Asus may have been first with its modular keyboard idea but it’s currently not the best.
The original Asus Claymore was the first mechanical gaming keyboard we’d reviewed with a detachable numpad, allowing you to switch between a conventional full-size layout and a compact TKL arrangement, so you could free up desk space for your mouse when gaming, or even have the numpad on the left of the keyboard.
It was an interesting but expensive idea for the time, and it lacked in a few other areas. Now Asus is back with a revised version that includes a wireless connection and uses Asus’ own RX mechanical switches.
As well as several feature changes, the design of the Claymore has changed, mostly for the better. The original Claymore had a premium-feeling thick metal top to its case, but its edges were rather sharp and the way the numpad section slotted onto the sides meant the metal sections regularly made contact, leading to a clunky mechanism that scratched itself.
The Claymore II retains a metal top but it’s a simpler flat piece, rather than the bent, angled form of before. As a result, the Claymore II’s numpad joining system is much slicker and there’s no chance of catching your nails on the sharp edges. That said, the joining system isn’t a patch on that of the Mountain Everest Max, which also boasts the ability to easily connect the numpad at a distance thanks to its use of standard USB-C ports.
The actual styling of the Claymore II is arguably a step backward too. The old design had an industrial appeal whereas the new version has a slightly cheesier look, with its glowing ROG logo and slashes of light in the top left corner. The slightly angular font of the keys likewise has a very ‘gamer’ look, but other people’s tastes may vary from ours.
Back to the improvements, and a major plus point is the addition of a wrist rest, which is well-padded and reasonably wide. It spans the full width of the keyboard, which gives you more of a support area, but means you’re left with excess length when using the keyboard in TKL mode. Perhaps for this reason, the rest doesn’t attach to the keyboard and instead just sits on the desk where it’s free to be slid to the side.
As well as having a 2.4GHz wireless connection option, the Claymore II can also be hooked up via USB Type-C, which will charge the keyboard as well as connect it to your PC. By default, the port will take advantage of USB Type-C fast charging, or you can slide a switch on the keyboard’s rear to enable the adjacent USB passthrough port, which will disable fast charging. It’s a neat system, but battery life is notably low at just 18 hours with the backlight off and eight hours with the lights on.
Asus has used its own optical keyswitches in this keyboard, which are available in linear or clicky versions. They’re rated for 100 million clicks and feel much like equivalent Cherry MX models. However, the stems aren’t compatible with alternative Cherry MX-type keycaps, severely limiting this keyboard’s appeal for customization. At least the keycaps are doubleshot (though ABS, not PBT), so the key legends won’t wear away too soon.
Asus ROG Claymore II pros and cons
- Useful modular numpad
- Wireless and wired connections
- USB passthrough
- Not the best modular system
- Cheesy styling
- Low battery life
Asus ROG Claymore II specs
The Asus ROG Claymore II specs list is:
|462 x 155 x 39 (W x D x H)
|1.2kg (without cable)
|Extended (105 keys + media buttons)
|USB Type-C and 2.4GHz wireless
|Optical Asus RX Red linear or RX Blue clicky
|100 million keystrokes
|Four programmable hot keys, wrist rest, volume wheel, USB passthrough
Asus ROG Claymore II price
The Claymore II is an expensive keyboard but it goes further than most to justify its high price thanks to its clever modular design, wireless connectivity, and premium metal build.
Price: Expect to pay $250 USD / £220 GBP
Asus ROG Claymore II review conclusion
The Asus Claymore II is an intriguing refinement of the original Claymore. Its modular numpad is easier to use and its simpler metal top isn’t as rough and scratch-inducing. However, the change from Cherry MX switches to Asus’ own switches isn’t welcome from a customization point of view, the board’s overall design isn’t the sleekest and its modularity isn’t a patch on the Mountain Everest. For more keyboard recommendations, check out our best gaming keyboard list.