Asus entices gamers with 4K OLED monitors and an ultra-custom keyboard
Asus has a full-court press at CES 2022, despite the diminished circumstances, and its Republic of Gamers (ROG) sub-brand is right out in front. Easily the most eye-catching of its new products is a pair of OLED gaming monitors, both packing 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rates. The ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ is claimed as “the world’s first 42-inch OLED gaming monitor,” and we’re not about to argue. It’s also available in a 48-inch model, the PG48UQ.
On top of gorgeous panels, tiny bezels, and the typical ROG exterior styling (somewhere between a stealth jet and a fancy razor), Asus claims that the screens have a response time of just .1 milliseconds and a 1,00,000:1 contrast ratio. The screens are HDR10 compliant with two HDMI 2.1 ports, an extra two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, plus audio in and out. Notably missing from that list is USB-C/Thunderbolt support, or options for more conventional TV-style connections like optical audio. There’s also no word on compatibility with Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync.
Want to know when you can buy one, or how much it will cost? So would we. Asus is mum on both points, but presumably the general answers are “sometime in 2022” and “a whole lot of money.” For the sake of comparison, a 48-inch 4K OLED TV currently goes for about $1,100.
If you’re willing to drop four figures on your computer’s screen, you’d probably also like some premium options for the stuff sitting in front of it. Asus has you covered there with a new keyboard designed to appeal to both hardcore gamers and the most discerning of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. The ROG Strix Flare II Animate throws together everything you could want in a keyboard, plus an animated LED panel that you don’t. The dot matrix ornamentation in the corner can be customized, and it definitely won’t distract you in the middle of your gaming session.
We kid. This is an impressive board: It’s packing an aluminum alloy body, doubleshot PBT keycaps that show off RGB lighting, a media control cluster with a rolling volume bar and a “trigger” mechanism, an absolutely insane 8,000Hz polling rate, and even a pass-through USB 2.0 port for easy access to accessories. But what’s interesting from a mechanical perspective is the hot-swap switches: Asus invites you to swap them out with any Cherry MX-compatible switches you like.
The board is offered in a selection of three different Asus switches (tactile, clicky, linear), but you’re welcome to throw in any kind of exotic switch they’re recommending in the bowels of Reddit or GeekHack. It’s even packing sound-dampening foam on the interior, which is what all the cool custom builds are rocking this season. Asus even says it’s using custom-designed stabilizers for the larger keys, increasing stability and reducing friction.
On top of all that the Strix Flare II Animate offers a cushy magnetic wrist rest that’ll show off the keyboard’s side lighting with a diffuser, on-the-fly macro recording, and of course, full software customization. It won’t come cheap: Asus wants $220 for the keyboard when it goes on sale later this month. There’s a more subtle model that drops the dot matrix animation, but you also lose the side lighting and hot-swap switch option—a hefty loss for the reduced $180 price.
What about mice? Asus is demonstrating plenty at CES, but the one that caught our eye is a wireless model with all the bells and whistles, the ROG Chakram X. From the top it looks like your standard shooter mouse with some RGB trim, but on the left side is a tiny console-style thumbstick. Asus says it can be used for movement controls in analog mode, or bound to four different buttons in digital mode. Four asymmetrical standard thumb buttons round it out.
The Chakram X has an insane 3,600 DPI sensor, and works in wired mode (up to 8,000Hz polling), with Bluetooth 5.2, or with the included 2.4GHz USB receiver. It goes on sale in the first quarter, but there’s no price set as of yet.
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Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.