[Review] Pretty in Pink: The ROG Strix Scope TKL Electro Punk Gaming Keyboard
This is the first of three reviews covering all the peripherals in the Electro Punk series.
You can read Part 2: The ROG Strix Go 2.4 Electro Punk headset here.
ROG Strix Scope TKL Electro Punk
Like pink, punk, or neon aesthetics? Then the ROG Electro Punk series is destined for your desktop. Announced earlier this year, the Electro Punk peripheral collection comprises re-skinned versions of ROG's Scope TKL keyboard, Strix Go 2.4 headset, Strix Impact II mouse, and Sheath mouse pad.
Since the Electro Punk Scope TKL keyboard is merely a re-skinned version of the original, the quality and features are going to be exactly the same, with the differences being purely aesthetic. With that in mind, let's begin!
The entire Electro Punk series has a neon pink and black colourway, which looks extremely good in my opinion. Instead of the pastel pink used in their limited edition PNK series, this time ROG has selected a more striking shade - hex code #F7266B to be precise - that is markedly less feminine, so even those with the most fragile masculinity won't feel threatened by the keyboard's abundance of pink.
The colourway is extremely well executed on the Scope TKL, with a smattering of pink amidst the majority of black keycaps. When you plug it in, the default lighting is pink with a nice underglow at the front of the keyboard, but this can be switched directly from the keyboard to your usual RGB colour scheme.
There are number of onboard RGB effects as well, so if you're the type who hates installing unnecessary software, this is a huge plus. On the other hand, for those who like all their gear to pulsate in sync, the Scope TKL is Aura Sync compatible so you can match it with the rest of your peripherals.
In terms of build, the plastic chassis is extremely solid with absolutely no flex thanks to its aluminium top plate lending some reinforcement. There's a nice brushed texture going diagonally across the frame, lending an industrial touch to the whole design.
The font on the keys are standard ROG fare - sharp and edgy, but perfectly acceptable. I find the size of the numbers are a little questionable though...they're so big. The keycaps are ABS, which aren't as sturdy as PBT, and will start to shine over time. I find this slightly disappointing at this price point, and due to the fact that the Scope TKL has a non-standard bottom row, it will prove difficult to swap out the keycaps if you want to do so.
This is due to the extended Ctrl key which ROG has included to make it "easier to feel and find in the FPS frenzy." While I appreciate the thought, I personally have never "lost" the Ctrl key even during the most frenetic moments in a game - so thanks ROG, but I'd rather have my standard bottom row back.
Another thing I find questionable is the USB-C cable. YES, I love that it is detachable, but why is it so hard to put in? Is this how virgins feel on their first night? Am I just incompetent? Judging by some other reviews, the problem is probably not on my end, because the USB-C port isn't located on the surface - rather, it's recessed into a little indent, which would also probably make using third party USB-C cables much more difficult.
Apart from the few gripes mentioned above, user experience was mostly unproblematic. The switches are Cherry MX Red, which I find perfect for spamming spells in game. If you prefer tactile or clicky switches though, you're shit outta luck as the Electro Punk version only comes in Red switches; you'll have to opt for the boring black version if you want other switches.
I found that the keys are decently stabilised, with minimal shake even on the longer keys. They'll still wobble if you try to wiggle them, but otherwise you won't feel anything amiss while typing.
The tenkeyless form factor allows more space for low sensitivity mouse users to swing their weapon, so if you're prone to flailing around in a panic, a keyboard this size would suit you.
If you're prone to panicking cause your mum or boss walked in on you doing something you shouldn't be doing on your PC, you'll be glad to know that the Scope TKL features a Stealth Mode shortcut on the F12 key. Hitting it instantly mutes all audio and minimises all windows on your desktop. The icon looks a bit like Shroud's logo (hopefully your reflexes are just as quick when you find yourself in need of this key!)
I tested it out and while it works most of the time, it did get confused once in a while - while my YouTube window was minimised and my Dota 2 in focus, hitting the Stealth key minimised and muted Dota but started playing my YouTube music instead. However, it should be noted that this was a one-off occurrence and I was unable to replicate the bug thereafter.
While the keyboard is too small to house dedicated media keys without compromising its form factor, it does have media controls incorporated into the function keys. The Quick Toggle feature allows you to swap between using your function keys as well, function keys, and using them as media controls. I also like how the media key icons are printed on the top, relegating F5-F12 to the side of the keycap instead.
Buy or no buy?
At RM609, you're definitely paying a huge premium because ROG, and well, pink. Although special editions almost always cost extra, I still find hard to justify the price tag of the Electro Punk Scope TKL.
Sure, it's a decent keyboard with your usual Cherry MX fare and beautiful lighting, but it isn't without its shortcomings. The finicky fit of the USB-C cable along with the non-standard bottom row and ABS keycaps are definitely issues to consider before purchasing this.
However, if you're planning to use the Scope TKL as is without modding the cable and swapping out the keycaps, it is definitely a beautiful device with solid construction and a decent typing experience.
For more information, head over to the official product page here.