Hands-On: Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Modular PC Gaming Keyboard with LCD Display

Whether it be for PC gaming, navigating Windows, typing, or commanding apps, a keyboard is an essential input device for me. If I can spend most of my time in the QWERTY position, I’m happy. If you like keyboards as much as I do, you need to check out the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard: it’s extreme!

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Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Keyboard in conventional configuration (click/tap to enlarge)

The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 is a modular keyboard system that is designed with gamers in mind. With multiple configurations and adjustments, this keyboard can be adapted for how you like to game and where you like to game. Interlocking metal tabs allow the modules to be rearranged in a variety of layouts, and you don’t have to worry about flimsy plastic breaking because of the strong materials used in its construction.

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Number pad can be used floating or attached to main keyboard module (click/tap to enlarge)

At the heart of any keyboard are the keys. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard has keys that feel like a mechanical keyboard but are quieter in actuation. I’ve been using this keyboard for a while now (including to write this article) and I’ve found it to be one of the best I’ve used in terms of key feel. I can type or game on this keyboard at full speed! The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 also has an awesome selection of backlighting options. While you can customize the colors (16 million colors possible), I found that I preferred red.

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Reverse illumination gives this gaming keyboard a great look and makes it easy to use in the dark (click/tap to enlarge)

When I opened the box, my eyes went straight to the features on the left palm rest: an “action button” (red) and metal thumb wheel. These features remind me of something you’d see in a military helicopter. Along with the many groups of buttons that are integrated into the keyboard, these physical controls can be fully customized so that you can personalize the keyboard to your exact needs. What’s more, there’s three modes that you can easily toggle so that you can quickly switch between multiple key/button mappings on the fly. Very cool!

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Close-up: thumb wheel and action button on left palm rest (click/tap to enlarge)

One of my absolute favorite features on this keyboard is the “launcher” which is readily accessible on the touch-screen equipped control module. The launcher shows an array of user-configured app icons that can be tapped to launch a program instantly. I found this to be a fun way to launch apps that I use frequently.

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The Launcher shown on the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 control module touch screen (click/tap to enlarge)

Mad Catz also provides software called the “Profile Editor” for the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 that enables configuration and customization of the many features and options. The primary capabilities of the Profile Editor are programming of the keys and buttons for each of the 3 keyboard modes, and launcher configuration.

In the programming section of the profile editor you can easily and quickly program different functions by first selecting the mode, and then clicking on the keyboard feature you want to customize. Once you’ve selected the feature (a button for example), yout then record the keyboard or mouse commands to save and associate. You can even go so far as to have separate commands for left and right thumb wheel rotation!

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Programming the palm rest module on the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard

Configuring the Launcher is just as easy. On the Launcher configuration page you see a virtual control module display where you can click on launcher icons and then select programs to associate for a total of twelve launcher actions.

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Configuring the Launcher

The Profile Editor will auto-detect most of your installed programs but you also have the option to browse for apps. In this way you can associate launcher buttons with any app on your computer even if it does not use a conventional installer.

It’s been rough having to test GPUs and DirectX games at work recently, but having the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard around has certainly made the process more bearable! If you want to know more about the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard, check out the official product page.

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