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Sunday | December 11, 2016
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Mad Catz Strike TE Review

Mad Catz Strike TE Review

A few months ago we reviewed the Mad Catz R.A.T. TE. As part of the TE range it is designed to offer all the performance we would expect from Mad Catz but with streamlined features… the key things gamers need. Today in our Mad Catz Strike TE Review.

Mad Catz Strike TE Review – Packaging and Bundle

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Mad Catz go with some fairly familiar feeling packaging on the S.T.R.I.K.E TE giving us a nice clear view of the board as well as outlining the key features, front and back. Inside we get a fold out leaflet with more info on the board, a set of stickers and the removable wrist rest.

Mad Catz Strike TE Review – The Keyboard

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Mad Catz go with a glossy black finish on this board and stick with the same overall design we saw on some previous S.T.R.I.K.E products. Glossy red and white models are also available, as is matt black. As for using the familiar S.T.R.I.K.E. design,  this means some extra function keys top left and a panel to the right with plenty extra buttons, though it is not removable on this edition. 30-key rollover is supported by this board and within the body of the board Mad Catz have installed a metal frame for enhanced durability.

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Looking a little closer at the board we find seven extra function buttons on the top right (see the software section for how they work) and a mode button which triples our extra functionality up to 21 in this area. Also present is a Windows key lock. Looking around the board we find that the main key area uses mechanical switches, kailh brown type with 40g actuation, and that there is a Fn button bottom right which doubles up some keys, for example the F keys using media functionality, brightness on the arrow keys and so on. Speaking of the arrow keys, those are surrounded by another five extra buttons for those who need them and as is expected there are status LEDs top right.

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Turning the board over we find that there are various rubber sections which help the board stay in place on our desk. Then in the back corners we have two extending feet which alter the angle of the board. The final feature of note is the 2m rubber coated cable which extends from the top left of the board, ending in a gold plated USB connector.

Mad Catz Strike TE Review – Software

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Mad Catz provide a software control panel which helps us manage our mode/extra buttons as well as a couple of other aspects. In the main screen we deal mainly with our extra buttons. A panel on the right has icons relating to functions and we drag and drop them into place on the board on the left. In here we can also enter the custom screen and create macro commands.

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The second screen allows us to configure the lighting dependant on the profile used, over 3 zones, and finally we can use the third screen for support and community links. The latest software is available direct from Mad Catz.

Mad Catz Strike TE Review – User Experience and Conclusion

We have to admit that upon opening the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE the first impression was “oh, no… look at that glossy finish… BUT having plugged it in, the finish actually really suits the (high quality) white backlighting used by Mad Catz. Even if it does get marked up with fingerprints really easily. The overall shape is decent and we do like how solid the board feels, although the cable is fairly thin. Some chunky rubber coating would be appreciated on any future revisions.

They keys are of course critical to the success of a gaming board. Mad Catz go with Kailh brown switches here, parts with 50m stroke lifespan. At first when we began using the keyboard, coming from a set of Cherry MX black, the resistance offered here felt a little on the high  side however after two days of use we had settled in nicely. It should also be noted that these brown keys lack the clicky/tactile feedback of alternate models so are quieter than many mechanical models. The Extra functions give us extra control over the experience with the board and those, mixed with the three profiles should allow every user to have a configuration which works for them.

Speaking of configuring the board, it doesn’t get much easier than using the control panel offered by Mad Catz. It does seem bizarre that we need to run two installers (one for the drivers and one for the panel) but once up and running the simple drag and drop interface works well. Lighting is equally easy to control, just a few sliders and for those who need more control the custom mode works well.

That brings us to value where we find the board retailing for £120/$150. That is fair when you look at competing models, and  consider the high level of build quality, good LEDs and extra buttons.

Performance Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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