Asus’ range of PC peripherals may not be quite as well-known as its laptops or PC hardware, but the Taiwanese company actually has some pretty good products in this category. The Asus ROG Claymore II, for one, is quite an intriguing wireless gaming keyboard.
Not only does the Claymore II offer very good battery life, it also features a detachable numpad and unique ROG RX optical switches that are surprisingly pleasant to type on. However, is it worth forking out RM999 for this wireless gaming keyboard? Keep on reading this review to find out!
What It Is
The ROG Claymore II is a wireless TKL mechanical keyboard, and it can be turned into a full-size keyboard once it is connected to the (detachable) numpad. Just like the ROG Strix Scope RX keyboard, this board comes with Asus’ very own ROG RX optical switches too.
Available with ROG RX Red (55g linear) or RX Blue (60g clicky) optical switch, the Claymore II in this review is configured with the latter switch option. Aside from that, it also has per-key RGB lighting – it’s a gaming keyboard, after all – a 4,000mAh battery that can return up to 144 hours of use, as well as a magnetic wrist rest.
The Good Stuff
Let’s start with the typing experience of the ROG Claymore II. As mentioned, this review unit comes with the RX Blue clicky optical switch, and it is…well, surprisingly good. While I’m not a fan of clicky switches, I didn’t quite mind typing with this RX Blue switch.
It has quite a pronounced tactile bump, it is not obnoxiously loud, and it actually reminds me of the Kailh Box White switch, which is considered to be one of the better clicky switches in the custom mechanical keyboard scene. You can listen to how the RX Blue switches sound like in the video below.
On top of that, the ROG RX Blue switch has very minimal wobble as well, thanks to the unique hollow square stem design with four “corner latches” and scissor-style stabiliser. Even when compared to the plethora of aftermarket switches, the RX Blue switch is up there among the best in terms of stability.
Another advantage of the ROG RX optical switch’s square stem design is superior backlight diffusion. Because the LED is placed right in the middle of the switch, you get very bright and consistent backlighting across all keys. If you want a gaming keyboard with bright, colourful RGB lighting, you’ll be very happy with the Claymore II.
And then there’s the form factor of the Claymore II. As mentioned, it’s a TKL keyboard that can be turned into a full-size board with the numpad attached. The best part is, you can attach the numpad to the left or right side of the keyboard. The numpad itself has these neat tile-shaped media keys too, and the scroll wheel even has a nice weight to it.
One of the appeals of a custom mechanical keyboard is the ability to change the mapping of the keys with relative ease, and the Claymore II can replicate this feature…to an extent. It’s not quite as intuitive to change the function of each key via the Armoury Crate software, but it’s still very possible – that’s a good thing in my books.
Last but certainly not least is the excellent battery life of the Claymore II. Asus’ quoted battery life is up to 144 hours with the backlighting switched off, which is definitely achievable. I’ve used the keyboard for weeks on end now, and it’s still at about 20% battery life.
Granted, I’ve been using the Claymore II without the numpad attached – I prefer a more compact layout – so do keep this in mind. Oh, the wireless performance of this keyboard is very good as well; I didn’t notice any issue with latency while gaming throughout the review period.
The Bad Stuff
Given that the ROG Claymore II is a pre-built keyboard, it does have a number of common shortcomings. One that sticks out the moment I started typing on the keyboard is its sound profile, which is…not very pleasant. It has a loud, plasticky sound profile, and the stabilisers have a tendency to tick too.
The thing is, unlike the Asus ROG Strix Scope RX keyboard I tested, the stabiliser wires of the Claymore II are not lubed at all. As a result, the stabilisers don’t sound quite as good as they should be.
Besides that, the unique stem design of the ROG RX switch also means that you cannot swap out the keycaps with aftermarket keycap sets. It’s not that the default keycaps are of bad quality – though it does attract oil very easily – but it does limit the customisability of the keyboard.
But the biggest negative of the Claymore II has to be its steep price tag. Retailing at RM999, you can build a decent custom mechanical keyboard with that kind of money. That being said, you do have to sacrifice on a number of features if you do so, including wireless support, the full-size layout, and of course, the unique detachable numpad.
Is It Worth It?
If the Asus ROG Claymore II’s feature set appeals to you, then yes, it’s worth it. There’s no denying that the RM999 asking price is high, but you do get a unique, feature-packed gaming keyboard with very long battery life, clicky, stable RX Blue switch – or very smooth RX Red linear switch if that’s more your thing – excellent latency in wireless mode, and detachable numpad.
On the flip side, if you can do without the Claymore II’s unique form factor, full-size layout, and wireless support, you can build a custom mechanical keyboard instead for about the same amount of money. Just be prepared to do a lot of research (and waiting) to build the right keyboard for your needs – our guides should help in that regard.