Asus recently made waves in the keyboard enthusiast community with the announcement of their new 75% custom mechanical gaming keyboard, the ROG Azoth. This keyboard is not your typical off-the-shelf product; it offers full customization and modding capabilities, allowing users to swap switches, caps, dampening foam, and gaskets to their heart’s content. To sweeten the deal, the Azoth even includes a beginner-friendly DIY switch lubing kit right in the box. And if that wasn’t enough, it also boasts tri-mode wireless, ROG NX switches with Aura RGB, mature software, and a battery that can last for months on a single charge.
Priced at $399, the Azoth is an exceptionally well-built piece of hardware, packed with functionality, performance, and endurance. Even for those who aren’t keen on keyboard modding, the out-of-the-box experience with the Azoth is superb. The compact 75% form factor is perfect for gaming, and keyboard enthusiasts like myself will be delighted by the embedded OLED display and multifunction control dial.
It’s safe to say that the Azoth is a highly impressive gaming keyboard that I wholeheartedly recommend.
Asus ROG Azoth Review
Unboxing the Azoth immediately reveals that this is no ordinary keyboard. The package comes in a large box with two sections—one for the Azoth itself and another for the DIY Switch Lube Kit. This comprehensive kit includes all the necessary tools for modding the Azoth, such as switch openers, a keycap puller, a switch puller, a lube station, a brush, and a bottle of Krytox GPL 205-GD0 lubricant. While serious modders might already have their own toolsets, this kit provides all the basics needed to get started.
As I pulled the Azoth out of the box, I was struck by its weight. Weighing in at 1.18 kilograms, this keyboard exudes a premium feel with its gunmetal finish. Its sleek, polished design and noticeable heft prevent it from sliding around during intense gaming sessions. The board features an ergonomic sloping design and two height-adjustable feet at the bottom. On the top edge, you’ll find the USB-C port, power toggle, and a storage slot for the 2.4GHz dongle, a much-appreciated addition.
The Azoth is a 75% keyboard, it’s the sweet spot between TKL and the ultra tiny and frustrating to use 60% boards. I personally love this form factor because it provides the benefits of a dedicated function key row which saves you the headache of trying to remember Fn+Key shortcuts. The keys are also spacious enough that the board doesn’t feel tiny even if it measures a mere 32 centimeters wide. It’s an excellent space-saver and the size works well for the that angled, gamer positioning that’s easier on your left wrist.
One standout feature is the OLED screen, which offers great utility. It can display anything from CPU/GPU temperatures to custom GIF animations. The greyscale display boasts sufficient pixel density for clear images and smooth animations. Paired with the display is a multifunction dial, granting users extensive control with just one finger. It allows adjustments to volume, track skipping, brightness, and more. Although I wish the dial were slightly more substantial in size, comparable to the one on the ROG Strix Flare II board that inspired it, it still performs admirably.
To customize the display items and functionality, users will need to delve into the Asus Armoury Crate software. Fortunately, this app is relatively user-friendly, unlike certain other brands’ software that may require a YouTube tutorial to navigate. Asus offers plenty of preloaded animations and images, but users can also add their own custom creations. Armoury Crate provides controls for lighting, key bindings, and macro recording. The Azoth features onboard memory, allowing users to store up to six different profiles for various use cases.
Keycaps and Switches
Out of the box, the Azoth comes preinstalled with ROG NX mechanical switches, available in Red, Brown, or Blue styles, depending on your preference. These switches come pre-lubed and sport ROG PBT Doubleshot keycaps, which offer a delightful tactile feel. The Azoth features mid-height keycaps with shorter stems, reducing key wobble. Moreover, the keyboard stabilizer has been pre-lubed, ensuring that longer keys like the spacebar, shift, and enter keys feel just as exceptional as the rest.
Additionally, the board adopts a silicon gasket mount design, which enhances the typing experience by providing a cushioned and pleasant feel. This is a feature I haven’t encountered on any other mechanical keyboard thus far. The keys offer a smooth, crisp, and responsive sensation that’s difficult to describe with words. It’s undeniably one of the best off-the-shelf keyboards in terms of tactile feedback. Remarkably, it’s also surprisingly quiet, thanks to a 3.5mm silicon padding and PORON foam that absorb case ping. I now understand what YouTubers mean when they talk about “thockiness.”
One of the standout features for keyboard enthusiasts and modders is the hot-swappable switches. The Azoth includes a DIY Switch Lube Kit, complete with a keycap and switch puller, as well as a switch opener, to facilitate the process. This keyboard is built from the ground up with modding and customization in mind. It boasts multiple accessible layers that can be swapped out, including the keys, switches, gaskets, padding, and foam. While I personally didn’t engage in DIY modifications, it’s impressive to see Asus, a mainstream brand, confidently offer such possibilities. Straight out of the box, my sample with NX Reds provided a sublime and immensely satisfying typing experience. I can only imagine the joy it would bring to master modders.
Connectivity and Battery Life
In addition to its impressive design, construction, and customization potential, the Azoth truly shines in the realm of electronics. The keyboard supports ROG SpeedNova wireless, Asus’s proprietary tri-mode wireless technology. It offers latency-free 2.4GHz connectivity via a tiny USB 2.0 Type-A dongle, which conveniently docks into the top frame of the Azoth. Bluetooth 5.1 is also supported, although it cannot be used simultaneously with the 2.4GHz connection—users must manually switch between the two using the toggle switch.
The connection has been rock solid with never a moments hesitation even though my dongle was on the back of my PC, next to another wireless dongle for my Roccat Kone Air mouse. Asus provides a dongle extender in the box but I never needed it. And if wireless isn’t your cup of tea, the Azoth also works perfectly fine over USB Type-C cable.
But here’s where things get truly remarkable—the Azoth can operate wirelessly for up to 2000 hours on a single charge. Granted, this requires using strictly Bluetooth mode and turning off the RGB lighting, but even then, it’s an insanely long battery life. In my usage, which included utilizing the 2.4GHz connection and enjoying the captivating lighting effects, I’ve only consumed 51% of the battery after nearly a month of use. No matter what anyone says, this battery performance alone is enough to catapult the Azoth into the upper echelons of mechanical gaming keyboards.
It’s safe to say that the ROG Azoth is one of the best—if not the best—mechanical gaming keyboards available from a large OEM brand like Asus. This keyboard is particularly enticing for keyboard enthusiasts and modders seeking flexibility in customizing their setups. While smaller brands offer alternatives, it takes a true keyboard nerd to discern which ones are trustworthy. For those teetering on the edge of keyboard modding, the Azoth is a safe bet. Custom keyboards often exceed the $500 mark, so at $399, the Azoth, which comes bundled with a DIY Lube Kit, serves as an excellent starting point.
However, even if you’re not inclined to engage in DIY modifications, the Azoth remains a fantastic gaming keyboard in its own right. It boasts exceptional build quality, tri-mode wireless connectivity, brilliant ROG NX switches, and a battery life that can last for months. There’s virtually nothing to complain about when it comes to this keyboard—aside from the fact that I have to return it once I finish this review. Go and buy one immediately!
Asus Australia kindly loaned the ROG Azoth to PowerUp! for the purpose of this review.