Everyone knows MadCatz as one of the leading brands when it comes to peripherals across several platforms, with branches focusing on console peripherals (Tritton & MLG), PC peripherals (Eclipse & Saitek) and gaming peripherals (Cyborg), MadCatz are now even dabbling in console games themselves. Today, we will be taking a look at their most recent keyboard to hit the market, which there hasn’t been since the Cyborg V7, which was some time ago. Recently, we’ve seen a spate of high end gaming keyboards of the mechanical variety, but today we have something that is fairly unusual, and you’ll see why shortly.
When it comes to gaming, the keyboard plays a massive role in having a competitive edge. They can make all the difference between life and death, or even that extra kill. Mechanical keyboards are becoming much more popular despite the fairly big price, due to their durability and switch movement, plus also the fact that most of them are “no frills”, meaning you get just what you need with no extra features that get in the way. As we’ve already mentioned, today we have something a bit different to our usual high end keyboards, and that is the MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E.7 keyboard with rubber dome switches – yes rubber dome! The reason we included an exclamation mark on the end of that last statement is because if you saw the price, you’d understand why. The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 features a price tag of around £249 RRP, you can see why, as it makes it the most expensive keyboard we’ve had in to review and it doesn’t even have mechanical switches!
The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 has been produced by MadCatz to fit in line with the Cyborg range of R.A.T. gaming mice, although it won’t be sporting the Cyborg name, as MadCatz have decided to move away from that name (already having too many) and are instead using the MadCatz name and logo – you’ll see later that the keyboard is already MadCatz branded, but the packing is not. So will this new top end keyboard out perform mechanical? Let’s take a look at exactly what we are getting (from MadCatz website):
Fully Modular for Unparalleled Customization
Borrowing modifiable technology from the world’s most adjustable mouse – – the award-winning R.A.T. – – the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard’s unique design provides unprecedented customization options to enhance overall comfort. Armed with total control of your keyboard’s fit, size, color, sound, and programming, you can finally play your favorite games exactly as intended: How you like to play them!
5 Separate Hardware Modules
- 1. Control Module with V.E.N.O.M. TFT-LCD Touchscreen Easily navigate the keyboard’s many functions with the Control Module’s intuitive V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen. Program advanced macros, adjust backlighting, and take in-game control of external functions – – balance game and chat volumes, launch apps and websites, even initiate and control TeamSpeak – – all with a few simple finger taps.
- 2. Main Keyboard Thanks to a much smaller footprint than run-of-the-mill keyboards, the main keyboard gives your mouse plenty of extra space for large, sweeping movements. Replacement, interchangeable WASD and cursor keys adapt to your gaming style by giving you the choice of standard, contoured or rubber-edged versions. Full RGB backlighting – – with 16 million color variants – – matches the keyboard to your gaming rig and the keys’ laser-etched, lacquered light guides are ideal for gaming in dim environments.
- 3. Function Strip Adding four programmable macro buttons to the mix, the removable Function Strip brings the total to 24. Including the V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard incorporates 24 programmable macro buttons over three modes to create 72 user-definable commands.
- 4. NumPad 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 or interface icons 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; you need only switch to a different mode mid-game to triple your 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.
Integrated TeamSpeak Functionality with Visual Identifier
The team at Mad Catz collaborated with TeamSpeak’s development team to integrate their state-of-the-art chat technology into the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard. Once you have the TeamSpeak application running on the keyboard’s V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen, select specific game rooms to check who is online and who is actively talking. You can even control the chat volume from within the game you are playing, removing the need to pause and switch programs.
As you can see there are some really interesting features, from that touch screen to the fully modular design and even the specially designed rubber dome switches.