Ozone Strike Mechanical Gaming KeyboardBluePanda - December 6, 2011
Category: Input Devices
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Our friends at Ozone are back again, this time with a new mechanical keyboard. For those of you who know a little bit about keyboards, this one comes with your Cherry Black switches. For those of you who are a little less familiar with this terminology, cherry black switches are linear (non-tactile) switches and are considered one of the best types for gaming. The idea is to give you a smooth feel and provide the exact same release position in every key. Games with a lot of double tapping become easier and if you tend to hit the wrong key often, these are beneficial to you since they require a little more force to get that same key press. A lot of people don’t like the linear nature of Cherry Blacks, but mechanical keyboards already come down to a personal choice. If you are fan of Cherry Blacks, the Ozone Strike might just be for you.
If you didn’t know and you haven’t looked at any products from Ozone before, I feel it’s important for you to know that all their products are designed by actual gamers. They only produce gaming accessories and all of them are designed and tested by actual champions. They also sell internationally to several different countries, so if you aren’t of the ole USA and Canada region, Ozone has you covered. Today we take a look at their newest mechanical keyboard, the Ozone Stirke. Let’s take a peak and see how performs.
Right out of the shipping box the keyboard seems HUGE. The box is quite a bit larger than the keyboard itself and starts to make you panic whether or not it will even fit on your desk. Don’t fear, they had to pack that palm-rest in there somehow without it getting beat up, everything is going to be okay. The front of the box shows an actual picture of the keyboard and brags up a few of its key features, such as 1000 Hz polling rate, 2 USB hubs, audio mic ports, and a 50,000,000 keystroke lifecycle. A sticker on the box also confirms you’ve got the right layout since they have multiple options for different areas of the world. The back of the box goes with the usual multi-lingual brief specs and a few pictures to get you interested.
Opening up the box you’ll find a keyboard inside, WOW! Who would have guessed? But seriously, the keyboard is in there nice and snug with a separate compartment for the armrest and another to wind up the cable. A quick start manual is included, but with the PS/2 option there is no need for drivers. This is already shaping up to be a good find. Throwing all the cardboard aside, the cable is revealed. For me this is a bit of a shocker as it’s the biggest keyboard cable I have ever seen. The braiding keeps all the cables for the mic, headset, and two USB ports all together in one neat little bundle rather than a bunch of separate cables. However, it is rather stiff and doesn’t really want to unbend itself, which will be interesting to try and rout behind my monitor. Despite the audio and USB ports, I’m not quite sure of the need for such a large cable, as I know the Razer Lycosa has a similar set up without a cable of this size.
Moving on, it’s out of the box and I’ve found some additional key caps. They’ve included red WASD keys and an easy remove tool. I like the subtle red of the letters rather than the full red keys, which is different than most I’ve seen and it gives me replacement options if I’m gaming a bit too hard. You can see the palm-rest is shipped separately, but it is held on with a couple of clips.
The palm-rest pops on alright and almost feels as if you are about to break it when putting it on the first time. But it is quite a bit stronger than it looks, give it a little push and it’ll be on there just fine. At this point you’ll also notice that it somewhat rotates with the curvature of the keyboard edge, so if your desk isn’t perfectly flat it will accommodate for you. Back to the additional WASD keys, popping them off isn’t too hard at all with the nifty little tool they sent along, my only fear is when I lose it. Either way, you can get a nice look at the top half of the switch under there. You can also see it’s not very difficult to figure out how to put the keys back on, by using some common sense. I think you can handle it.
After completely swapping out the WASD keys, I thought it looked pretty nice. If you were introducing someone to gaming you could just tell them to use the red keys, but beyond that I think they just look awesome. They remind everyone you are a bit of a gamer at heart and also go well with the accented media keys above. The red theme is brought about in the spilled blood kind of look and can be found up above the numerical keys as well as the palm-rest. “Strike” is written out so you can always tell people what keys you are using and the indicator lights light up red too!
A close up of the media keys reveals that the most important ones for music are located on F5-F8 and the volume keys are on F1-F3. I wish these would have been swapped since I like to change songs more than I like to change volume. The reach from the Ozone key to the F5 range is a bit of a stretch for me. But it’s not a major downfall, I’m just happy to have media keys. Speaking of that Ozone key down there on the left, it’s not just a shift key that toggles on and off, it actually completely replaces your left windows key. So make sure you realize this or when you hit it and the Windows start menu doesn’t pop up, it’s okay, you’ve still got the right Windows key.
Flipping it over you can catch a glimpse of how the palm-rest attaches to the keyboard. It really is as simple as clicking it in. It also won’t be falling out as it’s kinda locked in there until you pinch to two clips together to get it back out. The keyboard itself has four long rubber strips that keep you from sliding about during a really intense battle, even the palm-rest has some rubber pads. The upper portion has height adjustments for those of you who like using them, but for me, I keep it low.
I’ve mentioned to you the USB ports and audio jacks a few times now but that doesn’t really tell you a whole lot other than that they exist. So I shot a picture to show you instead of just rambling on and on. It looks pretty nice, they are well labeled so you can get things plugged in correctly and being just at the top edge of the board above your number pad, they aren’t too hard to access. Another shot of the cable as it splits back up for you to plug in and you realize again just how thick this cable really is.
Overall it looks like one pretty sexy keyboard. I’m ready to test it out and see how it competes. It will be my first cherry black so we’ll see if I’m ready for it or not. We are at least half way to gold with a nice looking set of keys.