Asus ROG Azoth Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
“The Asus ROG Azoth ticks all the boxes for an enthusiast mechanical keyboard, and still manages to impress.”
Multipurpose OLED display
Sublime writing experience
Gasket mounting design
Switch lubrication station included
North facing PCB may present key issues
Stock NX switches are not the best
I never thought I’d go for an out-of-the-box gaming keyboard over the custom mechanical keyboard I built last year. But here we are.
When Asus announced its 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’s among the best gaming keyboards you can buy. However, I didn’t expect it to be better than a custom mechanical keyboard for enthusiasts, and it is. Still, there are a couple of minor areas that I’d like to see Asus improve with a version two.
Enthusiastic design, main features
The ROG Azoth’s look is instantly recognizable to anyone in the world of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. It is a 75% design, following in the footsteps of Glorious GMMK Pro and Drop Sense75. However, there are some critical changes.
The top is an aluminum frame, but there’s no aluminum around the body like the GMMK Pro or Sense75. The Azoth is a heavy keyboard, but it’s not as heavy as these other enthusiast models due to its plastic bottom.
There’s a good reason for the plastic here. Azoth’s defining feature is that it supports Bluetooth and 2.4GHz low latency wireless, in addition to a wired connection. There is no other keyboard of the caliber of the Azoth that is wireless compatible, and that is mainly because it is difficult to transmit a wireless signal through aluminum. Asus committed, and I’m glad he did.
Battery life is also exceptional, even with the feature-rich OLED screen on the board. I started using the Azoth out of the box without charging (it got to half battery). After a week of daily use, I only needed 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 keyboard, and Asus has a lot to justify for the $250 list price. I’m not comparing the Azoth to keyboards like the equally expensive Razer Huntman V2, because it comes with the features and typing experience worthy of an enthusiast badge.
It uses a gasket mount, which was previously reserved for obscenely expensive keyboards like the Angry Miao Cyberboard R2. The plate is offset with silicone gaskets, providing soft cushioning for keystrokes and satisfaction. blow of a high-end mechanical keyboard.
Asus combines the joint support with stabilizers that make large keys like the space bar feel soft no matter where you hit them, as well as a foam plate to reduce clunking that’s undesirable for mechanical keyboards. The result? A sublime typing experience that even high-end enthusiast keyboards can’t match.
The only exception is the switches. Asus includes its own NX switches, either in a red (linear), blue (clicky), or brown (tactile) variety. I used the brown switches, and they’re better than the garden-variety Cherry switches found on keyboards like the Corsair K70 RGB Pro. The switches come pre-lubed and feel worthy of the price tag. But this is a keyboard that demands upgrades, and those upgrades are where it shines.
make it yours
The Azoth is fully customizable, and its real value lies in choosing a few other switches and keys and making the keyboard your own. You can change the switches with an included tool, similar to last year’s Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate.
I hunted down some Akko Wine Red switches and a cheap set of keycaps I found on Amazon—generally about a $50 upgrade—and it completely changed the typing experience. I still preferred my custom GMMK Pro with the stock setup, but with a couple of minor updates? Azoth is hard to get rid of.
However, I have a couple of minor issues here. For starters, the included keys aren’t great. They are double-shot PBT and quite durable, but Asus includes some strange additions. For example, you usually find a raised edge on the F Y j keys to point to where your home row is, but Asus moves this to the W key in place. I get that this is a gaming keyboard, but while gaming, the raised edge becomes more of a nuisance than a helpful guide.
Another problem is that the Azoth uses a north facing PCB. The RGB LEDs are on the top of the switch housing instead of the bottom. This is to allow light to shine through the translucent keycaps, but north-facing PCBs can interfere with certain keys and lead to a less desirable sound and typing feel.
Even with those issues, there’s no denying that Asus is taking mainstream mechanical keyboards to a place they’ve never been before, and I’m on board.
A functional OLED display
I’m not really into keyboard gimmicks, but the ROG Azoth’s OLED screen isn’t a gimmick. It’s a highly functional multipurpose hub that makes it a breeze to cycle through settings, change brightness, and add a bit of flair to your desktop.
On the side, there is a switch that you can toggle up and down to change the volume, adjust the brightness, etc. You can also press it for another function and use a button on the side for another. Combined, you can cycle through media controls, brightness settings, and lighting effects with just a few clicks.
You can also customize these features in the Asus Armory Crate. The OLED screen goes much further and can display custom animations, text, and even limited system information like CPU and temperature. All of these settings are stored in one profile, and you can also store up to six profiles on board.
This is the kind of core functionality you just don’t find in an enthusiast keyboard. Asus is bringing together the best of both worlds here.
The gaming keyboard to beat
Even with everything I’ve covered in this review, Azoth offers even more features, including MacOS compatibility and a lubrication station for your keyswitches. Asus is outperforming enthusiast keyboards on the feature front and outperforming mainstream keyboards on the quality front.
What’s surprising is that Asus isn’t charging much, 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. You’ll get a much higher quality keyboard with the Asus ROG Azoth for that price.