For the past week I’ve had a fantastic opportunity of reviewing the Madcatz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 keyboard. This keyboard is a gaming keyboard with the key selling point of being fully customisable and having a special ‘E.Y.E.’ which runs simple applications, so lets get right into it and see what the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 has to offer.
Packaging is important for hardware as it sets the feel for the item you have purchased. The Strike 5 comes with an impressive box with detailed images of each part of the keyboard displayed across it, giving the user a feel for the keyboard before even opening it. As the lid of the box is removed there are several compartments, the keyboard itself, the numpad and E.Y.E. and then the ‘accessories’ box which contains your extra macro keys and your arm rests. The packaging is brilliant and minimal meaning it is environmentally friendly (it’s also fully recyclable!). Instructions are easy to read and show how to setup the keyboard to a simple setup which is useful for those who just want to get a default keyboard layout. The main complaint about the packaging is that it does not include the installer on a CD for the key programming, meaning that to setup the E.Y.E. and establish key bindings you have to search around on MadCatz site for the installers. This is a big concern for those without internet connection who wish to setup this keyboard and I’m hoping that newer versions of the Strike 5 will contain the installer.
Before we talk about the E.Y.E. (probably the biggest feature and the main reason behind the price) let’s talk about the keyboard in general. The Strike 5 comes out slightly bigger than your typical keyboard due to the sleek design and additional programmable buttons on the side. Customisability is a big part of the keyboard and this is an extremely great part of the design. The keyboard has 4 parts which can be placed where ever the user wishes; the E.Y.E., the Main Keyboard, the NumPad and the Macro Keys. This is brilliant for gamers as you are able to setup your keyboard in the most beneficial way possible to increase the comfortability of long use. Comfort is also a key aspect of the Strike 5 keyboard with 3 size-adjustable arm rests, with one having a customisable key for quick usage. The arm rests don’t feel as comfortable as they could be with long usage causing some discomfort, though the design has been though well as they are not too uncomfortable for marathon use. The keys on the keyboard are not mechanical but do give a mechanical feel to them. When typing the keys are extremely responsive, being able to tell that the key has been successfully pressed. This is an important aspect of a gaming keyboard as it is important within quick action paced games to know a key has been correctly pressed. The keyboard itself feels well-built and as if it will last a lot of usage, this is great in a gaming keyboard especially for the hefty price sum.
The E.Y.E. is what most people will be looking at when considering the Strike 5 (or even comparing to the Strike 7’s Venom). The E.Y.E. can run several simple applications such as; Displaying the time, Opening an application (with up to 9 applications assigned at max), Volume Control, Microphone Volume Control, Brightness Control, Several Timers and a Stop Watch. These are extremely useful and are a big selling point to the keyboard though the main problem is that other than using the features once or twice… only the clock and volume control are truly useful. This was a disappointment to me as the main cost of the keyboard is going towards the E.Y.E. functionality and it isn’t really used as much as I wished. The E.Y.E. attachment itself when pushing the buttons feels slightly weak as if after prolonged usage (over time) it will start to become weaker. While I can’t see this happening any time soon it is a worry for a keyboard of such high cost. The E.Y.E. functionally is awkward to setup for new users and doesn’t come on a preinstalled disc which means that you will have to search around the internet for the software (awkward if you do not have internet access). The E.Y.E. interface is quick and easy to learn after it has been setup and features quick access media buttons (such as Play/Pause/Mute/Stop/Forward/Backward) which are extremely useful to quickly pause or mute music.
The keyboard lighting is something I wanted to talk about in particular, boasting the great colour change features. Sadly I noticed when trying to apply a Yellow colour it came out very white which is disappointing that the colours did not display to great quality. I feel as if the keyboard should be designed well to display the colours to great standard.
Let’s take a look at the facts:
- + Fully Customisable
- + Great build quality
- + Easy to learn E.Y.E. interface
- + Several programmable keys
- – Non interchangeable keys
- – Not a fully mechanical keyboard (depends on preference if this is a negative)
- – Takes up a large amount of desk room
The S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 is a great keyboard and does everything it says on the box and compared to keyboards of the same price range it’s offering about the same amount. Though compared to other gaming keyboards the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 looks elegant no matter your preferred setup. One of the main negatives with me for the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 was the lack of interchangeable keys (which the newer S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 features) though this really isn’t that big of an issue… it would have just been a nice addition. Overall the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 is going to be your preferred choice of gaming keyboard for marathons and even just casual gaming in comfort and style.
Now for the Madcatz Company Specifics regarding the S.T.R.I.K.E 5 Keyboard;
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 backlighting, monitor respawn 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 backlighting, durability or responsiveness.
Not all backlighting is the same. Full 16 million color RGB backlighting – – 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.
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.
5. 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 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, tripling mid-game access to 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.
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Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.