you are getting a premium board packed with features and when your office/bedroom lights are out this thing illuminates the desk like nothing else. It’s worth noting there was no tool to remove keys or any extra keys with the Flare keyboard but the fact you can personalise it with RGB, the perspex slide and switches makes this keyboard a big contender that I would happily use daily.