The ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless seeks to compete in the arena of high-end earbuds, with a secret weapon, a low-latency Bluetooth gaming mode.
Ever since AirPods crashed onto the market in 2017, brands have been scurrying to get their own competitors out. These earbuds have proven to be extremely popular, with high-end tech like wireless charging, a charging case, and even active noise cancellation. So, ASUS has combined all of these things into one potent cocktail; The ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless.
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Driver diameter: 10mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20Khz
- Weight: 5g earphones, 27g charging case
- Battery life: (ANC on): 21.8 hours, (ANC off): 27 hours
- Features: Omnidirectional microphone, capacitive touch controls, active noise cancellation, low-latency gaming mode, wireless charging case
- Price: £89.99
- Where to buy: Amazon UK
Included in the box: ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless, Charging case, 2 extra pairs of ear tips, USB-A to USB-C charging cable.
The ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless makes an impression on you as soon as you open the package, where you are greeted by the clamshell-style matte black charging case, which is emblazoned with the ROG logo. On the back is a USB-C port for quick charging, and on the front is a small diffused LED bar that communicates the connection status of the earbuds themselves, too.
The charging case looks great, with smooth rounded edges across the top of the clamshell-like design, and a small lip to flip it open. Unfortunately, this matte black plastic is primed for all manner of fingerprint smudges even if you have slightly oily hands.
Our biggest complaint about the case is that the clamshell is impossible to open with one hand. Whereas the likes of the AirPods Pro spring up with a good amount of magnetic tension, you have to pry the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless open with both hands, like unearthing some kind of pearl on an ocean bed.
This is disappointing because they’re not easy just to take out of your pocket and pop on, and require a bit more fiddling than we’d like.
There is a light magnetism when you open and close, but the rest of the hinge just feels a bit off. Luckily enough, as you open it, you’re greeted by an RGB-lit ROG logo, and the earbuds themselves.
Magnetized into place, the earbuds look great, with an angular design with silver ROG lettering, and a small led grill that communicates the earbuds’ connection status. They pop in and out perfectly with some magnetism, where you can find the contact points on the inverse for charging.
The earbuds fit fantastically well, providing a good seal on your ears to block out external noise. However, the jagged design of the earbuds can cause a bit of soreness if you have smaller ears. We’d have liked to have seen a smoother design, that would fit a wider amount of ear shapes and sizes.
Capacitive touch controls on the ROG logo on the earbuds allow you to control media and switch between audio modes, which works really well. We had no issues using it and didn’t miss squeezing the life out of an AirPod to pause our music.
Again, the matte black plastic can get really shiny at the slightest amount of oil, which can result in a smudgy look just after a few hours of use.
By default, the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless provides a good experience while gaming, and while listening to music. However, we found that the earbuds’ bass response can be a little overwhelming at times, which can suffocate mids and mute the highs.
Luckily, you can adjust by adjusting this to your liking via the Armory Crate app, where you can seamlessly connect and adjust the earbuds. It can be finicky at times, which is disappointing, and is relatively light on features.
The EQ provided gives you a bit more control over the sound profile of the earphones, which sounded great after a little bit of finicking around in the settings. We were really impressed by the sound quality of this headset, which manages to handle just about everything that we threw at it.
The 10mm ASUS Essence drivers carry a lot of weight here, and they sound good for the most part. The bass response was a bit heavy for us, making that initial configuration in Armory Crate essential if you want to adjust the sound profile. With that said, if you need something a bit heavier duty, then a good gaming headset would be the way to go.
The Microphone on the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless is certainly nothing to shout about, but they do provide clear audio on calls, or if you are chatting to your friends via Discord. It’s purely serviceable and there’s really nothing special to shout about.
While indulging in a spot of retro gaming on the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless, all of the tones of Final Fantasy IV’s soundtrack were elevated by the sheer quality of the audio provided. We tapped and held the right earbud to enable the low-latency gaming mode, which worked flawlessly in Call of Duty Mobile, and there was no noticeable lag over Bluetooth.
Tap the right earbud twice, and the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless enter into “heavy noise cancelling” mode, which was heavy, and managed to block out the low hum of a train with ease. We did feel a slight change in pressure within our ears, but it’s extremely easy to get used to. Light noise cancelling mode also makes it a little weaker but works just as well. Ambient sound mode is also excellent, and we could hear voices and our surroundings with relative ease.
This really is a premium set of features for the relatively low asking price and provides a really good, easy-to-use experience. We wish that you could customize the controls on the earbuds via Armory Crate, however, as it requires quite a bit of tapping to get over to Ambient noise mode, which is quite fiddly.
The ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless also features IP4X splash resistance, so they’ll be fine for whatever weather that you choose to rock them in.
The earbuds have around a four-and-a-half hour battery life with ANC enabled, and five-and-a-half hours with it disabled. With an additional 17 or 21.5 hours of charge in the charging case (with ANC on and off), you’ll be absolutely fine to wear these for mobile gaming sessions.
We were never left frustrated when the batteries ran out, as you can just pop the charger on a fast USB-C connector and have over an hour of charge in the case in around 10 minutes. Additionally, you can also charge it wirelessly, which is a handy bonus.
Should you buy it?
Coming in at a modest price point, it’s difficult to fault everything that ASUS has packed into this package. It comes in with strong audio performance, a good mic, and a huge laundry list of features that you really don’t see done well all that often in most earbuds.
You really can’t go too wrong with the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless. We just wish a couple of parts like the clamshell charging case design, the software offering, and the design of the earbuds themselves were slightly more refined for comfort and ease of use. But don’t let those minor inconveniences deter you from what is an incredibly accomplished set of wireless earbuds.
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