Asus ROG Azoth mechanical gaming keyboard
Choice of the DT editors
“The Asus ROG Azoth ticks all the boxes of an enthusiast mechanical keyboard and still manages to impress.”
Multipurpose OLED display
Sublime typing experience
Gasket mount design
Switch lubrication station included
A north-facing circuit board can cause problems with keycaps
Stock NX switches aren’t the best
I never thought I would choose an off-the-shelf gaming keyboard over the custom mechanical keyboard I built last year. But here we are.
When Asus announced their ROG Azoth, I knew right away that it was one of my most anticipated products of the year. Based on the spec sheet, it’s a piece of kit that ranks among the best gaming keyboards you can buy. However, I didn’t expect it to be better than a custom enthusiast mechanical keyboard, and it is. Still, there are a few minor areas that I would like Asus to improve with a second release.
The looks of the ROG Azoth are instantly recognizable to anyone in the mechanical keyboard enthusiast world. It’s a 75% design that follows in the footsteps of the Glorious GMMK Pro and Drop Sense75. However, there are some critical changes.
The top is an aluminum frame, but there isn’t aluminum all around the body like on the GMMK Pro or Sense75. The Azoth is a beefy keyboard, but not nearly as heavy as these other enthusiast models due to its plastic underside.
Here’s a good reason for plastic. The Azoth’s defining feature is that it supports low-latency 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth in addition to a wired connection. There’s no other Azoth-caliber keyboard that supports wireless, and that’s mainly because it’s difficult to transmit a wireless signal through aluminum. Asus made a compromise, and I’m glad it did.
Battery life is also exceptional, even with the feature-rich OLED screen on the board. I started using the Azoth without charging (it reached about half the battery). After a week of daily use, I’ve only had to charge it once, and I still have half the battery left as I write this review.
The 75% form factor doesn’t automatically make the Azoth an enthusiast’s keyboard, and Asus has a lot going for the $250 list price. I’m not comparing the Azoth to keyboards like the Razer Huntman V2 – which is similarly priced – because it’s packed with the features and typing experience worthy of an enthusiast’s badge.
It uses a gasket mount previously reserved for obscenely expensive keyboards like the Angry Miao Cyberboard R2. The plate is seated on silicone gaskets that provide a soft cushion for your keystrokes and satisfying think a high-end mechanical keyboard.
Asus pairs the gasket mount with stabilizers that ensure large keys like the spacebar feel smooth no matter where you hit them, and sheet foam to reduce metallic ping that is undesirable for mechanical keyboards. The result? A superior typing experience that even high-end enthusiast keyboards can’t match.
The only exception are the switches. Asus brings its own NX switches, either in a red (linear), blue (clicking), or brown (tactile) variant. I used the brown switches and they are better than the garden-variant cherry switches you find in keyboards like the Corsair K70 RGB Pro. The switches are pre-lubed and feel reasonable for the price. But this is a keyboard that requires upgrades, and it’s at those upgrades that it shines.
The Azoth is fully customizable, and its true value lies in picking up a few other switches and keycaps and making the keyboard your own. You can swap out the switches with an included tool, similar to last year’s Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate.
I grabbed some Akko Wine Red switches and a cheap set of keycaps I found on Amazon — about a $50 upgrade overall — and it completely transformed the typing experience. I still prefer my custom GMMK Pro with the default configuration but with a few minor upgrades? It’s hard to give up the Azoth.
However, I have a few minor issues here. For starters, the included keycaps aren’t that great. They’re double-shot PBT and very durable, but Asus includes some odd additions. For example, you will usually find a raised rim on the f and J buttons to signal where your home row is, but Asus moves these to the W key instead. I understand this is a gaming keyboard, but when gaming, the raised edge becomes more of an annoyance than a helpful guide.
Another issue is that the Azoth uses a north-facing circuit board. The RGB LEDs are on the top of the switch housing instead of the bottom. This allows the light to shine through the translucent lettering on the keycaps, but north-facing circuit boards can interfere with certain keycaps and result in a less than desirable sound and typing feel.
Despite these issues, there’s no denying that Asus is pushing mainstream mechanical keyboards to a place they’ve never been before, and I’m on board.
I’m not much for gimmicks on keyboards, but the ROG Azoth’s OLED display is no gimmick. It’s a highly functional, multipurpose hub that makes it a breeze to cycle through settings, change brightness, and add a little flair to your desk.
There’s a switch on the side that you can toggle up and down to change volume, adjust brightness, etc. You can also press it for another function and use a button on the side for another. Combined, you can scroll through media controls, brightness settings, and lighting effects with a few clicks.
These features can also be customized in Asus Armory Crate. The OLED display goes much further, being able to show custom animations, text and even some limited system information like your CPU and temperature. All of these settings are saved in a profile, and you can also save up to six profiles on board.
This is the kind of mainstream functionality you just don’t find on an enthusiast keyboard. Asus brings the best of both worlds together here.
Despite everything I’ve covered in this review, the Azoth still brings more features, including macOS support and a grease station for your keyswitches. Asus beats enthusiast keyboards on the feature front and mainstream keyboards on the quality front.
What’s shocking is that Asus doesn’t charge a huge premium, since $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. For this price you get a significantly higher quality keyboard with the Asus ROG Azoth.
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