ASUS ROG Falchion Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Review
Mechanical keyboards are positively everywhere these days. Think of any manufacturer you like and the chances are they have at least one Cherry MX equipped keyboard in their peripheral range. For us it's brilliant because we know exactly how a Cherry switch feels beneath the fingers and instead we can concentrate on the bits that make each keyboard individual. Now we know that for many people the consistency of the underlying hardware is a boon that allows them to just go with brand loyalty and that's fine, but as reviewers we want to see companies do something new with the format to distinguish them from the competition.
The ROG Falchion Wireless definitely falls into this category.
The first thing that strikes you upon taking it from the box is the quality of the polycarbonate cover. Portable keyboards - okay all keyboards are portable but you know what we mean - are great but having it kept safe in transit isn't so easy, thus getting a form-fitting cover which is extremely robust already takes a lot of worry from our minds. The second thing you notice is how compact it is. We've seen TKL keyboards before and whilst we rely too heavily upon our number pads to ever want to use one ourselves, we know how popular the compact format is. ASUS have gone the extra mile with the Falchion, keeping the width to basically a foot wide and with pretty much no extraneous chassis peeking over the edges of the keys.
Lighting is, as you would expect from a combination of the famous Cherry RGB switches and ASUS control package, fantastic. Just look at the image which has graced the top of all the pages on this review and you can see that even the yellow is actually yellow, a claim which cannot be made against all RGB systems. The wireless connectivity is perfect with no lag to speak of and fast connection when you're setting up. We like the tightness of the dongle holder on the back of the keyboard too. Often we find these spaces to hold the dongle are far too big and it falls out, but here it's kept solidly in place.
The star of the show and the unique selling point of the Falchion is the combined battery indicator and touch pad on the left hand edge of the keyboard. It can be assigned to many things in the Armoury Crate software and is just so handily placed. You can control it with your pinky mid-flow and it is one of those additions that you wouldn't believe you'd want until you've experienced it, then you wish it appeared on full size keyboards too. Perhaps it will. We also love the fact that the arrow keys are dedicated, a feature which is by no means a common element of TKL keyboards and just helps your productivity instead of forcing you to find a modifier all the time.
Our review sample came equipped with the Cherry MX Red switch, comfortably the most popular switch type in the Cherry range with its linear actuation, no tactile bump or click. The Red's also have the light 45nm actuation pressure and a fairly short actuation distance. There is a misbelief that because mechanical keys can be pushed a long way down in comparison to scissor or dome switch types that you have to push it that far, whereas the reality is that you can be just as fast on a mechanical model as you can on a laptop style. However, ASUS do sell the Falchion with a selection of Red, Brown, Blue and Speed switches available.
The ROG Falchion Wireless has excellent wireless connection, fantastic lighting and typing feel from the Cherry switches, compact dimensions and that spectacular touch panel and is a perfect choice if you're in the market for a compact keyboard, especially at the MSRP of £149.99.