ASUS ROG Strix Scope
There’s been a recent trend in the keyboard space where compact and small-form factors have slowly become the new standard. Whether this portability is due mainly to the rise of competitive gaming and esports it’s hard to say. Either way it’s a move that we see the value in. Where outside of the minimal approach, which looks great on a busy desk, it often forces hardware makers to put more thought into design and functionality. Where less room to play with design-wise, this can result in minor innovations.
The new ASUS ROG Strix Scope falls into this category in a form factor that is virtually all-key, all-day. With both a brushed and matte metallic finish, the stylish Republic of Gamers look is still here among the reliable Cherry MX switches and per-key ASUS Aura per-key RGB lighting. Plus, a couple of cool features.
Look and Feel
The aluminium top plate and the weighty 1070 grams of the ROG Strix Scope are the two things you immediately notice when unpacking the keyboard. Plugged in and the ASUS ROG font on the keys and impressive RGB lighting make up numbers three and four. The overall look and feel are of the premium standard we’ve come to expect from the ROG line and when combined with the floating key design and the small form-factor it’s a great looking keyboard no doubt. That said it’s a design that can be seen across several brands at the moment, so you’d need to be right up close and personal in order to pick it out from a keyboard line-up. If such a thing were to exist.
"The overall look and feel are of the premium standard we’ve come to expect from the ROG line and when combined with the floating key design and the small form-factor it’s a great looking keyboard."
Those familiar with Cherry MX switches will feel right at home with the ROG Strix Scope too, with the more tactile Cherry MX Red switches provided in our review sample. These are the less clicky variant available and as per the branding - durability and responsiveness is there at hour one and again at hour 35. There's a reason why people gravitate towards Cherry MX - they often hit the sweet spot between being great for both gaming and everyday use.
Design-wise ASUS has made a few great little choices, including increasing the size of the left Control key as a nod to its gaming focus. Also, there’s a Stealth key that “instantly hides all apps and mutes all audio, assuring privacy the moment you need it.” Okay, so maybe that’s more weird than great - but it works exactly as intended and features an icon of a hooded figure. Very cool.
Switch Type: Cherry MX
LED Color: RGB
Cable: Wired (USB)
Dimensions: 440 x 137 x 39 mm
Product Weight: 1070 grams
Features: On-the-Fly Macro Recording, On-Board Memory, 100% Anti-Ghosting and N-Key Rollover
With limited space ASUS has managed to squeeze in dedicated media controls between F5 and F12 with the ability to switch their function and RGB display easily. Now, it’s not the most ideal way to deal with audio controls, but as most small form-factor keyboard designs tend to forego audio controls entirely it’s a workaround that, well, works. Feature-wise there’s the usual 100% Anti-Ghosting and N-Key Rollover expected in a premium gaming keyboard, alongside macro recording and on-board memory.
"There’s a Stealth key that 'instantly hides all apps and mutes all audio, assuring privacy the moment you need it.'"
You can also switch between the impressive ASUS Aura Sync RGB settings and patterns via key presses so it’s great that most of the functionality is here without the need to fire up the ASUS Armoury II software. Even though the latest version the ASUS software is its best yet.
In our tests with the ASUS ROG Strix Scope it was hard to find any real fault with the build or reliability outside of the space-bar which felt a tad loose for our taste. The Cherry MX switches are tried and true for a reason and the aluminium finish and RGB lighting make this both a looker and a great compact option for gaming. If anything, the higher price point is a minor issue as competing brands offer similar designs for less. Also, the lack of a snap-on or snap-off wrist rest (as seen with the ASUS TUF Gaming K7
) feels like an oversight in that regard too.
If you’re in the market for a compact keyboard, then the ROG Strix Scope is something to consider. Even though the larger Control key may sound like a small thing overall, we noticed the difference almost immediately when playing fast-paced titles like id Software and Avalanche Studios’ Rage 2.