We were sufficiently impressed with Asus’ Claymore mechanical switch keyboard back at Computex, but the company has continued to development the peripheral, and we’ll finally get a shipping product some time in Q2 2016.
There are two big changes from the version we saw this summer. One is the addition of a removable pad that you can attach to either the right side or the left side of the main keyboard. In effect, this gives you the option of using the Claymore as a tenkeyless device, and you can deploy the extra pad as either a full numpad or as a bank of macro keys. The other is tight integration between the keyboard and the Asus’ BIOS.
At Computex, we were informed of the existence of the secondary detachable key pad, but it wasn’t on display at the event because it hadn’t been created yet. However, it’s now part of the package.
With apologies for the photo quality, it looks, simply, like a traditional numpad, although it has a large barrel roller on top that could be used for a number of potential purposes. The keys are all RGB-backlit, just like the others.
However, you should be able to program the numpad keys for whatever you want -- macros, shortcuts, and so on. The use case will depend on whether you attach it to the left or right side of the main keyboard.
Although the detachable key pad is no doubt a cool feature, it’s already been done by the likes of Gigabyte (and could easily be copied by any keyboard maker). What really sets the Claymore apart is its integration with Asus’ BIOS.
Asus has worked hard at keeping not only the branding, but also the functionality of its ROG line of products integrated, and that begins and ends with the motherboard BIOS. There are exhaustive, granular adjustments you can make in the BIOS, but users of course want to be able to deploy their profiles and tweaks as easily as possible.
Therefore, Asus built in functionality to the Claymore that allows you to to control a number of BIOS features right from the keyboard when you sync it with your ROG motherboard.
For example, you can use the Claymore to boot your computer or boot directly into the BIOS. To perform the latter, you just press the BIOS key (it should be FN + BIOS) and press the power button on your PC.
You can also adjust your CPU and RAM overclocks, dial fan speed up or down, and select XMP profiles. There are lighting controls right there, too, enabling you to switch between different modes and cranking the brightness up or down.
These controls are all right there on your keyboard and married with the BIOS.
Setting Itself Apart
It seems every tech company suddenly has its own spate of peripherals these days, and therefore even the mechanical keyboard market is becoming commoditized.
A few keyboard makers are coming up with ways to stand out, including going hog wild on lighting capabilities, but Asus is wisely leveraging its existing popular ROG portfolio to get users of its motherboards hooked on its keyboard. (And while you’re setting yourself up with an Asus keyboard, the logic goes, why not make it an all-Asus affair with a Spatha gaming mouse, too.)
The rubber will meet the road some time in Q2 this year when the Claymore is officially released.