Life is always better when you have options. That philosophy guided our design of the new ROG Claymore II gaming keyboard, launching at CES 2021. This revamped modular keyboard is based on our exclusive rock-solid and super-fast ROG RX Optical Mechanical key switches. We also made the Claymore II wireless for a cleaner look on your desk.
The ROG Claymore II is built to impress both at rest and in use. The top cover is made of brushed aluminium for a premium feel and added durability, and each of the main components is designed with a minimal footprint in mind. The included magnetically attachable wrist rest is padded with soft leatherette for a comfortable, luxurious feel. But this board’s beauty goes more than skin-deep. Its design solves a real problem for demanding users.
We know many gamers enjoy the compact footprint of a tenkeyless board when it’s time to play, but they may still need a numpad for fast Excel work or other data entry during the work day. In the past, they may have had to keep two keyboards around, cluttering their workspace and potentially taking up valuable ports on their PC. That’s inelegant, to put it mildly. Not every keyboard is available in full 104-key and tenkeyless variants, so keeping two boards around might also involve tolerating two sets of switches with a different feel under the fingers. Separate numpads exist, but they usually rely on scissor switches that don’t feel anything like the tactile mechanical key switches that gamers and typists have come to prefer.
The Claymore II lets those multi-talented gamers have the best of both worlds. It’s a modular system composed of a tenkeyless main keyboard and a detachable numpad with its own quartet of shortcut keys and a convenient volume wheel. The numpad attaches to the main body using a secure interlocking rail system, so you can attach it to either side of the keyboard or remove it altogether. Dock it on the right-hand side for a standard full-size keyboarding experience, or move it to the left to leave more room for your mousing hand. This secondary position also makes it easy to use the numpad as a macro key block in games where you need plenty of shortcuts for faster input.
Both the main keyboard and the number pad have the same incredible typing feel thanks to a full set of ROG RX Optical Mechanical Switches. These new key switches are fresh out of our design labs, and they’re a literal game-changer. To register a key press, conventional designs use an electrical connection between metal contacts that’s established when a key is pressed. That sounds simple, but there’s unavoidably a period of time in which the electrical signal will vary for some time until it can be reliably detected as “on” or “off.”
Each of those precious milliseconds adds up in an intense firefight. For example, a 12 ms debounce delay doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that a single frame delivered at 90 FPS takes just 11 ms to render, or longer than it takes that key-press to register. If your perfectly-timed keypress registers just one frame too late, it may well be the end of the round for you.
To ensure near-zero latency, ROG RX Optical Mechanical switches employ a beam of infrared light that reaches a sensor when the key is pressed. These switches do away with metal contacts, their debouncing circuitry, and its associated lag, giving you a significant edge in the heat of battle.
Near-instant key-press registration is only one of the new features for these switches. The most common key cap mounting system in use today relies on a single central post that has some degree of wobble, an undesirable characteristic that leads to typos and misfires. It can also increase the amount of force necessary to depress a switch. The extra force wasted in moving keys side-to-side from wobble can tire out fingers and hands. Worse still, it increases the chances of repetitive stress injuries.
The ROG RX Optical Mechanical switch’s plunger design uses a hollow square stem. Each key mounts to the plunger using four corner posts. This design stabilizes each key cap and stem for a smooth and sure keypress that channels any actuation force into the primary up-and-down stroke. An X-stabilizer under each key further improves balance, and the RGB LED secured in the center of the stem ensures light floods all of the keycap legends evenly. Each ROG RX Optical Mechanical switch is rated for a lifespan of 100 million keypresses to ensure long, reliable service.
The ROG Claymore II comes in two versions, each with a distinct ROG RX switch type: Red and Blue. The Red switches are the ideal choice for fast-paced gaming, thanks to their smooth, linear mechanism with a shallow 1.5 mm actuation point. The light 40 g actuation force makes for swift and easy input during the heat of battle. We’re mindful of the fact that light actuation forces like this can cause accidental key presses, so we deliberately shaped the force-response curve of these switches to prevent unintended inputs.
Meanwhile, the tactile Blue switches are aimed at touch typists and gamers who prefer both tactile and audible confirmation of their key presses. This clicky and non-linear variant has the same 1.5 mm actuation point as its Red siblings, but we chose a 65 g actuation force for this version to create a more deliberate typing feel that many keyboard enthusiasts prefer.
The ROG Claymore II offers both wired and 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity options. The response time is only 1 ms in the cord-free mode, offering the same instant response as the standard wired mode. The detachable cable uses USB Type-C, and there’s an additional USB Type-A pass-through port for other desktop peripherals. A full charge lets the ROG Claymore II go for up to 100 hours in wireless mode with the lights off, or up to 40 hours with its lighting turned up. And thanks to USB-C’s fast-charging smarts, the integrated 4000 mAh battery provides up to 18 hours of usage with the Aura backlighting disabled after just 30 minutes of charging if you find yourself in a pinch.
While we’re on the topic, the Claymore II’s Aura Sync RGB LED lighting is configurable for each individual key and can synchronize with compatible system components and peripherals using the Armoury Crate software. The ROG logo at the top left and the four-stage battery charge indicator next to it fully integrate with the keyboard’s current Aura lighting scheme. You can even configure Aura Sync in the keyboard’s wireless mode, too.