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Asus ROG Azoth review: wireless “custom” gaming keyboard

A minimal but customizable keyboard for custom keyboard enthusiasts, or do you prefer the classic gaming model with playful extras? With the ROG Azoth, Asus has struck the golden mean between two actually opposing approaches and has given its latest gaming keyboard some properties that are otherwise more likely to be found in self-made keyboards. We tested the keyboard for everyone.

 

Whether a gaming keyboard can still be considered a “custom” model despite pre-lubricated and exchangeable switches if you can simply take it out of the packaging fully assembled remains to be seen. Then every second gaming keyboard whose key switches can be selected at the time of purchase would quickly be elevated to the prestigious status of a custom keyboard.

Custom? Or is it more customizable?

The name would therefore be more appropriate “Customizable”because while some manufacturers already offer fully customizable models with barebones like the Glorious GMMK Pro, the Asus ROG Azoth only lets you Replace the key caps and the otherwise permanently installed key switches afterwards.

Custom mechanical keyboards are keyboards that you put together yourself from the ground up, and their quality and, above all, typing feel meet the highest standards. However, the custom community also has high demands, because like most hobbies, the hunt for the perfect key clatter quickly takes on semi-religious traits. How skeptical the community reacted to the announcement of a “gaming custom keyboard” from the brand manufacturer, whose current product range appeals more to normal Otto gamers.

Above all, Asus has new tastes that will appeal to both average gamers and more demanding users. A look at the prices in sources of supply for custom keyboards could explain the motivation behind Asus’ newfound love for this target group – with prices between 200 and 400 euros, such DYI models are usually, despite their simple aesthetics German teacher than the average branded keyboard.

design & processing

Without additional information from the manufacturer, we and all other trade fair visitors would probably only have stopped short of the ROG Azoth at the Asus booth at CES. Because the keyboard is a black and white OLED display, which is similar to the current design language of Asus ROG optically very simple held. Most forms, such as the 75 percent format here, in which parts of the block of six are omitted in addition to the number block, can always be seen in the mainstream area.

Despite the 75 percent form factors the Asus ROG Azoth weighs more than many full-size models. This is partly due to the heavy metal cover, which makes up the top half of the case. Unfortunately comment at the Lower half only plastic used, which according to Asus is due to the wireless signal transmission. We can’t say whether the entire underside has to be made of plastic for the better signal, it’s a pity anyway.

Simple, but chic and high quality!

Still, ROG Azoth is heavy enough not to slip under intense typing. Also contribute several rubber anti-slip devices at the bottom, also die on both of the two-tiered pairs of stands are to be found. The compact keyboard also makes a very high-quality impression, at least when viewed from above, despite the plastic underside.

The multicolored, rough ones also contribute to this PBT doubleshot keycaps Your part, although the underside could be a little cleaner. The small but sufficiently bright OLED display is also tastefully implemented and does not occupy a too dominant position, such as the “AniMe Matrix Display” of the ROG Strix Flare II Animate.

The keypad looks like the numeric keypad of a fully-fledged 100 percent keyboard, but it is even smaller than the common TKL variants. And even more radially trimmed 60 percent models still have the function keys F1 to F12 and some functions of the block of six. The position of the twelve function keys and the escape key, which are not arranged in fixed blocks of four, but in a long row, could be unusual for many users.

As a modern gaming keyboard in 2023 by ROG Azoth, of course Customizable RGB lighting not missing. North-Facing LEDs on the PCB limit the choice of keycaps a bit (more on that in the following section), but they help to provide a nice, bright illumination of the keys.

characteristics

Another feature besides the OLED display that sets Asus ROG Azoth apart from most custom keyboards is theirs Wireless functionality. Because the mechanical keyboard can either be very classic via USB-C cable, Bluetooth 5.1 or 2.4 GHz wireless connection be used. Our active connection mode is set using a slider on the top edge, and the USB transmitter can be installed in a magnetic drawer right next to it.

Asus promises a long Battery life of over 2,000 hours in 2.4GHz RF wireless mode when Key illumination and OLED display switched off are. Since the latter in particular is one of the main arguments for buying the Azoth over other models, this runtime should only rarely be achieved, but a full battery charge is sufficient easily for several days even with full (O)LED use. In our test we are no latency issues noticed in wireless radio mode, inputs are implemented with or without cable delays.

The low battery level can be viewed on the OLED display and in the software, the latter also offers options for a power saving mode and the ability to be announced via the display when the battery level is set by you. Other functions of the clearly designed Armory Crate software Contains changing the key mapping and RGB lighting as well as extensive customization options for the small control knob and the OLED display.

The single color mini OLED + toggle switch

The operation of the display functions is very intuitive because the currently selected option is right next to the toggle switch is shown on the display. Settings can be made in just a few simple steps, including the brightness of the key or display lighting, LED effects, system volume and media control.

Pressing the button on the side switches the modes, the button switches through the different stages. The toggle switch itself can also be depressed to quickly jump to the highest and lowest possible values. In a roundabout way, there is not just a mute button behind this mechanism, but one Full media control. Additional functions can also be configured using the software.

The setting options for the 2 inch OLED displays the end. Display options such as the time, system information or a music visualizer can be set in the software. The highlight, however, is the option to display customized ones Images or GIFs. Although these are in black and white, the resolution offers significantly more diverse options than the large-pixel matrix displays from Asus.

Custom Keyboard Starter Pack: Interchangeable switches, lube kit and more

Now we come to the elephant in the room: Dead almost 300 euros RRP is the ROG Azoth the dooriest keyboard that we have tested so far. More expensive even than the Asus ROG Claymore II (280 euros RRP), the Corsair K100 RGB (250 euros RRP) and the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog (270 euros RRP), although all three models are overloaded with premium features and the modern ones as well Use optical switch in some form.

However, optical switches are not readily replaced by mechanical switches and at least part of the high price is also due to that Special equipment in the style of a custom keyboard free. From the factory, the ROG Azoth comes with the services Mechanics of ROG NX switches equipped, which we have already got our hands on with the ROG Strix Scope NX, among other things. The switches are in the Variant red, brown and blue are available with the appropriate linear, tactile and clicky switch characteristics and produce a bright click on keystroke.

the key sound the ROG Azoth is possibly one of the best that a pre-made gaming keyboard from the brand manufacturer has ever produced. This is partly due to the cave For-lubricated switches, silicone seals and end three-layer cushioning Inside the housing: A silicone cushion on the circuit board as well as foam and additional silicone foam dampen most of the noise and echoes.

Included: A lube set with brush and Krytox GPL-205-GD0

die too stabilizers under larger keys are pre-lubricated and can alternatively be exchanged for screw-in stabilizers. We didn’t find anything wrong with that, or if switches use too much we think it’s a good idea. very extensive tool set for easy replacement and lubrication of keycaps and switches. Including one switch opener for quickly disassembling a switch into its individual parts and even a lube kit With Krytox GPL-205-GD0 lubricant and brush.

However, retrofitting reveals the same problem as with the ROG Strix Flare II Animal: Switches can be swapped out, but the choice is made constrained by north-facing LEDs. Placing the LED at the top of the switch is common, but not very popular with keyboard enthusiasts.

Because in combination with certain keycaps, including the relatively flat caps with a cherry profile that are valued for their typing feel, friction can occur that impairs the typing feel and sound. If you don’t like the upgraded ROG NX switches, you can swap them out at will. The ROG variants are 3 pin holderthe PCB However, it also supports 5-pin switches Without additional handicraft work.

Conclusion

The ROG Azoth from Asus is an unusual fall. Because it bridges the gap between colorfully flashing gaming keyboards overwhelmed with additional functions and the highly customizable custom keyboards, whose fans would turn up their noses at the look of the former. As this hybrid, however, the Azoth is not only aimed at the hobbyist community – even if the enormous price would suggest it – after all, Asus anticipates the fun of assembling, soldering and lubricating yourself.

This is exactly where the Azoth offers a great attraction for the average user: Because as a prefabricated gaming keyboard that can be easily adapted with the included Lube set, the Asus model is a good, but not yet perfect entry option due to the very high price die in the world of self-made custom keyboards.

With pre-lubricated keys and three-layer damping, the ROG NX switches sound very good out of the box, but the north-facing LED is particularly annoying when replacing the switches and keycaps. On general sources of supply for mechanical custom keyboards, you can probably put together better models for less than 300 euros, but whoever grabs the Azoth, graphically, especially for unique selling points such as the OLED display, the suitable toggle button or mitung di mesmerici three. wireless runtime.

In any case, a (significantly!) cheaper barebones version without key switches and key caps would be desirable for hobby keyboard hobbyists, whose demands the Asus ROG Azoth may not yet meet in its current form.

input device

Allround PC.com Award

01/2023

Asus ROG Azoth

professional

  • pre-lubricated switches and extensive lube kit
  • three-layer cushioning
  • Connection via USB-C, Bluetooth or 2.4 GHz dongle
  • Long battery life
  • Intuitive media control
  • customizable OLED display
  • good build quality

against

  • North-facing LEDs
  • very high price

 

, Asus ROG Azoth review: wireless “custom” gaming keyboard

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