Mad Catz Cyborg S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 Modular Gaming Keyboard with OLED E.Y.E. Display Review

 

Design


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Mad Catz' Cyborg series has always had a unique appearance because of it's plated, disjointed build to enable to versatile customization.  Although certainly edgier than most keyboards, the S.T.R.I.K.E. series still retains a fairly "normal" look.  One of the big selling points here is that there are so many different ways to use this keyboard so anyone can configure it just how they like.  The num pad can disconnect just enough for you to angle it with a shorter USB cable, and using an included longer cable, you can have plenty of separation, which enables alot of possible uses.  Additionally, the flexiblity is only furthered by the fact that the command module, which bears the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5's E.Y.E. OLED display, may be mounted to the keyboard, the num pad, or even have it stand by itself. 

The programmable macro module can be attached to the keyboard or the num pad to best suit your preference, and the large M1 and M2 buttons are easily reached by even clumsy pinkies when attached to the left side, which is great in FPS', and the bottom two are more likely to be useful for frantic macro-heavy RPG and RTS games.  Surrounding the arrow keys on the num pad are five programmable keys which have flat tops insteadof the slightly concave tops of the normal keys, and are subtly recessed so you can clearly feel them to avoid accidental presses.  This arrangment makes the numpad act as a pretty good gamepad if you're one more keen on such and arrangement.

 A big draw to this for me is that keyboards with num pads leave me with little room to use my mouse, let alone a decent-sized mouse pad, on my sliding keyboard tray.  I've been able to experiment quite a bit and it's been very convenient.  I tend not to use the num pad during games (I play mostly first person shooters), so when I game I simply unclick the num pad from the keyboard and set it above the desk so I have more mousing room.  When I'm using the num pad more frequently (setting up reviews and sizing images) I sit it down and click it back into the keyboard.  Perfect.  The control module is also too tall for the try to slide in, so I have that up on the desk all the time, which is conveniently in reach.  If I remove the num pad completely the control module fits nicely alongside the keyboard and leaves plenty of mousing room and makes it very easy to access.

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The bottom, which has a matte appearance of metal, is made of plastic, but don't let that fool you, everything is rock solid.  The modules snap together with a satisfying and reasuring "click," and then two small allen screws are easily dropped into place and tightened down.  Mad Catz included a small allen wrench with a matching handle which does the job nicely.  We kinda wish Mad Catz would have included a small space on the keyboard somewhere that the tool would snap in place or where it could be carried along, which would be a perfect way to keep it with you when travelling to LANs.  The feet have an edgy "robotic" appearance and are spring loaded so they snap open and closes very nicely.  The metal hinges on the feet are small details that reek of attention to durability, and all signs indicate that the S.T.R.I.K.E. keyboards will hold up well with some abuse.

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The wrist module may be mounted to either the keyboard or the num pad, again offering as much flexibility it can squeeze.  The wrist rests snap easily into place, and can be positioned toward or away from the keyboard to maximize comfort.  The wrist module contains a convenient and ergonomically-laced thumb button along with a thumb scroll wheel.  The module's tilt can also be adjusted easily by depressing the "lock" lever and then adjusting it to your desired angle. 

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The feet allow for two different overall tilt settings, and the feet retract outwards to create a very solid and stable platform, although this will consume a little extra area if your keyboarding area is really tight and you'd like more angle.  Also note the deployable foot on the command module which allows it to stand independently of the keyboard or num pad, and looks much like a small droid or robot's spidery leg.  The back of the command module shows that the primary connector to your PC runs from just behind the E.Y.E. OLED and then two USBs run to the keyboard and num pad.  Keen and observant readers will notice that, yes, my cable connections are backwards (the angle connectors are supposed to connect to the halves of the keyboard) in the above image, my bad!  The other ends have straight connectors which run straight out from the command module, and the angled connectors connect cleanly to the keyboard and num pad.

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Comments   

 
# ava 2012-12-06 05:31
Great review!

$200 for a non mechanical keyboard? No, thanks!