[Review] ROG's First Optical Mechanical Keyboard: The ROG Strix Scope RX
ROG Strix Scope Optical Mechanical Keyboard
If you're wondering why we have so many ROG peripheral reviews lately, it's cause we were sent the holy trinity of gaming gear - mouse, headset and keyboard. With the first two out of the way, it's time for the last item on the list: the ROG Strix Scope RX keyboard.
We've previously reviewed a cousin of the Strix Scope RX keyboard; the two are pretty similar, with one marked difference: ROG's new RX Red optical mechanical switches.
Without further ado, let's take a look at ROG's first foray into the world of optical mechanical keyboards.
A more subdued finish
Unlike the original Strix Scope or TKL variant, ASUS has decided to forgo the brushed metal texture for the Strix Scope RX and opt for a plain finish instead. I actually like the subdued and uniform look more than the diagonally split texture of the other Scopes.
The exterior is simple and sleek, with a floating keycap design and the ROG logo on the top right corner, as well as 'Republic of Gamers' lightly etched on the bottom left. It has a thick non-detachable rubber cable and flip-out feet on the bottom. There's no light strip on the bottom like the Electro Punk edition for that subtle RGB underglow, but it's still a very good looking device even without it.
You can easily customise your RGB settings via Armoury Crate, where you can also create custom profiles and program macros.
Overall, the design is very pleasing to the eye, though I wish they'd gone for a detachable braided cable instead.
It's the little things that count
Any decent keyboard should offer much more than just a pleasant typing experience. Apart from feeling good on your fingertips, the Strix Scope RX has paid attention to all the small details that make your purchase feel all the more worthwhile.
On top, there's a USB 2.0 passthrough port, which is pretty standard on most higher-end keyboards nowadays. You can plug in any compatible device, including your mouse, headset, or even your mobile phone to charge or transfer files.
If you're a clumsy kid, it also features an IP56 water- and dust-proof rating, which should be more than sufficient to tank any spills or ahem, other liquids.
And perhaps to complement this feature is the Stealth Mode key, which instantly minimises all windows and mutes your device with a single press of a button. Together, these 2 features should keep your more questionable activities under wraps - yeah, why are you watching anime at work?
While the Strix Scope RX doesn't have dedicated media keys, it has done a great job incorporating them into the function keys. You'll be able to easily switch between media and regular functions with the function lock button, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds without increasing the footprint of your keyboard.
Here's an interesting one - the extended control key has made a return. It's 2x longer than your regular Ctrl key, so if you're a huge fan of crouch-walking or tea-bagging, it's now nearly impossible to hit the wrong key (not that I've had that issue much, but who knows?)
One downside is that you now have a non-standard bottom row, which might irk some. Usually, this is a problem especially when it comes to swapping out keycaps, but in this case, we don't think you'll be customising your keyboard any time soon due to the proprietary switch design (no familiar Cherry cross-shaped stem here!)
What's the deal with optical mechanical switches?
More and more brands are starting to adopt optical mechanical switches, due to their light-speed actuation. While optical mechanical and mechanical switches share the same physical characteristics and moving parts, the input of optical mechanical switches are triggered by an infrared light beam instead of physical contact points.
This ensures reduced debounce delay and faster actuation, which are both important for gamers, to whom every millisecond counts.
This year, ROG debuted their first ever optical mechanical switch - the ROG RX Red. It features a hollow-square stem and the X-stabiliser mechanism to ensure wobble-free keystrokes. This is further enhanced by the four corner latches where the keycaps are secured.
In terms of specs, the Scope RX has the requisite 100% anti-ghosting, as well as 1ms response input and 1000Hz polling rate.
Truth be told, the RX switches feel really solid and reassuring to type on. While I cannot attest to whether the light-speed actuation made a tangible impact to my gaming experience (my reflexes are way too slow to tell), the sturdiness of the RX switches themselves are satisfying enough for me to seriously consider purchasing it.
Buy or no buy?
At RM499, the Strix Scope RX is a solid first entry into the optical mechanical keyboard market for ROG. The switches are solidly built and feel great to type on, while the rest of the keyboard brings over all the best features from the Strix Scope family, including the Stealth key, integrated media keys, and brilliant RGB lighting.
The only (minor) gripes I would have is the lack of an included wrist rest at this price point, as well as the inability to easily swap out keycaps due to the proprietary switch design and non-standard bottom row. It's also a bummer that it didn't receive the same detachable braided cable that the Electro Punk TKL version did.
Overall, it's a solid keyboard in its class, and one that you should definitely consider if you're looking to dip your toes into the optical mechanical pool.