The “Republic of Gamers” line of gaming peripherals from ASUS has been steadily growing over the past few years. The ROG Strix Flare is their latest gaming keyboard, and is a high-end board in the company's ROG Strix line.
With flashy RGB lighting, a full set of media keys, and high-quality Cherry Mx Switches, the Flare has everything gamers have come to know and love from a gaming keyboard. Let’s find out how it compares to other similar decks at this higher price point.
As of this writing, you can pick up the ASUS ROG Strix Flare for $152.91 on Newegg.
Design and Comfort
The Flare is a full size 104 key keyboard, with a tasteful, simple design. There’s none of that edgy, space-y flair or giant, garish logos you see on some other gaming keyboards. It’s the kind of board you could bring to the office and blend in fairly well.
The only indicator this is an ASUS product is the ROG logo on the upper right hand side of the board, and that logo is actually on an acrylic badge that you can remove if you don’t like how it looks. ASUS also included a blank acrylic badge you can paint or put a sticker on if you are so inclined. I’m not that crafty, but I appreciate the sentiment. It’s a cool bit of customization that shows ASUS cares about each gamers’ particular aesthetic preferences.
Construction-wise, the Flare is a bit of a mix bag. The brushed plastic chassis looks good, and there’s very little give to it when you try to bend it, but the plastic feels lower quality than what I’d like to see in a keyboard in this price range. While the plastic base is solid enough, some might be turned off by it, and expect a higher quality material. Though the plastic doesn’t feel cheap or weak like other plastic keyboards I’ve used, it’s a missed opportunity that ASUS didn’t design the Flare with a metal panel.
Lighting a Flare
The RGB lighting is beautiful. It’s vibrant and colorful without being too obnoxious and loud, and there’s multiple lighting effects, including per-key customization. My only complaint is that the lighting on the media keys can’t be customized – it’s always plain white. Not a huge deal, but it does throw off some color schemes a bit.
The Strix Flare also includes a detachable wrist guard, which slots in via grooves on the underside of the board. It's easy to attach and remove as needed, and unlike other optional wrist rests I've used, it stays put nicely when you have it in place.
I’ve never been a huge fan of wrist supports, but this is one of the better ones. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any leather padding, which would be nice to see on a keyboard in this price range.
Performance and Features
The Flare has a dedicated row of media keys, including a volume wheel, play, stop, fast forward, and rewind keys. Unlike a lot of other keyboards with media keys, these are bright and clearly labeled, so no hunting through the manual to figure out what the weird symbols means.
I love that there’s a brightness key for the RGB lighting, allowing you to easily cycle through four levels of brightness, as well as turning off the RGB lighting completely. The Flare also has USB passthru which is a welcomed inclusion, but I would have loved to have seen two ports.
Like so many gaming keyboards, the Strix Flare uses Cherry MX switches. If you’re buying a mechanical keyboard, you should know about Cherry switches - they’re easily the most famous manufacturer of mechanical switches, and for good reason. This particular model came with the Brown version of the switches.
I’ve always loved Browns for gaming, as they’re easy to press and register with a relatively low amount of force, but I find them great for typing and general office work, too. They’re less noisy than Blues, but don’t have that annoying accidental double tap that I’ve sometimes gotten when working with Reds, but at the end of the day, the switch you like comes down to personal preference.
ASUS offers the Flare with Red, Blue, Brown, and Black switches, but no matter what switch you choose, the Flare has dependable in-game performance. Regardless of your preferred genre, the Flare can handle everything you throw at it, and the quality of the keycaps and switches ensure the Flare lives to game for years to come.
The ROG Armoury software is great, up to the high standards we’ve come to expect from ASUS. I’ve always been a fan of how simple, clean, and snappy ASUS’s software feels, and Armoury is no different. It’s easy to navigate, and quick to respond to changes. Armoury is predictably compatible with Aura Sync, which allows all your Aura Sync-enabled ASUS products to coordinate their RGB lighting, creating a visually impressive display. If you’re an ASUS fan, this certainly is a huge plus, and might be enough to convince you to purchase the Flare over a non-ASUS keyboard.
A solid ROG addition
The ASUS ROG Strix Flare has a lot of great things going for it, despite a few head-scratching design decisions. It’s an all-around solid keyboard, that checks pretty much every box a gamer might have. If you're a fan oif ASUS products and software, the Flare is solid pick-up, especially if you’re already a part of the ASUS ecosystem.
UPDATE: Minor factual errors about the features of this keyboard were corrected after publication.