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

Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

This keyboard was used as the primary keyboard over a period of 3 weeks. In addition to producitivty software and everyday browsing, the Mad Catz STRIKE 5 was tested in several games: Crysis, StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Might & Magic VI.

Test System

  • Processor Intel i7-920
  • Video Card: Nvidia GTX 285
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3
  • Monitor resolution: 1920x1080 pixels

Test Software

  • StarCraft II
  • League of Legends
  • Diablo III
  • Crysis
  • Might & Magic VI
  • Lunia

Results

Unpacking the Mad Catz 5 was strangely familiar to its predecessor. It came in a large shoebox style package. The entire package is essentially the same except the swap from VENOM touchscreen to EYE panel. Unlike the STRIKE 7, no power supply is needed and the keyboard is fully functional through 1 USB port. Hooking up the audio jacks are optional. The cord is braided to avoid tangling and looks great with the rest of the pieces. There is no Driver CD supplied and all relevant files can be downloaded online. You will need the STRIKE 5 drivers, the profile software, and to get you started faster, pre-setup profiles.

The learning curve for the profile tool, called Smart Technology, is relatively low. The number of customization options for the STRIKE 5 are much more limited. Macro assignment and program launcher are the only two items that needs to be set up.

Starting with initial impressions for typing, the glossy plastic palm rest was a mistake. The STRIKE 7 had aluminum surfaces that keeps things cool and doesn't degrade in appearance from palm prints. Even the matte plastic used by the rest of the keyboard felt better to rest on. Not sure why this change was made.

Basic typing was comfortable. The membrane used mimics Cherry Brown switches, which I find much better for typing than Cherry Red switches for example. Of course the keyboard itself isn't mechanical. In general mechanical keyboards have a longer lifespan but the STRIKE 5 has a solid construction and I had no issues with the keyboard membrane quality.

The EYE panel is intuitive to use. I prefer the physical macros over touchscreen macros. In order to avoid misclicks, the buttons all have physical guides so even blind pressing is accurate. At $199, the EYE Panel is essentially a full $100 cheaper than the VENOM touchscreen, but retaining all the macro functionality. There are some usability issues with the EYE OLED dial as turning it carries out different operations based on the app. However it often doesn't register well, and even if it registers the click there's some noticeable delay. The included EYE OLED can display time, timers, stopwatch, app icons for launching apps, as well as media controls and EYE settings. It's still quite innovative and differentiates itself from most keyboards on the market at a much more reasonable price.

Overall the keyboard part performs well. It's quiet and feels great in games and for typing. The slick design works great for most settings, and it has one of the best macro systems ever. However there's quirks with comfort and quality that make this keyboard a little troubling.



 

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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