Corsair has unleashed the Corsair Strafe keyboard at a MSRP of $110. This keyboard is a bit smaller than the average gaming keyboard, as well as Corsair’s own Gaming K70 RGB keyboard, measuring in at 17.6 x 6.7 inches (the K70 measures at 18.6 x 8.3 inches), and has made a few sacrifices to reach this more compact size. One of the sacrifices is the lack of a wrist rest. This lack saves the keyboard quite a bit of space, but those who need the extra wrist support can find this lack a big difference. Another difference from the K70 is the lack of dedicated media control keys. The Strafe also only features one kind of backlighting, red, when compared to the K70’s customizable backlighting.
Of course with these lack of features comes a drop in price as well. The Corsair Gaming K70 RGB keyboard can currently be found on Bestbuy for around $170, so those who don’t care about all of these extras will be able to happily pocket the extra $60.
Now that we’ve talked about what the keyboard lacks, let’s talk about what it has. Like the other keyboards from Corsair, the Strafe features Cherry MX technology, which is widely considered to be the best available. Users will be able to choose between the Red and Brown Cherry MX keys, which are both quiet and have a soft touch, though the Brown does offer a bit more resistance.
Corsair also highlights the fact that they offer swappable, textured keycaps for the Q, W, E, R, A, S, D, and F keys. This is to benefit FPS and MOBA gamers who require that these keys have a distinct feel from their neighbors. The keycaps are gray rather than black and feel rough to touch. When you combine this with a textured spacebar, it turns into a nice touch with tangible gameplay benefits.
Thanks to the comfortable layout and authentic Cherry MX keys, the Strafe is quite good when it comes to gaming. We put it through tests with League of Legends, Gurumin, Gauntlet, and several others, and the keyboard performed quite well in every case.
On the note of the Corsair Utility Engine software, it is quite a functional piece of software, though it can be daunting to many thanks to how complicated it is, especially if you compare it to competing software from the likes of Logitech and Razer.
The sheer number of options you can play around with in the CUE include being able to select a number of different lighting patterns, program your own, unique lighting pattern, reassign every key on the keyboard, create macros, and even create different profiles and link them to individual games.
Final thoughts: Overall the Strafe is a solid keyboard. While those who need dedicated macro keys for gaming and/or those who simply want all of the extra features that the K70 offers may find it a bit lackluster, those who don’t need these extra bells and whistles will be hard put to find a better keyboard in its price range.
Final score: 4/5