Published on 8/6/2018 8:00:00 AM by J K
Corsair Keyboards CherryMX
When looking for a high-end machinal keyboard, most people have a checklist of must-haves before even considering a certain board. For the most part, all of them include: must be RGB, solid build quality, 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover and quality switches. Corsair’s STRAFE RGB MK.2 checks all of these boxes and also has features like 8MB of onboard memory to store profiles, built in USB pass through, custom keycaps for FPS/MOBA’s and a detachable soft-touch wrist. The STRAFE RGB MK.2 comes in at an MSRP of $139.99 with Cherry MX switches or for an additional $10, you can choose the Cherry MX silent switches. In this review, we will be focusing on the Cherry MX Silent switch version.
Founded in 1994, Corsair started by making Level 2 cache modules for OEMS. After Intel incorporated the L2 cache into the processor, Corsair refocused and started making DRAM modules. Fast forward to 2018 and they have become one of the leading names in the high-end PC industry. Over the years, with their groundbreaking technology and innovation, they have now expanded their line of products to include high-performance memory, ultra-efficient PSU’s, cases, PC and CPU cooling solutions, SSD’s, keyboards, mice and headsets.
|Keyboard Warranty||Two Years|
|HID Keyboard Report Rate||1000Hz|
|Key Switches||Cherry® MX Red|
|USB Pass-through||USB 2.0 Type-A|
|Additional colored and textured keycaps||FPS/MOBA|
|Media Controls YN||Yes|
|Keyboard Type Size||STRAFE|
|Keyboard Product Family||STRAFE|
|Keyboard Rollover||Full Key (NKRO), 100% anti-ghosting|
|Size (Full/TKL)||Full Size|
|Wired Connectivity||USB 2.0 Type-A|
|Media Keys||Dedicated Buttons (Stop, Previous, Play/Pause, Next)|
|Wrist Rest||Included, detachable, with soft touch finish|
|Keyboard CUE Software||Supported in CUE 2.x|
|Keyboard Cable Type||Braided|
When receiving the STRAFE RGB MK.2, you’re presented with a black box with the corsair yellow accents. On the top of the box, there is a photo of the keyboard showing off its RGB lighting with its features listed on the left-hand side as well as the bottom.
Features highlighted on the top are explained in more detail on the side of the box and a description of the soft detachable wrist rest and on-board multimedia controls are provided as well.
On the back of the box, Corsair continues to highlight all the keyboard features such as the windows key lock mode, USB pass-through port, 100% anti-ghosting with full key roll over and FPS/MOBA keycap sets. Also included on the right-hand side is a description on the CUE software that enables you to configure your Corsair peripherals.
Upon opening the box, you notice that the keyboard is wrapped in plastic film with the cable placed under the cardboard enclosure at the top of the box.
Upon removing the keyboard from the box, you notice that it also includes a detachable soft-touch wrist rest, FPS/MOBA custom textured keycaps, keycap remover, and an instruction booklet.
When the STRAFE keyboard is out of the box, you can instantly tell that it’s well built and made with quality materials. It definitely has the premium feel you look for in a high-end keyboard with details such as the brushed aluminum top bar, braided cable, and highly visible lettering on the keycaps.
Upon taking a closer look at the keys, you will notice that the space bar is nicely textured which should help it last much longer than traditional keyboards and gives it a nice tactile feel.
The top right of the keyboard contains media keys such as Stop, Previous, Play/Pause, and Next. Also included is a mute button and an easy to use volume wheel.
On the top left, there are some on-board controls which allow you to quickly switch between the 3 on-board profiles, change the brightness of the backlighting and a button to lock the windows key from accidental presses while gaming.
The back of the keyboard contains a USB pass-thru port which is quite convenient to use for your mouse.
You will notice that the braided cable comes with 2 USB plugs. This is because one of the plugs is dedicated to the USB pass-through port.
Flipping over the STRAFE RBG MK.2, you have your standard rubberized and adjustable keyboard feet.
Taking a closer look at the adjustable feet on the back, it’s nice to see that they also included rubber feet for when you’re not using the extra height.
The keyboard feet extend to the side, providing you with a little extra height if desired.
At the front, you will notice a slot which is used to attach the wrist rest as well as some front rubberized feet.
The soft-touch wrist rest easily attaches to the bottom keyboard and gives you some nice feeling support with the help of its rubberized texture on the top.
Removing the key caps was painless with the included removal tool and reveals the Cherry MX Silent switches.
Being FPS gamers at heart, we had to install the FPS key cap set. These caps are textured and contoured to give you a little extra speed on your WASD movement keys.
Once we plugged in the STRAFE RGB MK.2 it defaulted to its preconfigured “Rainbow Swirl” lighting effect. Using the onboard profile key, we were also able to switch to the other two profiles: “Rain” and “Rainbow Wave” with ease. In addition to the keys being illuminated, the mute and media controls are also included in the RGB effect. It would have been nice if the profile button, brightness, and windows lock key were also included, but they seem to be lit to a solid color using the downloaded iCUE software.
After using the STRAFE RGB MK.2 for the past week we really love the Cherry MX Silent switches. The switches have the same tactile feel of regular Cherry MX switches but are much quieter. The keyboard itself is extremely solid and was quite comfortable to use. The included wrist rest also felt quite nice and is a must have for the long gaming sessions. Speaking about gaming, the complimentary FPS keycaps were great, though it did take a little while to get used to the different contour of the keys. While gaming, using the volume scroll wheel took worked effectively and is much preferred over the knob or up/down buttons on other keyboards.
When turning off the lights, you can really see the RGB LED’s as they are extremely bright and the keys are easily identifiable.
Since the STRAFE RGB MK.2 is iCUE compatible, all you need to configure it is downloadable iCUE software from Corsair’s website. For this review, we will focus on the elements of the software that pertain to the keyboard.
When loading the software, you will see that it automatically detects the STRAFE RGB MK.2 as well as any other iCUE compatible devices.
Now after clicking the STRAFE RGB MK.2 device you are able to configure the default and on-board profiles. Each profile can be linked to a specific application, so that each game can have its own macros and lighting effects. You can also set up a custom background image and profile icon if you wish.
After selecting a profile, you can now configure its actions, lighting effects and performance. Starting with the “Actions” menu item you are able to record and assign macros to any key on the keyboard. When creating a macro, you can include key presses, mouse clicks, delays and even starting lighting and sounds.
Moving on to the “Lighting Effect” menu item, you have a wide range of effects out of the box which can also be customized to your preferences. Some of the customizations avaible for each effect are speed, color, and which keys the effect is active on. Below is a list and description of the effects available:
The last menu item on the left side is “Performance” which allows you to configure how the window lock works as well as the color inducators of the profile, brightness and window lock buttons.
If you are working with a stored profile to save your changes to the keyboard’s on-board memory, you must click the “Save Profile to Device” menu item on the left side menu. From here, you can select which slot you wish to save the profile to and will be asked if you wish to overwrite the current stored profile. From this screen you can also delete profiles if desired.
Using the settings item on the top menu you can change things like polling rate, brightness and current layout as well as clear the on-board profiles and update the keyboards firmware.
The STRAFE RGB MK.2 is everything a high-end keyboard should be. Aesthetically, it looks amazing with its brushed aluminum top, vivid configurable RGB LED’s, stylish volume wheel and textured spacebar/wrist rest. Thanks to the 100% anti-ghosting full key rollover I didn’t miss a beat while both gaming and writing this review. While gaming, I really enjoyed the Cherry MX Silent switches as they couldn’t be heard when communicating with my teammates and were very responsive when pressed. I also thought the included FPS/MOBA keycaps a nice bonus and they felt quite nice once I got used to contours on them. When configuring the lighting effects with the downloaded iCUE software, I found that the software was easy to use and it had a nice variety of pre-configured lighting effects with Rainbow Wave being my personal favorite. My only negative about the keyboard would be the exclusion of the profile, brightness and windows lock key from the RGB effects but this is a minor issue as they can be at least configured to be a single color. This is probably one of the best mechanical keyboards I have ever used and would have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for a high performing keyboard packed full of amazing features.