ASUS is excited to reveal the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Strix CTRL and TUF Gaming K7 gaming keyboards. The ASUS TUF Gaming K7 optical keyboard is no slouch either with faster actuation, near-instantaneous switch response time, and durability that exceeds anything mechanical switches can offer. In addition, ASUS is also introducing the ROG Gaming Keycap set (pictured below), which will allows users to personalize and add some more bling to their rigs.
ROG Strix CTRL – Take CTRL
On most keyboards, Ctrl is barely bigger than a regular alpha key, and it can be tough to hit accurately with a pinky finger. But in a lot of games, it’s the default for important actions like walking and crouching. In games, a misclick can be lethal. ROG created the Xccurate design on the Strix CTRL by enlarging the Ctrl key, making it as wide as the left Shift key, and adding two side-stabilizers to improve accuracy. To accommodate the extra size, the right Windows key was nixed. Most gamers disable that key anyway to avoid accidentally triggering the Start menu in the heat of action. The left Windows key was also shortened to make it less of a target.
A Gaming Mode in the Armoury II software can be used to lock out the remaining Windows key altogether, along with other undesirable combinations like Alt + Tab and Alt + F4. Armoury II also allows the remapping of keys on the ROG Strix CTRL, so the easier-to-reach Ctrl key can be set to other convenient options.
Another menu in Armoury II provides an interface for recording, adjusting, and saving macros. While the Alt key labeled “Macro” allows one to be created on-the-fly. There’s enough memory built-in to the ROG Strix CTRL for one default profile and five custom configurations. Just press Fn + 1-6 to switch between them.
No gaming keyboard is complete without eye-catching lighting. The ROG Strix CTRL features per-key RGB LEDs, plus an illuminated ROG logo. Aura Sync compatibility means the ROG Strix CTRL can match with other Aura-enabled components. Alternatively, the keyboard’s six available profiles can correspond to different applications, providing custom layouts and lighting effects depending on the game being played.
The keycaps are designed to take full advantage of the RGB backlighting, with secondary legends that are carefully placed to be just as brightly lit as the primary functions. . Legends on the front of the caps indicate that the media controls are active by default, rather than the usual F functions to provide eight dedicated media keys. The Fn Lock key is a one-click quick-toggle switch so that the media keys can be changed to F-keys and vice versa to best suit the situation.
The F12 key has its own unique purpose. It’s a Stealth key that hides all running apps and mutes audio, giving privacy when the phone rings or someone walks in uninvited.
Built for Action
The Strix CTRL’s sturdy chassis has a classy yet distinctly gamer-oriented brushed metal finish across the right side, and the all-black look is punctuated by four silver caps for the WASD keys. Those caps come bundled with the ROG Strix CTRL.
A built-in channel for cable management gives flexibility in how to lay out gaming gear on the desktop. The wire routing recess runs both right and left, giving two options other than straight out the back.
The ROG Strix CTRL is configurable with Cherry MX RGB Red, Brown, Blue, Black, Speed Silver and Silent Red switches.
Game Long and Prosper
Gamers love the freedom of choice. Whether it’s picking the perfect switch for your game style, setting up the right combination of RGB lighting effects, or building macros that guarantee impeccable timing, the ROG Strix CTRL covers all bases. And it’s a pleasure to use during long gaming sessions. The wider Ctrl key puts a greater number of actions in easy reach and built-in cable management ensures a stable surface, no matter how you organize your desk.
ASUS TUF Gaming K7 – Blink and you’ll miss it
The TUF Gaming K7 keyboard offers a unique combination of lightness and speed thanks to its TUF Optical-Mech Switches, plus toughness and durability with metal construction and IP56-related protective measures. TUF Optical-Mech switches use the speed of light and gamer-friendly construction to deliver speedy response. Optical-Mech switches are like standard mechanical switches in terms of their internal moving parts. The difference is in how they tell the PC that a key has been pressed. A standard mechanical keyboard switch has two metal pieces that touch to send the signal. In comparison, our TUF Optical-Mech switches employ a beam of infrared light inside the switch housing. When you press a key, the switch shaft interrupts the light beam, triggering actuation. Metal contact points require a built-in debounce delay of about 5ms to keep one keypress from registering as several. But the optical design has no such limitations and actuates way faster, at 0.2ms.
There are two versions of the TUF Optical-Mech switch. One is linear, and the other is clicky and tactile, meaning there’s an audible click and a physical bump in the key travel that can be felt. The click and bump of the TUF Optical-Mech switch is placed right at the actuation point, so when it’s heard and felt, that’s the moment the signal is sent to the PC.
The actuation point of both TUF Optical-Mech switches is 1.5 mm, which is much shallower than the approximately 2-mm actuation of most mechanical switches. This higher actuation point will make you feel like you’re sweeping through games at warp speed.
A Real Looker
The ASUS TUF Gaming K7’s floating keycap design on top of a matte aircraft-grade aluminum top plate just begs to be touched. It has a frameless design with no bulky bezel, yielding a trim, deadly look. The TUF Gaming logo in the upper-right corner is made of iron, and the keyboard includes a black leatherette wrist rest with memory foam. It attaches to the keyboard via magnets, making it easy to snap on or pull off, and features a TUF aesthetic to match.
The per-key RGB lighting can be controlled with the Armoury II software. Moreover, Aura Sync compatibility allows the TUF Gaming K7 to participate in the ROG gaming lightshow. There are lots of effects to try out, plus more than 16 million colors to cycle through. The software makes it possible to create, edit, and assign macros to customize gameplay input.
The metal top plate isn’t just for looks. It provides serious structural integrity and a firmness that can be felt while typing. Not only was this keyboard built to survive the rigors of hardcore gaming, but also moisture, crumbs, and dust. It’s IP56-rated to be water and dust resistant, so even a spilled soda won’t ruin the ASUS TUF Gaming K7’s responsiveness.
The PCB inside is also protected with a special nano-coating and added protection to combat oxidation on the keyboard’s metal parts. The optical switches themselves are inherently resistant to damage from moisture because, unlike regular mechanical switches, they have no metal parts inside.
Even the feet under our TUF Gaming K7 were redesigned to ensure their durability. Tougher rear anchor points on the hinges were designed to last. And that’s good news since TUF Optical-Mech Switches are rated for 100 million clicks. They won’t wear out any time soon.
ROG Gaming Keycap Set
The Republic of Gamers is all about daring to be different, and it’s this spirit that drives the design of all our products. Whether it’s the unique cooling mechanism that opens up the back of the Zephryus S gaming ultrabook, or the detachable display in the brand new ROG Mothership desktop replacement laptop, ASUS is always pushing the boundaries in favor of functionally superior design. Still, improvement doesn’t always mean going back to the drawing board to look for big breakthroughs, because it’s often the smallest changes that make the biggest difference.
For CES 2019, ASUS is introducing an ROG Gaming Keycap Set that allows you to add some custom flair to your favorite mechanical keyboard while also fine-tuning the feel of the most used gaming keys. The set includes seven keycaps for covering the crucial controls for MOBA and FPS games, and we’ve also given the all-important Esc key a makeover.
The seven alpha caps are designed for the QWERASD keys and the Escape key. When in place, they map out the ROG logo in a mosaic of black and red. It’s a great visual, but not the primary differentiating feature. In addition to their artistic style, each alpha key is textured with a coarse grain finish that sets it apart from the rest of keyboard. This textured surface adds additional grip for improved control. It makes it easy to find the keys by feel alone, and reduces slippage when the heat is on and palms start to sweat. The caps are fashioned from plastic to avoid changing the weight of the keys, which might throw some off their game and impact performance.
The cherry on top is the shiny Esc key. It’s Republic of Gamers red with the ROG logo in relief. The diamond-cut ROG logo stands out in shiny silver and makes Esc impossible to miss when going to launch the game menu. Since weight is less of a factor for single function keys that you don’t press very often, ROG went for a more luxurious high-density aluminum alloy that’s cool to the touch. The metal housing sits on top of a plastic shell to prevent damage to the switch underneath. The ROG Gaming Keycap Set is made for gamers looking to tailor the feel of their keyboard for the best performance while also flying the flag for ROG.