ASUS Cerberus mechanical keyboard review: Surprisingly good value

Spec for spec, The ASUS Cerberus a match for just about every keyboard in the market today, even those that are twice the price.

Ask any gamer and they'll tell you that good mechanical keyboards don’t come cheap. If you’re not spending at least Rs 10,000 on your keyboard you’re doing something wrong. Or are you?

As far as mechanical keyboards are concerned, Cherry MX keys are the gold standard. Or were. Originally patented by a German company, these keys are what separate a mechanical keyboard from regular keyboard. It’s for these keys that we gamers are prepared to pay a premium. Once the patent expired, Chinese key switch makers and others stepped in, flooding the market with an assortment of switches from no-name brands.

This bounty of key switches also opened the doors for no-name Chinese brands to flood the market with so-called “mechanical keyboards” that may or may not be as good as the original Cherry MX-based ones.

The Cerberus from ASUS is, by the looks of it, a barebones keyboard. The keyboard is tall and a full-sized one, but it comes with no palm rest and is not as attractive as, say, the HyperX Alloy Elite. But that doesn’t matter in the slightest. With the Cerberus, only two things matter: Its price and the keys.

The keyboard features RGB backlit mechanical keys

The keyboard features RGB backlit mechanical keys

While a keyboard like the Alloy Elite costs Rs 11,000, the Cerberus is half the price at Rs 5,100.

When it comes to the keys, the Cerberus uses 'Kaihua' RGB mechanical key switches. These are not Cherry switches, but, and this is important, unless someone told you that these weren’t Cherry keys, you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. These keys also appear more durable than Cherry MX as the keys are rated for 70 million keystrokes. The cable is braided as well.

The keyboard may not look fancy and may use keys from a relatively obscure brand, but it’s got it where it counts. NKRO, RGB backlighting, an option of four key switches, anti-ghosting, on-the-fly macro recording and so much more.

After using the keyboard for over a month, I can safely say that just like any other mechanical keyboard, it’ll hold up to any kind of abuse. The keyboard is relatively cheap, but it’s built as well and as sturdily as any other mechanical keyboard on the market.

Spec for spec, it’s a match for just about every keyboard in the market today, even those that are twice the price.

You do lose out on fancier features like dedicated multimedia keys and volume dials (you get shared keys), USB-passthrough and of course, a palm rest. These are, I think, acceptable compromises for a keyboard that costs as little as this one does.

As a value-for-money proposition, I just can't argue against what the Cerberus represents.

Price: Rs 5,100

Tech2 rating: 7.5

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.