A mechanical gaming keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches.
The ASUS STRIX TACTIC PRO is a premium mechanical gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX Brown switches and some serious style.
Keyboards are a very personal thing, and as this is one of the three primary interfaces with the system itself (along with the mouse and display), feel will help decide the experience. Without a doubt mechanical keyboard have become very popular with enthusiasts, but as more manufacturers have started offering them – and the market has begun to saturate – it becomes much more difficult to pick a starting point if you're new to the game. To further complicate a buying decision there are different types of key switches used in these keyboards, and each variety has its own properties and unique feel.
And on the subject of key switches, this particular keyboard built with the brown variety of the Cherry MX switches, and ASUS offers the option of Cherry MX Black, Blue, and Red switches with the STRIX TACTIC PRO as well. Our own Scott Michaud covered the topic of key switches in great detail last year, and that article is a great starting point that helps explain the different types of switches available, and how they differ.
The Cherry MX Brown switch in action
I'll go into the feel of the keyboard on the next page, but quickly I'll say that MX Brown switches have a good feel without being too "clicky", but they are certainly more stiff feeling than a typical membrane keyboard. While it's impossible to really describe how the keyboard will feel to a particular user, we can certainly cover the features and performance of this keyboard to help with a purchasing decision in this crowded market. At $150 the STRIX TACTIC PRO carries a premium price, but as you'll see this is also a premium product.
First, let's check out the specs:
Connector: Single gold-plated USB
Anti-ghosting: True NKRO (6KRO switch included)
Switches: Fully mechanical Cherry MX type
Switch lifecycle: 50-million keystrokes
Backlit: Individually-backlit (orange) keys with 4-level settings
Cable: Braided fiber 1.8m
Key cap material: Tough ABS
Media keys: Volume control, play/pause, previous track and next track
Macro keys: Up to 21 customizable keys (13 dedicated macro keys + 8 switchable macro/function (F1-F8) keys)
– On-the-fly macro recording
– Dual modes: plug-and-play hardware mode and software mode
– Gaming mode (disables Windows® key); Macro mode (reassigns F1-F8 as macro keys)
Our thanks to ASUS for providing the keyboard for this review!
Next we'll take a quick look at the packaging and contents for the STRIX TACTIC PRO.
The keyboard is well protected in the box
Add some very orange color with these replacement key caps
The design of this keyboard is quite different, and I found myself liking it quite a bit right out of the box. There is a sharpness to it that really stands out, and ASUS has put some serious personality of what is usually a very boring part of the PC experience. It screams gaming, and I must comply!
As impossible as it might be to explain how a device feels using text alone, I will give it a shot anyway. The first thing you'll probably notice when taking this out of the box is how sturdy (and hefty) this feels, and there is no creakiness to the plastic even if you try flexing it. The weight allows it to sit firmly down on its rubber feet for a nice, stable foundation. The keycaps are slightly concave and have just a bit more shine to the ABS plastic than the body of the keyboard, which has a matte finish that looks great in person.
Next we'll look at some of the features of the STRIX TACTIC PRO, and I'll go over my experience after using the keyboard for a couple of weeks.