The Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Externally, the STRAFE is a completely different design than any of the RGB family keyboards that we reviewed in the past. Although the design remains modern and is rather elegant, the flat metallic body is now gone, as the STRAFE has a low profile plastic frame without a wrist rest or support for one. The keys are installed on a red support plate for increased visual contrast and mechanical strength. It is noteworthy to mention that the controversial "winged heart" logo that debuted alongside with Corsair's Gaming division and received much negative criticism is now gone. Corsair's new gaming peripherals logo, a variation on the previous ship sails logo, is now relocated to the top left side of the keyboard.

Although the aluminum body is now gone, the plastics that Corsair is using are of good quality, with great rigidity and feel. The top cover is slightly textured but the sides of the keyboard are glossy and slightly reflective. LED lighting strips have been installed on both sides of the keyboard in the gap between the glossy sides and the textured top cover.

The STRAFE pretty much is a standard full-size keyboard, with the only two extra keys being the square keys at the top right side of the keyboard. By default, one of the square keys controls the intensity of the lighting, while the second locks the Windows keys so they are not accidentally pressed during gaming (which minimised the game and causes a bit of rage). Media functions for volume and track controls have been inserted as secondary commands in the F5-F12 keys, and are accessible by holding down the FN key. There are no dedicated media keys or the much-loved metallic volume control wheel that is found on their higher tier keyboards. Since the STRAFE is fully programmable, it is highly likely that one of the two extra keys can become a volume mute key, or both are going to become volume control keys. There is a lot of dead space between the Numpad and the two keys at the top right side of the keyboard, so there may be an upgraded version in the future with at least the basic volume control keys there.

  

The stock keycaps of the STRAFE are standard black keycaps with enlarged characters, with the exception of the Space Bar key. The Space Bar key is textured and it feels great while typing. The surface of the Space Bar should also decay less easily now, as Space Bar keys with their right side heavily worn out are a common phenomenon. Beneath the keycaps, Cherry MX switches with red LEDs are used. We received the version with the Cherry MX Red switches, but Corsair also offers the STRAFE with Cherry MX Brown switches. The selection of a switch is heavily a matter of personal preference. Some people like the soft tactile feedback of the Brown switch while others enjoy the linearity and responsiveness of the Red switch.

Corsair supplies two sets of contoured and textured keycaps alongside with the STRAFE. The WASD keycap set is meant for FPS gamers, while the QWERDF set is meant for MOBA gamers. If someone likes to change the stock key settings from, for example, WASD to ESDF like some FPS gamers do, the only solution would be to use the contoured keycaps in the place of the ESDF keys, ignoring the wrong characters.

 

The STRAFE actually features one thing that none of the top tier Corsair keyboards has - an USB port. The pass-through USB port is found at the rear of the keyboard, near the thick cable. It is worth noting that there is no polling rate switch on the STRAFE, and the cable is not braided either - it is a thick black cable with futuristic easy-grip connectors. 

 

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle The Software & Quality Testing
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  • N_rman - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - link

    No points deducted for a non-standard bottom row? Reply
  • sweenish - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - link

    It's one key on the right side. For gaming, I don't see it disrupting much flow. Unless that Windows key was crucial to you. Reply
  • BigTinz - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - link

    It's actually a completely non-standard bottom row, not just "one key".

    1.5|1|1.25|6.5|1.25|1|1|1.5 instead of the standard 1.25|1.25|1.25|6.25|1.25|1.25|1.25|1.25
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - link

    Yeah, that's really annoying. Even if it did have the right Windows key, the wonky key spacing knocks it right off my list. It's going to be nearly impossible to get after market keycaps for this board. Enthusiasts who are willing to drop three figures on a keyboard also like to put custom caps on. Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, July 18, 2015 - link

    Ahhh not everyone and most don't. Reply
  • edzieba - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - link

    "Unless that Windows key was crucial to you."
    It WOULD screw with the Win+L lock-screen-when-standing-up reflex.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    Not for me, I always hit the left one. Reply
  • GekkePrutser - Monday, July 20, 2015 - link

    Which is also in the wrong place :) Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - link

    No points given or deducted anywhere. I don't do "points" at all.

    The bottom row is slightly different between all advanced full-size keyboards. The layout that you mention is followed on tenkeyless keyboards only, and even then some tenkeyless keyboards still do have a different bottom row. None of the full size keyboards I ever reviewed follows the "standard" layout of the basic ANSI 104-key keyboard. Technically, the ANSI specification (and the ISO too) do not specifically limit the length of these keys.
    Reply
  • jfallen - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    Delete this comment after you fix the problem. on the Anandtech home page it states:

    "Corsair have released a new Mechanical Motherboard"

    regards
    Jordan
    Reply

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