(Pocket-lint) – If you’re looking for a premium keyboard and have limited desk space, the Asus ROG Strix Scope RX TKL Wireless Deluxe is a compelling option.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of a compact tenkeyless keyboard, but, by ditching unnecessary keys in favour of a more focused design, these smaller options provide much more space for peripherals like gaming mice.
And, at least on paper, this is a keyboard with some interesting highlights, including optical key switches and a layout aimed squarely at gamers.
What’s it like to actually use, though? And is it worth the money? We’ve been testing it for a couple of weeks to find out.
The Asus ROG Strix Scope RX TKL Wireless Deluxe is a great keyboard for a number of different reasons.
Its key switches are wonderfully stabilised, as are their keycaps, meaning it doesn’t wobble or make horrid noises while you game.
It’s also intelligently designed with gamers in mind and has a wonderful build quality. All in all, there’s a lot to like here.
Asus ROG Strix Scope RX TKL Wireless Deluxe
- Superbly comfortable typing experience
- Optical switches mean fast and accurate actuation
- Intelligent design
- Compact frame
- Solid build quality
- Excellent for productivity and gaming
- RGB is lacking due to the PBT keycaps
- Etching isn’t great
- Doesn’t have a standard bottom row so no custom keycaps
- No volume wheel
Wireless freedom and gamer-pleasing specs
- Tri-mode connection – 2.4 GHz RF wireless, Bluetooth (with multi-pairing possible) and USB-C wired
- ROG RX optical-mechanical switches (red or blue) – 1.5mm actuation, 40gf force, 4mm total travel
- ROG PBT double-shot keycaps
- Durable aluminium alloy body
- 100% Anti-Ghosting
- On-the-fly macros and profile switching
As you might have gathered from the name, this variant of the Strix Scope TKL is a deluxe affair with a premium finish. As such, it has several features that you’d expect, including a brushed aluminium alloy body, durable PBT double-shot keycaps and more.
It also boasts a choice of connection options with 2.4 GHz RF wireless, Bluetooth and USB-C connections available. You can get as much as 76 hours of battery life out of the keyboard in its wireless mode. But you can also pair it with multiple Bluetooth devices, too.
This Strix Scope TKL also has several hidden highlights that aren’t immediately obvious. The most pleasing of which is the ROG RX optical-mechanical switches. Like other optical switches, these rely on a beam of light to actuate, and are therefore more accurate and durable than traditional switches.
We tested the red versions of these switches – ones that actuate with around 45g of force at 1.5mm. In other words, quickly, and with a reasonably light touch – ideal for gaming. You’ll soon feel a difference between these keys and other key switches, though. These RX switches are very different to the Cherry MX switches you find on most other gaming keyboards.
Comfortable typing experience
- Detachable magnetic padded wrist rest
- Wobble free RX key switch design
- Re-programmable keys
- Convenient media keys
- Stealth button
The ROG RX optical-mechanical switches are built with an x-stabiliser that internally supports the four corners of the switch with every press. You can see it through the clear housing of each switch to get an idea of how it works, but there’s further support in the switch housing, too.
Unlike traditional Cherry MX style switches, which use a cross-like central core to attach the keycap, these switches use four pins. Along with the internal stabilisers, then, this means the keycaps are supported to minimise wobble. Larger keys have the usual stabilisers, as well, meaning even more stabilisation.
The keys on this keyboard are pleasant to type on, in our view – they’re wobble-free and comfortable. There’s also very little of the ping, rattle or other horrid noise that you commonly find on lesser keyboards. It’s not silent, but it’s much more pleasant than many other gaming keyboards we’ve tested.
The Strix Scope TKL also comes with a magnetic padded wrist rest. This is plush and wonderfully padded, making for some extra comfortable typing.
Another thing we like about this keyboard is the thought that’s gone into the layout and customisation options.
Customisable keys and profiles
Tenkeyless keyboards generally have to sacrifice some keys in the name of size reduction. The Strix Scope TKL does it in an interesting way, though, and it’s something we thoroughly enjoyed. There are media playback buttons on this keyboard and as default – and they sit across the top function row – but you don’t need to press an extra button to access them.
Press F5, for example, and you can play and pause music. F7 and F8, meanwhile, will rewind and skip. If you want to use the standard F keys, you can press the Fn Lock button to switch modes. This is much better than the usual double key-press logic we’ve seen on other keyboards. On the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro, say, you have to press Fn and the F11 key to pause or play. Two keypresses versus one on the Strix Scope RX TKL.
Small conveniences like that appear in other parts of the keyboard, too. With a couple of keypresses, you can record macros on-the-fly. Dive into the software and you can create different profiles for different uses, then switch between them (up to five) with a couple of keystrokes.
The keys can also be re-programmed within the software, as well. You can change both the lighting and the keyboard actions on a key-by-key basis, so it’s highly programmable.
Premium quality comes at a price. This keyboard packs PBT double-shot keycaps, which means they’re durable and should hold up nicely over time.
The downside here, though, like other keyboards with the same design, is that the RGB lighting has trouble shining through. The lettering looks dark in places and results in a dull look which cheapens the overall feel.
Some of the secondary lettering (for the extra key actions) actually stands out more than the basic key letters, as a result. Also, if the RGB is off, it’s really hard to make the key lettering out. Which is good or bad, depending on your personal view. It essentially means the keyboard is quite stealthy looking in certain lighting situations, but that’s not always what you want.
The RGB lighting isn’t as fancy as other keyboards we’ve seen, either, though there are some nice effects that you can customise within Armoury Crate.
The Asus ROG Strix Scope RX TKL Wireless Deluxe is a premium keyboard with some interesting highlights including optical key switches and an FPS layout. It’s comfortable to both type and game on and has a lot of hidden features we really enjoyed.
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Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Conor Allison.