Earlier this year, ASUS launched a new line of affordable gaming peripherals, under the Cerberus brand. The Cerberus Gaming Keyboard, the Cerberus Gaming Mouse, the Cerberus Gaming Mouse Pad and the Cerberus Headset are included in the Cerberus line. We managed to get our hands on the ASUS Cerberus Gaming Keyboard and, after testing it for more than a week, we are very pleased with its features and performance. It's definitely a best buy that any budget gamer should take into consideration. Read this review to learn why:
Unboxing the ASUS Cerberus keyboard
The packaging for the ASUS Cerberus keyboard is very simple. On the front of the box you can see the device itself together with a list of its most important features.
On the back of the box you get to see its detailed specifications , as well as a highlight of its macro and multimedia keys. When you open the box you will find the following elements: the keyboard itself, the warranty, the user manual and the quick start guide.
Now that you know more about the unboxing experience, let's see what this keyboard has to offer in terms of hardware specifications.
ASUS Cerberus is a single USB keyboard, with anti-ghosting on 19 keys, which you can see listed below. As you can see, these keys are used in most games.
You can plug the keyboard into a USB port and it works with all Windows versions, starting with Windows XP. ASUS Cerberus is detected as a standard multimedia keyboard and it doesn't need any special drivers in order to work. It's likely that it will work just as well in Linux and Mac OS X. However, we couldn't test it in these operating systems to confirm and there's no official support for them.
ASUS Cerberus uses membrane switches with rubber domes. At its price point, that's a very good choice. The expected life cycle for its switches are of 8 million keystrokes, which should be enough for a couple of years of use. The keyboard is backlit, with two colors (red and blue) and four level light settings: high, middle, low and off. Below you can see how it looks when it is lit in red.
ASUS Cerberus has 6 multimedia keys for volume control, play/pause, previous track, and next track, and they are compatible with most multimedia players, including Winamp, Windows Media Player and VLC Player. There are also 12 Macro keys (F1 to F12), which can be manually programmed to do anything you wish.
This keyboard also features a splash-proof design to protect against accidentally spilled liquids. An integrated drain hole prevents liquids from being trapped inside the keyboard and ensures easy cleanup after spills, so you can get back to gaming with minimal disruption. This is not very common on affordable gaming keyboards.
In terms of size, the keyboard is quite standard: it has a length of 18.54 inches (471 mm), a width of 7.32 inches (186 mm) and a height of 1.61 inches (41 mm). It also weighs a total of 2.42 pounds or 1.1 kg. The back of this keyboard is red plastic and it includes two feet for raising its edge into a comfortable typing position. Also, the standard feet for holding it steady on your desk are rubberized and that helps during intense gaming sessions.
If you want to see more details about this keyboard and its official specifications, go to this webpage: ASUS Cerberus Keyboard.
U sing the ASUS Cerberus keyboard
Installing the ASUS Cerberus is as simple as connecting the USB connector to the USB port
of your computer. Your computer automatically detects and installs the keyboard driver. When the installation is completed, you can start using your gaming keyboard, and that usually takes a couple of seconds. For a gaming keyboard this affordable, ASUS Cerberus offers plenty of features:
Swap mode - lets you exchange the functions of some keys on the keyboard, except for these keys: F1 to F12, Q, Tab, Win, ESC, Caps Lock, Insert, Home, and the multimedia keys.
Macro keys - configure the function keys (F1 to F12) as macro keys to conveniently launch often-used apps or key combinations, and perform repetitive tasks or actions with a single keystroke. They may be useful both in games and when doing Office work.
Dual lighting with blue and red - One aspect that it isn't very clear from the official specifications is that when you use the blue backlight, ASUS Cerberus turns into a normal keyboard with no support for Macro and Swap functions. If you want complete Macro and Swap functions, you must use the red backlight.
Breath Light - a function that allows you to set the keyboard backlight in a looping bright to dim mode. There are four breath light levels: High, Middle, Low, and No Light.
These four modes are available for both backlighting colors.
Since there are no drivers involved, all these features can be used only if you know how to press the appropriate keys on the keyboard. That's why, in order to take advantage of what ASUS Cerberus has to offer, you must read the manual. It offers a wealth of useful information and without it, you won't be able to figure out how to use this keyboard to the fullest.
There's also a downside to this "no software" approach: once you disconnect the keyboard from the USB port of your computer, [Fn] + [F11], [Fn] + [Q], [Fn] + [Tab], and [Fn] + [Win] function keys will be reset to factory defaults. Therefore, if you customized them, you need to reconfigure them again. This is rather annoying but, considering the very low price of this keyboard and its many features, it's a downside we can live with.
Overall, the ASUS Cerberus keyboard felt great. We used it to play MOBAs and adventure games and we enjoyed using it. Also, we did some light Office work and plenty of typing and we had a positive experience in all usage scenarios. Compared with the Razer DeathStalker Essential, which we reviewed here , ASUS Cerberus is a much much better keyboard for almost any usage s ituation. We liked how sturdy the keyboard is, how it feels when you type, and the splash-proof design that protects against accidentally spilled liquids. Many gamers spill lots of liquids over their keyboards while playing games.
Another useful feature is the backlight, which does you a lot of good when you type in dark environments and when you play during the night.
Overall, we are quite pleased with the user experience offered by ASUS Cerberus.
Pros and cons
There are many surprising pros for the ASUS Cerberus keyboard:
- It's affordable for a gaming keyboard
- It's very sturdy and solid so it should last quite a long of t ime
- The splash-proof design that protects against accidentally spilled liquids
- The backlight is very useful when using the keyboard in low light environments
- It has many features and customizations for a keyboard that is so affordable
There are also a couple of downsides:
- There are no drivers involved which means that it takes longer to configure. You won't be able to personalize it without carefully reading the manual
- Once you disconnect the keyboard from the USB port many function keys will be reset to factory defaults. Any customization is lost and you have to redo it.
If you are a gamer who wants a customizable gaming keyboard, with backlighting and spill protection, ASUS Cerberus is one of the best keyboards you can find. It's definitely better than what other famous brands offer at the same price point, including Razer. Yes, it's not perfect and you can't compare it with premium gaming keyboards that use mechanical switches but, for the money you pay, it's hard to get more in terms of features and quality. The typing experience is solid and your hands won't get tired after long sessions of typing, while the in-game performance is very solid. ASUS Cerberus is definitely a best buy that successfully competes for the title of "The best affordable gaming keyboard!".