ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe Review
Less is more — This is the approach ROG has taken with their flagship TKL keyboard, the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe. Despite its small form factor, the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe maintains all the features of the full-sized Strix Scope Deluxe, just 20% smaller. This means that the ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe is everything you would expect from a ROG product, but with one or two pleasant surprises that allows the ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe to stand out from the crowd and appeal to the hardcore FPS community.
One word; flawless. I absolutely love the design of not only the ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe (356mm x 136mm x 40mm), but also its full-sized brother (440mm x 137mm x 39mm). The dual-textured brushed aluminium top-plate compliments the 80% TKL form factor and showcases the high level of craftsmanship. The floating key design of the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe is not only a fan favourite amongst the FPS community but it also shows off the keyboard’s gorgeous RGB illumination, including a stylish full-length RGB strip along the base of the keyboard that I certainly wasn’t expecting.
The full-length RGB strip is gorgeous and allows the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe to pop out on your desk, especially in a dark room where the keyboard looks like it belongs in The Fast and the Furious movie. As you can see from the photos above, the RGB strip projects its illumination on the desk’s surface just like Dominic Toretto’s underglow lighting on his Mazda RX-7.
Surprise number two comes in the way of a removable braided USB Type-C cable that is a welcomed addition to any TKL keyboard — This will appeal to both professional gamers or gamers who simply like to LAN with friends and enjoy the freedom of being able to pack up their keyboard quickly and easily.
The final surprise came in the way of a detachable magnetic wrist-rest — This wrist-rest is by far the most comfortable wrist-rest on the market thanks to the inclusion of padded memory foam. This adds a touch of luxury to the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe, but here is my dilemma — When the magnetic wrist-rest is attached to the keyboard it covers up the full-length RGB strip, leave the wrist-rest of and you deprive yourself of its added luxury and support. These two features allow the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe to stand out from the crowd, but I don’t quite understand why ROG designed the keyboard in such a way that one feature cancels out the other
ROG has ensured that the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe performs exactly as you would expect from a flagship keyboard — 1000Hz polling rate (1ms response time), on-board memory of up to five profiles, 100% anti-ghosting and n-key rollover, and Cherry MX Mechanical switches.
Cherry MX Mechanical switches are one of the most desired switches on the market — They are ultra-reliable, high performing, and feel great. I had the pleasure of using the Cherry MX Red switches in my Strix Scope TKL Deluxe and they did not disappoint; Requiring only 45g force to actuate with a 2mm actuation point meant they felt as responsive as any switch on the market. But don’t worry if you prefer the audible feedback of a blue switch or small actuation point of a speed silver, as the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe offers a diverse range of Cherry MX switches such as Cherry MX Red/Brown/Blue/Speed Silver and Silent Red.
ROG has made clearly indicated that the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe is aimed at FPS gamers, so much so that ROG has included an enlarged L-Ctrl key (same size as the standard L-Shift key) to ensure FPS gamers will have no issues couching on CS:GO or VALORANT. This goes against the traditional stereotype of TKL keyboards where manufacturers typically want to reduce the size of every aspect of the keyboard.
ROG has chosen to include multi-function keys to ensure gamers can retain most of the functions from a full-sized keyboard. A number of functions such as multimedia, macro keys, Aura Sync control, and utility keys (Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Pause) are all available using the keyboard’s Fn key. At first, I found having so many multi-function keys a bit overwhelming as I was constantly starting music and stopping music instead of refreshing my window and searching for the Print Screen button to capture screenshots. But as I became one with the keyboard, I began to appreciate the amount of functions ROG have incorporated into the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe, rather than taking the easy option and leaving these functions out entirely. By removing the utility keys, something that not all TKL variants do, ROG has included their ROG logo that is backed with vivid RGB illumination that allows it to stand out from the brushed aluminium finish
One ‘interesting’ feature of the Strix Scope TKL Deluxe’s multi-function keys is the addition of a ‘Stealth Key’. ROG describe the function of this key as “Tap to hide all apps and mute audio for instant privacy; tap again to play on”. Imagine this; You are watching something that you know you shouldn’t be, maybe something you might be embarrassed or ashamed to admit to, then suddenly you hear the door open and you jump up and quickly hit the Stealth key and with that simple press of a button your PC is back to your desktop with all the audio muted; no one will ever know you were watching Jimmy’s Twitch stream! Wait, what did you think I was talking about?
The only weak link in the ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe’s armour is its software, ASUS ROG Armoury II. This isn’t to say that it is bad as it is functional, but it pales in comparison to SteelSeries Engine 3 or Razer Synapse 3 software. Armoury II allows you to sync your entire range of compatible ROG products with one of the 13 different effects available ranging from your usual solid, breathing and rainbow effects, to starry night and the new raindrop effect.
Armoury II also allows you to program the five macro keys featured on the keyboard (well, the five multi-function keys). This is a relatively straight forward process, one that can be done on-the-fly without the software, but I found that holding the Fn key and pressing the corresponding macro key can be awkward. To rectify this issue ROG have included an Fn-Lock key that will effectively lock the Fn key on and make it easier to activate macros and your Stealth Key in those dire situations, which is a nice quality of life addition by ROG.
As Armoury II wasn’t quite up to par, I decided to test out ROG Armoury, ROG’s one-stop software for connecting, configuring and controlling all ROG products. I was mainly interested in Aura Sync (that can also be downloaded separately), which allows you to sync the RGB illumination effects of all your compatible products such as your motherboard, graphic card, gaming peripherals and in my case, Philip Hue Bridge. Syncing all these products combine to one immersive, and engaging gaming experience, something that I couldn’t wait to explore.
Syncing all your products and setting your lighting effects was relatively simple and often made me wonder why Armoury II felt quite sub-par in comparison. I would have liked to see a live feedback option in both pieces of software instead of having to click apply for every time I wanted to preview the effect, but once you have your profiles set up this would not be an issue.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the main attractions of Aura Sync to myself was the ability to sync my Philip Hue network to my PC. This created a few minor issues (all which were entirely my fault and nothing to do with the software) as my home’s lights began to pulse on and off with my music and gaming experience, not ideal at 11 pm when everyone else is trying to sleep! Never less, once I configured my Entertainment Zone correctly in my Hue Sync software, I was able to experience some amazing lighting effects that incorporated not only my PC hardware and peripherals but also my Philip Hue lighting setup.
ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe
- PERFORMANCE - 91%91%
- DESIGN - 93%93%
- QUALITY - 91%91%
- VALUE - 85%85%
When it comes to FPS gaming, there is no better keyboard on the market than the ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe — It is small, durable, and packed full of features such as MX Cherry switches, n-key roller over and 1000hz polling rate.
These all combine with an aggressive, yet gorgeous design that is backed up with the most comfortable wrist-rest on the market. If you are a serious FPS gamer then do yourself a favour and get your hands on this keyboard ASAP!
For more on ROG, check out our previous coverage.