Low-profile keyboards no longer appeal to me. Following my experience with the Logitech G915, I was swiftly drawn into the community of enthusiast mechanical keyboards, and I’ve cringed at the sound of a low-profile mechanical keyboard ever since. Call me a snob, but it has not been my inclination.
Therefore, I was surprised that the Asus ROG Falchion RX LP managed to remain set up on my desk. Eventually, I will revert to the keyboard I have modified extensively, but the ROG Falchion RX LP presents a strong case for a low-profile form factor with some key alterations to this established design.
Encountering the Falchion RX LP
Let’s familiarize ourselves with the Falchion RX LP keyboard first. It’s a low-profile mechanical keyboard, indicating both the switches and the keycaps are shorter. This alters the keyboard profile, with the keys resting flat across the top of the body. This version features a 65% configuration, equipped with arrow keys but no Function keys, and Asus succeeded in compressing everything into the frame of a 60% keyboard.
The outcome is a keyboard with no unnecessary space. Apart from a slender light bar at the top with a few unique features (more on those soon), all the keys are packed together. This can lead to some issues, such as hitting the Page Up key when intending to press Enter, or accidentally tapping the Insert key instead of Backspace, but I’ve been able to type 10,000 (or more) words with the keyboard without too many issues.
For connectivity, the keyboard supports Asus’ Omni adaptor, enabling you to link various Asus peripherals with a single dongle. It also supports three connection modes — the low-latency 2.4GHz wireless connection through the Omni adaptor, Bluetooth (up to three devices), or wired over USB-C. You can switch between these modes using a toggle switch on the back of the keyboard.
Next to that switch is a toggle for a Mac or PC layout, another innovation the Falchion RX LP employs. It is compatible with macOS. I suspect most users will employ this keyboard with a PC, but it’s advantageous to have the flexibility, especially considering the keyboard’s portability.
In addition to connectivity, the Falchion RX LP includes a unique touch strip on the rear of the keyboard. The slight indentation has several bumps and occupies around a quarter of the back of the keyboard, and by default, it functions as a means to adjust your volume. However, a button alongside the strip alters its functionality. You can utilize it as a media control and even as a macro. By default, the macro defaults to scrolling a webpage.
It’s a clever piece of equipment, and it performs far better than I anticipated. You have commands to swipe up and down, but also commands if you tap the strip. You can assign these to different commands, such as launching an application or triggering a Windows shortcut. Other keyboards have this type of functionality, but they are usually overlaid on other keys in such a small form factor. The addition of the touch strip provides you with a dedicated spot to access the additional functionality of the Falchion RX LP, and it functions.
As expected from an Asus keyboard, there are a variety of customization options. You receive per-key RGB lighting, settings for when the keyboard sleeps, and a game mode that disables key combinations like Alt + F4. It excels in all the fundamental features of a reliable gaming keyboard and even exceeds expectations with the touch strip. Nevertheless, that is not the reason I am fond of the Falchion RX LP so much.
All about the sensation
The sensation. For my discriminating keyboard fingers, everything boils down to the sensation of typing and gaming, and Asus has perfected it on the Falchion RX LP. Every low-profile keyboard I’ve experimented with has a short throw, resulting in a brisk typing experience, but Asus enhances the design with a couple of crucial modifications.
Firstly, the switches. These are low-profile optical switches, and Asus offers a linear red switch with a low actuation force of 40 grams, and a robust tactile blue switch with an actuation force of 55 grams. The switches come pre-lubricated, but the crucial aspect is how they’re stabilized. Asus employs four mounting holes rather than merely snapping the key cap in like you see on keyboards like the Logitech G915 or relying on a low-profile Cherry stem.
The body extends up through the actual switch instead of mounting directly on top of the switch. There is no wobble on the keycaps. With regular switches, a little wobble is easy to overlook, but it makes a monumental difference on a low-profile keyboard due to not just the short actuation point, but also the flat nature of the profile. The absence of wobble on the Falchion RX LP makes it feel like you can glide across the keys.
The other aspect affecting the sensation is the incorporated board foam. Asus includes two layers of silicone to absorb the pinging sound you find on inferior mechanical keyboards. Sound absorption is one of the critical factors differentiating ordinary mechanical gaming keyboards from more enthusiast options, which was on full display with Asus’ ROG Strix Scope II 96.
Every low-profile mechanical keyboard I’ve tried has this almost low-quality feel due to the lack of sound absorption. It’s a loud mess, even with a linear switch. There’s a hint of that sound on the Falchion RX LP, but it’s much more restrained compared to other low-profile options.
A triumph for the low-profile
Over the last couple of years, Asus has been at the forefront of bringing enthusiast designs into the mainstream realm with its gaming keyboards, but the Falchion RX LP is something different. It feels like a chance for Asus to showcase its capabilities, drawing from what it has learned from keyboards like the Strix Scope II 96 and ROG Azoth to craft a low-profile keyboard for which there isn’t a true competitor.
That doesn’t mean this is a stellar keyboard for everyone. Due to the low-profile switches, there are not many choices for customization, so do not anticipate that you will be able to interchange your keycaps or switches in the future. Furthermore, although this is by far the best low-profile mechanical keyboard I’ve used, it is still a low-profile mechanical keyboard — the typing experience on a regular mechanical keyboard is superior.
Yet, I am astounded at how much Asus has managed to fit into this keyboard at $170. The Windows and macOS support is significant; the travel-friendly aspect provides a premium feel on the go, and the intuitive touch bar unlocks a range of options on such a small frame. If you are in the market for a low-profile mechanical keyboard, this is the one to purchase.