Software and Testing
When looking at the Madcatz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard comfort and ease of use are two things that probably never cross your mind. After using the S7 for 3 weeks I can say that notion could be further from the truth. Interesting enough, when using in the default layout the keyboard is quite comfortable. The split wrist rest doesn’t affect the way your hands lay when typing and seeing that the left gaming wrist rest is adjustable up and down it makes the transition between typing (lower setting) and gaming (higher setting) as simple as the click of a button.
Mad Catz really planned the layout of S7 well in the regard that nothing is out of reach. The Macro keys are a perfect distance away from the edge of the keyboard that you never accidently hit them and seeing that the design of the keys is unique you’d realize immediately if you were touching one. The C1-C5 keys, on the other hand, which I initially thought were awesome, are more of a pain than anything. Mad Catz tried to resolve what I think they knew was going to be an issue by making these keys shallower but I still have issues where I hit them all the time when I’m trying to hit a designated arrow key.
To date the CM Storm Trigger is the best LED lighting I’ve ever seen on a keyboard. The S7 would fall behind in a very close 2nd. Seeing that the keyboard uses a membrane panel instead of individual key switches you would think that the illumination would be inconsistent. This is another notion far from the truth. The LED lights are placed under the keys in a strategic patter to allow light to shine through every key evenly. The glow around every key is rather enjoyable. It gives the keyboard a sense of power through the light. Below is a short video showcasing the light of the keyboard and all the different colors that can be utilized by the RGB selector on the TFT LCD screen.
On to the Big Kahuna: The TFT LCD Touchscreen. This screen packs a wallop of features. In the video below I give an overview of all those features. The screen itself is a capacitive touchscreen that it surprisingly responsive. The screen initially comes with a small piece of plastic over it so make sure you remove it before use. If you don’t have the ability to watch the video I’ll list all of the functions below: (Left to right, Top to Bottom)
- Application Launcher
- Multimedia Controls
- Volume Controls
- Keyboard Lighting Controls
- Coutdown Timers
- Disable Windows Key
- Touchscreen Settings
- Profile loadouts
- Teamspeak Intergration
On the back of the LCD are two High Speed USB 2.0 ports. In testing I found that no matter what I plugged into it, whether it be a hard drive, headset, or mouse, it had no issues in powering any of them. The USB ports on my motherboard are all filled so having extra powered ports is a plus any way I can get them.
*Also in the video I make note of a Keyboard made by Razer and I incorrectly call it the DeathAdder. The DeathAdder is a gaming mouse. The keyboard I intended to refer to is the DeathStalker. My bad.
Lastly is the software portion. Naturally the software is not included and you have to go the Mad Catz website to download it but after it is installed, which takes a hot minute, it works wonderfully. The software isn’t complex in the sense that it’s overwhelming in what it can do but it is complex enough that you can spend countless hours in creating unique things for your Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard to do.
The profile feature of the S7 IMHO is the reason why I would spend the money personally to buy this keyboard. I play a lot of games. A LOT OF GAMES. In playing those games, some more complex than others, I love to having the ability to quick macro a button to my keyboard that has some visual indication of what it does to allow my mind to not work as hard in remembering anything and everything that’s involved in that specific game. In the video I made a small profile for Heroes of Newerth (HoN). HoN is a classic MOBA game that is EXTREMELY complex. The shop alone has a hundred-some items geared towards any and every class of player. The role I play in the game, for the most part is support. Having the ability to quick-buy items from the shop just by pressing a button on my keyboard, instead of having to remember where the item is in the shop or the quick command for that item, makes thing SO much easier.
It took me a little over an hour to set up the profile and make all the images. If you’re into macro-ing keys in any sense it’s worth the watch to see the potential the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard has in this regard.