MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E 3 Precision Gaming Keyboard Review
It is essential to have a keyboard that fits your unique style of play, one that is durable, allows custom configurations, and is responsive enough that you can compete with your fellow players and team. Almost any company could eventually meet all of these requirements, but keeping it a lower-cost and remaining competitive in today’s overwhelmed market, is another challenge entirely.
MadCatz has always provided choices, they don’t just put out one keyboard every quarter, or even one color, they continually offer a range of new products for consumers to choose from and enjoy. The latest unit that we got to try was the S.T.R.I.K.E 3 Precision Gaming Keyboard, available now both online and in-stores. The new line was brought in to meet the high performance needs of the growing PC market, and that line was named the S.T.R.I.K.E series. The line is numbered, all under the S.T.R.I.K.E label, and each model has its own unique points and features. The S.T.R.I.K.E 5 keyboard is the most advanced, though some would say crowded, and many might prefer the smaller S.T.R.I.K.E 3 model, which is why it was designed. Each of these models offer amazing precision and features for the player, but the S.T.R.I.K.E 3 is our focus today.
As for what’s included, you will find 12 Programmable Macro Keys, an easy to use Mode Settings switch, that allows multiple loadouts and easy switching between macro sets, and the P.U.L.S.E. Key Membrane. This last feature allows superb response time, and is one of the highlights of the new keyboard. The backlit keyboard and removable wrist-rest are nice features, though they fit more under customization than actual physical advantages. In today’s market you have to offer customization, with both macros and with lighting, and luckily MadCatz offered both in this installment.
All of the games that I tested on the keyboard (FF 14, DOTA 2, LoL for example) they all worked perfectly. The keys are incredibly responsive, and over sharp, crisp button pressing, even when I’m hammering away. This is thanks to before-mentioned P.U.L.S.E. key bed, designed by MadCatz to offer an incredible response time for players. The company has often times praised the engineering design of the P.U.L.S.E. key bead and it’s easy to see why. MadCatz describes it as a, “specially engineered membrane tuned to provide precise tactile feedback and five times the durability of traditional keyboards.” In the end, it just works, and its fast and fluid, and didn’t offer any hiccups to complain about.
As for key placements there are a few important design choices that we want to point out. The The S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 uses 12 programmable macro buttons, with three modes open to player, this allows a total of 36 user-definable commands all ready for the player in an instant. In any of the three modes players can assign macros, these buttons are located at the top-left of the device, and it may be higher (and the buttons smaller) than most gamers are accustomed to but they actually were a pleasant surprise when I started using them. Using standard keyboard movement controls, with mouse, the keys were a little out of my reach, but I did enjoy using them as application, and sub-commands. Inside the battle I was still using F1-F12 and a gaming mouse for most of my fast-hitting and responsive gameplay. Support macros, system macros, crafting macros or other system subsets would be perfect for these keys, allowing more room for your fingers to work around the keys that you use most.
All of the shortcut keys to adjust media controls and/or backlighting are within reach from anywhere on the keyboard, and are terrifically placed with the F5-F12 keys (I like to keep my F1-F4 keys clear of anything but definite battle commands). These shortcuts (for Windows) will allow gamers to pause or skip music tracks, change the volume, or alter the screen’s brightness without leaving the game. If you are looking for a ‘Windows Lock’ then yes this keyboard has one, no more hitting the Windows key and jumping out of your game in a panic. The keyboard easily handles your anti-ghosting needs, allowing up to seven simultaneous keystrokes without a hitch. It’s really a terrific option for PC gamers, it’s not as small as normally would like, but if you tend to play at your desk with a constant setup, that shouldn’t be an issue at all.
The S.T.R.I.K.E 3 Gaming Keyboard is available via MadCatz’s website for 99.99 USD and comes in a wide-array of color options for the choosiest of gamers.
more info: amazon, madcatz, amazon.com/strike3keyboard