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Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review


Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard Closer Look:

Corsair has had great success over the years, from its original memory lineup through to the company's new offerings. If the Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent lives up to the information on the box, then this keyboard will perform very nicely! Corsair advertises this keyboard as being compatible with its CUE LINK software, which provides the ability to link the color scheme of any of itsr RGB components together. Corsair has RGB mice and headsets compatible for pairing with this keyboard through CUE LINK, along with custom lighting profiles on its website to download for use in the CUE software.

The RGB MX Silent revision refers to the new Cherry MX Silent RGB Red key switches. These switches are based on the Red switch design with 45 cN linear actuation and 2 mm actuation point distance. These MX Silent RGB Red key switches also bring to the table many new features. These switches have new noise reduction impact absorbers built in: one for topping out and another for bottoming out. The upper housing is clear on the RGB variants to allow the most light transmission through, with the RGB LEDs able to produce 16.7 million color combinations. Typically, the upper housing is black on the other Cherry switches, even though most can have LEDs added.







The keyboard layout is fairly standard. Two buttons that are unusual are at the top right: one for brightness and the other to lock out buttons. By default, the latter is the Windows Key lockout button, but it can also disable Alt + Tab, Alt + F4, and Shift + Tab. This is all handy for gamers who might accidentally bump any of these buttons and cause the game to lose focus. The Brightness key has four settings: Off, 33%, 66%, and 100%. The space bar is aggressively textured with bumps that resemble equal signs running perpendicular to each other. Between the right Alt and CTRL keys are Function and Menu keys. This spacing is nice when combined with the audio controls being located between the F5 and F12 keys, because virtually all users can manipulate these controls one handed. Some keyboard manufacturers feel the need to have these controls start at F1, requiring some users to use two hands to actuate the controls.

A groove runs along the top of the keyboard, separating the long Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock LEDs, and Brightness and Windows Lock buttons from the lower portion of the keyboard. This groove is deep enough that users can insert note cards; useful for writing hotkeys on paper for programs such as Adobe Photoshop, or gaming commands. The bottom of the keyboard has two small legs that can pop up to increase the keyboard pitch. They have no grip and will reduce the rubber pads that make contact from four down to two, so users who place the keyboard on a slick surface might have issues with slippage. The wrist pad does have three rubber pads on it, so if it is installed it could add stability further. Near the center, in a dark-colored font, it reads: "WARNING! Some Experts believe that use of any keyboard may cause serious injury to hands, wrists, arms, neck or back. If you feel pain, numbness, weakness in these areas see a qualified health professional." At the center is a label with the keyboard part number, serial number, FCC compliance, Input Rating of 5V DC 900mA Max, Underwriters Laboratory Listed, and other information.




The keyboard cable is split into two near the end. Yellow plastic adorns the splitter and both connections. One connection is for the keyboard itself, while the other is for the pass-through port on top of the keyboard. Only the keyboard USB cable must be plugged in, but for the pass-through port to function the other cable must be plugged in too. The port is near where the cable enters the keyboard, and is useful for plugging in USB head phones, thumb drives, and other similar USB devices.



The F5 through F12 keys each have an alternative audio control option (except F6), accessed by holding the Fn (Function) key and pressing the key with the desired function wanted. When using the Fn modifier: F5 mutes all audio, F7 decreases all audio, F8 increases all audio, F9 stops the current media, F10 goes back to another media file in the playlist/folder, F11 plays/pauses the media, and F12 goes forward to another media file in the playlist/folder. These controls are laid out nicely; it's easy to control one-handed and the audio mute button is out of the way to prevent accidental actuation of it. At the top right are the Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock LEDs that are only able to be white. The Brightness and Windows Lock buttons to the right of them can have their lighting colors customized. The Brightness colors are based on brightness level, while the Windows lock has a color for enabled and another for disabled. Below that is the Corsair Logo in reflective silver, while Corsair's ship logo on the top-left of the keyboard is hidden until lit up.



The standard key caps are all smooth, aside from the standard bump on the F and J keys, and the textured space bar. Removing the key caps for the FPS/MOBA key cap sets shows that the keyboard is glossy white underneath. This helps reflect light much better than the dull, black plastic would have. The key switches are red with clear upper housings. Clicking these keys is much quieter than normal, which is indicative of the Cherry MX Silent RGB Red key switches. The FPS key caps include the W, A, S, and D keys, while the MOBA key caps include the Q, W, E, R, D, and F keys. Any Cherry key cap will be compatible for anyone who wants to use their own custom key caps. The angle on all the key caps (other than the S cap) are designed to help guide your fingers into them, and also help to press other buttons with them. The texture on these sets matches the space bar, which also helps you find the keys quickly by feel.




The wrist rest pad snaps into the bottom of the keyboard. The connection isn't the most secure I have ever seen, but it is sufficient as long as the keyboard isn't picked up by the wrist pad or anything. A diagonal slash separates the wrist pad into two sections; the smaller being the region your left hand would normally occupy. The slash helps users find where their wrist should be quicker than if the layout was all one single area. Flipping the wrist pad over we find three rubber feet to add stability during use. If you can make it out in the photo below, the bottom is labeled a "Plam Rest" - oops! Part of the wrist pad sits on top of the keyboard, which sandwiches the keyboard between this top area and the bottom feet. The texture on the wrist pad is different from the key caps, with triangles arranged into exploded hexagons. All these line up so that you could draw a straight line between any of the gaps of these hexagons without bumping into any of the triangles elsewhere. The pattern seems effective enough to prevent slippage, and the wrist pad itself is very firm.




Now it is time to take a look at the software and lighting features in action!

  1. Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Introduction
  2. Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Software
  4. Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Specifications & Features
  5. Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Testing & Results
  6. Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Conclusion
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