Keys To Success: Mechanical Keyboard Round-Up With ASUS, G.Skill, Aorus, Logitech

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ASUS Strix Tactic Pro Performance

Even though the Strix Tactic Pro is available in all four major Cherry MX key switches, you might have a tough time finding one with Cherry MX Red or Black—we couldn't find a single vendor selling either option. The Cherry MX Blue and Brown keys, however, are much more prevalent.

Key Switches

ASUS Strix Tactic Pro Cherry MX Blue

Our review model came with Cherry MX Blue key switches. These have been around for nearly a decade and are preferred by many typists because of their tactile feedback and "clicky" sound. Those within earshot might not appreciate them as much as the person using them, but for typists, the combination is a special kind of bliss that can't be replicated by a membrane keyboard.

If they're so desirable by typists, then why bother with other key switches? Not everyone favors the Cherry MX Blue switches, particularly gamers. Keeping in mind that we're dealing with generalities and subjective opinions, there are many gamers that prefer a softer feeling switch, particularly if there's a lot of double-tapping or rapid fire keystrokes involved.

Software

Asus Strix Tactic Pro Software

Keyboard and mouse software tends to be really simple or frustratingly complicated. In this case, it's the former, with the Strix Tactic Pro GUI offering easy and intuitive access to the many different macro keys. It essentially holds your hand through the macro creation process so you never feel overwhelmed or lost.

When you click on a macro key, the software asks you to choose from list of options that include Default, Keyboard Function, Mouse Function, Macro, Launch Program, and Disable. Depending on your selection, there are more options to scan. For example, if you choose the Mouse Function option, a new sub-menu appears asking you to select from Left Click, Right Click, Scroll Click, and so forth. The only option that's not immediately obvious is binding a macro key to opening a specific website. To do that, you would select Launch Program, click the Open Website radio button, and type in the URL you want to open.

You have multiple profiles to play with, three of which are selectable on the keyboard. ASUS allows you to create more profiles to shuffle through, and there's also the option of saving your settings to the keyboard itself (Hardware Mode).

The software isn't perfect. It's a little slow, sometimes taking several seconds to load an option after you've clicked a selection, and it's a bummer that you can't adjust the LED lighting on a per key basis. We also ran into an issue getting the macros to work in Windows 10. Part of the problem is that the software might not be tuned for Microsoft's latest OS—it's not even an option to download the Strix Tactic Pro software if you select Windows 10 from the pull-down menu.

In lieu of that, we selected Windows 8.1 and downloaded the latest software build. Macros worked fine on our Windows 8.1 test bed, but were a little stubborn in Windows 10, at least at first. The situation resolved itself after a few retries, but there was no rhyme or reason as to why the macros wouldn't work at first and then later decided to end their strike.

Performance

For daily typing chores, the Strix Tactic Pro doesn't suffer from being a gaming oriented plank. In fact, it benefits from it—all those macro keys can also be used to configure productivity shortcuts. It adds another level of convenience not found on most ordinary keyboards, and it does it without taking up a ton of space on your desk.

As a gaming keyboard, the Strix Tactic Pro is geared towards those that use a lot of macros. There are 21 of them, or 63 if you utilize all three profiles. It's also convenient that three of them are thumb keys conveniently located underneath the spacebar.

If you need them, the orange colored key caps are a bonus, though we're more jazzed about the key puller, an accessory every mechanical keyboard owner should have. ASUS also covers its bases with a Game Mode that disables the Windows key, and N-Key Rollover (NKRO) over USB, though we discovered an odd (and unintended) relationship between the two. When enabling Game Mode, the Windows key will only be disabled if NKRO is turned on as well. Otherwise, the Windows key operates as normal. Our troubleshooting efforts led us to discover that we're not the only ones to experience this issue, so hopefully it's something ASUS will address in a future firmware update.

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