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ASUS Cerberus keyboard review: Spill all you want, it doesn't care

A keyboard for the careless at-desk coffee drinker.

We've all been there. Working away at your desk, beverage at the side of you. When, OH NO. Over goes the cup, liquid everywhere and you're frantically pouring water out of your keyboard and mopping up your desk with your shirt.

Or maybe that's just me.

In any case, water and electronics don't mix, and the last thing you want is for your keyboard to give up on you just because you were careless with your coffee.

ASUS can fix that with the Cerberus. An affordable, water-resistant keyboard.

The Cerberus comes from ASUS' Republic of Gamers sub-brand, and as such has the aggressive styling to go with it. Sure, not all gamers are interested in products that shout "LOOK AT ME," but the truth is that many products targeted at this market do just that.

It's made entirely of plastic, so it's quite light, has a full tenkey layout and 12 macro keys. There are red accents on the edges, because, gaming, and some fairly basic rubber feet underneath to either prop up, or lay flat the keyboard. Also on the bottom you'll find a couple of holes. They're important.

Here're the key technical specs:

ConnectorUSB 2.0
Anti Ghosting19KRO (key rollover)
Switch typeMembrane with rubber dome
Switch life cycle8 million keystrokes
Red or Blue
4-level light setting
Cable2m braided cable
Keycap materialABS
Media keysYes
Macro keysYes
F1 - F12
Windows key lockYes
Required OSWindows XP/7/8.x/10

While this is marketed as a gaming product, there's one thing right out of the gate that the more serious gamer might not be too impressed by. The Cerberus uses membrane switches instead of the Mechanical keys favored by most serious gaming folks out there.

I'm not exactly a serious PC gamer, but my regular keyboard does have Cherry MX Blue switches. As such moving over to a membrane keyboard was a pretty big change. Gone is the clickety-clack of the keys and in its place a dull click. It certainly made my office quieter during the day.

While you lack the feel of a mechanical switch, the Cerberus is pretty good to type on for extended periods. The membrane switches are a little odd at first if you've never used them before, with an action somewhere between a 'regular' keyboard and a mechanical one.

They keys are a nice size and shape, and the only real criticism I've had is that the Space bar isn't so hot when you just tap on the edge of it, as I do when I'm typing. You need to be more central else it just feels, odd.

The macro keys run along the top, since they're also the F1 to F12 keys. Unless you're one of those who definitely 100% absolutely has to have them down the left-hand side of the keyboard, there's not much else to say. They're there, use them if you want.

You also get the oft-wanted Windows lock key, another one for the gamers out there. If you're not playing games you probably want to keep it active. Likewise with media keys, not everyone wants them, but ASUS included them anyway. It's a fairly sizeable keyboard so you may as well get as much as you can in the space available.

And as this is a gaming keyboard it lights up vivid red. You've got a few options here, such as having it pulse, lighting up blue or turning off altogether, but having lighting is better than not having it.

One thing I wish the Cerberus had that it does not is a removable USB cable. Wired is still most common for gaming focused keyboards, and this one would have benefited from a detachable cable for one important reason.

When you spill on it, you're still going to want to whip it off your desk as quickly as possible. That's not going to happen if it's attached to the back of a desktop rig.

Even though it's water resistant, the liquid doesn't just sit there sloshing around. Part of the simple brilliance of the Cerberus is that it has a couple of drainage holes built in to take the liquid out of the bottom of the keyboard and away from doing any lasting damage.

That means it's going to drain away onto your desk. So you'll still get a mess, but your keyboard will be okay.

And the drainage works pretty well. The Cerberus will cope with any reasonable amount of liquid, letting it disappear out of the bottom or pour away if you tilt it up and ensuring everything lives to work another day. There is a limit, but honestly, if you're drowning this keyboard you should probably have a long hard look at just what it is you're keeping at the side of you on your desk.

ASUS Cerberus

So, to wrap up. Is the Cerberus worth your money? If you're spill prone, like me, then absolutely. This how now become my daily work keyboard, for the days when I'm paying more attention to the screen in front of me than the coffee cup at the side of me. Its quieter than a mechanical keyboard, much better to type on than a chiclet style keyboard, and is a perfect middle ground between the two. When I do play some games, I'm swapping it out for my more expensive, not water-resistant mechanical keyboard.

I'm not overly fond of the styling, it's a little aggressive for my tastes and the plastics used in the outside part of the shell look and feel a little cheap. But at just £40 in the UK, it's still what I'd regard as an affordable keyboard. You can spend plenty more and have a worse time than this.

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