This is the ROG Strix Flare II Animate, a mechanical keyboard with a built-in LED screen that plays animations, displays logos, show battery life, react to gaming sounds, audio visualizations, display date & time and more.
What do hardcore gamers and keyboard enthusiasts have in common? Well, both have an unrelenting lust for the most eye-popping and advanced tech that’s on offer when it comes to the most valued PC accessory. Asus has surprised us in the past with their gaming-centric accessories under the brand ROG (Republic of Gamers) for demanding users, and keyboards along with mouse and headsets have been their forte. Now at CES 2022, Asus has just dropped a drop-dead gorgeous keyboard that’s hard to resist.
If your memory aids you, this is something similar to what we’ve seen inbuilt into the lids of some laptops. Asus likes to call it the AniMe Matrix LED display made up of 312 mini-LEDs, and the user can program the visual elements via the accompanying software. I surely find it intriguing and more bragging-worthy than the illuminated logo that’s so mainstream now!
Turning our attention to the other bits of the keyboard, the programmable RGB LEDs under the keys let you create the preferred working environment for a productive regime in these uncertain times. The detachable foam wrist rest with light diffuser hooks onto the keyboard via magnets adds yet another array of diffused light (for the cool underglow effect) on the bottom to complete the ambient light setup. This RGB light strip is detachable and can be attached to the front bottom of the keyboard when the wrist rest is not attached.
Since we are talking about a keyboard, the Strix Flare II Animate boasts Cherry MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches. The option of the hot-swappable switches is another good addition that most will prefer. So, you could make the backspace a bit harder to press while the WASD keys a touch soft. Asus also gives the option to get the ROG NX switches for the keyboard in three different options. The media buttons on the top left-hand corner come in the shape of a knob, scroll wheel and button. Other than that, the 8,000 Hz polling rate resulting in an input delay of just 0.125 ms has certainly got me excited.
Sound dampening foam on this keyboard means a quieter and refined typing experience. Keycaps on the keyboard are crafted from premium PBT plastic and double-shot legends, so fading with time is out of question. The inclusion of passthrough port is another feature I rejoice in the Animate. All this for a steep price tag of $220 is justified when the ROG Strix Flare II Animate launches later in the month.