Corsair Gaming Strafe Review

Written by Antony Leather

August 27, 2015 | 11:03

Tags: #best-gaming-keyboard #cherry-mx #gaming-keyboard #mechanical-keyboard #strafe

Companies: #corsair #corsair-gaming

Corsair Gaming Strafe Review

Manufacturer: Corsair
UK price (as reviewed):
£99.98 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $109.99 (ex Tax)

The Strafe is one of numerous peripherals we've looked at this year since Corsair Gaming - essentially the gaming arm of the popular case and PSU manufacturer - came into being. It's in much the same way that CM Storm is to Cooler Master and it needs no introduction, therefore, as a keyboard manufacturer. It offers great products across the price spectrum all the way up to its slightly bonkers K70 RGB and with Corsair's recent announcement that it will yet again hold an exclusive licence with Cherry for its forthcoming Cherry MX Silent switches, Corsair has no plans to relinquish its grip on the keyboard market.

Corsair Gaming Strafe Review
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That said, it's been a while since we've seen something distinctly new from Corsair Gaming by way of keyboards and the Strafe is clearly a different design compared to the company's other premium keyboard offerings in several noticeable ways, and sadly they're not all particularly positive ones. On the plus side, the construction is sturdy, you get textured replacement WASD and QWERDF key sets and the USB pass-through makes a welcome return having been omitted from a number of Corsair's recent keyboards too.

Corsair Gaming Strafe Review Corsair Gaming Strafe Review
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The downsides are that Corsair has done away with its luscious aluminium construction, macro keys and dedicated media controls and volume dials that undoubtedly made models such as the K70 so popular. The lack of dedicated media controls is especially disappointing given its predecessors' offerings, although similarly-priced keyboards such as the CM Storm Trigger Z also make do with dual function keys here so we can't be too damning.

Corsair Gaming Strafe Review Corsair Gaming Strafe Review
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The Strafe sports red per-key backlighting that can be adjusted to three levels and illuminates the side of the keyboard too (the latter can be switched off separately). The lighting is a tad brash though and on full brightness even appears to have a slight pinkish twinge - thankfully the lower two settings are likely where you'll want to be for the majority of time. The lone USB port isn't USB 3-capable as we've seen on keyboards such as Gigabyte's Aiviva Osmium, which is a bit of a let-down. Similarly, the 1.8m cable is a decent length but we'd have preferred to see it braided. The USB port is still useful for connecting other devices to save on cable clutter though, and as it's located at the top of the keyboard it's ideal for this.

Corsair Gaming Strafe Review
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The keyboard sports a fair degree of tilt as standard so the mediocre amount of height adjustment won't likely be an issue: there are just small, single level kick-out stands on offer here. It's pleasant to use as a result although the first thing we noticed was the space bar, which comes with a textured surface out of the box, unlike the WASD and QWERDF keysets that are included in the box and can be installed optionally using the included key-extractor. We weren't too keen on the spacebar's finish and it does make the keyboard look and feel a little cheap in our eyes - your opinion may differ, of course.

Corsair Gaming Strafe Review
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Our sample came with Cherry MX Red switches (Brown switches are available too) that sported their familiar light, click-free, linear feel. The only exception here was the spacebar, which exhibited a slight rattle when pressed from certain angles, but other than this the profile and angle of the keys meant we got used to the Strafe very quickly and enjoyed accurate keystrokes, be they in games or while typing longer strings of letters. Despite the plastic construction, there was no hint of echo when typing and the base is plenty sturdy enough to prevent flexing, even when manhandling the keyboard.

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