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Pros: - Heavy and Solid
- Clean and Professional look
- Customizable backlighting
- Backlight level adjust button
- Good length USB cable
- Alternate keycaps for certain keys included
Cons: - Palm rest is very thin and attaches poorly
- USB ends are very big
- Numb, Caps, and Scroll lock indicators are a little bright
Overall Review: When I pulled this keyboard out if its box, I was shocked by the weight; this keyboard definitely stays where you put it. One of my favorite things about this keyboard is its clean and professional look. There is a backlit Corsair logo in the top left corner that is hidden when not lit, and chromed Corsair lettering above the number pad. The sides are a smooth plastic with some accent lighting (that is not RGB), and the areas under the keys are the same smooth white plastic found on the sides. This somewhat understated design keeps this keyboard looking classy. The backlighting is completely customizable using the Corsair software (which is pretty easy to use), but fancy lighting effects require the program to be running. Another feature that I like is the backlight brightness adjust key. Pressing this key cycles through four brightness level including off. It makes it very convenient to turn the backlighting off at night so that the keyboard doesn't light up the room.
Now for the bad things. Before I get to the palm rest, the indicator lights for the numb, caps, and scroll lock are a little bright and cannot be adjusted or disabled. The USB ends are also a little large; they don't fit well side-by-side in my motherboard USB ports. On to the palm rest. After picking up the keyboard, I had high expectations for the palm rest. Unfortunately, I was severely disappointed. While the material is fine and acceptably comfortable, it is extremely light and attaches terribly. The weight doesn't matter so much, but compared to the keyboard itself, it feels like a cheap knock-off. The attachment system is functional, but it is difficult to remove the palmrest, and without the palmrest, there is a sharp edge on the keyboard that be quite uncomfortable.
Overall, it is a good keyboard, especially for the price. Just don't expect much from the palm rest.
Pros: Very sturdy and functional design. It feels like I could treat this keyboard poorly for 10 years and it would still work perfectly.
The case is stiff, the cable is thick, the keys are secure; its beefy.
The rubberized keys with traction on them are actually a bit helpful. They were easy to replace using the included tool. When using the keyboard, it is easy to find those keys by feel and the rubber helps you feel more control of the key.
The USB passthru port is handy. I used it for my mouse.
The backlight looks great. It illuminates the symbols on each key and the space between each key. There is a button on the keyboard to adjust the brightness.
The aesthetics are great. It looks like a gaming keyboard. The font used for the keys is a bit modern/sci-fi.
There are no useless keys. The design is really boiled down to the keys that you’ll actually use.
Windows 7 automatically loaded drivers that made the keyboard work perfectly. I didn’t have to install any software.
For the sake of the review, I took the time to download and evaluate the Corsair keyboard software. The keyboard software was on a website, not on a plastic disc in the box that I’d surely put in a landfill. The software could be downloaded without making an account.
The Corsair software is pretty cool! You can make the keyboard do all kinds of animated lighting effects. You can adjust the lighting and brightness of individual keys. You can adjust the purpose of each key. You can make keyboard profiles, which is super handy. Profiles allow you to quickly switch between custom keyboard setups for different purposes. You can switch just by two clicks of the system tray icon.
The keyboard has worked flawlessly.
Cons: The keys are a bit loud. I wouldn’t recommend this for someone who lives in a very quiet household or office. Its no problem for gaming, because the game audio covers it up.
There are no dedicated macro keys. Depending on the game you’re playing you may not have easy-reach keys you want to give up to use as macro keys. I like the gaming keyboards that put a few dedicated macro keys left of Caps Lock that you can reach with your left pinky.
I’m not sure why they made the optional rubber traction keys gray. The whole point is to be able to feel the difference; they didn’t need to make a visual difference. I would have preferred black ones like the spacebar.
My girlfriend dislikes the feel of the keystrokes. She doesn’t game. She prefers the feel of Apple short throw keys.
Overall Review: I’m writing this keyboard review using the keyboard in the review… Wow man, you’re blowing my mind!
Great keyboard for dedicated gaming, decent keyboard for mixed use, probably a poor choice for business work.
The keyboard is a bit heavy. That’s nice for stable gaming, kind of cumbersome when moving it around.
Beyond the scope of this keyboard or review, I think it would be awesome to make keyboards with analog WASD or directional keys for fine control of character movement.
Pros: This is a great keyboard. Uses Cherry MX red keys - lighter touch mechanical keys, not the clicky type, and are a bit easier to press than the Cherry MX brown (which according to Corsair *will* be an option for this model).
This is Corsair's less expensive entry mechanical keyboard.
The keyboard is nicely weighted - at a hefty 2 lbs, and stays where it is put. The bottom sports two small flip out stands to raise up the angle a bit. The stands seem well designed, and flip out 90 degrees from normal, probably to make them more resistant to breakage. The full size layout is just a bit more compact than a standard full sized keyboard, at about 1 inch narrower (thanks to slightly closer spacing between the numeric keypad and the rest of the keys) which doesn't impact key spacing. The thick connector cable is rubber, not braided, and feels/looks a bit like a soft IEC power cable, nice conservative look. The single cable terminates in two USB connectors, one for the keyboard, and the second for the USB port on the back of the keyboard (so you can plug in a USB drive or other accessory.)
The lighting is all red, one under each key, plus red stripes on the left and right edges of the keyboard, as well as the three "status" lights (num, caps and scroll locks) and the two buttons that control lighting intensity and keyboard lock (which by defaults locks out the windows key, but can be programmed for other things, a nice touch for gamers who *hate* accidentally hitting the windows key during a gaming session.)
This is a nice looking keyboard, almost corporate looking (especially with the lights off). If you need a mechanical keyboard at work, short of getting an old IBM ps/2 keyboard, this might do the trick without generating too much geek envy.
Cons: The included software is pretty confusing. Although clearly powerful, it takes some getting used to. Seems like typical homegrown stuff.
Its possible to create multiple profiles and scenes within each profile that can be cycled through. Also, you can create program specific settings as well as infinite macros, key assignments, etc.
The software can save a program to the keyboard so it works without the software running (so you can plug it into another computer, for example), but its not obvious in the UI how to save settings to the keyboard. (hint, you save a profile, and its hidden in a context menu.)
I still haven't been able to figure out how to set the keyboard so the lights come on set at low intensity after the computer wakes or is booted. Every time I start up the computer, bam, bright red lights!
Overall Review: For gamers, I think this is a great starting mechanical -- awesome switches, low price. If you can live without multiple colors (any color you want as long as its red), and are partial to Cherry MX Red keys, you might love this keyboard.
If you are old school and will be using this primarily for typing/computing and just occasional gaming, then this may be the keyboard for you. Its fairly understated (classy, high waf, etc) looking, so doesn't stand out or make you look (too much) like a geek.
Make sure you like Cherry MX red keys, or are prepared to get used to them. I think for most people, this keyboard could improve their typing speed. But for some, especially those very used to squishy, short throw laptop keyboards, there may be a period of adjustment, or you might just not like it altogether. Initially I found myself hitting wrong keys, or multiple keys as the MX reds are easy to press (and register the key fairly high in the keystroke). Its easy for a "sloppy" typist to mistype until you get used to it. After a while, though, its all good. By the way, while certainly noisier than a laptop, these are no louder than a typical late '90s PC keyboard.
I think when you spend more than twenty dollars on a keyboard, you should know if you like the keys before you buy it, so get out to a brick and mortar or a friends house to try theirs first.
During my evaluation, Corsair pushed out a firmware update for the keyboard -- not sure what it fixed, but it did install without issue.
Pros: Well Designed and very ergonomic. Key placements are excellent and standard for a gaming keyboard today. Uses real cherry MX keys which is nice and customizable RGB lighting which adds a bit of aesthetics. Wrist rest is detachable which is good because there are some gamers like myself that prefer not to have one attached. Keyboard is quite heavy for a gaming keyboard but weight helps it stay grounded on a desk and prevents unnecessary movement. Controls for multimedia are included as well and overall setup was a breeze.
Keys are fully programmable which is to be expected and works well with the CUE software upon installation. Each key can be programmed to send out a different command or display a different color which is a cool function. I personally am used to having directional keys displayed as red and every other key as blue to provide adequate distinction.
The textured FPS/MOBA keycaps provide an ergonomic advantage over other gaming keyboards and work well with the overall flow of keys. This keyboard in particular having Cherry MX Brown switches is alright in my opinion. I personally prefer Red switches but Brown is a good overall switch with lighter weighting.
Double USB plugs are provided, two for use with USB 2.0 and one for USB 3.0. Extra power is needed to power is needed to power the LEDs primarily.
Has a 2 year warranty which is typical
Cons: Software is kinda bulky but feature packed. Lighting only works with CUE software.
Overall Review: While using it to play online FPS games, this keyboard stood out and performed as expected. Though I wish that it came with Cherry MX red switches, brown switches did suffice. Corsair did a good job with this keyboard.
Pros: Wow! This keyboard is absolutely amazing. Being in the IT Industry for many years I have experience using almost every type/brand of keyboard out there. Never have I been more impressed. This keyboard is solid... a super quality build. Great for gaming and typing. I love it.
My favorite part of the keyboard is the lighting. Every key can display every color on the rainbow you can imagine. The downloadable programmable software is great. Install it to configure the lighting on the keyboard. It can be programmed to do anything. The lighting effects are amazing. Currently, I have each key (area) assigned a specific color and when I strike a key, a ripple effect of colors flows through all the other keys. I have no words for how cool this is. If you want to impress someone, have them type on the keyboard when the lighting effects are turned on. There may be other keyboards out there that do this, but I love the Corsair design. You won't be disappointed. There is an extra USB port on the keyboard that is perfect for adding a mouse.
Cons: Heavy. This keyboard is heavy. But, no doubt, the weight is evidence for its quality. The USB cord is very thick and also heavy. But again, shouts quality. That's all, being heavy is my only complaint.
Overall Review: Assuming a cool lighting effect is active, the Corsair STRAFE RGB Mechanical keyboard will either really impress someone or majorly annoy someone (after they are impressed)... Yes, the lighting effects can be turned off. I cannot say enough good things about the keyboard. It is awesome. And it is worth every penny. Someone may say $150 is too much for a keyboard. But I guarantee the Corsair STRAFE Mechanical is worth it.
Pros: The Corsair Strafe RGB keyboard comes well packaged and protected. The included extras are pretty thin; a warranty booklet, the wrist wrest and some silver textured gaming keys with a keycap remover. First impressions are that the Strafe is fairly heavy and substantial although the external build is all plastic. When you plug it in the keys light up red with the arrow keys and ‘WASD’ keys in white. You have to download the drivers from Corsair’s site to do anything else but it’s less than a 100 MB download.
Once you download the software the fun starts. Although the software can be obtuse and hard to figure out with no manual in sight it does give you immediate access to the light show this keyboard can produce. It’s like fireworks under your fingers and you sit and stare in rapt fascination as the keys gyrate and pulse in every color of the rainbow. It’s impressive. Finding the other settings is a bit more nonintuitive however. I wanted the keys to light up in a single color and although there is a color pallet for this it didn’t appear to work. There is a link to a user’s manual and this takes you back to the corsair site where you can download the manual. I found out you have to drag your curser over the keys on the rendering of the keyboard on the software to use the color selector. No knock to Corsair since this was just my lack of understanding. The software also lets you set media and macro keys as well as create your own lightshow for the keyboard. It’s complete if a bit daunting.
In operation the Strafe was flawless and actually did improve my admittedly sad typing skills. The keys respond well and have an only mildly annoying click when pressed. There are no media keys unless you press the ‘FN’ key and use the appropriate function keys but I never use the media keys on the keyboard anyway. There is a nice USB passthrough on the back of the keyboard. I used it for the receiver for my USB mouse. Even better the illuminated keys are great at night or in low light situations. I have an old IBM 7953 keyboard that I’ve used on my parade of gaming machines for the last 15 years. This keyboard is flawless and has stood up to my frantic beating on it without complaint but I think I’m going to replace it with the Corsair Strafe RGB.
Pros; The Strafe is well built and has a heft to it that speaks to quality. It’s good looking and customizable to an amazing degree. The keys have a satisfying action and at least for me improved my typing abilities. The areas under the keys is now white so it reflects all colors equally well. My personal favorite is the slime green. You can set the colors for the Corsair ‘Sails’ logo and the light channels on the white sides independently or set a different color for each key or group of keys. The customization seems endless. The 4 rubber feet hold the Strafe down securely so it doesn’t move at all.
Cons: The font on the keys is large and ugly and gives the Strafe a cheap appearance. The cable includes 2 USB connections and is both stiff and thick, like a heavy duty power cable. The hard plastic wrist wrest is a bit low rent and the software is comprehensive but obtuse and has a steep learning curve.
Overall Review: Bottom line is that this is a good keyboard with a gimmick or a whole bag of gimmicks depending on how you look at it. It does the most fantastic lightshows you have ever seen and you just about gasp in amazement that this is possible. You go through all the various lighting effects and take cellphone videos for your friends and then you realize the mad dance of the lights is impressive but after a while it gets boring especially since you can’t really use the keyboard while the keys are doing the wave. Maybe you fool around with the software and try to create your own effects. But then you turn the lightshow off and you’re left with simply a keyboard. Luckily it’s a darn good keyboard and the price is in line with other mechanical keyboards that don’t entertain you. The Corsair Strafe works well as simply a mechanical keyboard for gaming. It’s way overkill unless you’re a twitch gamer or a serious typist but It’s a high quality piece of tech that has a few rough edges but I heartily give it a thumbs up.
Pros: Light touch produces positive results.
Soft / Medium / Bright / Off backlight brightness settings.
Heavyweight construction - doesn't slide around on the desk like so many lightweight keyboards do.
Typing produces nostalgic clickety-clack sound. Ah, the good ol' days!
Textured keys can be substituted in place of some regular keys. During a game you can feel the keys without having to look away from the screen. The Space Bar is also textured.
Note: The arrow keys (up/down/left/right) are the same size as the letter keys. If you are a left-handed gamer you can use the textured keys in place of the regular arrow keys.
Numerous adjustments are available through the free downloadable Corsair CUE utility software. Exploring the possibilities here will eat into your time for gaming. Before you know it the clock has struck midnight and you're still tweaking the keyboard settings for yet another game. Maybe this should be listed as a Con :) ?
USB Port: My PC sits off to one side of the desk about 6 inches above the floor. My mouse"s USB receiver is plugged into the tower's front panel USB port, but the mouse has never worked with great accuracy. After connecting the mouse's little USB receiver into the Strafe's USB port i'm getting very precise mouse action - definitely a plus!
Cons: Accidently touching (even slightly) a key next to the one you intend will type both letters. If you're a sloppy typist, beware! Of course, this may prove beneficial to gamers rather than being a drawback.
Not really a Con but more expensive models may offer metal construction and a choice of backlight color. For some users, blue backlight might be easier on the eyes but, hey, red looks great, too! The main thing is that you can see every key in low light or in the dark.
The specs say this keyboard is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7. It may be best to contact Corsair support if you are using a different operating system.
Overall Review: Overall, this is about the best keyboard i've ever used. There have been others with positive click action, but they tended to slide around during heavy gaming use. There have been others with a backlit keyboard, but the surface lettering wore off from the heavily used keys and a couple of keys just stopped working, too. Only time will tell if the Cherry MX keys will endure. They certainly have a reputation for lasting quality.
K70 and other more expensive models actually perform similarly to this one. So, if you want high-end key action and tweakability at a competitive price then give the Strafe your serious consideration.
Pros: Wondering about why a company would risk making a quality $150 keyboard and why people fight to keep their older, mechanical keyboards functional? Then see Other Thoughts first. Otherwise, read on.
The STRAFE series of mechanical gaming keyboards have true Cherry MX switches. Cherry (the world’s oldest keyboard switch manufacturer) was a US company that moved to Germany around 1967. Switches can be clicky/non-clicky on activation, provide some tactile feedback (a bump) when pressed, and have various spring forces required to actuate/rebound. Cherry switches are usually referenced by color. Corsair keyboards are available using Cherry MX “Silent”, “Red”, “Brown”, or “Blue” switches. Red has a low actuation force of 45cN and is marketed as a linear, light weighted, gaming switch. Brown is a tactile, non-clicky switch with 45cN actuation force thought to be middle-of-the road good for both typing and gaming. Blue is a clicky, tactile, switch with a 50cN weighting and is favored by typists. These switches all make noise at bottom-out, on rebound, and in addition- some of them have an audible click during activation. The “Silent” is a new Cherry switch developed specifically for Corsair keyboards and is supposed to feel like the Red while being completely quiet - presumably for spousal/roommate benefit. I got the “Brown” switch type.
Other features include a USB pass-through port, and individual key RGB backlighting. The cord has double USB plugs - use one for USB 3.0 (the one with the keyboard icon), plug in two for USB 2.0 ports). Full lighting effects only work with software installed. FPS and MOBA keycap sets are include. A detachable wrist rest is included. Software is continually improving, with macro key customization and pretty cool lighting profiles that you can customize down to each individual key. You can save/download/share various profiles. Software allows for various keyboard polling intervals. You can also can disable: Windows Key, Shift+tab, Alt+tab, alt+F4 if you wish.
Each of the 104 keys registers even when pressed simultaneously (104 key rollover) with 100% anti-ghosting. See Other Thoughts on a fun test to do with your current keyboard.
It is very easy to clean. There is no way for the letters to wear off. A key removal tool is included. Texture is perfect for the detachable wrist rest.
CUE software is kept current. I received my keyboard on 11/24/2015 and the last update of the software was 11/19/2015. The software updated my keyboard firmware too. There is automatic media player discovery and support. Multimedia keys allow audio adjustments without game interruption.
2 year warranty.
Cons: The cable is big and thick and may on the short side (6 ft) - but that’s what it takes to get all the features.
I suggest trying the various types of switches if you have not experienced them before so you know which one to buy.
Software installation takes more than 150 Mb but it works just fine if you choose not install it to your system SSD. During the install it gives you the option to install elsewhere than the system disk. (If you don’t install the software, the keyboard will still work - with WSAD keys and arrows having white backlighting and the rest as red backlighting.)
Overall Review: Most keyboards are cheap, membrane-based boards with a rubber dome switch underneath each key. These are inexpensive, spill-resistant, and don’t give you much feedback as to when each key registers - you have to bottom out the key. Also, most can only detect a couple simultaneous keys at a time (called a “rollover” number). Rollover often includes only certain combinations of keys. This problem is also called “ghosting” when certain simultaneous keypresses can’t be distinguished by the keyboard. Right now, try typing “the quick brown fox jumps right over the lazy dog” while holding down both shift keys on your current keyboard. I’ll do this on my Microsoft keyboard at work now: HE QUIK BRON FO JUPS RIGH OER HE LA DOG.
After using a mechanical keyboard, anything else will feel wrong and mushy. Mechanical keyboards also are a bit loud (except for the new “Silent” Cherry switch one), heavy, and last forever unless you spill your coffee on them. When Apple changed from ADB ports to USB there was a huge market in $50 ADB to USB adapters for people who loved their old keyboards. If you use mechanicals to type, with practice, you will type a LOT faster and push more softly because you don’t have to bottom out the keys to get them to actuate.
Keyboards were not the first Corsair product but the company entered strong with great hardware around 2011. The software has finally caught up. They listen to their boards and their customers. Corsair also restored their beloved sail logo on this keyboard and made the effort to have Cherry make special switches for them as an option.