Asus ROG Azoth review: better than my custom gaming keyboard

Asus ROG Azoth review: better than my custom gaming keyboard

The Asus ROG Azoth keyboard sits among key switches and key caps.

Asus ROG Azoth Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

MSRP $250.00

“The Asus ROG Azoth ticks all the boxes of an enthusiast mechanical keyboard, and still manages to impress.”

Advantages

  • Multipurpose OLED Display

  • Sublime typing experience

  • Gasket mounting design

  • Change stabilizers

  • Switch lubing station included

Cons

  • A north facing PCB can present keycap issues

  • Stock NX switches are not the best

I never thought I’d prefer an off-the-shelf gaming keyboard to the custom mechanical keyboard I built last year. But here we are.

When Asus announced its ROG Azoth, I knew immediately that it was one of my most anticipated products of the year. Based on the datasheet, it’s a piece of kit that sits among the best gaming keyboards you can buy. I didn’t expect it to be better than a custom, enthusiast mechanical keyboard, though, and it is. Still, there are a few minor areas I’d like Asus to improve on with version two.

Enthusiastic design, mainstream features

ROG logo on Asus Azoth keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The look of the ROG Azoth is instantly recognizable to anyone in the world of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. It is a 75% design, following in the footsteps of the Glorious GMMK Pro and Drop Sense75. However, there are some crucial changes.

The top is an aluminum frame, but not aluminum throughout the body like the GMMK Pro or Sense75. The Azoth is a hefty keyboard, but not nearly as heavy as these other enthusiast models due to its plastic base.

There is a good reason for plastic here. The defining feature of the Azoth is that it supports 2.4GHz low-latency wireless and Bluetooth as well as a wired connection. There’s no other keyboard the quality of the Azoth that supports wireless, and that’s mainly because it’s difficult to transmit a wireless signal through aluminum. Asus took a risk, and I’m glad it did.

Battery life is also exceptional, even with the feature-rich OLED screen on board. I started using the Azoth out of the box without charging (it came down to about half a battery). After a week of daily use, I only needed to charge it once, and I still have half the battery left as I type this review.

Typing like a dream

Space keys on Asus ROG Azoth keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Azoth’s 75% form factor doesn’t automatically make it an enthusiastic keyboard, and Asus has plenty of justification for making it at the $250 list price. I’m not comparing the Azoth to keyboards like the Razer Huntman V2 – which is just as expensive – because it comes with the features and typing experience worthy of an enthusiast badge.

It uses a gasket mount, previously reserved for obscenely expensive keyboards like the Miao Cyber ​​Angry R2. The plate is offset on silicon gaskets, which provide a soft cushion for your keystrokes and your satisfaction thumb of a high-end mechanical keyboard.

Asus combines the gasket mount with stabilizers that make large keys like the spacebar feel smooth no matter where you hit them, as well as plate foam to cut down on the metallic ping that’s not desirable for mechanical keyboards. The result? A sublime typing experience that can’t compete with even high-end enthusiast keyboards.

The only exception is the switches. Asus includes its own NX switches, in a red (linear), blue (clicky), or brown (tactile) variety. I used the brown switches, and they are better than the garden variety Cherry switches you find in keyboards like the Corsair K70 RGB Pro. The switches come pre-lubed, and feel worth the price tag. But this is a keyboard that calls for upgrades, and those upgrades are where it shines.

Make it your own

Key switches are removed from the Asus ROG Azoth.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Azoth is fully customizable, and its real value is in picking up other switches and keycaps and making the keyboard your own. You can change the switches with an included tool, like last year’s Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animation.

I reached for some Akko Wine Red switches and a set of cheap keycaps I found on Amazon—all in all, about a $50 upgrade—and it completely changed the typing experience. I still prefer my custom GMMK Pro with the stock configuration, but with a few small upgrades? The Azoth is hard to banish.

I have a few minor questions here, though. First off, the included caps key isn’t great. They’re double-shot PBT and have plenty of durability, but Asus includes some odd additions. For example, you will usually find a raised edge on the F and J keys to indicate where your home line is, but Asus moves this to the W key instead. I understand this is a gaming keyboard, but when you’re playing games, the raised edge is more of a virtue than a helpful guide.

The Asus ROG Azoth with custom caps installed.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Another problem is that the Azoth uses a north facing PCB. The RGB lights are at the top of the switch housing instead of the bottom. This is to allow the light to enjoy translucent legends on the keys, but north-facing PCBs can interfere with certain key failures and create less desirable sound and typing.

Even with those issues, there’s no denying that Asus is pushing mainstream mechanical keyboards to a place they’ve never gone before, and I’m on board.

Functional OLED display

OLED display on Asus ROG Azoth keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I’m not much for gimmicks on keyboards, but the OLED display on the ROG Azoth is no gimmick. It’s a very functional multi-purpose hub that makes cycling through settings, changing your brightness, and adding a little flair to your desktop a breeze.

On the side, there is a switch that you can toggle up and down to change volume, adjust brightness, etc. You can also press down on it for another function and use a button on the side for yet another. Together, you can cycle through media controls, brightness settings, and lighting effects with a few clicks.

You can customize these functions in the Asus Armor crate, too. The OLED display goes much further and can display custom animations, text, and even some limited system information like your CPU and temperature. All these settings are stored in a profile, and you can also store up to six profiles on board.

This is the kind of mainstream functionality you won’t find on an enthusiast keyboard. Asus is bringing the best of both worlds together here.

The gaming keyboard to beat

Even with everything I covered in this review, the Azoth brings even more features, including MacOS support and a lubrication station for your key switches. Asus is beating enthusiast keyboards on the front end and mainstream keyboards on the quality front.

Lubrication station for the Asus ROG Azoth.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

What’s surprising is that Asus isn’t charging much of a premium, because $250 isn’t cheap for a gaming keyboard. That’s the same price as the Corsair K100 and $50 more than the SteelSeries Apex Pro. You are getting a much higher quality keyboard with the Asus ROG Azoth for that price.

Editors’ recommendations






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