ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe Review

👤by Matthew Hodgson Comments 📅08-05-20
Performance Testing
Getting set up, thanks to the removeable USB Type-C cable and simple ROG Armoury II software, was a doddle. Its a simple 2 minute process to ensure youre on the latest firmware for the keyboard then youre ready to set up your lighting profile and any macros you might want.

First impressions, being one of the first TKL keyboards Ive looked at, are largely good. The build quality is decent, the keyboard feels solid, the wrist rest is soft and comfortable, the braided USB cable is excellent quality, but there are flaws. When youre paying 149.99/$149.99 for a keyboard, you expect it to arrive in perfect condition. We found a dent in the left edge of the keyboard, a few marks on the K key and the illuminated ROG logo in the top-right is damaged. These are all small, superficial marks that wont affect the keyboard in any meaningful way, but Id feel likely to ask for a replacement if Id spent 150.

Using the keyboard for gaming has proven to be very enjoyable, the small size and super comfortable wrist rest genuinely allow you to spread your wings, though the keyboard does more for your mouse than anything else. The additional space, without sitting like a goalkeeper ready to save a penalty with your arms stretched out, gives you ample room to swing your mouse around on a ludicrously low sensitivity. ASUS ROG have given you a larger-than-usual LEFT-CTRL key to help prevent you accidentally pressing other keys, which paired with the Windows Key Lock should sort out that corner of the board entirely.

Comfort, thanks to the new plush, leatherette wrist rest, is greatly improved. Mechanical keyboards, by their very design, are taller than other styles. Resting your wrists flat on the desk and angling your hands upwards just isnt good enough if youre going to spend hours at the computer. Finding a position that is comfortable and, perhaps even more importantly, healthy, is an absolute must. The locating magnets take the guess-work out of lining it up too, which is nice.

The sample weve been provided is equipped with Cherry MX Red switches, these are often considered the vanilla of the mechanical world but are a good starting point if youre new to mechanical keyboards. They require 45g of force to actuate with a linear feel and 2mm actuation point. More and more manufacturers have recently begun to develop their own keyswitches, sometimes in tandem with established companies, but Cherry remain the gold standard; ASUS are obviously privy to this and choose to equip their boards with a wide choice of switches to suit any style or desire. The keyboard can be equipped with Brown, Blue, Speed Silver and Silent Red, check out their website for full details on why you might want to choose each type.

The RGB Lighting, backed by a decent selection of presets within the ROG Armoury II, is beautifully smooth and bright enough for most purposes but the dark backing plate hinders the overall brightness somewhat. ROG have done a good job of producing their keycaps as well, in terms of illuminating all of the visible icons. Their font matches the style well, too. One last thing, and this is something that most keyboards lack, is an inclusion of RGB LEDs within the Caps Lock, Scroll Lock etcetera, it may not sound like much, but the small things add up to a much more premium finish.

The Tenkeyless Compromise - ALT & WIN Key Shortcuts.
Tenkeyless keyboard layouts are rooted in compromise, as evidenced by ROG's dual-use of the Left ALT key as the Macro Record modifier (which we discussed earlier), F5-F11 as media keys, F12 Privacy Key and the first 6 number keys. A more subtle example however is the elimination of the Print Screen, Scroll Lock and Pause keys, rolling them into DEL, END and PGDN's FN-modified functionality respectively. There are consequences to this implementation.

Any Windows Shortcut or Hotkey triggered with ALT in combination with another modified key, for example PRTSCR, will not work on this keyboard. Utilisting the Right ALT key instead makes no difference, that functionality is for all intents and purposes disabled. The same would be true of the WIN key shortcuts, but most have implementations triggered through conventional A-Z keys instead.

ASUS are open about this restriction in the FAQ, where they state that FN+ALT+DEL cannot act like ALT+PRTSCR to take a screenshot limited to the current active window. They suggest using the Windows Snipping tool (WIN+SHFT+S), but that is quite different functionality and the loss of ALT+PRTSCR will be immensely frustrating to those who have built up a muscle-memory for the task.

Users who intend to blend gaming with conventional office work may fall foul of this limitation, particularly if they make use of bespoke Windows and Alt hotkeys that combine with PRTSCR, SCRLK, PAUSE and F5-F12. It will underscore its gaming-focussed ethos, at the expense of a more balanced mix of use cases.

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