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[alert type=warning]This is a pre-release product sent over by ASUS. The final product will be different![/alert]

GK2000 Horus keyboard confirms that ASUS is moving all of their products to cope with their owl themed designs and aesthetics across all products. They can even incorporate an owl design into a keyboard – and that became the RoG GK2000 Horus mechanical keyboard. Named after the Egyptian’s falcon-headed god, I expect that the GK2000 is nothing less than a godly-leveled keyboard from ASUS.

Does it disappoint? Find out in this review!

We’ve unboxed the whole keyboard, and here’s a video just for you!

Yes, the box is humongous and it rarely fit my desk at all. Then comes the keyboard size – it’s also very big.

They did include many things too. As shown in the video, there’s a little box in there where substitute keycaps are found. Those keycaps are meant to substitute the usual F1 to F6 keys to the M1 and M6 keys. Talk about modularity! Of course, ASUS also included a keycap remover tool with the GK2000.

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The GK2000 takes on a cue where it looks just like the STRIX owl’s face, together with the eye brows and the furry cheeks. The brows and furry cheeks are manifested to the keyboard as black-anodized brush aluminium bars that run along the entire keyboard.

These aluminium bars are not for aesthetics only, as there are made there with some other reasons in mind.

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Firstly, there’s a mobile stand included in the package. This mobile stand dock is made to snap on to either the left or right wing of the GK2000, and then you can put your phone or (small) tablet like the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 on there.It sits there very well, and I really like ASUS made it black entirely to prevent any distractions. Case and point in comparison is the ARX Dock by Logitech on the Logitech G G310 Atlas Dawn with the blue coloured dock that can only be placed on the desk.

As mentioned, you can dock the mobile holder at the left or right side, and that’s up to you. For me, I’m a leftie so I put the dock at the left side, and I realize one thing.

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Although the mobile dock does go in the left wing and snaps in just like it did on the right side, I did have to remove the Esc keycap so that the mobile dock can go in. Then, put the Esc key back in and it worked!

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On the right side however where are no such problems, just put it in, and snaps right on.

[nextpage title=”Build and features”]The GK2000 is not to be mistaken as a slab of metal, although it is made out of one, and then jam a lot of features and electronics inside of it. I’d have to say that the fact that the ASUS included two USB ports together, one microphone and headphone pass-through jack is a godsend.

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However, the cloth braided cable is excruciatingly thick, and very difficult to bend. To those with OCD when it comes to cable management, you might wanna take this into consideration.

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The keyboard itself is made out of a metal plate, and all mountings can be seen without any effort too, just like the Corsair Vengeance series of mechanical keyboards. Also, it’s plate mounted!

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GK2000 comes with the standard Cherry MX red switch. The GK2000 Horus comes with all ABS plastic keycaps, but since it uses a standard Cherry MX switch, that means you can swap all of those keycaps with whatever you like.

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As I’ve said earlier, the GK2000 does look and feel the same like the Corsair Vengeance series of keyboards, including the height of the keyboard, the angle, and height difference between the rows of keys. However that’s where the similarity ends as the ASUS RoG GK2000 Horus mechanical keyboard brings out the big guns!

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I would say that ASUS made the GK2000 Horus is designed with function first, then define the form later. My first point being that since the GK2000 has these aluminium bars are amazingly practical for the mobile dock! The height is suitable for proper ergonomics and has rubberized feet to lift it higher, and yet it sits on the edge of my peripheral vision and not distracting me at all, unless I get a call and the screen turns on that is.

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Secondly about the aluminium bars again – they’re made to hold cables inside of them. Remember those USB ports and audio jacks on the keyboard? Yeah, I wired my mouse through the gap between the aluminium bar and the base plate located on the far right corner, then connected the mouse onto the keyboard.

Why the devil did you do that? – you might ask.

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The answer is that this gap right here can hold the mouse cable pretty snugly – just like a mouse bungee, which you’ll have to spend more money and sacrifice more space on your precious desk just for that thing to sit on. Also, don’t forget that mouse bungees will need to be adhered on the desk – and that doesn’t work with all materials. With the GK2000’s gaps between the aluminium bar, it’s an added bonus!

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Heck wrap a strip of velcro on the aluminium bar if you want to – that’ll hold the cable nice and tight!

The multimedia keys located at the top right side of this keyboard covers pretty much everything – ranging from launching the default media player, then the usual play/pause, stop, previous, and next keys to a volume control wheel.

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Although the volume wheel is a little difficult to rotate, ASUS implemented another extra special little mute button, which is trigger when the volume wheel is pressed to the left side.

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Then comes some other gaming-centric features on the keyboard – there are 5 dedicated buttons for all your macros on the far left, along with a “ML” button to switch between the 3 available profiles on the fly. Then there are other functions like toggling through the lighting modes on Fn+F7, NKRO toggle on Fn+Pause Break, and an additional RoG logo button to disable Windows key.

When the NKRO or the RoG logo button is pressed, it will indicate that it has been pressed by flickering. Ironically the RoG logo button will cause the Windows key to flicker when pressed, but it will light up when Caps Lock is turned on.

When it comes to the lighting mode, there are a total of 5 brightness levels excluding turning it all off, and it is pretty bright in my opinion, but not too bright that it’ll blind the user like what Tesoro did with the Excalibur Spectrum. The GK2000 glows red, and has another wheel to control the brightness, located just beside where the volume wheel is situated.

[nextpage title=”Ergonomics”]Again, the RoG GK2000 Horus comes with Cherry MX red switches, and it’s nothing different from other red switches at all, other than how ASUS accommodates them in this beautifully built keyboard. To be honest, because of the ergonomic and height of the included wrist rest that I attached and used since the beginning, made the red switch actually very nice to type on.

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Yup, typing on red switches. I’m not joking – because the Cherry MX red is such a light switch, I find that touch typing can be done a lot easier compared to the Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum which is also using red switches.

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On 10 Fast Fingers, I can still score the usual rate that I can type on, albeit a lot less strenuous to my hands and fingers in terms of posture while typing. I have to say though the spacebar is a little noisier due to friction noises from the stabilizers.

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While gaming however, this keyboard is amazingly comfortable. First off – again with the wrist rest – is huge enough to accommodate my entire palm and more so that my thumb can rest on the space bar at a very comfortable angle, and my fingers can be rested on the usual FPS control keys without accidentally triggering any of the keys. Again, they are red switches, so it takes little amount of force to trigger.

[nextpage title=”GK2000 Software”]As said earlier this isn’t the finalized version of the GK2000, although it’s darn near to completion. Unfortunately the software to control the GK2000 wasn’t provided to us, which I presume is due to polishing issues but I’m sure ASUS has to prepare the software properly for its prime time.

From the screenshots in the user manual and the review guide however, the software seems to be offering a heck load of customizability. Oh yes, I’m talking about all aspects of the keyboard.

Programmable keys

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Ranging from a total of 10 profiles, 3 sets of four dedicated programmable keys, another 12 more programmable keys with Fn+FX keys (X here being numbers 1 to 12; eg. F1, F2, F3, etc.). Which means you can program the lighting mode toggling key away, you can program all of the multimedia keys to do something else or nothing at all.

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That said, the GK2000 is included with a set of keys for you to swap out the included-yet-messy F7 to F12 instead, just for aesthetic purposes. Or maybe just because you can!

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Lighting

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Then comes the blingz, which I’m quite surprised that in the age of RGB lighting with all the 16.8 million colours (not really 16.8 million, just take 2^24 and round up), ASUS only included one colour on this keyboard – red. Only red. Not even 50 shades of them – and only 4 brightness levels excluding turning them off entirely. However in my use case for two full weeks, I find that the brightness on the GK2000 to be in the perfect balance as it’s not too bright even on its maximum brightness, and glows just nice enough to give the chillaxing brightness. I can still look at the keyboard in dim lighting conditions and know what keys I’m hitting, yet not too distracting while I’m not looking.

There seems to be 5 preset lighting modes, and custom lighting modes can be programmed with modularity. What I mean by modularity is that you can program the lightning mode down to its brightness, display time, breathing effect status, and the frequency of breathing effect.

Then, you can make only certain parts of the keyboard to have the programmed lightning effect, so you can do it all by using the GK2000 software.

Macros

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Macros! the secret to a gamer’s victory? Seems like it, since we have mice that has an entire dialpad on the side – and the GK2000 has the option to record macros directly from the mouse and keyboard too. That’s definitely not common, and I really love that ASUS included this feature in the GK2000!

Others

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This is where the profile sync management can be done, where created profiles can be tied in to specific profiles. So if you have Profile 6 made for Dota 2, it’ll automagically switch to Profile 6 when you go into Dota 2.

After that, you can even change the USB polling rate here.

[nextpage title=”Accessories”]I did not forget about the accessories that came with the GK2000 of course. They’re a main part of the keyboard experience after all.

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First up, the included key replacements. The ML, M1 to M4 keys are included just for the sake of replacing, but the F7 to F12 keys are included for aesthetic purposes since its function keys tasks aren’t printed on the keys themselves.

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Then comes the included keyboard sleeve. I find it a bit too thin to be carrying a piece of sharp and heavy piece of metal keyboard around by just the handles.

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However, that said, they do have two compartments in it and made transportation of the keyboard and the wristrest relatively easy.

[nextpage title=”Wrap up”]The GK2000 is a magnificent keyboard. I finally got used to typing on a keyboard with Cherry MX red switches, and that is certainly an achievement on ASUS’s side since the ergonomics is excellent. Not even going to lie – the keyboard’s aesthetics might be a little too dull due to the darkness of colours, but this isn’t a fireworks show either. The GK2000 is ergonomically excellent for typing and gaming, functionally complete for everyday use, and still includes a soft carrying pouch to bring the keyboard around too.

The mobile holder is excellent as they technically did think about both left and right handed people.

Did I mention that this isn’t the finalized version of the GK2000? This only means that the GK2000 will only get better after this.
Rock on, ASUS RoG. You managed to make red switches a breeze to type on.

UPDATE: You can actually buy the ASUS RoG GK2000 Horus in the USA!!!


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