With the recent popularity of custom keyboards, many up-and-coming keyboard manufacturers such as Keychron or iKBC to name a few have launched multi-mode wireless mechanical keyboards, and minimalist desktops have become all the rage today. Asus, the market leader, also wants to continue to invest in the peripheral market.
The ROG Falchion wireless keyboard we got this time is an extremely simplified style product, with a compact style of 68 keys, light and easy to carry, 65% key arrangement compared to 60% arrangement style to increase the most important directional keys and Page up/down and other practical keys, the full keyboard is made of PBT material, support translucent RGB AURA SYNC, keycaps are PBT The keyboard supports N-key rollover and the biggest highlight is the touch volume bar on the left side, which can be edited separately for other functions to aid gaming.
So, let’s dig into the detail!
The keyboard is connected by both wired (Type-c) and 2.4G wireless but unfortunately does not support Bluetooth for easy multi-platform adaptation. The volume slider on the left side is responsive and can also be set to match different sliders for different applications.
The usage experience
Let’s start with the key experience, Cherry’s MX Red has been around for a long time, and as a gaming keyboard, the lack of a paragraph feel to the strikes does feel like something is missing, but the silence does solve a pain point for many users, and the quick rebound, as well as the easy trigger, is really an easy way to increase hand speed. Secondly, from a gamer’s point of view, the 68-key configuration does meet most of the usage scenarios, but unfortunately, it is extremely unfriendly to users who use function keys in the office area, and symbols and functions that require 2-3 layers of key combinations to press out must take a long time to get used to, which is why keyboards like the HHKB are simply not suitable for the average user. Plus, Falchion’s keycaps are slightly higher than Cherry’s, making the overall keyboard taller, it is best used with a handrest, whereas the Asus does not come with it and users need to purchase one separately. Once again, as a portable gaming keyboard, it’s a real shame that there’s no Bluetooth, although the 2.4G wireless is effective in reducing latency, the good thing is that the hibernation wake up time is very quick. As for battery life, ASUS officially says it can last up to 450 hours with the lights off, but unfortunately, the 4000mAh battery really won’t last that long, after close to 2 months or so of testing we found that the real usage time is around 320 hours without RGB, turned RGB on and adjusted to a moderate brightness (50%), it will support about 1 week around of moderate use. When testing the key conflict, we found that the Falchion did not achieve N-key rollover, and under the game ‘DJMAX Respect V’, any combination of 7 keys could not be pressed at the same time, this means that the keyboard is very unfriendly to multi-key music games
This time, we disassembled the Falchion keyboard. Compared to other brands, the Falchion does not have many locking screws, which makes it relatively easy to teardown, and we also found very interesting things, which will be explained below.
The wireless chip is one of the interesting things we found, the CC2640R2F from Texas Instruments. This chip is actually a Bluetooth wireless MCU and supports Low Energy BT version 5.1. But for some reason, Asus has not enabled all the features of this chip
The second very interesting point is the lithium-ion battery used in this keyboard, model C11P1707, 4000mAh, which is actually used for Asus ZenFone Max M1, and this battery has not been modified at all for any connection, directly using the original BTB interface, we tested replacing a battery of the same model, the keyboard can light up and successfully identify the power in Armoury Crate. In other words, if the battery decays after more than 1 year of use, it is possible to solve the problem of lack of battery life by replacing it with customers themself. In theory, a C11P1706 battery with the same interface but a higher capacity of 5000mAh may also be directly replaced, but unfortunately, we did not have this battery and were unable to test
Overall, this keyboard stands out in its category and is very well positioned in the market. In this current climate, more users prefer a lightweight and portable keyboard design language, and ASUS’ move into the 65% size at this time is indeed a major trend, after all, the bar for custom keyboards is now getting lower and lower, and pricing at around AU$239 is not stable in the Australian market, but this wireless keyboard competing with the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini does have some price advantages. In terms of portability, the use of a 4000mAh battery and the support of fast charging does greatly extend the usage time, which really dispels the blind distrust of many users towards wireless keyboards and breaks the spell of “not only office peripherals deserve to have long battery life”.
EPIC REWARD: EPIC RECOMMENDED, DESIGN AWARD
ASUS ROG FALCHION OFFICIAL WEBSITE: HERE