Windows Central Recommended Award

Mad Catz is a veteran accessory brand, which recently reentered the market after being bought out by another company. Mad Catz has since produced a range of decent gaming accessories, focusing primarily on PC as a starting point. I previously reviewed the Mad Catz R.A.T. mouse and found that while it ticked all the boxes as a product, its toy-like design betrayed its relatively high price. The same could probably be said for the S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 keyboard, which is great on your hands, but so much on your eyes.

A solid option

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 keyboard

Gorgeous on your hands ... not so much on your eyes.

$130

Pros:

  • Onboard storage for settings.
  • Lots of software options.
  • Good key action and travel.
  • Solid build quality.

Cons:

  • Childish design.

Bottom line: The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 keyboard is a great keyboard overall, with great action, onboard storage for macros and settings, and solid build quality. Mad Catz needs to modernize its design ideas, though.

What you'll love about the S.T.R.I.K.E 4 keyboard

When it comes to functionality, there is nothing to complain about with the S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 keyboard. This is a rock-solid keyboard, that ticks all the right boxes. The Red Cherry MX mechanical switches provide a very tactile (if loud) key-press action. Mad Catz says the keys can survive tens of millions of keystrokes, and there's certainly a sense of premium robustness in the materials the company has used here.

A rock-solid keyboard, that ticks all the right boxes.

In addition to all the standard keys, Mad Catz throws in a range of multimedia controls and extra Windows system functions across the F keys at the top. There's also a channel for the durable braided cable on the back, allowing you to orient the connection to the left, right, or in the center, depending on your setup. The cable is also about 1.5 meters long, giving you plenty of room for connectivity, complete with a velcro cable tie for keeping things tidy. You can also angle the keyboard flat, or at an elevated angle, depending on your preference.

When it comes to software, the "Flux" app Mad Catz maintains for its PC products is good, allowing you to customize over a dozen RGB options, sporting millions upon millions of color shades. You can tweak away for hours, adding all sorts of lighting effects and macros, which you can also set to activate per game. My favorite is a ripple effect, which sends a wave of light out from your keystrokes as if you were hitting a pool of light. The settings are stored directly on the keyboard, too, so you can close the Mad Catz configuration Flux app after use.

What you'll dislike about the S.T.R.I.K.E 4 keyboard

Design criticisms are always subjective, but Mad Catz, like many PC manufacturers, includes a ton of "edgy" designs in their products that I'm not sure anyone really wants. The font type used by Mad Catz on its keys is a bold type that looks extremely tacky. A large Mad Catz brand across the bottom and a weird collection of shapes in the center of the bottom lip ruin the keyboard's look. If you're after subtlety, this keyboard ain't it.

Additionally, the Flux software doesn't support High DPI displays properly. To get it working on my Surface Book 2, I had to battle with the compatibility options to even get the app to a point where I could view all of its elements. I'm not sure why this is still an issue for software developers in 2019.

Should you buy the S.T.R.I.K.E 4 keyboard?

Whether you should buy this product hinges on whether you like its design. At a functional level, the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 does almost everything right, except for its high DPI-shunning software. The keystrokes feel good and have solid travel, the keys are easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance, and it has good RGB features if you're so inclined.

4 out of 5

The only real downside in my view is the design. If you don't mind the way it looks, you'll have absolutely no issues with this keyboard. It's rock solid, a pleasure to use, and is reasonably priced.

A solid option

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 keyboard

Gorgeous on your hands, not so much on your eyes.

The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 keyboard is a great keyboard overall, with great action, onboard storage for macros and settings, and solid build quality. Mad Catz needs to modernize its design ideas, though.

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