ASUS can always be depended on to deliver high-quality products and PC-building parts, and its audio offerings are no slouch either. Having released multiple lines of both wired and wireless headphones, the Taiwanese tech giant has more than enough expertise to fall back on, and it shows – for the most part. Alas, the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless doesn’t quite make the cut for what it offers at a heftier price tag.
Adapted from the existing ROG Cetra, the gaming-centric headphones boast some modifications to its form. The earbuds now have higher impedance, using less battery power to save you time on charging. They have also lowered mic sensitivity from -40 ± 3dB to -38dB to reduce more background noise while increasing its response to 100Hz – 10KHz. Gone are the ROG RGB lighting on the earbuds, the ear fins, and foam tips that the original ROG Cetra had.
Right out of the box, the charging case for the Cetra True Wireless comes in a sleek black case with a matte finish that makes fingerprints non-visible. It fits effortlessly into pockets and comes with a light indicator showing the casing’s battery life and a USB-C charging port at the rear. Upon opening, ROG’s logo sits in the center with RGB lighting sandwiched between the wireless headphones. Unfortunately, the RGB is not customisable, and colors rotate in an infinite cycle. Do note that while the earbuds are water-resistant, the case is not.
The help of the extended grip from the earbuds makes removal and storing fuss-free. You will not have to worry about losing your earbuds from the casing, too, as magnets secure them. These earbuds are rated IPX4, making them resistant to water but not dust. You can go for a nice jog when it drizzles, but make sure to change the silicone ear tips included in the package for a better fit. While the earbuds do not fall out easily, they do not reach deep enough into the ear canal even with two additional ear tips, making it more susceptible to external noise.
Hence, we recommend testing it out before purchasing. Lighting indicators are also situated on both earbuds with red showing that both earbuds have been disconnected, blinking blue activating pairing mode on the left earbud, and static blue highlight connection on both sides. If you’re hoping for RGB on these actual earbuds you’re out of luck.
These earbuds are easy to pair and compatible on various devices. They also function without turning off, should you choose to use just one side of the earbuds at any time. You can also rely on these earbuds to reconnect automatically to your device after removing it from its casing for future use, and disconnect by putting them back in place.
Users are given the option to install their software app, Amoury Crate, which is available to you via the QR code printed in the user document. The app allows you to control the volume, which in our opinion is rather unnecessary, customise your earbud’s EQ, have the option to change into gaming mode, and know your earbud’s battery percentage. Included under the sound optimisation category are a few EQ presets for you to choose from. Should you want to explore further, a “customise” option is available to you. Now, there isn’t anything unique that stood out in the app, and the secondary on/off button on the equaliser can be rather confusing, as it expands into more presets that could have just been compiled under the same category for greater ease of use. And to those wondering if it’s a double EQ combination – no, it still follows individual presets.
We’ve tested out the latency of these earbuds by playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Apex Legends Mobile on mobile, and Valorant on PC, watched a couple of Youtube and Netflix shows, and typed in notes. To our surprise, the lag time was evident without activating gaming mode. Gunshots and footsteps, while noticeable, were heard only a few milliseconds later. We wouldn’t want this to compromise our reaction time and make gameplay less enjoyable. Fortunately enough, turning on gaming mode can fix latency which helps to keep audio in sync, so you can keep up with the action happening on-screen and react accordingly.
Like most earbuds in the market, these babies also offer gesture controls, and the feature is pretty straightforward here and can handle different commands. Gestures are controlled by various tap and tap-and-hold sequences, which then activate up to four different kinds of ANC modes, voice assistance, pairing mode, and power off on the left earbud. The right earbud, meanwhile, is capable of media playback, gaming and pairing mode, picking up phone calls, and turning the power off. There are many gestures to remember and thankfully, there is a user guide to refer to when in doubt. Alas, volume cannot be controlled via the earbuds if you require that function.
The earbuds’ 10mm drivers deliver some decent treble and bass when it comes to gaming, making it suitable for those who appreciate audible footsteps and gunshots. However, what didn’t make the experience decent was the drastic drop in quality in audio when playing games with friends on Discord. It is known that Bluetooth doesn’t work too well with Discord, and it’s a problem that plagues other Bluetooth headsets as well, especially when there are two audio sources (e.g. in-game audio and voice chat from Discord) playing at the same time. While we cannot fault Asus for this, the fact that this has the ROG branding means there are expectations for a gamer-centric earbuds, so it’s telling when such a common issue continues to be present here.
One of the primary uses of earbuds is music on the go. Although the earbuds work well with games, what could have been an all-in-one device becomes an impossibility where music is concerned. When put to the test with four Grammy award-winning band Snarky Puppy – Shofukan, what was supposed to be a calm yet groovy piece became very harsh on the ears, with the guitars, keyboards, and wind instruments creating discordant mids. Instruments drowned one another out and sounded like sandpaper. Lows were somewhat impactful on heavier songs like Periphery – Marigold, but the overload of mids made them sound very muffled and unpleasant to listen to. Audio also becomes distorted when bass and sub-bass are boosted.
The earbuds’ ANC was not quite as remarkable despite there being four different modes. They do phase out humming noise from fans and frequencies below 100dB in heavy mode, but noise is still penetrable unless you turn your volume up. Note that if your ears are sensitive, using these earbuds’ ANC can be a little uncomfortable due to the pressure of the sound waves, where you might hear an occasional high-pitched frequency ringing.
When gaming, a trusty mic is a must; call-outs are essential, and we want to be heard. It is clear that the earbuds managed to eliminate background noises and isolate voices. However, there is a slight clipping of the voice, causing it to be a little muffled and unclear at times.
What is impressive is the battery life but make no mistake – these do not last up to 27 hours in one charge as advertised. Not directly. Instead, the case provides your earbuds up to 27 hours of charge/use time. It took about five plus hours of use before the batteries were drained, with ANC off. With ANC on, the earbuds lasted 4.5 hours. This means there should be four charges left on the case. Thanks to their quick-charge technology, 10 minutes of charging the earbuds in its case gives you up to 1.5 hours of earbuds usage. The best part? A wireless dock can also charge the case.
Standing at S$199, the ROG Cetra True Wireless (Lazada | Shopee) does impress with its aesthetics and battery life, but falls short of other models in the market, which offer better audio, mic quality, and fit at a much lower price.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
While great for gaming the ROG Cetra True Wireless needs to seek improvement in the audio department.
Aesthetics - 8/10
Build Quality - 8/10
Performance - 6/10
Value - 6/10
Geek Satisfaction - 7/10