We got the opportunity to have a good look at another Asus Strix gaming peripheral – a Tactic Pro keyboard.
When you first take the Tactic Pro keyboard out of the box the first thing that comes to mind is – man, this thing’s heavy! Of course, it’s come to be expected for a mechanical keyboard to be a bit on the heavy and robust side, but even then it’s much more noticeable with this Asus keyboard. The whole peripheral is coated in some sort of rubberized plastic, meaning that it absolutely won’t slip, your hands will always be where you want them, and it will be tough to accidentally slide the keyboard from it’s position. Round that off with backlit keys and company logo and we have a very visually striking keyboard in Tactic Pro.
Not counting the extra keys, the key layout is completely standard. The Tactic Pro features a full keyboard with num-pad, and two rows of five macro keys on it’s left hand side. There are also three small buttons that can be mapped to macros or other commands located below the spacebar. This is the first time we’ve encountered this feature, but when we think about it, it’s fairly logical, because these buttons can be reached easily with your thumb that’s hovering over the spacebar anyway. In the upper right corner are the standard multimedia keys and we particularly liked the highly practical volume scroll wheel.
The keyboard features Cherry MX mechanical switches and it’s interesting to note that the customer can pick a model with either black, blue, red and brown switches – each of which has different characteristics when it comes to how tactile they are. The model we reviewed came with brown switches which are a less tactile type and are somewhere between gaming-oriented red switches and typing-oriented black switches. The experience is pretty good while both gaming and typing, and is a great choice for those that prefer mechanical keyboards. The manufacturer states that these keys have a life span of 50 million clicks, which is some 10 times more than that of standard keyboard keys. Also, the keys are very responsive and this enables you to achieve a very high APM (actions-per-minute) in games that demand it. Four additional keys of different color are also provided, as well as a key removal tool, which enable you to have, for example, different colored WSAD keys if you so choose, or any other four keys for that matter. Of course, when it comes to high APM input on weaker keyboards, there is the issue of ghosting, i.e. the keyboard not registering all of the simultaneously pressed keys. That’s why the Tactic Pro normally supports anti-ghosting for up to 6 simultaneous inputs, and by turning on the special NKRO command it enables total anti-ghosting, no matter how many keys are simultaneously pressed. We’ll have to take their word on it, because we really couldn’t manage to simultaneously press all 100+ keys on this keyboard, no matter how hard we tried.
One of the main advantages of this keyboard is it’s customizability through the use of macro keys. Along with the mentioned 13 dedicated macro keys, there’s the possibility to turn F1-F8 keys into macro keys with a click of a button, just bear in mind that if you do that, those keys will no longer respond to commands bound to the standard F keys. The macros are set up in the Strix software and can be bound to several different profiles, and the keyboard itself features LEDs that show which profile is currently selected. Another great new feature is a macro-record button which allows you to record a new macro sequence without leaving the game and accessing the Strix software. What’s even better is the ability to save your settings in either software or hardware mode, and while the software mode will only work on those PCs that have the Strix software installed, the hardware mode will save your settings to the keyboard’s 4MB of internal memory and allow you access to all of them anywhere as soon as you connect the keyboard and without the need to install anything.
Asus Strix Pro is a truly phenomenal keyboard which is ideally suited to those players that prefer mechanical keys, but this comes at a price in range with the most expensive models on the market. However, if you plan on dedicating that much money for a top-tier gaming keyboard, then the Tactic Pro comes highly recommended!