Tiny mechanical keyboards are all the fad in the intervening time. However the ones from gaming firms like Razer and Corsair attempt to be all the pieces to everybody: preferrred companions for each desktops and mobiles. Asus is taking a extra targeted strategy with the ROG Falchion. With an RF-only wi-fi USB connection, it’s laser-targeted at PC avid gamers.
The Falchion ought to look acquainted in case you’re a mech keyboard fanatic. It’s utilizing the unofficial “65 %” structure, with one additional column of keys past absolutely the minimal alphanumeric association. This provides it simply sufficient house for a full arrow cluster—a must have for a lot of customers, notably avid gamers.
It’s acquired the contact
However the Falchion additionally has a hidden trick: a touch-sensitive strip on the left facet of the case, cleverly concealing quantity controls. It is a good addition for such a small keyboard. The strip is illuminated. Whenever you contact it, the sunshine signifies quantity degree whilst you make changes. When not touched, the sunshine signifies battery degree.
Talking of battery, in my testing it went from 100% to twenty % in beneath two days with full RGB lighting on, at my typical 8-10 hours a day of use. On the 20 % mark the board shuts off all lights besides the battery indicator, and the software program reported that it stayed at 20 % for an additional 5 days. Given the product’s quoted 450 hours of non-LED use, and my very own private expertise with wi-fi keyboards, I predict two to a few months of use at 100% battery with no lights.
Connectivity and key switches
In contrast to different premium wi-fi gaming keyboards, such because the Razer BlackWidow Mini, the Falchion is proscribed to an RF wi-fi connection, versus providing each a USB dongle and Bluetooth. In consequence it’s not as versatile nor suitable with tablets and telephones.
Since Asus positions the Falchion for gaming, it presumes you’ll be utilizing the keyboard with a desktop PC or a beefy gaming laptop computer that doesn’t lack for USB-A ports. It’s a daring gambit, and one that may rankle a number of customers who wish to take their wi-fi keyboard on a Starbucks run.
Asus makes use of Cherry MX switches for the Falchion: Our overview unit featured linear Reds, which is smart given its gaming focus. Sizzling-swapping switches just isn’t an possibility. The package deal additionally contains the dongle, USB cable, USB C-to-A adapter, and a plastic tray that may shield the board in a bag. When not used to guard the keys, the tray may be reversed and connected to the underside of the keyboard, with cutouts for the ports, energy button, and contact bar. Personally, I’d choose a normal neoprene case for defense, however this case is best than nothing.
Typing on the Falchion was easy and dependable, with a pleasant angled raise supplied by folding keyboard toes. Gaming on the board was additionally satisfying, with none noticeable enter lag.
The large downside for this small board is the software program. Whereas Asus’ driver package deal affords myriad choices for each lighting and macros, all saved throughout the keyboard’s native reminiscence, the software program doesn’t permit you to modify the perform layer or transfer the Fn button. Elements of the software program appeared unfinished. To wit, the software program is serviceable for gaming— although notably inferior to alternate options from Razer, Logitech, and many others.— however it’s very unhealthy in case you’re on the lookout for extra advanced programming for normal work duties.
The Falchion isn’t low-cost at $150, and its lack of flexibility in connection, switches, and programming isn’t doing it any favors. Whereas I respect the carrying case for travelling, leaving out the Bluetooth connection means it’s a problem to make use of with something however a bigger laptop computer. Until you actually love that contact panel for quantity controls, there are higher selections on the market for small gaming-focused boards.