Corsair Strafe Gaming Keyboard Review
Published: 29th July 2015 | Source: Corsair | Price: £99.95 @ OCUK |
If you're a regular reader of our writings here at OC3D then you'll know that there are certain elements of peripherals, and indeed hardware as a whole, that we take as a given. Therefore requiring extra attention to detail to stand out from the crowd. With mice simply putting an Avago sensor and Omron switches in isn't enough. With keyboards a Cherry switch alone isn't enough to get it done. So what does the Corsair Strife do?
Firstly, like nearly every Corsair peripheral we've tested, the build quality is incredible. We've often joked that you could probably beat someone to death with one, which might not be something Corsair want to put on the poster, but should at least give you a hint as to the strength and tank-like qualities of the Strafe. You could be in the final of a $1m gaming event, lose to a cheesing cheater, take out your frustration on the Strafe and it would merely shrug. And perhaps run an unintended macro.
This quality isn't only to be found as a strength. The design of the Strafe is excellent too. If you've seen a lot of mechanical gaming keyboards they can all end up a little similar, but the Corsair models always stand out and the Strife is no different. A gorgeous aluminium brushed black top gives way to the deep red of the backplate. The contrast is glorious and one that looks almost as good when your system is off as it does in full "Blackpool Illuminations" mode. The smoothness is only emphasised by a slight crease at the top of the keyboard and the shiny Corsair logo. The software is magnificent, being easy to use and fast to apply your changes. It's nice to have a software package that doesn't hide its functions behind inscrutable icons. It has all the features you could hope for and plenty you didn't realise you needed. Assignment of a lighting profile to a macro is a particular delight. Especially when the keys at full illumination are so bright and so red that you're in danger of having the Vice Squad knocking on your door.
The quality of Cherry MX switches is something we've gone on about at much length, but if you're new to these then they provide a beautifully tactile typing experience. Each key has a lovely weight to it and a rebound that makes typing a joy. If you've only experienced the squidgy typing of membrane keyboards then you're in for a treat. Typing on the Strafe is like the crispness of a spring day compared to the "sock full of sand" that membrane keyboards provide. This quality feel extends to the two non-Cherry keys Corsair have added. Usually keys beyond the regular 104 are found wanting, but they are as nice here as the rest.
Are there any negatives? At £100 it's very much at the high end of single-colour mechanical keyboards. It deserves to be, but it's worth pointing out that if you just want a mechanical keyboard with Cherry switches that lights up, there are cheaper options. The positioning of the USB port could be better too. Keyboards are in front of monitors, monitors have stands. Having the port in the centre doesn't tally with this.
Those very minor things aside the Strafe is a fabulous piece of kit. Beautiful to look at and just as lovely to use, it's thoroughly deserving of our Performance Award.
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