As PC enthusiasts, we spend a lot of time lusting over that which we do not own. We agonize over new graphics cards, drool over our dream monitors, and pore over fantasy builds that border on the obscene. Still, most of us stay loyal to our peripherals. Peripherals are personal. Once we find a keyboard and mouse that works, we tend to commit, even as other parts of our build get upgraded and replaced.
Here at ROG, we pride ourselves in producing a range of keyboards to suit different kinds of gamers, because no two gamers are alike. A lot of it comes down to personal preference and individual style. The ROG Strix Flare offers an array of switch types as well as a customizable insert for adding your own flavor, while the newly launched ROG Strix Scope has been carefully constructed to fit FPS gamers’ needs with a larger, easier to reach control key that can help you dodge the enemy in the heat of battle. All of our keyboards are decked out in Aura Sync lighting that offsets moody black and silver designs, and that lighting can be adjusted to glow, pulse, or shine in a rainbow of hues to match the rest of your build.
But what if that’s just not you? Not every gamer is about that RGB life, after all. Some of us have more reserved tastes, so we thought it was high-time we offered something a little more understated (but no less luxurious) in the features and style departments. The ROG Strix Scope PBT is cut from the same cloth as the original Scope, though a few key differences in design and construction yield an almost-retro feel that elevates this keyboard to a whole new level of geeky glory.
Scoping out a winner
You’d be forgiven for not recognizing the latest version of the Strix Scope. Dressed in a powder grey with big dollops of bright red, it looks nothing like the stealthy onyx model that debuted earlier this spring. The keycaps set the Scope PBT apart from any other keyboard we’ve made in the past, but it’s not just their color that’s unique.
The newest Scope’s keycaps are fashioned from PBT, a special type of high-quality plastic. PBT (also known by the slightly less catchy name “polybutylene terephthalate”) is more expensive than ABS, which is the material commonly used for keycaps, because it’s more resilient to heat and chemicals. It’s also more durable, and it’s resistant to the shiny spots we start to see on our most used keys that can make them feel almost oily.
PBT isn’t used as often as ABS because it’s pricier and harder to mold, especially for larger keys, which can shrink back after the molding process is complete. For the Scope PBT, we went for an all-PBT design for the keys, including the space bar. Double-shot molding for the red keys helps to keep them as good as new, so they won’t wear away with use, and all of the keys are laser-etched with their corresponding legend. The finished result is a raised, tactile effect that complements the textured matte finish of the keys but won’t fade over time.
Though it strikes out with a stylish aesthetic that is all its own, the Scope PBT’s lineage is unmistakable, and it features the same compact chassis as the original. The keys sit on Cherry MX switches and appear to float above a metal plate that adds rigidity to the already sturdy frame. A brushed hairline finish stretches diagonally across one corner for an additional splash of style. Underneath, a channel for cable management cuts right across the base, allowing you to run the wire out the left or right side. Flip-out feet in the back elevate the keyboard’s rear for a more comfortable typing position.
The star of the show is still the enlarged Ctrl key. On most keyboards, this crucial key isn’t much bigger than the alpha keys, which can make it difficult to hit with your pinky while you play. On the Strix Scope PBT, it’s the same size as the left Shift key. Our ergonomic Xccurate design stabilizes both sides of the key to make it easier to press, so you won’t be foiled by a misclick when your pinky catches the edge with barely enough pressure to register. If you don’t play first-person shooters, you can use Armoury II to remap this extra-large Ctrl key to any other function you like, as well as create additional game macros for streamlining frequent key combinations.
To help keep things clean and compact, we combined the Function keys and media controls. F5 through F12 do double duty as dedicated media keys, which is conveniently the default. The Fn Lock key can be used in tandem with any of them to activate their standard F Function. They’re accompanied by the slightly ominous looking character that sits atop F12, because no Strix Scope would be complete without the Stealth key. This hides all running apps and mutes your audio with a single press, protecting your top secret projects from parties who arrive unannounced.
Any way you want it
The ROG Strix Scope PBT marries all the best bits of our newest ROG keyboard with high-end PBT keycaps and a throwback color palette that’s tailored for the most discerning palates. Designed specially for FPS players, the enlarged Ctrl key is now highlighted in a bold shade of red that’s almost incandescent against an understated grey, while more durable PBT keycaps will keep it looking and feeling great for years.
When it launches this summer, the Strix Scope PBT will be available with Cherry MX Red, Black, Blue, Brown, Silent Red, and Speed Silver switches. Check with your local ROG representative for information on availability and pricing in your region.
We announced a lot of hot new tech at Computex 2019. You can find all of the latest gear from ASUS and ROG in this article.