Pretty lights all around
ASUS ROG Strix Flare
We’ve seemingly reached maximum saturation when it comes to RGB lighting in the PC and gaming peripherals market. The ASUS ROG Strix Flare gaming keyboard plays into this RGB craze in a big way, but it’s also surprisingly one of the more tasteful keyboards that ASUS has released.
The entire keyboard is covered in a plain dark gray matte nish, and it’s blissfully clean of the Mayan styling that ASUS is so fond of.
That said, it is still drenched in RGB lighting, but it looks pretty good. I’m particularly fond of the soft underglow on both sides of the keyboard, which lets you extend your lighting effects beyond the keys. It creates a pleasing effect of light seeping out from beneath your keyboard, and it’s a nice touch that adds some extra air to the overall design.
The Strix Flare also supports per-key lighting customizations, so you get super ne-grained control of the color and effect on each key. In addition, the Strix Flare sports a white base plate, which helps diffuse the light more evenly and creates a nice contrast with the black keycaps.
One distinctive feature of the keyboard is the customizable illuminated “badge” that ts into a niche at the top right. The default acrylic badge comes with the ROG logo emblazoned on it, but ASUS also includes a blank piece that you can apply your own design onto.
Design-wise, the badge does help the keyboard stand out from the crowd, and it breaks the monotony of what would otherwise be blank space at the top right of the keyboard.
My review unit comes equipped with Cherry MX Red RGB switches, a light, linear switch that is probably best suited to gaming. This is a very light switch with an actuation force of just 45g, so it’s difficult to avoid bottoming out when typing.
ASUS also designed the keyboard with a focus on ease-of-use, which is why the volume wheel and media keys are located at the top left-hand side of the keyboard. This means you don’t need to take your hand off the mouse to make adjustments, and I found this arrangement to be pretty convenient.
Unfortunately, the predominantly plastic construction doesn’t quite convey the feel of a $299 keyboard, especially when much cheaper models like the $129 Logitech G413 and $199 HyperX Alloy Elite already incorporate some aluminum alloy or steel. The included wrist rest is also rather narrow and feels kind of cheap, a far cry from the padded wrist rest that ships with the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2.
A decent keyboard that unfortunately doesn’t live up to the expectations set by its price.
There’s a USB 2.0 passthrough for connecting your peripherals.