Testing the Asus ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe: a tenkeyless RGB gaming keyboard with Cherry MX switches
My hands can get used to almost any keyboard. No matter whether membrane or mechanical switches are installed. Whether they click, give tactile feedback or are simply activated linearly. However, no longer do I prefer my current gaming keyboard, the slim-switch Razer DeathStalker Chroma. After months of working and gaming with an Asus ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe, I've finally found that the Cherry mechanical switches feel nicer.
My test subject doesn't just have red Cherry MX RGB switches, but is also shorter than most. There's no number pad – this is called TKL, or tenkeyless. And yes, it's a feature. This'll annoy e-banking and Excel users on the one hand. Still, there's more mouse space. A blessing for some players with less available space. After six months with a TKL Keyboard, I'm not sure if it really helps my play. Although I tend to move the mouse closer to the keyboard now, I'm probably too much of a casual gamer to notice a clear advantage. My limbs do last a bit longer, but I'm not more accurate.
Design and layout
ROG provides the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe with a textile-sheathed USB cable that's sufficiently long at 180 centimetres. The 811-gram keyboard is compact. It's only 35.6 centimetres wide and 13.6 centimetres deep. Without the stands, I measured a height of 1.5 centimetres at the front edge and 2.2 centimetres at the very back. With them folded out, it's 3.1 centimetres – plus the height of the keys themselves, which comes to 1.6 centimetres. I'm not only grateful for the rubberized feet that allow for an ergonomic keyboard position, but also for the included palm rest. It's soft and the imitation leather feels pleasant to the touch. Thanks to it my fingers are always at the perfect typing height.
Although I enjoy the palm rest and it even magnetises to the keyboard, it also has a small disadvantage. It makes the LED Light Bar, which illuminates my table from below the front edge, invisible. But I can manage without the Light Bar. Especially since the brushed aluminium base also has an RGB ROG logo – and RGB buttons that can be individually coloured and illuminated in four different ways.
The keyboard layout comes without a shortened Enter key but with a wide Ctrl key on the left and a Shift key on the right. Apart from the number pad, I'm more than satisfied. I especially like the F12 key, which gives me some stealthy hackerman vibes. If you press the button, all windows are minimized and all sounds are muted.
Typing and gaming with Red Switches
Some if not many people enjoy clicking sounds. To me, they seem like a reward for using a keyboard. But after a while I find the constant clicking annoying. I much prefer silent trigger points. They don't make my ears bleed and still support typing. The present gaming keyboard has neither clicky sounds nor tactile feedback. How loud typing is depends on how hard you strike the keys – or how loud the keystroke is when pressed to the maximum. And whether it's even fully activated.
The red Cherry MX RGB switches function linearly – from the moment your fingertip is placed on the switch until the maximum depth of four millimetres is reached no resistance is felt. They require comparatively little pressure to trigger – 45 grams – and it feels like gliding through butter. The fact that the button triggers after two millimetres is something my brain understands quickly. I really enjoy mechanical switches without tactile feedback. That was unexpected. It's like that feeling you get when driving a car, of becoming one with the wheels. And that applies to typing as well as WASD gaming. By the way, I never noticed ghosting or other problems during my six months of testing.
The bottom line: fun that lasts
I don't massively prefer gaming or writing with this keyboard over any other model. Cherry MX Switches are just more enjoyable to me – especially the quality German red switches. And since fun gives you a heightened state of mind, I feel like I'm better or more complete with this keyboard than I was with my crummy old DeathStalker Chroma.
Whether I'll kill some big creatures in The Outer Worlds or correctly edit a document doesn't matter. This keyboard is pure unadulterated fun. The brushed aluminium look helps while the RGB is just sort of there. It's colourful and bright, but I don't necessarily need that. What I can't do without, however, is the palm rest, which saves me a whole lot of wrist pain.
I can recommend ROGs Strix Scope TKL Deluxe with a clear conscience. But I would've probably loved any other keyboard with a good palm rest and red Cherry MX RGB switches. If I'd tested the same product including the numeric keypad, I'd have probably enjoyed it just the same. Either way, it's great.