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The animated LED matrix comes to an ROG gaming keyboard — and it looks killer

At CES 2022, Asus announced a range of new ROG peripherals joining its lineup from mice and keyboards to headsets.

The company revealed five products in total, headlined by the ROG Strix Flare II Animate. It builds on the Strix Flare Asus released in 2019, fit with a redesigned body and now the iconic AniMe Matrix LED display added to the top right corner.

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Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate and Strix Flare II

The matrix lights on the corner of the ROG keyboard.

The AniMe Matrix first showed up on the Zephyrus G14, which is currently one of the best gaming laptops you can buy. On the Strix Flare II, the 320-LED matrix occupies the top right corner of the keyboard, and like its laptop counterpart, you can customize the array how you like. It can show custom animations and images, indicate system settings, and even show notifications and laptop battery life.

And let’s be honest — it’s still just downright cool.

In addition to the matrix, the Strix Flare II Animate includes an 8,000Hz polling rate on the level of the best gaming keyboards, as well as hot-swappable switches. Out of the box, it comes with ROG NX Red, Blue, or Brown switches, approximating the feel of their Cherry MX equivalents.

Asus ROG Strix Flare keyboards in rocks.

It has a range of other features, too, including USB passthrough, onboard macro recording, and an RGB light diffuser. You can actually detach the diffuser and strap it onto the included foam wrist rest to allow your RGB lighting to shine through. The keyboard is set to release in late January 2022 for $220.

Asus also announced a cheaper Strix Flare II keyboard without the AniMe Matrix. This keyboard still comes with the tentpole features — dedicated media buttons, a volume wheel, and an 8,000Hz polling rate — but it lacks the LED matrix and the light diffuser on the front of the board. It doesn’t have hot-swappable switches, either, though it still comes with the same ROG NX options as the Strix Flare II Animate.

This model is also set to arrive in late January but at a lower price of $180.

Asus ROG Chakram X

Asus only announced one new gaming mouse, but it may end up making our list of the best gaming mice. For starters, it’s a wireless mouse that supports 2.4GHz and Bluetooth 5.2 with a 36,000 DPI sensor, and you can run it in wired mode to unlock an 8,000Hz polling rate.

Like the ROG Chakram, it includes a joystick on the left side, but Asus redesigned it. In analog mode, you can use it to navigate around the screen quickly with 256 different directions, and in digital mode, you can assign it four keys or macros for quick activation. In total, the Chakram X includes 11 programable hotkeys.

This new model also keeps the DIY sensibilities of the old one. You can still snap off the magnetic covers to change the push-fit switches, either with 5-pin optical or 3-pin mechanical switches. The mouse comes with Asus’ own switches out of the box, which are rated for 70 million clicks. Asus expects the mouse to arrive in the first few months of 2022, but the company doesn’t have a final price yet.

Asus ROG Strix Fusion II 500 and Fusion II 300

Rounding out Asus’ peripheral announcements is a pair of ROG Fusion II headsets. The ROG Fusion II 500 and Fusion II 300 keep the earcup design of the original ROG Fusion, but they ad an ESS 9280 Quad DAC for better spatial audio. Like previous models, both support virtual 7.1 surround sound through the DAC.

In addition, both headsets include a hidden beamforming microphone that uses A.I. for noise cancelation, as well as RGB lighting. For connectivity, the Fusion II 500 works with USB-C, USB-A, and 3.5mm ports, so you can use it on virtually any device. The Fusion II 300 is limited to USB-C and USB-A.

Like the Chakram X, both headsets are expected in the first few months of 2022, but Asus hasn’t shared pricing details yet.

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