Just when we thought we’ve seen the ‘ultimate’ gaming keyboard after Razer unveiled the touchscreen-packing DeathStalker Ultimate, something like this comes along that just completely blows your mind with the possibilities. MadCatz has introduced the STRIKE 7, a gaming keyboard that stands out –way out – from the rest of the pack by going with a customizable modular design that’ll let you add or remove components or rearrange them around the table for comfort.
The whole kit is made up of 5 separate modules that stay connected via three ‘Link Cables’: the main keyboard, the function strip, a numpad, a Control Module with ‘VENOM TFT-LCD Touchscreen’, and a three-section palm rest that can be adjusted for comfort. The function strip module is a set of four programmable macro buttons that can be added (for a total of 24 hotkeys) or removed in case you don’t need the extra buttons. The numpad module can either be attached to the main keyboard for a conventional layout or detached and positioned somewhere else for comfort.
The two last modules are mainly what make this kit special. The adjustable palm/wrist rests come in three separate sections, with one featuring a mechanism for height adjustment as well as a thumbwheel and action button for adding even more control. The ‘Active Palm Rest’ can also be attached either to the main keyboard or the numpad. The ‘Control Module’ that houses the touchscreen adds a whole lot more to the mix. Thanks to a number of apps, this module can be used to program macros, adjust backlighting and audio settings (including TeamSpeak), launch websites and other programs, or show in-game data.
Other features include RGB backlighting on all the keys, interchangeable WASD and cursor keys (it comes with extra buttons with contoured and rubber-edged replacements), and three modes that bring the total of available macros to 72.
It’s an interesting choice if you’re into full customization and advanced features (such as using macros). The robo-like design should appeal to a certain kind of geek as well – basically the same kind of gamer who likes MadCatz’s similarly customizable Cyborg RAT gaming mouse series. It certainly made the Logitech G-Series kit we’ve been using look boring in comparison.
Unfortunately, this high-end keyboard has a couple of downsides. First off, it’s going to come with a hefty $300 price tag. It wouldn’t have sounded so bad if this was a mechanical keyboard, but it’s not. As ‘hardcore’ as it might look, the STRIKE 7 only features an “engineered membrane that mimics” the tactile feel given off by mechanical keyboards.