Written by Soon Kai Hong
If you’re into PC gaming, you’ll know that not only is your PC hardware important, but the accompanying peripherals and accessories make up the whole experience as well.
This here is the Asus ROG Strix Scope PBT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Oof. Now that’s quite the mouthful. But hold on! Don’t leave just yet. For this keyboard is slightly more unique, and the clue is in the name.
PBT. Or to be exact, Polybutylene Terephthalate. No worries, we’ll explain.
So… What’s PBT?
If you’re familiar with keyboards in general, you’ll know that most of them are made primarily using ABS plastic, which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. The main reason being that it’s really affordable, and the material itself is pretty light while remaining sturdy enough for general use.
But that’s not to mean that there aren’t any downsides. ABS is susceptible to wear and tear over time, breakage even. But more so than not the coating starts to fade and will develop a sheen, which really makes it look old and worn even with careful usage.
So in comes PBT.
To keep it short, PBT is much more durable, has better impact resistance, much better stain resistance as well, while being stiffer in characteristic and most importantly, doesn’t develop that sheen over time.
This specific material is what makes up the keycaps of the ROG Strix Scope PBT right here.
Design & Finish
The ROG Strix Scope PBT comes only in one length at the moment, standard full size, complete with the numpad. The keycaps are, of course, made of PBT, and comes in a two-tone finish of grey and black, with 3 specific keys coming in that signature ROG red. The entire chassis is made of plastic, but there’s an aluminium faceplate for added rigidity and flair, which also sports a two-tone design.
As for the font, it’s the standard ROG font that you’ll see on many of the ROG products. It’s slightly gamer-y for our tastes, but in short, it’s all right. One thing to note is also the lack of any RGB backlight in this day and age! In fact, there’s none at all.
Simple but durable is the name of the game here.
The bottom of the keyboard features 5 decently sized rubber feet, which holds the keyboard in place rather well, even if you get a little too engrossed during a competitive match. Also built-in is a cable management system, which allows you to have the keyboard peek out from either side, on top of the traditional top position. Two flaps are also present, should you want a slightly more elevated position while typing or gaming.
The non-removable USB cable is a slight oversight in our opinion, but at least it’s braided, and the USB is gold-plated.
To fully utilize the ROG Strix Scope PBT, you’ll have to download the ROG Armoury II software.
The software will allow you to save up to 6 different profiles, 5 custom and 1 default, which does save to the onboard memory on the keyboard, allowing you to bring your settings wherever you go. You can simply switch to your desired profile using the Fn key and the number key of choice on the number row, indicated by the roman numerals.
The keys themselves are also fully reprogrammable, and of course, you can also do on-the-fly macro recordings as well.
One interesting thing about this keyboard is the function row, which isn’t like most other keyboards out there. F1 to F4 are standard keys, while F5 to F11 are mostly your media controls, such as play, pause, volume up, volume down, so on and so forth.
While the last key, F12, is a little unique.
It’s called the Stealth key, and it’s easily recognizable by the little cloaked-figure motif. A quick tap of it will instantly hide all apps and mutes all audio. Certainly… sounds interesting. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
To access your standard function keys, you can still use the Fn key + your desired function key.
Apart from those, you’ll also notice the enlarged Ctrl key on the bottom left corner. Based on findings from the ROG R&D team, which scrutinized the play style of numerous FPS gamers, this was what they came up with. It’s called Xccurate Design, and it’ll ensure fewer missed clicks and greater precision.
Which, to be honest, it’s not exactly rocket science.
A larger key makes it easier to reach and activate, even if you’re slightly off your game in the heat of battle. Simple as that.
The other useful key is the lock toggle for the Windows button, which should come in handy. Like most other mechanical gaming keyboards out there, the ROG Strix Scope PBT also features 100% Anti-Ghosting and N-Key Rollover.
Key Switches & The Overall Experience
For our model of the ROG Strix Scope PBT, it came equipped with Cherry MX Reds.
Cherry MX Reds are linear switches. What that means is that you’ll not feel any bump or feedback when you press down and actuate the key, and you won’t hear a click. The switches themselves require 45g of tactile force, and have 2mm of travel to actuation, and 4mm of travel to the bottom.
Personally, I do like Cherry MX Reds and linear switches general. It feels to be the most balanced of the bunch, providing a great experience for both typing and gaming, without being too heavily skewed towards one side or the other.
At the moment of writing this review, the ROG Strix Scope PBT comes only in Cherry MX Reds flavour, but more options should be available in the near future.
The Asus ROG Strix Scope PBT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is without doubt, a great one. It offers a great typing experience and subjectively, a better gaming experience at that. Most of the key layout is well thought out, and the enlarged Ctrl key, though nothing fancy, is a nice touch.
Our only gripes with it would be the non-detachable cable, the lack of any backlighting, and perhaps for some out there, the color scheme, for it only comes in the standard ROG colours.
It simply comes down to personal preference.
If you like some of that RGB goodness in your setup, perhaps other offerings of the ABS variety from ROG might be the way to go. But if you’re looking for something that’s more durable, and will withstand the test of time while retaining that pristine look, you can give the Asus ROG Strix Scope PBT a shot.
More information and purchase options for the Asus ROG Strix Scope PBT (S$199) is available at the Asus ROG website.