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



To test out the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 gaming keyboard, we've been using to game, to work, to browse, and everywhere in between.  Gaming was biased towards FPS shooters, and although I do play some RTS and MMO games, they're not particularly macro-heavy, so my perspective is a bit more sparse in those arenas.  For FPS games, the additional buttons are by far the most usable I've found on a keyboard.  The large buttons on the macro module are easy to hit quickly with your pinky, although the lower left ones are more suited for RTS', MMOs, or games which move slowly enough for you to lift you hand off the keyboard to press them.  The thumb buttons on the wrist module are also great to serve as common functions like reloading or switching weapons.  The same can be said about the scroll wheel, and I found that it worked as a great "panick button," meaning you have the same macro or action set to both directions of the key so you can quickly rotate it either direction when needed.

The command module was especially useful in simulators, as the buttons are accessible in a sim arrangement, and can function as the 9 switches of your choice.  My headset microphone has a tendency to become a bit too sensitive, so the ability to change the micropohone volume from the E.Y.E. is nice.  The launcher is useful when launching games while not wanting to minimize your windows or when you're in-game.  If you're someone who likes to keep an uber-clean desktop, it also allows you to kill off icons and still be able to quickly launch frequently-accessed programs.

MadCatz has tuned their key membrane so that it feels more like a mechanical switch.  While sublte, the membrane feels snappier and requires slightly less pressure than your typical membrane switch.  When it's all said and done, however, the pressure is still higher than needed for most Cherry MX mechanical switches, which I ultimately still prefer.  It would be great if MadCatz would be able to offer a second version for those who are dead-set on mechanical switches.

All-in-all, the STRIKE 5 is an easy-to-use, functional, and incredibly versatile keyboard, the most configurable we've ever used (independent of what it already says on the box).  The num pad also serves as a dedicated game pad, which is great for fighters and other button-mashers while delivering tactile differentiation of the arrow keys.  You can move the num pad out of the way when you need more gaming area, and just as quickly snap it back into place when it's time to get to work.  MadCatz has gone to great lengths to allow you to use your imagination and figure out exactly how you want to configure your keyboard, and they've no doubt succeeded.


Final Thoughts


The STRIKE 5 is hands down the most versatile keyboard on the market today (along with its bigger sibling, the STRIKE 7).  It's packed with features, including some of the best backlighting on a keyboard we've seen with a full RGB color pallet to choose from, solid construction and overall attention to detail, and, of course, the E.Y.E. command module.  The macro buttons are flexible, and the accompanying software is easy to use and very clean.  Everything fits together with a satisfying "snap," and it gives you no worries about its durability.  Small features like the included USB cable clip demonstrate MadCatz' attention to detail as they desing something they plan to market as a professional keyboard.

With alot of use of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 as a gaming keyboard, and also to do work writing and through general use, it's a solid keyboard, plain and simple.  I mentioned that the various additional buttons are better for FPS' than other keyboards.  The large buttons on the macro module allow them to be accurately used even in fast-paced games, and the thumb buttons are thoughtfully-placed and are also very useful for anything that doesn't require simulteous use of the space bar (although you could probably train your right thumb to do that for you).

 The elephant in the room for many will be the price.  At $200, it's an expensive additiona to any setup.  And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that price.  For many, the price will simply be impractical or downright out of reach.  But for serious gamers, or those who value the flexibility of the layout, and/or the novelty of the OLED EYE and command module, it's not terribly overpriced either.  I think that it would be substantially more appealing to a much wider audience at around $150, but the futuristic and highly-adjustable form factors that MadCatz has been putting out have always demanded a premium.  This isn't uncommon, especially since they're the only game in town offering the flexibility to physically fine-tune how your keyboard looks, feels, and is laid out.  The only qualm we have with someone looking for a serious keyboard or those who really want the EYE is that there is no option for mechanical keys.  While they've met halfway between "normal" membrane keyboards and Cherry MX mechanical keyboards, the pressure is still higher, but they've struck a good balance. If you're not sold on mechanical switches to begin with, there isn't anything that would keep us from recommending it to you if the $200 price tag doesn't scare you away.


The Good


The Bad

  • The most verasitle keyboard money can buy
  • Refined futuristic looks, fantastic backlighting
  • Easy to use software
  • Solid construction
  • Various modules fit together perfectly
  • Overall attention to detail
  • No option for mechanical switches for those who can't live without them
  • The $200 price tag is at the top of the high-end market


Did we miss something or have you found any inaccuracies?  Suggestions and corrections can be sent by commenting below or the "Contact" button at the top of the page.  Your feedback helps us improve!

You have no rights to post comments


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

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