ASUS TUF Gaming K5
Okay, so if you looked at the quick breakdown above you might have noticed the use of the made-up term ‘Mech-Brane’ – which is a style of switch that attempts to mimic the tactile feedback of mechanical keyboards but under the guise of a membrane build. A literal switcheroo. Also, a move that in most cases is done by hardware makers to save on cost and offer a cheaper alternative. Mechanical switches aren’t cheap to manufacture.
So yeah, the ASUS TUF Gaming K5 is a membrane keyboard. But like with the ASUS TUF Gaming M5 mouse and ASUS TUF Gaming H5 headset, a more affordable ASUS peripheral. And one that doesn’t look like anything from the ASUS ROG range. A keyboard with a look and feel specific to the TUF branding, the ASUS TUF Gaming K5 promises a solid and durable build to match performance. That said, all you probably want to know is what the ‘Mech-Brane’ switches feel like. The answer to that is good but not great. Not quite as clicky or tactile as a keyboard sporting Cherry MX-style mechanical switches, but responsive for the most part and with noticeable actuation.
Look and Feel
Foregoing the use of mechanical switches, the ASUS TUF Gaming K5, doesn’t skimp when it comes to its physical features and layout. With an adjustable height, built in wrist-rest (that’s unfortunately the same material as the rest of the keyboard), dedicated media buttons, RGB and Aura-sync support, on-board memory for macro recording, and even a spill resistant finish – there’s a lot to cover. Add in anti-ghosting with 24-key rollover and it’s clear that performance whilst gaming was the main consideration that went into the design.
It’s all in line with the TUF brand of course, and thanks to the almost exact 1kg weight – feels as sturdy as it looks. Even for an all-plastic keyboard. The chrome finish and overall design sit well within the range of ASUS TUF Gaming peripherals, in the sense that it encourages you to stick with the one style across your entire setup.
- Switch Type: ‘Mech-Brane’
- LED Color: RGB
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
- Cable: Wired, USB 2.0
- Dimensions: L 460 x W 218 x H 40 mm
- Product Weight: 1050 g
Without mechanical switches it’s hard not to view the ASUS TUF Gaming K5 as somewhat incomplete, a fact that is visually reinforced by the RGB lighting being limited to five zones as opposed to per-key. Good but not great means that it’s hard to get excited about the ASUS TUF Gaming K5, and in emulating the responsiveness of a mechanical keyboard - unfortunately you do notice the difference during play. Not in terms of failure rate, but a feel that doesn’t match the performance. Press any key slowly and you’ll feel a less-than smooth bump. That said for those that prefer a membrane keyboard for typing then using the ASUS TUF Gaming K5 for the dual purpose of that and to play games – the results are perfectly fine. The polling rate and anti-ghosting features all add up to decent performance.
Fully compatible with the ASUS Armoury II software package, customisation options are clean and intuitive across the board. In the sheer number of different software packages out there, the recent efforts from ASUS stand out when it comes to ease of use and the resources they use. Or don’t use. Tested across a wide range of games, mostly shooters to get a good feel for the tactile response required to play the faster more competitive titles out there (Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch and others) the results, again, were mostly fine. Good but not great. Due to the implementation of membrane switches masquerading as mechanical in feel. Which in a way sums up the ASUS TUF Gaming K5 – a decent impersonation of a more premium keyboard.