ASUS TUF Gaming K7 Keyboard Review
Published: 10th April 2019 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
Undoubtedly the key selling point of the ASUS TUF Gaming K7 Keyboard is its IP56 dust and liquid protection.
Your reaction to that feature will largely depend on whether you've been unfortunate enough to spill your drink across your keyboard or not. If you haven't then a) you will, everyone does, and b) you'll be delighted when you do so that your new K7 keyboard keeps on trucking. If, however, you're like the rest of us and have expressed your rage at a particularly unfair boss fight, or celebrated a hard fought win and in doing so have accidentally caught your beverage of choice and spilt it far and wide then you'll already be thinking of sadly deceased keyboards and how valuable this IP56 feature is. What is IP56 amongst the many ingress standards you ask? Let us quote; "Protection from high pressure water jets from any direction with limited ingress protection". So not waterproof in a way that you could take it underwater, but waterproof enough to save your bacon from a half-drunk can of Red Bull or coffee until you can get the keyboard somewhere safe to dry out. Additionally ASUS have equipped the TUF K7 with an aircraft grade aluminium fascia that provides a heightened level of robustness and also a smooth surface for the spill that hasn't made it inside the switches to appear in your lap. It also provides a glorious backdrop for the RGB lighting. Lastly the internals have been coated to help reduce gradual oxidisation of components over time, which we're sure will also help stop any unfortunate spills from having a lasting affect.
Enough about how it has earned it's TUF labelling, how does it perform as a keyboard?
Very well we think. The opti-mechanical switches do take a little bit of getting used to, especially if you've spent most of your life bashing away on Cherry MX switches. They are much lighter to press and thus rebound a lot sharper too. Additionally the actuation point - the depth you have to press before the key registers - is extremely high, higher than many laptop style keyboards, and this requires a little retuning of your muscle memory before you can make the most of the extra responsiveness and speed it can bring. Most importantly though the keys feel crisp. Sometimes a non-standard key design can be a little squidgy, almost like a membrane keyboard, but not here. The feel is very similar to a Cherry, just lighter and faster and with stronger rebound.
It is worth noting that ASUS supply this keyboard with two variants of the switch, a linear non-clicky one and a clicky one. Our review sample is the clicky variety and whilst we're not adverse to the sound of a Cherry MX Blue switch it can be a little annoying if you've placed your PC in a family room. The switches on the K7 are even louder, bordering on annoyingly loud. We'd definitely strongly recommend you plump for the linear non-click option if you can, unless you absolutely must have that click. We think that the switches themselves actuate so high up the travel (1.5mm) that as long as you're aware you've begun to press the key, you'll have a result. It renders the need for an audible confirmation somewhat moot.
With amazing build quality, class leading spill protection, great lighting and a typing experience that is a slightly different take on the mechanical keyboards that saturate the market, there is much to like about the ASUS TUF Gaming K7 keyboard and it's definitely worth checking out if you're either particularly prone to spillage or just want something as capable but slightly offbeat to the usual selection of mechanical options. We're very fond of the quality wrist rest included and ASUS also deserve some credit for looking after your wrists as much as they've looked after the internal components.