ASUS continues to expand is gaming line under the ROG brand across multiple market segments such as Monitors, Laptops, PC Components, and Peripherals. ASUS has designated different types of gaming lines to capture different market segments with ROG being the flagship line of the brand followed by ROG Strix, then TUF Gaming. Asus’ latest keyboard to come out of the factory is the Scope under the ROG Strix brand. The ROG Strix Scope Mechanical Keyboard aims to rival $150 mechanical gaming keyboards from competing brands such as HyperX’s Alloy FPS RGB, Razer’s Blackwidow Chroma and Corsair’s Strafe and K70. Let’s take a closer look at the ROG Strix Scope to see if it’s a worthy option in the market.
Unboxing and First Impressions
In typical Asus fashion, the background of the Strix Scope immediately hells that the mechanical keyboard is under the ROG Strix product line. The back shows a feature highlight of the ROG Strix Scope.
Unlike the previous ROG Claymore and ROG Strix Flare mechanical keyboards, the Scope doesn’t come with any type of sleeve or pouch. There’s an included manual, stickers and metal finished WASD keycaps.
Unlike previous ROG Claymore and ROG Strix Flare Mechanical keyboard iterations, the ROG Strix Scope is the cleanest of them all. It sports a compact form factor with no noticeable extra bells and whistle such as macro buttons, volume wheel, and dedicated media buttons. It has no flashy circuit or alien-ish design found on the last 2 flagship keyboards from ROG. Its design takes the concept of the current ROG Strix Laptops which features a slash that has different textures on each side. The back of the keyboard still has a design in typical ROG fashion. Cable routing groves are present for cleaner desk setup. There are 2 flip stands with rubber feet on top of the 3 bottom rubber feet to make the ROG Strix Scope stable and resistant to sliding.
The flip-stands elevate the ROG Strix Scope at a reasonable height. It’s high enough to be ergonomic thanks to both the flip stands and the OEM profile keycaps.
Speaking of keycaps, the keycaps used on the Scope are ABS double shot keycaps. While ABS is the most common type found on a mainstream mechanical keyboard, it’s nice to see Asus going the extra mile with double injection for long term durability.
A closer inspection on the keycaps shows that the secondary functions of the keycaps are side printed. This contributes to the overall clean look of the ROG Strix Scope Mechanical keyboard. F8-F12 buttons’ main functions are media controls by default. FN + arrow keys handle lighting controls. Moreover, the control key is larger by 2x the usual 1u size. According to Asus, the larger control key helps eliminate accidental Windows key keystrokes.
Armory Crate is the centralized software for ASUS ROG peripherals. It handles everything from macro, key mapping, and RGB lighting controls as well as Aura Sync. If you’ve used an ROG keyboard before, then everything should be the same except for the addition/omission of some features specific to an ROG Keyboard.
The first tab handles key mapping and lighting customization with support for saving up to 5 profiles. The macro tab allows you to record keystrokes with the ability to edit the delay between each keystroke as well as the option to import or export macros. The Sync tab handles AuraSync for supported peripherals. Syncing with non-peripheral AURASync supported units require the standalone Aura software. The Stats tab shows how many times you’ve pressed a certain key. The heatmap stat tracking won’t record your number of keystrokes unless the Armory Crate is open or running in the background.
Overall, the Armory Crate II is easy to use with no confusing nor counter-intuitive settings placement. As mentioned in our previous ROG Strix Flare Review, our nitpick separate software for individual lighting and RGB Aura-Sync is still present as it beats the ease of use and trumps the convenience it brings to the consumers when it comes to lighting.
USER EXPERIENCE AND CONCLUSION
Performance. Contrary to what we’ve seen with the previous ROG mechanical keyboards, ASUS decided to go for a minimalistic approach but without sacrificing as many features found on the Scope’s predecessors. Its closest competitor under the same umbrella is the ROG Strix Flare mechanical keyboard. Although the Flare is larger, more stylish and has a volume wheel. The ROG Strix Scope edges it out by having more gamer-centric features such as the polling rate feature.
Build Quality. Just like the ROG Claymore, the construction of the ROG Strix Scope is made with an Aluminum Top Plate with little to no sign of flex. The Doubleshot ABS keycaps are also a value add for long term durability. The CherryMX switches top it off in making the ROG Strix Scope as an overall well-built keyboard.
Functionality. ASUS’ move to repurpose the F8-F12 keys as media keys saves the Scope from eating up more space for dedicated media controls. Since most games, except for MMORPGs, do not have bindings with F8-F12, it’s more convenient for a gamer to have these as media keys instead. If you happen to don’t like the function switch you can easily reassign the keys using FN + Ins or through the Armory Crate software. The 2.25u sized CTRL key is a double-edged sword for the ROG Strix Scope because its precision function is dragged by the ROG Strix Scope having custom keycap compatibility issues.
Bundle. ASUS managed to bundle as many features without making the keyboard too large. A feature that most people overlook with ROG Strix peripherals is the Aura Sync RGB lighting. The ROG Strix Scope is the cheapest ROG branded mechanical keyboard that supports the said feature without being left out on the more striking features such as macros, media controls and etc.
Value. The ROG Strix Scope is Priced at Php 7,890 which is around Php 1,520 less than the ROG Strix Flare which has dedicated media control buttons and a flashier design and is also Php 1,630 less than the more gimmicky ROG Claymore. The Scope sits one step down compared to its bigger brothers in terms of pricing but it still offers all the necessary features for an ROG Strix branded peripheral without the compromise of functionality.
Instead of the usual over the top approach that ASUS ROG is well known for, Asus’ style with the ROG Strix Scope is to take the common formula on mainstream $150(Php 7,500) mechanical gaming keyboards and improve it with its signature ROG branding. Its physical appearance doesn’t initially strike the keyboard as gamer-y or too outlandish but rather a subtle professional look with the ROG DNA embedded in the keyboard’s Aesthetic. Feature-wise, ASUS tweaked the standard 104-layout that would appeal to a gamer. Specifically the F8-F11 keys and the 2.25u left-CTRL key in terms of functionality. The bigger CTRL key might be your saving grace for intense clutch moments, especially in 1v5 situations or in button-mashing, multi-keystroke games. The bigger footprint helps in avoiding windows button misclicks especially if you have small fingers. Then there’s also the easy switch with FN + Insert and a Stealth key for the purpose of privacy. The competitive pricing of the Strix Scope challenges the current market offerings when it comes to ease of use, aesthetics, and functionality.
ASUS backs this up with a 1-year product replacement warranty. We give the ASUS ROG Strix Scope our Silver Award!