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Asus ROG Strix Scope vs ROG Strix Flare gaming keyboard: which one should you buy?

Asus ROG Strix Scope

Asus ROG Strix Scope

(Image credit: Asus)

What may be the best gaming keyboard for you, may not be the best gaming keyboard for another. Some like the feel of linear switches instead of tactile, Cherry Blues instead of Reds, or full-sized instead of tenkeyless. Whatever your preference, there's most likely going to be something that fits what you're looking for near exactly as gaming keyboard manufacturers generally provide a wide variety of options at different price points.

The Asus ROG Strix Scope and Asus ROG Strix Flare are two such keyboards that both offer multiple switch variations, beautiful RGB lighting, and a slim-enough footprint for a full-sized keyboard. Either of these gaming keyboards are great for dedicated FPS players, yet depending on your budget, you'll get extra features with one over the other—but that may or may not matter to you anyway.

Asus ROG Strix Scope

This is the more 'budget' of the two keyboards, sacrificing some frills like a wrist rest and dedicated media controls in favor of a simple, clean look. But in doing so it brings the focus entirely on its functionality and throws a few surprises into the mix too.

The Scope comes in just about every type of switch you can think of: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Red, Black, Silent Red, and Speed Silver. No matter your 'click' preference, Asus has you covered with both linear and tactile switches, and silent and clicky switches. The actuation force ranges from 45g to 60g, with the Red, Brown, and Speed switches on the light end and the Blue and Black switches on the heavy end. Most of the switches have a 2mm or 2.2mm actuation point, but the Silent Reds have a 1.9mm and the Speeds have a 1.2mm. If you're not sure what switches to get, this guide further elaborates on the differences and will help you find the right keys for your fingertips.

One major advantage of the Asus ROG Strix Scope over the Flare is the larger than usual left Ctrl key, which makes it easier to reach if you need to crouch and find cover in the middle of an intense firefight. In fact, the slim footprint of this keyboard makes it easier to reach many of the keys on the bottom row, which are often critical in playing FPSs. 

Additionally, there's on-the-fly macro recording and even a 'stealth' key for instantly minimizing and muting any programs you have running (that you'll use for good, not evil, right?) And, of course, there's anti-ghosting and N-key rollover. Even without dedicated media controls, there's still a toggle option that lets you flip between media controls or standard function buttons. For such an unassuming keyboard, it's got a lot of flare.

Asus ROG Strix Flare

Asus ROG Strix Flare

(Image credit: Asus)

Asus ROG Strix Flare

Which ironically brings us to the aptly named ROG Strix Flare, one that has more actual flare than the Scope. The Flare comes in all the same switch varieties, but adds dedicated media controls to the top left side of the keyboard—which is a smart design in itself, since you don't have to move your hand off the mouse to lower the volume with the volume wheel, for instance. Other similar keyboards from brands like Corsair and Razer put the controls on the right side or spread them across the top of the keyboard.

There's also a USB passthrough conveniently located at the top of the keyboard, and right next to that is a customizable clear acrylic badge. Every Flare keyboard comes with a blank one so you can have a little representation of your personality on your keyboard—other than personalizing your RGB lighting scheme, of course.

The Flare also has a detectable plastic wrist rest, which the Scope doesn't. However, it doesn't ever feel like it can fully attach in the way it's meant to, but as long as you don't aggressively slide or knock your keyboard around, it will stay in place.

There is no 'stealth' key on this Asus gaming keyboard model, but there is a Windows lock key by the media controls. You're still getting anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, and on-the-fly macro recording with the Flare, too, as well as saving multiple profiles via the onboard memory. The left Ctrl key is smaller though, so depending on your finger span you may or may not have to reach a bit farther to hit that key and the other bottom row keys.

Which one should I buy?

The Asus ROG Strix Scope is generally around $139.99 and the Asus ROG Strix Flare is $129.99, depending on what retailers are having deals or not at any given time. With both of these models, you are getting the same quality construction and the same choice of key switches (depending on what is in stock), so your decision is likely going to come from the extra features each one has—especially with them being nearly identical in price.

If you absolutely need your dedicated media controls and USB passthrough, go with the Flare. If you prefer to game and type as comfortably as possible, go with the Scope (or if you need to hide whatever it is you're doing on your PC with a push of a button). I personally prefer the Flare to the Scope just for the volume control wheel, but either model will work just fine if you're a dedicated FPS player.

When Joanna's not writing about gaming desktops, cloud gaming, or other hardware-related things, she's doing terrible stuff in The Sims 4, roleplaying as a Malkavian, or playing horror games that would give normal people nightmares. She also likes narrative adventures.