Pretty lights all around

ASUS ROG Strix Flare

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - By Koh Wanzi

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.

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