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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices
Written by Joey Peng   
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 OLED Gaming Keyboard
Closer Look: Mad Catz STRIKE 5
Mad Catz STRIKE 5 Detailed Features
Testing and Results
Gaming Keyboard Final Thoughts
Mad Catz STRIKE 5 Conclusion

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 Gaming Keyboard

Manufacturer: Mad Catz Interactive
Product Name: S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 Gaming Keyboard
Model: MCB43108N002/02/1
UPC: 728658030964 EAN: 728658030964
Price As Tested: $199.99 (Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Mad Catz.

Mad Catz released their new STRIKE 7 keyboard two months back, representing the high end model of their new cyborg series keyboards. Like the Cyborg RAT 9/7/5/3 mice, the STRIKE 5 is now released. It's more affordable, and just as promising. Equipped with the same keyboard and customization setup, the STRIKE 5 is equipped with the same power with the only difference being the auxiliary panel. Instead of the VENOM touchscreen which came with 12 apps, the STRIKE 5 comes with a simplified OLED EYE display. For those looking for a cheaper alternative to the STRIKE 7, Benchmark Reviews will analyze the STRIKE 5 to see if it holds up.

The STRIKE 5 and STRIKE 7 are nearly identical from a design standpoint, having the same slick look and feel. At $199.99, it's $100 cheaper then its elder brother. The same basic features come for both keyboards. Each come with 7 modular pieces that can be customized as you please, including 2 keyboard pieces, 1 macro add-on, 3 palm rests, and the VENOM/EYE panel.

Mad_Catz_Strike5_Main_View.jpg

The STRIKE 5 is not a mechanical keyboard. It uses a membrane which mimics the feeling of a mechanical keyboard without the excessive noise. The tactile response most closely resembles cherry brown switches, which provide a light click feedback good for gaming and working. The STRIKE 5 comes with simplified software capabilities, which is natural given the lack of a touchscreen. It's very interesting to see what Mad Catz can do with such a small OLED display. Benchmark Reviews looks forward to testing this out and see how it compares with the STRIKE 7 and competing keyboards.

STRIKE 5 Features

Fully Modular for Unparalleled Customization
Borrowing modifiable technology from the world's most adjustable mouse - - the award-winning R.A.T. - - the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 Gaming Keyboard's unique design provides unprecedented customization options to enhance overall comfort. Armed with total control of your keyboard's fit, size, color, sound, and programming, you can finally play your favorite games exactly as intended: How you like to play them!

5 Separate Hardware Modules

  • Control Module with E.Y.E. OLED Display
    Easily navigate the keyboard's many functions with the Control Module's intuitive E.Y.E. panel. Program advanced macros, adjust back-lighting, monitor re-spawn timers, control your media, and even take in-game control of external functions - - balance game and microphone volumes, launch apps and websites - - all with a few simple finger taps.
  • Keyboard Optimized for Responsiveness
    When a fraction of a second is all that divides victory from defeat, you must have absolute confidence in your keyboard. The S.T.R.I.K.E. key bed utilizes a specially engineered membrane which provides the tactile feel and responsiveness expected by gamers. The speedy, double-tap friendly keys respond to an optimized 60g of actuation force and reset at the perfect level, all of which helps reduce muscle fatigue during marathon gaming sessions. The unique design gives you the best keyboard performance without sacrificing back-lighting, durability or responsiveness.
    Not all back-lighting is the same. Full 16 million color RGB back-lighting - - both through and around the keys - - matches the keyboard to your gaming rig and the keys' laser-etched, lacquered light guides are ideal for gaming in dim environments.
  • More Programmable Macro Buttons
    The S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 Gaming Keyboard incorporates 21 programmable macro buttons over three modes to create 63 user-definable commands. The keyboard includes nine programmable buttons on the E.Y.E. panel plus four more on the removable Function Strip, three controls on the palm rest, and five additional programmable keys on the NumPad bring the total to 21.
  • Modular NumPad
    Just like the Control Module, the NumPad is capable of loose or fix-mounted positioning. The custom connection scheme makes it all possible, and the included set of longer wires bolsters your arrangement options.
  • 3-Part Active Palm Rest and Two Wrist Rests
    A height-adjustable, active palm-rest houses both a thumb wheel and an action button for even more controls at your fingertips. Both wrist rests utilize a rugged 5-pin connector to attach to the main keyboard module and NumPad, effectively enhancing your comfort during stints of extended gaming.

Uncomplicated Macro Programming
An intuitive graphical interface vastly simplifies the formerly tedious task of macro programming. Assign single or multiple keystrokes, complete with custom timings, to macro keys or interface icons and then easily fine-tune your settings. This ability is essential for fast-paced games which require clear but complex multi-key actions.

Each of the keyboard's three different modes can store your programmed macros; you need only switch to a different mode mid-game to triple your available commands. Once programmed, custom profiles can be published to share with your community and saved for later recall, allowing for a seamless transition to another gaming PC.

STRIKE 5 Specifications

Size 15.1 x 7.5 x 9.3 inches
Weight 7.3 pounds
Includes
  • Main Keyboard Module
  • Control Module with OLED display plus 3.5mm Headset & Microphone Ports
  • Macro Key (Function Strip) Module
  • Number Pad Module
  • 3 Palm/Wrist Rests
  • Adjustment Tool
  • 3 Keyboard Link Cables
  • 6 Connector Screws
Compatibility Windows XP/Vista/7/8
Ports 3.5mm audio & microphone jacks



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 OLED Gaming KeyboardArgos 2012-12-16 23:47
Personally (yeah what else) I do not like the design, or should I say lack of design. To me it looks like a shambles.
But I would still buy this if it featured an FPS module resembling the Ideazon Fang or like the Steel Series Merc Stealth has on the left side of the board.
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As far as I am concerned this board (like most these days) does not really do anything for FPS gamers or FPS/RPG gamers who play games like Skyrim/Fallout3 etc.
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My old Fang is a gift from heaven. Because of its well thought out, practical layout I did not even have to get used to it. I wish a modernized backlit version of the Fang would be made by someone. I would love it as a module for this board or the modular Microsoft Sidewinder X6.
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I really use the Fang... every button on it, but I am sure with this Madcatz board most fancy stuff I would never use in an actual gaming situation.
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# RE: Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 OLED Gaming KeyboardDaryl Greene 2012-12-17 11:10
I agree with Argos. 99% of the "gaming" keyboards out there are just keyboards. None of them lend anything to playing RPG/FPS games at all.I cannon use the main keyboard to play. With the upward-left lean of the w a s d keys, it makes it very difficult to effectively move about in a game. It just doesn't fit with the design of my hand.
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# RE: RE: Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 OLED Gaming KeyboardArgos 2012-12-17 23:35
@Darysl Greene

In that case I would really recommend trying to acquire an Ideazon Fang or perhaps a Cybersnipa Gamepad. I use the Fang myself and have bought a Cybasnipa as a backup because the Fang is out of production since Steelseries took over.

Just like you I hate the way the WASD keys are lined out on a normal keyboard. The gamepads I mentioned are a world of difference and comfort when playing RPG/FPS games. Just look at their lay outs and you will see what I mean.

The problem with the Fang is that since Ideazon was taken over by Steelseries they stopped giving good driver support. The hardware works fine, but you might run into trouble when trying to use the programming software on Windows 7 and 8.

As far as the Steelseries MERC which has virtually the same lay-out as the Fang at the left side of the board... I would not recommend it. The problem with the MERC is on the right hand side of the board. The designers combined the keypad with the cursor keys and from experience I can tell you it is incredibly annoying. After using the board for a year I just could not stand it anymore.
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# CyberSnipa?MasterZoen 2012-12-20 10:15
I have had a CyberSnipa Gamepad v2 for more than 3 years and can honestly say it's one of the worst designs I've ever used. While the butterfly key layout with other keys surrounding it is a nice idea, it just wasn't implemented properly. I've had arthritis since I was a sophomore in high school, and have found that I can tell how well made and ergonomic a peripheral is by how quickly my hand begins to hurt, and I began to experience pain in my wrist and fingers after only 20 minutes of play with this pad.

The CyberSnipa Gamepad V2 appears at first glance to have been setup to be used by either hand, and this functionally crippled it. It becomes apparent upon first use that this is meant to be used by your left hand leaving you to wonder as to why it was designed to look ambidextrous. This gamepad was not made with ergonomics in mind. There is only a minor incline, perhaps 2 degrees, to the game pad, putting nearly all the keys at the same height. This makes trying to hit the number keys 1-3 and 8-0 very difficult. Also, trying to hit the keys that a person would normally try to with their left index finger is made difficult by these keys each being separated and fairly small, with exception for the x, c, and b keys positioned above the space key. The ctrl key cannot be hit reliably while using the qweasd butterfly, and the same holds true for the shift and z keys, the tab and h keys since these would all be pressed by the pinky. I suspect only a double jointed finger gymnast would be able to use these without shifting their hand. The spacing and postion of the shift key in relation to the space key makes a running jump extremely painful and prone to failure.

This board uses no drivers as it has the same hardware as an actual keyboard, so there isn't anyway to change the buttons that the device registers because it inputs actual letter keys, so you have to change the controls within the game thus making switching between gamepad and keyboard a real challenge.

I've been using a Logitech G13 for quite some time now, and I've found it to be very comfortable and easy to use and the on board memory makes taking it to LAN parties or gaming tournaments and keeping your profiles very simple. If the Fang is anything like the CyberSnipa Gamepad v2 I'm staying well away from it.
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# RE: CyberSnipa?Argos 2012-12-21 04:08
@MasterZoen

I have been using the Ideazon Fang for many years and I love it. It is the best and most useful FPS peripheral I ever bought. Never had ergonomic problems of any kind, but I do not suffer from arthritis like you. So perhaps it is not for you. But I dare say that people without arthritis will love it. Problem is that Steelseries let the product die after they took over Ideazon. I have been wanting to buy a second backup device for years, but I can not find it anywhere anymore.

I never had a problem to hit the number keys on the Fang, but I do use the Fang in combination with a versatile and programmable gaming mouse that takes over several important functions. For example I almost never have to use the number keys to select weapons.

I do like the looks of the G13, but it has no special WASD setup. The WASD layout is what I like more than anything on the Fang. It is a joy to play any FPS/3PS/RPG with it.

The only thing I do not like about the Fang is the way they put the jump and the p1 key on the side of the pad. That is very unpractical. But because the Fang is completely programmable this can be overcome. They should have done the jump and p1 key like they did it for their other product the Merc Stealth.

The Fang is by no means perfect. I would love to see a modernized and even more ergonomically shaped Fang. It should be easy, but Steelseries loves to churn out same ol same gaming keyboards at the moment instead of improving an already wonderful product.
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# Fang...MasterZoen 2012-12-22 19:43
I looked up some pictures of the Fang, and it doesn't look like it would be near as hard to hit the buttons as the CyberSnipa. The buttons are all much closer together and there are thumb buttons on the side. Although, I still think it would hurt my hands so I'll stick to recommending the Logitech G13.

I like the G13's analog thumbstick, as I have a number of games that recognize it as a controller, and the fact it can function as a 4-way hat switch. When you add in the ability to reprogram the buttons for a personalized layout, well, I can't be any more satisfied with it.

As they say, "To each, their own."
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# RE: Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 OLED Gaming KeyboardSkidmarks 2012-12-18 06:12
I don't suppose it's a bad keyboard & would probably appeal to a lot of people but you just can't beat a good mechanical keyboard. If this thing had mechanical key switches the price would be through the stratosphere. Although it's an interesting keyboard give me a mechanical keyboard with Cherry Blacks & without macro keys anyday.
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# Fang vs STRIKEMartin 2013-02-07 18:43
Hey folks. Personally I have both - Fang being hands down THE BEST gamepad out there, sadly as stated multiple times already, it's discontinued, they killed it instead of taking the design further...

I didn't see the value in STRIKE 7 and the touchscreen altho all the rest of it just screamed BUY MEEE :) recently I finally got myself STRIKE 5 keyboard and I have no regrets.

In recent years, I play primarily MMOs/FPS, but in either one communication is important, with Fang you still needed a keyboard to type, so it was Fang + Keyboard + Mouse. STRIKE does cover 2 of these functions, and it is quite useful once you're used to it.

All I can say don't knock it until you get to play on/with it. To me I loved the vertical placement of space on FANG and what I was sold on was the hand rest addition to STRIKE, brilliant. I'm using full keyboard atm but considering rearranging it to use the numerical keyboard with all the gadgets on it instead, may actually be a better option.

Combined with RAT MMO mouse from Cyborg, gaming is just brilliant, macros gallore, I don't lift my hands off the control to access the options, it's all bound and accessible in-game on the fly.
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