Mad Catz has always looked at their PC gaming products with an eye toward flair and extreme experimentation – their Cyborg R.A.T. line of gaming mice are absolutely unique when paired next to gaming mice from other companies, and offer a rugged, futuristic industrial feel that few companies can match.
The new S.T.R.I.K.E.5 (thank goodness for copy and paste) keyboard is following that same vein. The new product is targeted at professional and enthusiast gamers, especially those who travel to LAN parties or other events to game, and bring their own decks along.
S.T.R.I.K.E.5 is modular to an astonishing degree. Out of the box, Mad Catz supports up to six different configurations, with more possible should you decide to use some sections of the keyboard independently from the others (in particular, the main keyboard section can be used directly with a USB cable if you wish to travel light, but the backlight defaults to red and is not adjustable).
One of the innovative new features of the S.T.R.I.K.E.5 is the E.Y.E. command module, which features an OLED display. The display can support up to three simultaneous timers for tracking in-game actions, adjust system and microphone volumes, access quicklaunch programs and adjust the entire keyboard’s backlighting system.
The command module as a whole lets users disable backlighting and the Windows key, adds in nine more macro buttons, and offers audio jacks for headphone and microphone consolidation.
On the right, the number pad is also removable for fitting the S.T.R.I.K.E.5 into cramped desk spaces. In those cases, you can attach the number pad to the main keyboard via USB and rest it above or below the rest of the board in order to keep room open for your mouse.
Mad Catz promises that the new S.T.R.I.K.E.5 can support a minimum of four simultaneous keypresses, which should make ghosting a thing of the past. Unlike other keyboards in this price range, however, the S.T.R.I.K.E.5 doesn’t employ mechanical switches. Mad Catz says that this is in order to enable the ‘halo effect’ backlighting employed by the S.T.R.I.K.E.5, and that the keyboard’s feel matches “that of the most popular mechanical keyboards available today.” Still, some gamers are likely to be turned off by the move.
Making the keyboard so flexible, however, requires a less-than-flexible price point: $199.99. While expensive, the S.T.R.I.K.E.5 does come in cheaper than the flagship S.T.R.I.K.E.7, which costs $299.99 but offers a more expansive touchscreen.