|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|
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Testing & Results
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.
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.