ASUS ROG Strix Flare Mechanical RGB Keyboard Review
Choice and customisation abilities are always something that come along as a product matures. When smart phones first appeared you had one colour and perhaps one or two models. Now a big touchscreen is not the headline feature the colour choices and style choices have increased dramatically to try and tempt you to a particular brand.
Once upon a time mechanical keyboards were the only option. Then laptop style was prevalent. Then almost as quickly the mechanical models reappeared, to the point that nearly all heavyweight manufacturers have one in their arsenal. Originally they had no LEDs, then white ones, and then if you were really lucky you got a choice of red or blue LEDs. Before long RGBs appeared and now dominate the marketplace. We're struggling to think of any high end mechanical keyboard that doesn't offer RGB lighting. Even Das Keyboard is RGB. Thus now having mechanical keys is no longer the headline feature, and RGB is also common, ASUS have forged ahead in trying to find a new way for us to have a keyboard which belongs to us and only us.
The Strix Flare does this with the transparent logo that is lit from the side by whichever colour you decide in the software. The Flare has a ROG logo by default, but the packaging comes with a blank that you can customise in any style you like. You could go the simple route and use a sticker or a permanent marker, of if you're particularly talented and have access to the right equipment, you could use it as the basis of an engraving. With a 3D Printer and some transparent resin you could even have the blank as a template and create a fully 3D logo or figure and have them lit up from the RGB LED. Think the Nintendo Amiibo but utilising any character you can find the model for. We can in envisage a day when clans have their favourite - for example - Overwatch hero there. Stick men are beyond my artistic capabilities so sticking with the ROG logo it would have to be, and fortunately it looks good enough that if you're also artistically bereft then you aren't missing out.
Elsewhere things are very much in keeping with a ROG Mechanical keyboard. The Cherry MX switches are as bulletproof as they always are, the lighting is excellent with the white background really allowing it to pop at even 50% brightness, whilst the included wrist rest and placement of the media keys lets you work/game in comfort. The placement of the scroll/volume wheel is a change from the others we have seen. Corsair started it in the top right and others have copied that, but with one hand on your mouse it makes a little more sense to have it above the WASD portion of the keyboard. The heavily braided cable and USB pass-through are handy features to have. In fact our only real complaint is that the media keys remain resolutely white regardless of your colour choice.
Strix Flare is robust, comfortable, good looking and well featured product that is a great addition to the already high-quality Strix range and a worthy purchase for anyone seeking a new keyboard.