I hate low-profile keyboards, but Asus’ latest keyboard has converted me

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I no longer use low-profile keyboards. After briefly using the Logitech G915, I was quickly swept into the mechanical keyboard enthusiast community, and I’ve cringed at the sound of low-profile mechanical keyboards ever since. Call me arrogant, but that’s not my thing.

So, I was surprised that the Asus ROG Falchion RX LP managed to stay put on my desk. I’ll come back to a keyboard that I’ve ultimately customized every bit of, but the ROG Falchion RX LP makes a convincing argument for a low-profile form factor with a few key changes to this established design.

Meet the Falchion RX LP

ROG logo on the Falchion RX LP keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Let’s first get acquainted with the Falchion RX LP keyboard. This is a low-profile mechanical keyboard, which means the switches and keys are shorter. That changes the profile of the keyboard, with the keys lying flush on the top of the body. This take has a 65% layout, fits the arrow keys but no Function keys, and Asus managed to cram it all into the 60% keyboard frame.

The result is a keyboard with no wasted space. Similar to the light bar at the top with some unique features (more on that soon), the buttons are all tucked into one. This can cause several problems, such as bumps Top of Page key when you want to hit Enter, or knock Insert lock when leaving Delete, but I can already type 10,000 (or more) words on the keyboard without too many problems.

Switches and dongles on the Asus ROG Falchion RX LP keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

For connections, this keyboard supports the Asus Omni adapter, allowing you to connect multiple Asus peripherals with a single dongle. It also supports three connection modes — low-latency 2.4GHz wireless connection via the Omni adapter, Bluetooth (up to three devices), or wired via USB-C. You can switch between these modes with the buttons on the back of the keyboard.

Next to that switch is a toggle for Mac or PC layout, another trick the Falchion RX LP pulls off. It supports macOS. I suspect most people will use this keyboard with a PC, but the flexibility is nice, especially considering how portable it is.

Touch strip on the Asus ROG Falchion RX LP keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Beyond connectivity, the Falchion RX LP has a unique touch strip on the back of the keyboard. This small cavity has several protrusions and occupies about a quarter of the back of the keyboard, and by default, it serves as a way to adjust your volume. However, the button next to the strip changes its function. You can use it as a media control and even as a macro. By default, the macro defaults to scrolling web pages.

It’s an ingenious device, and it works much better than I expected. You have commands to swipe up and down, but also commands if you tap the strip. You can bind them to different commands, such as launching applications or triggering Windows shortcuts. Other keyboards have this kind of functionality, but they’re usually layered over other keys in a small form factor. The addition of a touch strip gives you a dedicated place to access the Falchion RX LP’s additional functionality, and it works.

As you’d expect from an Asus keyboard, there are a number of customization options. You get per-key RGB lighting, settings for when the keyboard sleeps, and a gaming mode that disables key combinations like alternative + F4. It meets all the basic features of a solid gaming keyboard and even goes beyond the touch strip. But that’s not why I like the Falchion RX LP so much.

It’s all about feelings

Keycaps on the ROG Falchion RX LP keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Feeling. For my keyboard snob fingers, it all comes down to the feel of typing and gaming, and Asus delivers on that with the Falchion RX LP. Every low-profile keyboard I’ve tried has had its advantages, resulting in a crisp typing experience, but Asus improved the design with a few key changes.

First, the switch. These are low profile optical switches, and Asus has linear red switches with a low actuation force of 40 grams, and heavy tactile blue switches with an actuation force of 55 grams. The switch is lubricated from the factory, but what is important is how stable it is. Asus uses four mounting holes rather than mounting key caps like you see on keyboards like the Logitech G915 or relying on low-profile Cherry stems.

Key switches on the Falchion RX LP keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

This is a body that extends through the actual switch, rather than being mounted directly over the switch. There is no wobble on the keycaps. With regular switches, a little wobble is easy to forgive, but it makes a big difference on a low-profile keyboard due to not only the short actuation point but also the flat nature of the profile. The lack of sway on the Falchion RX LP makes it feel like you can fly across the keys.

Another factor that influences feel is the integrated foam board. Asus includes two layers of silicone to absorb the pinging sound you find on lesser mechanical keyboards. Sound absorption is one of the important factors that differentiates a regular mechanical gaming keyboard from the more enthusiastic options, which are featured in full display with Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96.

Every low-profile mechanical keyboard I’ve ever tried has had an almost cheap feel due to the lack of sound absorption. It’s a mess, even with linear switches. There’s a hint of that sound on the Falchion RX LP, but it’s much softer than other low-profile options.

A low profile winner

The Asus ROG Falchion RX LP keyboard is on top of the casing.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Over the past few years, Asus has been at the forefront of bringing enthusiast designs to the mainstream with its gaming keyboards, but the Falchion RX LP is something different. This feels like an opportunity for Asus to flex its muscles, taking what it has learned from keyboards like the Strix Scope II 96 and ROG Azoth will make a low-profile keyboard that has no competitors.

That doesn’t mean this is a great keyboard for everyone. There aren’t many options for customization due to the low-profile switches, so don’t expect to be able to swap out keycaps or switches in the future. Plus, while it’s by far the best low-profile mechanical keyboard I’ve ever used, it’s still a low-profile mechanical keyboard — the typing experience on a regular mechanical keyboard is superior.

However, I was surprised at how much Asus managed to cram this keyboard into for $170. Windows and macOS support is huge; its travel-friendly nature gives you a premium feel on the go, and the intuitive touch bar opens up a range of options in such a small frame. If you’re looking for a low-profile mechanical keyboard, this is the one to buy.

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