Corsair Strafe RGB MK2 Mechanical Keyboard Review

Published on 8/6/2018 8:00:00 AM by J K

Corsair Keyboards CherryMX


Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 Profile

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.

About Corsair

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.

Notable features:

  • 100% Cherry MX mechanical switches
  • 8MB onboard profile storage
  • 100% anti-ghosting with full-key rollover
  • Dedicated volume and multimedia controls
  • USB pass-through port

Technical specifications:

Keyboard Warranty Two Years
Weight 1.46kg
Keyboard Backlighting RGB
Keyboard Layout NA
HID Keyboard Report Rate 1000Hz
Key Switches Cherry® MX Red
USB Pass-through USB 2.0 Type-A
Matrix 104 Keys
Keyboard Connectivity Wired
Adjustable Height Yes
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
WIN Lock Yes
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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 front packaging

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 side of box

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 back of box

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 opening 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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 unboxed

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 textured space bar

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 media controls

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 onboard controls

The back of the keyboard contains a USB pass-thru port which is quite convenient to use for your mouse.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 USB pass-through port

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 cord

Flipping over the STRAFE RBG MK.2, you have your standard rubberized and adjustable keyboard feet.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 back

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 adjustable feet

The keyboard feet extend to the side, providing you with a little extra height if desired.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 feet extended

At the front, you will notice a slot which is used to attach the wrist rest as well as some front rubberized feet.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 wrist rest slot and rubber 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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 with wrist rest

Removing the key caps was painless with the included removal tool and reveals the Cherry MX Silent switches.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 CherryMX Red 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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 custom FPS/MOBA keycaps

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 lit up with a rainbow effect

When turning off the lights, you can really see the RGB LED’s as they are extremely bright and the keys are easily identifiable.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 with the lights out

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 software selection screen

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 software profile

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 software macros

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:

Predefined:

  • Spiral Rainbow – Cycling through all the colors of the rainbow in a circular motion
  • Rainbow Wave – Cycling through all the colors of the rainbow going left to right
  • Visor – Vertical rows of random/alternating colors moving across the keyboard and bounce of the edges
  • Rain – Rain-like effect going down the keyboard with random/alternating colors
  • Color Shift – Shifting between random/alternating colors
  • Color Pulse – Fading random/alternating colors in and out
  • Color Wave – Like visor except it doesn’t bounce when hitting the end of the keyboard
  • Type Lighting – A ripple-like wave of random/alternating colors from the key pressed location
  • Temperature – Have your key change color based on the temperature of the CPU, GPU or Motherboard sensors

Custom:

  • Static Color – Solid static color that is always on
  • Solid – Solid color that can have the occupancy and lighting time configured
  • Gradient – Gradient of 2 colors that can have the occupancy and lighting time configured
  • Ripple – A ripple effect with a configured color, occupancy, and lighting time
  • Wave – A wave effect with a configured color, occupancy, and lighting time

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 effect selection

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 software performance screen

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.

Corsair Strafe MK.2 software saving profile

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.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 software setting screen

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 lights out angled view

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.