ROG’s lineup of gaming peripherals welcomes a new member at CES 2018. The Strix Flare mechanical gaming keyboard brings unique twists to a well-established formula, like repositioned media shortcuts for quicker access while playing, and a customizable acrylic accent illuminated by Aura Sync RGB lighting. Add a stylish design with premium switches and extensive programmability, and you've got a versatile gaming keyboard that's easy to make your own.
A conventional layout with an unconventional twist
The Strix Flare’s Cherry MX RGB switches deliver the precise mechanical feel gamers crave. We’re making versions of the keyboard with all the main switch types to suit different tastes, whether you prefer a linear stroke, tactile bump, or accompanying click. Later this year, the Flare will also be available with MX Speed Silver switches that shorten the actuation distance for a quicker response. Thanks to anti-ghosting tech with N-key rollover, every keystroke registers reliably no matter how many are pressed simultaneously.
The full layout is augmented by dedicated media controls and shortcuts. While these are common on gaming keyboards, they’re usually placed on the right, which requires taking your hand off the mouse to make adjustments mid-game. We put the extra controls on the left with the Flare to facilitate easy access without taking your finger off the trigger. Volume adjustments are made with a smooth-scrolling wheel that clicks down to mute, and there are separate buttons for disabling the Windows key, adjusting the RGB brightness, and controlling media playback.
Personalization taken to the next level
Aura Sync backlighting illuminates the board, reflecting off a white tray beneath the keys to heighten the effect. Additional lighting below the left and right edges extend the glow onto your desk. There are nine LEDs along each edge, plus one inside every MX RGB switch, and they can all be controlled independently.
With a full rainbow of colors and 13 effects at your fingertips, including new raindrop and current patterns, it’s easy to find a look that suits your style. The Flare’s backlighting options will expand even further with a software update that adds support for layering multiple effects on top of one another. The new lighting customization page will let you stack as many layers as you’d like for maximum flexibility, and it’s expected to be available around February.
We’re constantly looking for ways to help modders, gamers, and enthusiasts personalize their PCs, so we’re especially pleased to introduce a new piece of flair: a customizable acrylic insert illuminated by two more RGB LEDs. The stock insert wears the ROG eye, but we also include a blank insert ready for your own logo. You don’t need expensive etching equipment to create your own design, either. Custom-cut stickers applied to the bottom of the insert work well with the integrated lighting.
Multiple paths for programming
This is the first keyboard to use Armoury II, a new version of our peripheral configuration utility that’s entirely driver-based. While the original is a separate application that can be easily detected and blocked by games that want to take your macros away, Armoury II is cloaked by the driver to keep the full array of features available at all times.
Another benefit of the driver-based approach is smooth setup. Windows 10 detects the keyboard, downloads Armoury II, and installs it automatically to streamline the process. Armoury II loads faster and has a smaller memory footprint than its predecessor, too.
The Strix Flare supports up to six profiles with distinct macros and lighting, so you can configure the right mix for different games and quickly switch between them. All of your settings and profiles are stored in onboard memory, removing the need for software once everything is dialed in.
Although Armoury II offers more extensive control, the Strix Flare can be programmed without it. On-the-fly macro recording allows you to quickly capture input sequences and assign them to keys for instant recall. There are also built in shortcuts for changing lighting colors and effects. Alternatively, you can surrender lighting control to Aura Sync, which synchronizes with other compatible hardware, like ROG motherboards, graphics cards, and peripherals.
Stylish design with subtle touches
A slash cutting across the top cover draws from the same design language as other recent products from the Republic of Gamers, helping the Flare fit in even with the lighting turned off. The included palm rest hooks in at the front, but you'd never guess by looking at the keyboard. Subtle attachment points keep the front edge free of unsightly holes.
Flipping the Flare reveals a groove in the underbelly for running a headset cable beneath the keyboard. This channel keeps the cable out of the way, preventing you from getting tangled in the heat of battle. It continues through the palm rest, so you can use it with or without.
Pricing and availability
The Strix Flare keyboard is available in North America with Cherry MX Red or Cherry MX Brown switches. Check the table above for retailers stocking both variants. Gamers outside of the USA and Canada should check with their regional ASUS ROG rep for pricing and availability.
We announced loads of new ROG gear at CES 2018. To read about all of the newest toys coming to the Republic of Gamers, head on over to this article.