Hands on: Strike 7 review

A premium keyboard for gamers with purchasing power

What is a hands on review? What is a hands on review?

If anyone can motivate you to spend $300 on a keyboard, it's Mad Catz. Meet the Strike 7, a high end, highly customizable gaming keyboard designed for gamers looking to spoil themselves. The famed peripheral-maker was showing it off at PAX Prime 2012, and we were lucky enough to spend a little time gaming on it.

Mad Catz Strike 7 review

Looking good

Like the Tritton Warhead 7.1 headset, the Strike 7 just plain looks great. Decked out in black, red and silver, it looks like N7 armor from the Mass Effect games. We couldn't help but imagine it sitting in front of our own gaming rig. Its adjustable backlight adds a smart red hue, and the braided red and black cables looked as sharp as they were durable.

Mad Catz Strike 7 review

The WASD keys highlighted in red should tell you that the Strike 7 was designed with gaming in mind. Each key is removable for easy cleaning and customization.

Mad Catz Strike 7 review

Feeling great

We loved the comfort the Strike 7's design provided. Three adjustable wrist rests kept our hands at the most comfortable angles possible, and the 'board's textured plastic felt great to the touch.

Mad Catz Strike 7 review

Ready to form Strike 7!

Just like the Mad Catz Rat 7, this keyboard can be taken apart and adjusted to your liking. Thanks to a modular design, it's bascially the Voltron of keyboards. Each of the seven pieces can be individually removed and adjusted - hence the Strike 7 name. The numpad, three wrist rests, macro bar and the Venom touch screen can all be separated and moved to anywhere on your desk that you'd like.

Mad Catz Strike 7 review

Hello Venom touchscreen, goodbye alt-tab

The Strike 7's most striking feature is the Venom touchscreen, which has applications to keep you from ever alt-tabbing out of your game. There's a stopwatch for timing your speed runs, a journal for taking notes (it exports to text files, too), and our favorite, volume control for individual applications. Rather than switching to iTunes to tweak your music volume, you can just touch that touchscreen.

Mad Catz Strike 7 review

With the Venom touchscreen, there's no reason to return to the desktop mid-game, an annoyance we gamers can't stand. The Venom even lets you disable those troublesome Windows keys. Hopefully this will prevent those accidental trips to the desktop while someone frags you in multiplayer.

Touch screen buttons can also be customized with .jpegs of your choice, or you can use the pre-made ones available on the Mad Catz website. Icons for games like World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Team Fortress 2 and more are already available.

Early Verdict

The Strike 7 was announced at Gamescom in August, and at $300, it's definitely a premium peripheral. While it seems to have enough elegant design and handy features to justify its fat price tag, that's still a very high asking price for a keyboard, touchscreen or not. We're looking forward to putting this stylish 'board through its paces with a full-on review.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.