Corsair Strafe RGB MX
Corsair Strafe RGB MX is one of the most silent keyboards and a premium elevation to the previously released keyboard under the company’s exact name. Unlike the previous model, it improved a lot and added high-end gamer-friendly features, such as 1000Hz polling and Full N-Key Rollover with dedicated RGB lights. However, we have seen a slight increase in price from the previous model, but the improvements justify the price hike.
Mechanical keyboards are an excellent upgrade to regular keyboards, but they have two main shortcomings: noise and price. Out of these, noise is the main problem when you share a living room or get irritated from the keys’ click noise. Corsair has addressed this noise issue by implementing Cherry mechanical switch into Strafe MK. 2. Let’s dig into the changes and features that we get in the Strafe RGB keyboard and how it stands out from the competition.
|Model||CORSAIR STRAFE RGB MK.2|
|Switches||Mechanical Cherry Max Silent RGB|
|Layout||104 key modified US ANSI layout|
|Connection Type||USB 2.0|
|Dimension (LxWxH)||45 cm x 16.8 cm x 3.8 cm|
|OS Compatible||Windows, Mac|
|Polling Rate||1,000 Hz|
Corsair Strafe RGB MX remained low-key about their gaming intent. Right out of the box, it gives premium looks like a high-end keyboard. Corsair went all plastic on this model and did not feature an aluminum body like other premium mechanical keyboards. The upper edge of the keyboard has high-class aluminum strips. The rest of the deck features matte black plastic material. Although the matte plastic cannot substitute the aluminum or metal body’s premium feel, the plastic used here is of high grade and quality.
Similar to its competitor Razer Huntsman Elite the wrist support is removable and coated with rubber to prevent the hands from sliding around. Textured surface further improves the wrist movement, but Corsair could have done better by providing a more extensive wrist rest. Other models like K70 and K95 have larger wrist rests, but with this model may be Corsair is trying to keep the difference between the models and design the things towards somewhat diversity.
The keyboard follows the 140- key modified US ANSI layout and is full-sized. The most noteworthy change that we see in this model is the media control setup. Corsair has added the same set of the volume wheel and media control setup, which it implements in its expensive keyboards. Corsair Strafe RGB MX is no exception here for a texture volume roller that looks nice. You can easily adjust the game volume from this dedicated roller with a breeze.
The Just like Corsair K95 RGB Platinum keycaps in Strafe MX provide a pleasant typing experience due to the comfortable space layout. One negative point about these keycaps is their ability to catch fingerprints giving the keyboard a dull look. But this is entirely compensated by the soft and matte finish of the keys. Things are simple regarding cleaning, and floating key setup does keep the things easy to clean. Like Corsair 70, this keyboard comes with the key puller tool and the textured replacement keys. These keys are easy to install with the puller tool and used for FPS and MOBA games. Replacement keys work flawlessly and provide the same typing experience.
Corsair MK. 2 comes in two types of key switch; Cherry MX Silent and Cherry MX Red. This switch works flawlessly and has a quick linear response to the input. Cherry MX Silent switches are quieter as compared to many mechanical keyboards. Even switches on Cherry MX Red are not louder, and they serve the purpose without making loud noises. However, there needs the introduction of more tactile switches. Blue, brown, and other color switches addition would be overwhelming.
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The RGB lighting is becoming an integral part of any gaming accessory, and keyboards are no exception. The RGB lighting is awe-inspiring in Corsair Strafe RGB MX, and keycaps glow wonderfully due to colored lighting underneath them. You have the liability to customize the lighting step in any style you want. It is equipped with a keyboard onboard memory that memorizes different RGB lighting styles and remembers them for other users and various games.
Aside from RGB lighting, there are a couple of light bars on either side of the keyboard. Native only to Strafe, these bars provide a nice touch to the keyboard as a side glow and adds to keyboard beauty. Beneath the keyboard, tunnels offer cable routing. Strangely there is no USB passthrough like previous models.
Corsair Strafe RGB MX performs tremendously, and the switches seem more reliable. We observe less wobble while typing as compared to original Cherry switches. Both of the variants of Strafe MK2 carry the DNA of Cherry switches that we see in the past. But there is a noticeable quitter clack to each key even when we use the Red variant. Pitch on tapping is lower on standard keys, but the space key gives a deep thumping sound.
Cherry Silent outperforms and provides a real silent experience when typing. One strange aspect of the Corsair Strafe Cherry Silent is that its switches offer a different bottom-out feel than Cherry Red. When the key fully depresses, you feel like a clump of paper or a thin rubber underneath. You may find it unsetting, and the effect is noticeable enough but not to the disturbing side.
Strafe RGB features anti-ghosting and n-key rollers that produce accurate inputs and prevent any false or missed inputs. The keycaps are slightly concave and reduce the wobble that happens during typing. It fundamentally increases the touch-typing experience as the keymap is oriented towards gaming and carries WASD preference. D key is slightly raised at the right edge and gets in the way of regular typing.
The media keys are impressively well-tuned, especially the seamless scroll wheel. The scroll keys help in the quick and easy control over the system volume. In typical day-to-day use, you might feel the scroll wheel volume control not much impressive, but it helps you out during the gameplay. This control won’t work if you are still using old-school Winamp as it doesn’t support controlling playback using modern options.
Beneath the keyboard, there is a USB passthrough that is extremely useful. It supports the cables to pass beneath the keyboard, and running the gaming mouse through it causes no hiccup in the performance.
Corsair Strafe Utility Engine
Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) is a robust and comprehensive program that manages Strafe RGB MX keyboards’ software side. If we sort out the downsides of Strafe MK.2 then, CUE being not user-friendly tops the list. You need to calibrate and do a lot of trial work to get the Corsair Utility Engine’s required results. But things get better once you get used to its way of operating, and then you can do fun with the programmed essential lighting.
The onboard memory of Corsair Strafe RGB can store up to three profiles. While on the computer, you can save unlimited profiles. These profiles contain settings for the key lighting options and macros. You can link a specific game or program to the profile and get a customized key lighting setup. Using this utility, assigning macros becomes very straightforward, and you can reassign keys for different functions or link any media, mouse, or keyboard functions to specific keys. For example, if you need to press a key twice for a particular function, you can bind a double-click function to a key. Reassigning the keys was never easy before, and in this regard, you get this utility as most programmable in the competition.
With the gorgeous RGB backlighting, you can set up any pattern of lights. Corsair Utility Engine lets you select any RGB lighting arrangement in the keyboard ranging from static color lighting to full rainbow effect. One of the most incredible styles is reactive typing style lighting which emits rainbow color across the keyboard while typing.
It would be great if Corsair has automatically assigned programmed settings for a color pattern on leading game titles like we have seen in Razer keyboards. But Corsair does not lag much regarding this, and it requires little experimentation and manual work to achieve your customized game-based settings.
Playing games with Corsair Strafe RGB MX is a fantastic experience. It feels premium, comfortable, and well built. You can get custom RGB lighting with different profiles through CUE software. The key spacing is perfect and looks very natural and comfortable. You can easily replace the keys and go with the FPS or textured replacement keys for more fun. All the keys are responsive and macro programmable.