A Unique Blend of Lighting and Customization
A mechanical keyboard with unique lighting and customization
The ROG Strix Flair is a mechanical gaming keyboard from the ASUS Republic of Gamers division that offers Cherry MX RGB switches, customizable lighting with underglow effects, a unique pop-out badge that can be swapped for a custom logo or text, dedicated media keys, USB passthrough, and programmable macro support. All of these features carry a premium price tag, and with a list price of $179.99 (though our Cherry MX Red version has been selling for quite a bit less) it sits in the upper range for gaming keyboards. Is it worth it? That is always the question, and we will try to answer it here.
“Flare up your game with ROG Strix Flare – a mechanical gaming keyboard that's got everything you want and more. Feel the satisfaction of every keystroke with world-renowned Cherry MX switches. Enjoy instant access to dedicated media keys on the upper left while gaming. And experience an unparalleled level of personalization with a customizable badge illuminated by Aura Sync RGB lighting. Boast your gaming flair as you dominate the battlefield.”
Features from ASUS ROG:
- German-made Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches that deliver satisfying mechanical feel with optimal actuation – The choice of professional gamers and enthusiasts
- Customizable illuminated badge – Boast your ROG pride or show your flair with a personal or team insignia
- Dedicated media keys and volume wheel positioned on the left for instant in-game audio control, a USB passthrough for easy connection and a detachable soft-touch wrist rest
- Individually backlit keys and vibrant underglow powered by Aura Sync RGB lighting technology
- Map macros on-the-fly to our fully programmable keys, adjust settings with enhanced ROG Armoury II software, and store profiles on the keyboard’s onboard memory
The clear insert with the ROG badge can be swapped for additonal customization
- Color: Steel Grey
- Connectivity: Wired
- Key Switches: Choise of Cherry MX RGB Red, Brown, Blue, Black, Speed Silver, or Silent Red
- Onboard Memory: 6 profiles (1 default + 5 custom)
- 100% Anti-Ghosting and N-Key Rollover
- USB Passthrough Port
- Dimensions: 454 x 155 x 31 mm
- Weight: 1256 g with cable
- OS Support: Windows 10, Windows 7
- 1x Flare Keyboard
- 2x ROG Logo Stickers
- 1x Blank Customizable Badge
- 1x Wrist Rest
- Quick Start Guide
Pricing and Availability:
- ASUS ROG Strix Flare, Cherry MX RGB Red (as reviewed): $138.21, Amazon
Unboxing and First Impressions
The Strix Flare is packaged nicely, and the keyboard within is protected by a soft fabric-like bag. The offering includes the keyboard itself, a detachable wrist rest, and a blank badge for customization.
The keyboard has a dark gray finish and is constructed of plastic on the upper and lower halves.
The base of the keyboard offers large pads on the corners to keep it stable on your computing surface, and there is a pair of flip-out feet to angle the keyboard if desired.
Dedicated media keys are on the top left corner, a departure from so many designs that place these on the top right.
These include a large volume roller and playback controls, and a lighting illumination control and Windows key lock are also located here.
With a variety of Cherry MX key switches available with the Strix Flair, the version you select will determine the experience. Our sample is equipped with Cherry MX RGB Red switches, and these provide the expected crisp and linear action Reds are known for.
Cherry offers this breakdown of the MX Red’s technical specifications:
- Linear switching characteristics
- 45 cN operating force
- 2.0 mm pre travel
- 4.0 mm total travel
- No audible click
The other aspect of keyboard feel is, naturally, the key caps themselves. These are slightly concave, and this – along with just enough texture to the finish – is (in my experience) preferable to flat key caps and helps with overall typing accuracy. The construction of these key caps is a little dissapointing, and they appear to be made of single-shot plastic, with a dark, slightly textured finish presumably laser-etched to permit the backlighting to shine through.
The overall effect is a rather light feel with diffuse backlighting – though the softer key lighting goes well with the underglow effect from the downfiring side-mounted RGB lights on each end of the base.
RGB Lighting and Armoury Software
Controllable via the ROG Armoury software, the lighting effects can be selected from a list of preset patterns and tweaked to your preferences, with five customizable profiles available.
I have not seen side lighting on a keyboard before, and the downward angle produces the ambient glow on your desk or table that certainly adds to the lighting experience.
In addition to lighting various customization options are available using the Armoury II software, including the ability to re-map any key as you see fit.
The ASUS Strix Flare is an interesting product, combining a range of Cherry MX RGB key switch options and unique lighting and customization features that help it stand out. In making a final assessment we have to balance our perception of quality with pricing, and here the list price of $179.99 feels a little high due to the plastic construction – which is sturdy but a little underwhelming – and fairly thin key caps. Street prices have been lower, at least for our Cherry MX Red version, and the current Amazon price of around $139 for this model makes a big difference in perceived value. I did find the overall experience using the Strix Flare to be a solid one, and it has a unique look with the angled cutout for the logo panel on the upper right and the underglow lighting on either side, both of which add to the complexity of the design and help explain the more premium pricing.
In short, the ASUS ROG Strix Flare is a unique option on the mechanical keyboard market that offers flexibility in key switch selection, sturdy construction, and a unique blend of customizable lighting and logo. Features such as the media controls and USB pass-through make this easy to live with, and the anti-ghosting and full n-key rollover bases are covered as well. The key caps are the only real negative here, as these are pretty thin and feel less premium than the rest of the keyboard. Still, this is really only an issue due to the price, and if you shop around this might be a little more to your liking depending on key switch preference.