Review: Corsair Gaming STRAFE Mechanical Keyboard

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Corsair’s beloved sails are back and flying high again with the release of the new STRAFE Mechanical Keyboard. After about a week of use and comparison to the Corsair K70 RGB, surprisingly the STRAFE holds its own in just about all aspects and even surpasses Corsairs flagship RGB keyboard in a few areas. As a company we are seeing Corsair releasing better and better peripherals and the trend is continuing with the STRAFE.

The Technical Stuff

The most important thing for mechanical keyboards are the switches. The STRAFE is available on the Corsair website with either Cherry MX Red or Brown switches depending on the gamers preference. I received the model with the standard MX Reds which gave me a great point of comparison to the K70 RGB I have which uses the same Cherry switches. The key response and anti-ghosting on this board are excellent. Mechanically the STRAFE and K70 RGB are strikingly similar with the exception that the keys on the STRAFE have a more plastic feeling matte finish compared to the others glossy feel. The matte finish is better to some because greasy finger prints are not as much of an issue as they are for other keyboards, but some may interpret the feel of plastic with a low end keyboard. One of my favorite features of the STRAFE is the USB pass-through that is a feature lacking in many high-end keyboards these days. Feature for feature as far as functionality goes, the STRAFE matches some of the most high-end keyboards on the market, and still maintains a lower price point. 104 key rollover, limitless possibilities for creating Macros or reassigning keys with a very user friendly interface. For those of you who aren’t a whiz at creating your own macros, Corsair has an awesome forums website where people are typically happy to help you and share profiles that they have made on their games with you. The final thing I will say about the keys is that they are surprisingly quiet. Although they are using the exact same switches, the STRAFE’s plastic keys and chassis equates to a very stealthy experience.

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The Lighting

For many of us it’s not just about what the keyboard can do, it’s about how you will look while doing it. The STRAFE is not a full spectrum RGB LED keyboard, it instead has only red LEDs. Each key is equipped with its own LED, so while you are limited with colors you still have full range of control over which keys light up, when they light up, and there are still plenty of customization options available. The programming software for the colors is very user friendly, and the few times I got hung up there were plenty of resources online and on Youtube. In comparison with the K70, the LEDs on the STRAFE seemed a bit brighter, but the main reason for this is because underneath the keys on the STRAFE is colored a nice matching red color that accents and intensifies the red lights build into the keys. It was a nice touch that really made the color pop.

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The Aesthetics

While the STRAFE is still considered a high-end keyboard retailing at $109.99 currently, I’d imagine the only reason it is priced so low is because its chassis is plastic, unlike the aluminum one used on the K70. The STRAFE is sleek and very attractive to look at, but overall lacks that feel of sturdiness you get from other keyboards out there. One improvement made aesthetically for the STRAFE as opposed to the K70 is the font of the keys. They are much bolder and bleed through of the LED’s color is super smooth. The STRAFE gives you the top level functionality and look of some of the best keyboards on the market, the only weakness in my opinion is the plastic feel.

Final Reaction

I’m a major fan of the STRAFE keyboard in the roughly $100 price point. The plastic feel of the keys and chassis are not so bad that they are deal breakers, especially given the functionality you get in return. If you are the ultimate showman and need full range of the color spectrum to express your gaming creativity, you may want to spend the extra money for the K70 RGB. If you are more budget conscious and a little more reserved in your need to be flossin’ at your LAN parties, then you cannot go wrong with the Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Keyboard.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

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Cory Vincent
Cory Vincent 434 posts

Forged in the crucible of awkwardness and self loathing, Cory somehow manages to get himself out of bed each day and make it a priority to spend life killing Beef and going H.A.M.