I first used a gaming keyboard with a detachable number pad - the Microsoft Sidewinder X6 - nine years ago. I have liked such designs since - they are versatile and you can remove the numeric keypad for a more portable "tenkeyless" gaming keyboard when heading out to your LAN parties.
The Asus ROG Claymore is such a design. In fact, it is the world's first backlit mechanical keyboard to have a detachable number pad, according to its maker.
The detachable number pad can be attached to the left or right side of the Claymore. For some massively multiplayer online games, having the number pad on the left side with macro keys programmed is more intuitive.
The review unit comes with tactile "clicky" Cherry MX Blue switches. The model with the lighter and linear Cherry MX Red switches will be available later. Both switches are rated for up to 50 million presses.
Each key of the Claymore is individually backlit (with up to 16.8 million colours to choose from) and fully programmable. In addition, the Claymore features anti-ghosting and full N-Key rollover technologies to make sure all key presses will be registered, no matter how many keys are pressed at the same time.
CONNECTIVITY: USB 2.0
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
I like the futuristic design of the Claymore. There are circuit board-like threads running on the base. The switches peek out from under the keys, and you get a visual feast when the backlight comes on.
The base of the keyboard and the detachable number pad are made of aluminium and they feel rock solid.
The number pad has a roller volume control on its top. Attach the number pad to the keyboard, and you can instantly control your computer's volume.
On the down side, the connection between the number pad and the main keyboard is not very strong. While it is easy to dock and remove the number pad on either side of the keyboard, it feels a bit flimsy.
A slight nudge or the use of some force when pressing the keys might move the number pad.
It will not be dislodged, but it is disconcerting.
I have a soft spot for Cherry MX Blue switches, as the keys have a nice tactile response to go along with a loud typewriter-like sound. So I absolutely loved it when I was typing or gaming on the Claymore.
My biggest quibble is with its price. At $319, it is more expensive than Razer's Blackwidow Chroma V2 ($289.90) and Logitech's G910 Orion Spectrum ($299).
Of course, these keyboards do not have a detachable number pad. But the Claymore does not have a USB pass-through or audio jacks like the Blackwidow Chroma V2.
But if you do not need a detachable number pad, Asus also sells the ROG Claymore Core at $100 cheaper. It is the same keyboard, but without the detachable number pad.
• Verdict: The Asus ROG Claymore is a stylish and fantastic gaming keyboard to use - if you have the moolah.