ASUS ROG Claymore II Review
Can’t decide between a full-sized or TKL keyboard? What if I told you that you could have the best of both worlds with only one keyboard? Back at CES 2021, ROG revealed the next generation of its modular-based keyboards with the ROG Claymore II. The Claymore II builds upon the foundation laid by the original Claymore but with a host of improvements such as ROG’s latest ROG RX Optical Switches and wireless connectivity. ROG even went as far as to state that “life is always better when you have options”, but just how true is this when it comes to keyboards?
As you would expect, the Claymore II features a similar design to the original but gets a well-deserved facelift. This comes in the way of a brushed aluminium finish that is complemented with a subtle illuminated ROG logo. The brushed aluminium finish is similar to that of the Strix Scope Deluxe and adds a premium look to the keyboard. This trend continues with perhaps my favourite upgrade; a leatherette padded wrist pad. I absolutely love this wrist pad as the soft padded support feels like a bed of pillows under your wrists — I did find that the added support did slightly elevate my wrists, which once I got used to was fine. Overall, when you combine these features with the keyboard’s new programmable media control buttons, it is clear that the Claymore II has become ROG’s new flagship keyboard.
The unique modular design of the Claymore II is unlike most keyboards as it provides a level of customisation that you don’t ordinarily associate with keyboards. Gamers can choose between the freedom of a TKL keyboard or the luxury of a full-sized keyboard — the choice is yours. This is perfect for gamers who want options such as taking their keyboards on the go (LANs or work), or are restricted on space, or who just simply enjoy the look of a TKL keyboard. One of the most interesting aspects of this modular design is being able to connect the numpad module on either side of the main keyboard module. This may seem insignificant to most people, but this actually allows serious gamers and programmers to set up their numpad as a dedicated 17-key macro keypad for complex in-game command, programming, editing, or even step back in time where local co-op adventures were played on the same keyboard. ROG has even included attachable capping for each of the modules so if you disconnect the numpad from the keyboard, or move it to the left-hand side of the keyboard, the capping will hide the connections not in use — Brilliant!
It is clear that every aspect of the Claymore II has been improved upon from its predecessor, except for its pricing, but we will touch on this later. One change that won’t get the credit it deserves is the keyboard’s new numpad attaching and locking mechanism. The mechanism has been redesigned to ensure that both the physical and electrical connection of the numpad is more robust and reliable. This was one of the issues that plagued the original Claymore as when you pressed down on the numpad, there was a noticeable movement. ROG has done an amazing job redesigning this system with a slot-in system that has eliminated almost all movement. This a real credit to the team at ROG for addressing this rather than taking the easy option of slapping some extra LEDs and stickers on its successor and charging a premium for it.
When I reviewed the ROG Strix Scope RX, I said that “optical technology is perhaps the biggest evolution we have ever witnessed in the mechanical switch”; I was convinced that optical technology was the future of gaming keyboards, an opinion that ROG clearly shares. The Claymore II is the perfect example of how optical technology can improve both the performance and reliability of a keyboard. The advantage that ROG’s RX Optical Switch provides is that it is able to produce a near-zero debounce delay by replacing the traditional mechanical design of two metal contacts closing with an infrared light beam. This response simply cannot be matched by any traditional mechanical actuation and substantially reduces the wear and stress on mechanical components. Your typical mechanical switch has a 50 million keystroke rating, whereas ROG is able to provide a 100 million keystroke rating with their RX Optical Switch. It is clear that ROG has completely changed the game with their RX Optical Switches and there is no better example of this than with the ROG Claymore II.
Complementing this optical technology is, of course, wireless technology. Having the luxury of being able to connect your keyboard via a 2.4GHz wireless connection (dongle supplied) means even more freedom, not to mention it’s much more aesthetically pleasing than having cables lying across your desk. ROG has ensured that there are no performance issues and in fact, actually guarantees an ultrafast 1 ms response regardless if you are using its wired or 2.4 GHz wireless modes. This is a true indication of how far wireless technology has come as the performance of wireless technology is now on par with wired, meaning there is no better time than the present to go wireless!
This wireless performance is backed up by a huge 4000 mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery that is able to provide around 40 hours of use with full RGB illumination, or around 140 hours with all lighting effects turned off. If you’re like me and will wait until the last minute to charge your keyboard – which also happens to be while you’re trying to reach the extraction zone in Escape From Tarkov – you will be happy to know that a quick 30 minute charge will get you a good 18 hours worth of battery life thanks to its fast charging capabilities.
I did find it odd that even though there is a USB Passthrough port, this feature is only available when the keyboard is using a hardwired connection. Even more strange is that you cannot charge the battery and have its USB passthrough active at the same time; it is effectively one or the other. In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor issue as you can instantly swap between the two by using the function keys (Fn + F12), but I guess it’s nice to at least have the option for USB Passthrough, isn’t it?
Armoury Crate continues to grow on me with its range of features and ability to integrate all of ROG’s supported software into one application. Armoury Crate is able to provide all your traditional settings such as polling rate, customise profiles, map keys, record macro, set up your wireless Aura Sync RGB, and my personal favourite, sync with your Philips Hue lighting network. For ROG fans, Aura Sync is a must-use feature to sync up all your ROG products to create the perfect RGB effect. This is quite painless to do and even supports some non-ROG products such as my G-Skill RAM, which was very cool.
ROG has proved that life is certainly better with options — The ROG Claymore II embraces this philosophy by taking keyboard customisation to an unmatched level and allows gamers complete freedom in how they choose to game; Want to game wirelessly on the couch all day? Go for it! Need USB-Pass Through? Plug it in! Want extra real estate on your desk? Remove the numpad! Want a dedicated macro numpad? Move the numpad over and start programming — Having all these options is great, but it does come at a steep price – $429 AUD – making it one of the most expensive keyboards on the market. Despite this, the combination of the raw performance from ROG’s RX Optical Switches, the gorgeous brushed aluminium finish, and the freedom of wireless gaming, it should come as no surprise that the ROG Claymore II is one of the best keyboards of 2021.
ASUS ROG Claymore II Review
- PERFORMANCE - 94%94%
- DESIGN - 95%95%
- QUALITY - 93%93%
- VALUE - 86%86%
The ROG Claymore II is simply one of, if not, the best keyboard of 2021.
For more on ASUS, check out our previous coverage.