One of the biggest shortcomings of wireless earbuds – especially for mobile gamers – is high latency, creating a disconnect between what’s on the screen and the actual audio. If you’re looking for wireless earbuds that can solve this issue, consider the Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless.
Launched in Malaysia just earlier this month, the Cetra is said to offer low latency for the best gaming experience. Throughout my time with the wireless earbuds, they do deliver on this promise, and the Cetra has decent hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) as well.
Of course, it still has some shortcomings here and there, and I’ll get to that in this review of the ROG Cetra.
What It Is
The Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless, like with other ROG-branded products, is catered to gamers; more specifically, mobile gamers. This being a pair of gaming-centric earbuds, its low latency is certainly one of the Cetra’s most important features; the hybrid ANC is more of a cherry on top.
Aside from ANC and low latency, the Cetra is said to return up to 5.5 hours of use on a single charge. Paired with the charging case, it has a total battery life of 27 hours. It also has an IPX4 rating, so while it’s not exactly water-resistant, it can survive some water splashes.
For the Malaysian market, the Cetra is priced at RM515; a reasonably good price tag for a pair of wireless earbuds with ANC, hybrid or not.
The Good Stuff
Naturally, the best selling point of the ROG Cetra is its low latency in Gaming mode, which can be activated in the Armory Crate app; it can also be switched on by tapping and holding the left earbud’s touch sensor. With the feature activated, Asus said the Cetra’s latency “nearly matches that of wired earphones.”
Needless to say, this is quite a bold claim, and it’s a claim the Cetra actually delivers on! While the latency isn’t great out of the box, activating Gaming mode does improve the latency quite a bit. While I wouldn’t say the latency is as good as wired earphones, I do have to say the Cetra got close – really close.
As for the hybrid ANC of the ROG Cetra, it’s not bad. It can eliminate low frequency rumbles relatively well, but it can’t quite cancel out human voices. But hey, at this price point, I’d say the Cetra has above average ANC performance. It would be unrealistic to expect, say, the same level of ANC as the Sony WF-1000XM4.
And then we have the audio quality of the Cetra, which is good enough for most folks. The mid-bass, for one, is strong and sufficient, even if it’s not particularly “tight.” Generally, these earbuds have a dark, warm sound signature, and unless you’re an audiophile, you’ll find the Cetra’s audio quality to be just fine.
Last but not least is the design of the ROG Cetra. Even though it has the typical “gamer aesthetic,” I do think it looks quite sleek. I also like the fact that the charging case has some neat lighting effects, especially the pixelated ROG logo on the inside of the case.
The Bad Stuff
Compared to other wireless earbuds in the market now, the battery life of the ROG Cetra True Wireless leaves much to be desired. Granted, I did manage to get Asus’ quoted battery life of 4.8 hours with ANC activated (5.5 hours with ANC off), but these figures are not exactly impressive.
Aside from that, I’m also not a fan of the Cetra’s silicone tips. They don’t feel as robust as they should be, and the seal isn’t very secure either. Yes, I’ve tried all of the tips that were provided with the earbuds. I did eventually manage to get the Cetra to sit securely in my ears, but not without some fiddling around.
My last gripe with the Cetra is the lack of better water resistance. Its IPX4 rating does protect it from some water splashes, but if it had more robust water protection, it would’ve been a better all-rounder.
Is It Worth It?
For RM515, I would say the Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless is worth it. It does deliver low latency as promised, not to mention serviceable ANC performance, a bassy sound signature, and sleek looks (in my opinion). You can do a lot worse than these earbuds at this price point.
Yes, the Cetra’s battery life and silicone tips could be better, but these shortcomings may not matter to some folks. For the latter, it’s easily addressed with third-party silicone tips, though it would’ve been ideal if the earbuds came with better tips in the first place.
Nonetheless, RM515 for the ROG Cetra is a good buy; even more so if you can get it at a lower price.