From strong audio to decent ANC, the Asus ROG Cetra have a lot to offer for the low price tag of just AED 499. Gamers will love the RGB trimmings, the low latency gaming mode and a 25 hour battery life that goes the distance but audiophiles will be underwhelmed by muddy bass and a meagre soundstage.
Premium feel with RGB trimmings
Impressive sound detail
Decent hybrid ANC
Finicky touch controls
Bass is lacking
Companion app is light on features
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Gaming focused wireless earbuds are nothing new. From low latency modes to eye-catching designs, we’ve seen large gaming brands like HyperX, Razer and EPOS put their own spin on buds. But Asus’s latest ROG Cetra true wireless earbuds may have hit the sweet spot.
With an affordable price tag, detailed sound, pleasing aesthetics and a smattering of RGB, the ROG Cetra are a great AirPods Pro alternative for gamers and casual music listeners alike. They have a premium look and feel with a slightly bulkier clamshell case and comfortable to wear for longer sessions.
Audio quality is really good with pleasant punchy tones and plenty of detail. The ability to tweak EQ from the companion app, Armoury Crate, works well to help you find the best sound for your needs. However, there’s not a lot of bass here unless you’re willing to experience muddied bass from an EQ boost, but it’s enough to pick up environmental sounds while in a game.
One of the main selling points of the ROG Cetra true wireless is their low latency obtained by switching to gaming mode from the app. It reduces the delay usually experienced by wireless buds to just 80ms and makes a noticeable difference while gaming. The buds also boast a decent battery life getting you around six hours on the buds and an additional four charges from the case/
At the end of the day, Asus has made a great pair of wireless earbuds that will appeal to both gamers and anyone looking for a cheaper alternative to AirPods Pro without compromising on sound quality.
Price and release date
- Available now
- Priced at AED 499
The Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless are available now across online and retails stores in the UAE. They’re priced at AED 499, which is fairly cheaper than Apple’s AirPods Pro and makes them a great affordable alternative, especially if you’re into mobile gaming.
The price puts them in the same ballpark as mid-range wireless earbuds from Razer, JBL, Sony and Jabra. And while they all offer middling specs, the ROG Cetra’s versatility in sound and long lasting battery life makes them stand out in the crowded mid range space.
- RGB trimmings
- Comfy in-ear fit
- Sleek clamshell case with curved deges
There’s a subtle stylish quality to the ROG Cetra true wireless that doesn’t immediately scream ‘gamer’. They sport a minimal design with ROG DNA that’s immediately identifiable when you open the case. Both the case and stems are mostly of plastic with a satin matte finish and careful details that make these feel premium.
The charging case is slightly larger than what we usually see from other earbuds but it looks great. There are smooth curved edges around the clamshell case that fit nicely in the palm. You open the case from a small curved lip at the front that houses a rounded light indicator underneath. The only peeve here is that the case can get slippery. You have to use two hands to open it and while they look good, they require a lot more fiddling than we’d like.
There’s a bold LED ROG logo at the center of the case with cycling colors. The buds look a lot like AirPods Pro except they’re flattened on the back and have longer stems. Each stem has a line of LED matrix that glows either red or blue to indicate their status and a glossy embossed ROG logo at the bottom.
Despite the heavy ROG branding, the buds still look suave and you won’t look out of place using these while you’re out and about or at the office. The satin matte finish, however, is adept at picking up oils from fingers and can get smudgy really fast.
The stems also house capacitive touch controls that let you control media, switch between noise cancelling modes and powering off the buds to conserve battery. While the controls are meant to be intuitive, they can get finicky sometimes with accidental inputs but are responsive otherwise.
When it comes to fit, they feel light and snug, which makes them comfy for long gaming or listening sessions. The large buds provide a solid seal around the ears for passive noise isolation. However, they won’t be for everyone. If you don’t like the cramming feel of in-ear buds, these likely won’t be for you.
- Evenly balanced
- Crisp and detailed audio
- Bass is quieter than we'd like
While the ROG Cetra true wireless are primarily designed for gamers, the sound quality for general media is really good. These pack 10mm ASUS Essence drivers that deliver punchy mid range and detailed high and lows. They’re evenly balanced despite lacking in bass. What you get is a controlled sound that carries crispy details and texture.
Whether you’re listening to synth-fueled lo-fi grooves of Tame Impala or fuzzy grunge rock of The White Stripes or an ethereal orchestral soundtrack, the ROG Cetra true wireless retain a good amount of detail. They’re able to capture vocal character of singers while retaining nuanced dynamics of a track and give proper attention to silences.
They’re not perfect though. Sound does get muddy at high volumes and the bass overall is underwhelming. You can boost the bass when you’re in a game and want to pick up subtle thud and thumps in a game’s environment, but the boosted bass sounds muddy when you put a song on. The soundstage is not the most expansive we’ve heard either, but it’s sensible and convincing at this price range.
When you first use them out of the box, the buds sound flat. But you can tweak EQ to your tastes through the companion Armoury Crate app that lets you adjust volume, tweak EQ, switch to gaming mode and check battery levels on the buds. The app is light on features overall letting you tweak basic settings but ignoring essentials like the ability to switch between noise cancellation modes.
Speaking of, the ROG Cetra uses hybrid ANC that comes in four modes - heavy ANC, low ANC, ambient noise and off. It works well for the most part and is able to block out surrounding noises pretty well but you’ll still hear the outside world creep in if you’re out and about in a noisy environment like in the metro or in a crowded mall.
The on-board ANC does create slight pressure on your ears, heavy noise cancellation in particular can be felt if you have sensitive ears and gets a little uncomfortable. It’s a useful mode when you’re out and in a competitive game and want to be able to hear enemy footsteps but you might feel discomfort after a while.
The microphones on the buds are located at the bottom of each stem and also boast noise cancellation. In our use, the mics performed well enough to cancel outside noise and carried clear voice across calls and discord sessions.
For gaming, the ROG Cetra true wireless deliver an enjoyable experience with crisp audio and clear mic quality for comms. The low latency obtained by switching to gaming mode on the app makes a noticeable difference in lag.
Usually wireless earbuds get around 250-500ms delay, which can be annoying when playing an FPS game or during any real-time use. On regular earbuds, you’d have to tweak around an app’s setting to account for the delay. But with ROG Cetra’s gaming mode the delay is reduced to around 80ms, which lets you react faster to sounds you hear in-game.
- 25-hour battery life
- No wireless charging
One thing to love about the ROG Cetra true wireless is their long battery life that can easily last you a weekend of heavy use. You get around six hours from the buds themselves when fully charged and another nineteen hours from the case.
Battery stamina on the buds can vary depending on heavy handed you are with the ANC, but on average we saw these last five to six hours, which is decent for a short gaming marathon. If you’re in a hurry, there’s quick charge tech on board that can give you an hour and a half worth of playback in just ten minutes.
Should I buy the ASUS ROG Cetra True Wireless?
Buy them if...
You want decent AirPods Pro alternatives
The ROG Cetra true wireless have a distinctive look that exudes premium quality and they sound pretty good too. At just AED 499, they offer similar set of features to the AirPods Pro and the gaming mode and RGB is a welcome bonus.
You want wireless earbuds with low latency and crisp sound
For their price, the ROG Cetra true wireless deliver punchy and detailed sound while retaining an evenly balanced tone. The low latency mode can give you an edge over enemies while gaming and is great to have to general day to day use.
You want good battery life
With a six hour battery stamina on the buds and an extra four charges form the case, these buds will go the distance and last you a weekend or more.
Don't buy them if...
You’re all about that bass
The bass here is solid but quieter than we’d like and can get murky even when boosted.
You want perfect ANC
Earbuds are rarely great at providing perfect noise cancellation but the ANC on ROG Cetra is good noise reduction at best. If you’re after total silence, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
You want a feature-packed companion app
Armoury Crate is great to have for tweaking select EQ frequencies but there’s still a lot of functionality missing here.
- Read our guide to the best earbuds you can buy today
Ammara is a tech and gaming writer with with an irrational love for all things Apple, indie games and cyberpunk novels. She handles social media for TechRadar Middle East with a keen interest in video creation and covers news and reviews across everything. Away from the keyboard, Ammara can be found playing the latest game and browsing for more tech gadgets she doesn’t need. She is also the current office Wordle champ.