When building a gaming system, the internal specs are very important but it’s also a good idea to find great peripherals used to play your games. ASUS recently released a mouse (check out our review), keyboard and mouse pad for budget gaming rigs under the Cerberus name. The whole range is very reasonably priced and can be purchased for just under £70. Let’s take a look at the keyboard.
What’s in the Box?
The keyboard is in the box on its own, with the same style of branding as the mouse we reviewed earlier from the same Cerberus series.
The ASUS Cerberus Gaming Keyboard is a red and blue backlit gaming keyboard that’s splash-proof and includes a drainage system in place for easy cleaning following spills.
The backlighting looks great in both colours and the keys, which are membrane switches with rubber domes, have a comfortable, soft feel to them. They are pretty quiet in use, but obviously lack the precision and tactile feel you’ll experience with mechanical keys.
Just like the ASUS Cerberus mouse, the accompanying keyboard features a braided USB cable which looks great. Interestingly, the USB plug is noticeably shorter than the mouse’s plug. The chunky plug fitted to the mouse was somewhat of a negative, so the more compact plug on the keyboard is welcome.
For lighting fans, this budget keyboard doesn’t offer the versatility and custom lighting designs you’ll find on more expensive gaming keyboards, but there’s are a couple of options we’ll come to shortly. Otherwise, there’s the Cerberus logo, situated just above the arrow keys with the word Cerberus lighting up at the bottom. The ASUS logo is on the keyboard at the top but doesn’t glow.
In terms of custom keys, again, the selection is limited. Along the top of the keyboard are six media control buttons for stop, play/pause, previous, next, volume up and volume down.
Getting Up and Running
Setting up the ASUS Cerberus keyboard up is as straightforward as gadgets can be. The only note regarding getting it going is to check the firmware version. There was a bug in the launch firmware but the fix was available on ASUS’ website before the keyboard became available. Upgrading the firmware is also a very simple process. Important to note that this is a Windows keyboard and the firmware update needs to be completed using a Windows PC.
Using the ASUS Cerberus Keyboard
I found the ASUS Cerberus Keyboard really easy to use with a number of customisation features for the backlighting and key settings for gaming.
Based on the keyboard’s mode – gaming or normal – the lights will be red or blue, respectively. Each mode includes four brightness levels (controlled with the Fn + PgUp/PgDn keys) as well as a breathing mode (which slowly pulses the backlighting) with adjustable breathing speeds controlled the same way. The lights can also be turned off entirely if desired.
The 12 function keys along the top only have their F# icon but each also has a special function when pressed with the Fn key. This is also the case with the Tab, Q, Windows and Caps Lock keys.
The Fn + Tab function, for example, makes W, A, S and D act as the arrow keys.
Handily, it’s also possible to swap individual keys and create macros. If you’ve made too many changes and swapped too many keys you’ll find it simple to reset the keyboard to its default settings by holding Fn + Del for three seconds.
All of the settings are stored in the keyboard itself, as opposed to an application on the PC. That’s great for anyone wishing to travel with the keyboard – if it’s moved from one computer to another, the settings will remain.
There are a lot of Fn combinations and remembering all of them takes a bit of time but will become second nature with regular use.
Priced at just £39.99, the ASUS Cerberus Gaming Keyboard offers a decent number of features and a comfortable design, without cutting into the gaming rig budget too deeply.
Compared to pricier competitors, the Cerberus would suit first-time gaming rigs, casual gamers looking to brighten up their desktop or gamers taking their first steps with keyboard customisation.
Of course, you’re missing out on higher quality mechanical keys, individual, multi-colour LED backlights and advanced customisation settings and profiles. But if you’re seeking a great value, entry-level gaming keyboard that’s robust, splash-proof and offers just enough tweaking capabilities to satisfy the average gamer, the ASUS Cerberus Gaming Keyboard is a good choice.