|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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Mad Catz STRIKE 5 Conclusion
The Mad Catz STRIKE 5 is a good iteration from the STRIKE 7. Ignoring the touchscreen/OLED panel, the rest of the keyboard is almost identical between the two brothers. Some slight changes have been made in the STRIKE 5, some good some bad. For example they changed the surface material slightly from a rubbery to metallic feel. This choice worked great. The palm rest however regressed as they took away the comfortable aluminum surface and replaced it with a glossy plastic, compromising comfort and aesthetics a little. It's not a huge issue but now it's noticeable that palms are sticky due to the surface. Otherwise the keyboard is just as solid as the STRIKE 7. The Cherry Brown membrane clone is quiet and comfortable, and a good compromise between gaming and typing comfort. The macro system is top of class, not to mention the sheer number of entries at a time, 18 macros per profile across 3 instant toggling profiles.
Like the rest of the Cyborg series, the STRIKE 5 maintains the futuristic high tech look and feel. Mad Catz has never failed to make the products visually appealing, and the STRIKE 5 is no exception. The EYE OLED Panel actually fits great with the look. The display is elegant and effective. The circular design uses every ring to symbolize something intuitive, and the dial can be spun to adjust the volume rings or toggle between apps to launch.
Functionality wise, the STRIKE 5 has a large number of features. It is completely customizable and modular, allowing you to build it from any of the 7 pieces. It has a quiet but effective membrane for typing. The STRIKE 5 has a total of 18 macro keys, 3 profiles, 16million RGB back-lighting, windows-lock capabilities, media keys, and a small set of apps for the EYE OLED Panel. Macro recording is extremely accurate and captures time to the millisecond. There's too many keyboards out there that claim they have macro programming capabilities but then have strict limitations on number of inputs and/or inaccurate timings. Some force a 0.5 second delay per key press. Mad Catz definitely got this part right.
Unfortunately, unlike its near flawless predecessor, the STRIKE 5 does have a flaw. The keyboard body is just as flawless. Every piece is sturdy and holds together well. The rubber feet help keep the STRIKE 5 in place. While Mad Catz includes screws, it's almost unnecessary thanks to the construction. However the EYE dial is a critical part of this keyboards feature, and to suffer from performance issues and registering problems, that's quite unfortunate. Luckily I discovered that using a bit of force and pushing the dial while turning it does cause it to register correctly.
For $199.99 at Amazon, the STRIKE 5 comes at a much more reasonable price than the STRIKE 7. It matches 95% of the functionality for 2/3 of the price, that's a pretty good deal, as long as the previously mentioned issues don't bother you. From and feature and performance perspective, the keyboard matches requirements to make it a recommendation. This price is still about $50 higher than solid mechanical keyboards from competing companies such as Razer and SteelSeries. While the STRIKE 5 is only mimics a mechanical keyboard, it does cover way more ground from a design, customization and software perspective.
+ Macros that have accurate time delays and virtually no input limits
- Comfort somewhat comprised from glossy plastic palm rests
Final Score: 8.60 out of 10.
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