A distinctive feature and hallmark of the ASUS ROG Strix Scope family of keyboards is the extended left Ctrl key, which is often used by FPS players. In addition, these products are simply and solidly made mechanics. Not so long ago, we reviewed Strix Scope PBT with keycaps made of more reliable and pleasant to the touch plastic. And in this article we will talk about a fresh addition to the line – a shortened Strix Scope TKL Deluxe keyboard. In addition to the fact that it has become smaller, the long-awaited palm rest appeared in the kit (probably, this is what the word Deluxe in the title indicates).
|Model||ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||84|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||50|
|Switch type||Cherry MX Red (optional – Brown / Blue / Speed Silver / Silent Red)|
|Changing the angle of the body||+|
|Built-in memory, KB||+ (six profiles)|
|Ability to record macros||+|
|Backlight||+ (RGB, 16.8M colors)|
|USB cable length, m||1,8|
|Braid material||Nylon braid|
|Material||Plastic / Aluminum|
|Software||+ (ROG Armoury II)|
|Removable palm rest||+|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||356 x 136 (+75 stand) x 40|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 10|
|Peculiarities||Extended left Ctrl key, detachable magnetic palm rest, detachable USB Type-C cable|
|Average cost, UAH||4949|
Contents of delivery
The packaging of the keyboard consists of an outer cover and an inner black box. As always, here you can find images of the product and a short description of its main advantages.
Inside, the keyboard is protected from damage by cardboard dampers and closed with a cloth bag.
In the package, in addition to the keyboard itself, there is an instruction manual, a removable USB cable, a metal sticker with the ROG logo, a brochure with information about the warranty and a padded palm rest.
There is nothing too catchy or defiant in the appearance of the keyboard, the design has remained within the bounds of decency. The main element of the exterior and design as a whole is the top panel made of durable aluminum alloy with gunmetal coloring and polishing. Given the shortened TKL format of the keyboard, it has become very rigid in bending and no longer lends itself to any transverse loads. The keys are fixed in a plate in the spirit of the “skeleton”, which means that it will be easier to keep the device clean. Of the innovations, a soft palm rest was added.
The stand is magnetic, 75 mm wide and with three points of attraction at the back. It is made up of a leather cushion with soft filler on top and a plastic base on the bottom. A set of three main and four additional rubber feet is responsible for immobility. The average lift height at the rear ranges from 20 to 25 mm depending on the load.
The layout of the printed block of keys is made according to the American ANSI standard reduced to 84 buttons, the F1 button is located above the number 2. The symbols are applied by laser engraving. The Latin alphabet is located at the top center of the caps, while the Cyrillic alphabet is made thinner and shifted down to the right. The keyboard contains symbols of the Ukrainian alphabet. On some keys, special commands are placed on the front face. All single keycaps have the familiar shape with a cylindrical recess. As before, the left Ctrl has been increased to the size of a Shift to make it easier for players to hit it. But this was done by reducing the size of the space and shifting the Win and Alt buttons to the right.
There is no block of numeric keys. PrtSc, ScrLk and Pause disappeared from the editor buttons, giving way to the illuminated ROG logo. The functions of these keys are now executed through a combination of Fn with Del, End and Page Down. Above the arrow keys are dot indicators with the symbols “A”, “S”, “F” and Win-Lock. The first two diodes stand for Caps-Lock and Scroll Lock. The “F” diode is lit if the function keys perform their standard function, and does not light if they are configured to activate alternative commands. This is switched by the Fn + Ins combination, and the second function of any function button can always be activated by holding it together with Fn. The last icon indicates the game mode and the Win-Lock function (locking the Start button).
The mechanical switches in this keyboard are Cherry MX Red RGB, in a transparent case, with a red pin and an LED soldered directly on the PCB. Key specs are standard—linear travel, 45 grams of actuation force, 2mm actuation point, and 4mm full travel to stop. Alternatively, this keyboard comes with a wide range of mechanisms to suit every taste – Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Speed Silver and Silent Red. For some reason, the long key stabilizers are made with external wire rods, although they were hidden in the previous two models. Now it is not as convenient to remove the keycaps as before, especially since the key for this was not included in the kit. The caps themselves are made of ABS plastic, painted on the outside.
The lower part of the sidewalls has an inward bevel, which makes it easier to lift and rearrange the device if necessary. Folding legs change the slope of the case and the height of its rear from 40 mm to 48 mm.
The signal cord enters the keyboard housing through a triangular recess in the center back. Since the connector on it is of type “C”, you can easily connect it by touch, without looking, because the side of the rotation of the contacts does not matter. The keyboard has no additional external ports.
Removable wire in a nylon braid turned out to be quite flexible. Its total length is 1.8 meters. There is no ferrite ring on the cord, but there is a reusable Velcro tape to adjust the length of the cable.
The back side of the keyboard is designed in the form of diagonal stripes of matte and glossy plastic, and on the left is another ROG logo. A sticker with serial and product number is glued diagonally near the connector. Rubber feet made five pieces – in the corners and in the center of the case. The outer edge of each leg is polished to a high gloss, and the inner edge is made of ordinary matte rubber. If you keep it and the table cover reasonably clean, the grip is excellent and the keyboard adheres firmly to the table. On the front side of the keyboard there is a window made of white translucent plastic through which the backlight from the keys is visible. More precisely, it would be visible if this part was not covered by a palm rest.
The rubber bands on the two folding legs are also glossy. The legs are laid out in one level.
The keyboard has full RGB backlighting of all keys and the logo in the upper right corner. Signal LEDs have a soft backlight, which is clearly visible regardless of ambient lighting. Naturally, the illumination of the front face is not visible in any way. But she is also there.
ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe has built-in memory for six profiles (of which five are customizable) and allows you to record macros and many other operations without using a driver. All combinations of additional commands are activated using the Fn button. Below is a list of features that we were able to replicate.
|Fn+Esc||Reset keyboard to default settings (hold for 5-6 seconds)|
|Fn+F5 / F5||Start/Pause|
|Fn+F6 / F6||Stop|
|Fn+F7 / F7||Rewind|
|Fn+F8 / F8||Flash forward|
|Fn+F9 / F9||Mute/Unmute Sound|
|Fn+F10 / F10||Turn down the volume|
|Fn+F11 / F11||Turn up the volume|
|Fn+F12 / F12||Minimize all windows and turn off sound|
|Fn+1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6||Switch to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 profile or default profile|
|Fn+Ins||Switching the operating mode of the function keys between standard commands and multimedia. Alternate command mode can always be executed with a combination with the Fn button|
|Fn+Del||The PrtSc team|
|Fn+Page Down||Pause command|
|Fn+Win||Enable or disable game mode. The Win key is disabled by default. The corresponding indicator lights up.|
|Fn+Left Alt||Macro recording. Recording order: 1) press Fn+left Alt to start recording (left Alt LED will blink white); 2) dial a combination of keys; 3) press Fn+left Alt again to end the recording (left Alt LED will start blinking white quickly); 4) press the key to which the macro command should be written. To reset the command from the key, you need to repeat all the steps except the second. To cancel the recording, you can press Fn + Esc once. Buttons free for macros glow green, and buttons reserved for commands glow red|
|Fn+←||Previous backlight mode|
|Fn+→||Next backlight mode|
ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe uses the ROG Armory II universal driver (the current version at the time of writing this review is 3.00.39), which needs to be downloaded from the official website and installed. After installation, the program will be permanently active, unless otherwise specified in its settings. Automatic and forced check for updates is available. The current keyboard firmware version is 1.00.05. There are 12 interface languages to choose from.
On the basic Keyboard / Settings tab, you can remap all keys except Fn. All settings are saved in one of the five on-board profiles, the sixth (which is the default) is unchangeable. The launch of profiles can be tied to the launch of a specific application. You can disable Alt+Tab and Alt+F4 shortcuts for Game Mode. You can assign default commands, keyboard commands, left or right mouse clicks, a macro, launch a program or website, multimedia commands, some Windows functions, or disable the button entirely.
The Keyboard/Lighting tab provides a full range of backlight control functions. It can set not only any color or brightness, but also fine-tune all special effects. In addition, effects can even be assigned individually to each key.
In the macro editor, you can create an unlimited number of macros, assign them names, delete, modify, import and export. Keyboard commands and basic mouse functions (not counting scrolling) are available for recording. Delays can be recorded as is, with a fixed time, or without a delay. Playback can be scheduled once, for a certain period of time, or until the command key is released.
The Sync tab allows you to synchronize the backlight on different devices from ASUS.
The last tab is the statistics module. When recording is enabled, it records the number of times each key is pressed, creating a visual heat map that lets the user know which buttons are used the most.
Ergonomics and testing
Two key points that determine the ergonomics of the ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe keyboard are its shortened size and the presence of a soft palm rest. From the older brothers in the line, this product has retained the almost absolute rigidity of the case with a metal plate, and the high-quality character of the Cherry MX linear switches. Due to the smaller width and the absence of a number pad, the user does not have to spread his hands too far between the keyboard and mouse. And this has a positive effect on reducing the degree of fatigue from an uncomfortable posture. The soft magnetic stand, in turn, allows you to keep your palms as even as possible, compensating for the height of the keys. Actually, it was not enough for complete happiness in previous modifications of the Strix Scope series devices. Otherwise, the main points remained unchanged – “sticky” legs, an enlarged Ctrl key, and the like. True, they decided to abandon the cable laying system, considering it unnecessary with such a length of the case. And you will also have to choose between the stand and the illumination of the front bottom edge, which the stand completely covers by itself.
The standard key layout does not cause problems with touch typing, but it will take some time to get used to the increased left Ctrl button, due to which the space has decreased and the Win and Alt buttons have moved to the right. At first, Win will be constantly pressed instead of Alt, so it’s better to just block it so that there are no accidental exits from the game. The negative point is the replacement of wire stabilizers of long keys from internal to external. If we add to this the absence of a key for dismantling the button caps in the kit, then we can come to the conclusion that it will become somewhat more difficult to clean the keyboard from dirt.
As before, users still have the ability to record macros on the fly without a driver and save them to separate profiles. It is also interesting to switch the mode of the F5–F12 keys. If they are not in demand, then when switching to the multimedia buttons mode, sound and player control is always at hand, without pressing Fn or extra switches on the case. The F12 privacy button, which minimizes all windows and turns off the sound, has not gone anywhere either.
The ROG Armory II software has been buffed in this revision and no longer exhibits the issues we experienced with previous driver versions. I hope it stays that way in the future.
ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe supports full-fledged NKRO anti-ghosting, which allows you to activate at least all the buttons at the same time.
The appearance of a shortened version of TKL Deluxe in the ASUS ROG Strix Scope line was quite predictable. It is this type of keyboard that FPS players prefer for their compactness and portability, especially those who have to visit various competitions by the nature of their work. It’s true that they rarely use a detachable stand, but this is already a nice nod to more casual gamers.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe is a good mechanical keyboard that’s hard to find fault with. Sturdy case, Cherry MX switches in assortment, NKRO support, tenacious legs, detachable cable, built-in memory for six profiles, the ability to record macro commands without using a driver, backlight, palm rest, enlarged left Ctrl and privacy key – this is almost a complete list of its advantages . Of the shortcomings, only external wire stabilizers of long keys, the absence of a key for dismantling the keys and, in my opinion, the illumination of the leading edge can be noted.
For my part, I express the hope that ASUS will not stop there and will release, for example, a more hardcore version of the Strix Scope TKL PBT with reinforced plastic keycaps. You can even without lighting and palm rests. But so far it has worked out well.