|Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 OLED Gaming Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Joey Peng|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2012|
Page 2 of 6
Closer Look: Mad Catz STRIKE 5
The Mad Catz STRIKE 5 keyboard continues the family bloodline of customization and futuristic looks. The keyboard itself has the exact same feature-set as the STRIKE 7. The package includes a keyboard body, a num pad, a 4-button macro add-on, a 2-button macro palm rest, two basic palm rests, and the EYE OLED display panel. The body has a matte finish. While the STRIKE 7 has a more rubbery texture to the surface, the STRIKE 5 seems to be more metallic. It looks and feels better.
The STRIKE 5 is quite a large keyboard, taking up a lot of space especially with the palm rests attached. At a bare minimum, the EYE OLED display needs to be attached to the num pad or keyboard body, as all wired connections go through it. There's no reason to get the STRIKE 5 without utilizing all pieces though. It sports a large array of customizations (like the RAT series gaming mice) that can be used to optimize comfort any way you want it, whether it's pulling the palm rests further out, or raising their height, or swapping WASD keys out for textured keys.
The STRIKE 5 comes with a toolbox included different key styles for up/down/left/right and WASD keys, screws for the keyboard, as well as a key extraction tool. Certainly the keyboard doesn't need any of those items to function and is pretty solid even without screws (I never attached them for the STRIKE 7).
The number pad has all the traditional keys and some more. Five of the macro keys are placed surrounding the UP key. These are conveniently placed for easy usage. Mad Catz tried to decrease the chance of accidental macro key presses by keeping the elevation of the macro keys a reasonable amount lower than standard keys. This is a good design choice to optimize functionality and usability.
The 4-key macro add-on can be attached to the left of the keyboard body or number pad, depending on how you prefer to use it. These are buttons that have a tactile click feedback when pressed. The key size allocations seem a little odd though, especially the M4 key which is difficult to reach comfortably. However given the sheer number of macros, that's probably insignificant.
The STRIKE 5 sports the same palm rest designs as the STRIKE 7. Each palm rest can be individually adjusted and pulled out. This has been surprisingly useful to get the optimal feel. The left piece has a scroll wheel and button which can be individually programmed as well. The last button on the palm rest allows for height adjustments. This is useful for FPS/RPG players that primarily use WASD keys. One thing that was slightly annoying was the swap from aluminum surface to a glossy black plastic surface. This actually caused some discomfort when you get sweaty palms, and leaves nasty palm marks. Mad Catz should've stuck with the STRIKE 7 design here.
Flipping over the STRIKE 5, we see the exact same solid build. For such an expensive gadget, construction quality is critical. Mad Catz ensured the product construction with an aluminum body, padded with rubber feet for grip, and screw holes for all key connections. The extendable feet can be tucked or taken out easily. The STRIKE 5 uses pure plastic for these pieces compared to the aluminum/plastic mix in the STRIKE 7. This is a fine change as the back is barely visible anyhow.
The Mad Catz STRIKE 5 seems just as promising as the STRIKE 7, minus the huge price tag. It's still expensive for a keyboard. Its worthiness will be detailed out in the next Section as Benchmark Reviews takes a closer in-depth look at the OLED display and the software.