Corsair Strafe VS K70

Are you going to get a new Gaming Keyboard?So you have to make a choice from Corsair Strafe RGB VS K70 RGB is that? Should I get the Cherry MX Silents with the Strafe or stick with my classic reds? The premium aluminium finish that is hard to clean or the matte black finger smudge, easy to clean plastic?That’s the reason you had to check my tips here Corsair Strafe VS K70.

Corsair Strafe vs K70

Strafe VS K70

Strafe VS K70

K70 RGB

Pros:

  • -Better Build Quality
  • -Media Keys (mute, previous, next, volume scroll)

Cons:

  • -Stamp Tramp Logo
  • -Works best at 512 colors (i think)
  • -Flickers when trying to use 16.8 million colors.
  • -Black back

STRAFE RGB

Pros:

  • -USB pass-through
  • -16.8 million color lighting
  • -No trampstamp logo
  • -White back (more radiant lighiting)
  • -Cherry Silent Switch
  • -Different character font?

Cons:

  • -Plastic Body. no metal construction

 

Corsair Strafe— Cherry MX Silent

 

At these days Full-color RGB mechanical keyboards are all the rage . However, Corsair think that there are still a few stalwarts out there who want to stick to just one backlighting color while pocketing a few (dozen) bucks. Enter the Corsair Strafe, which provides a high-quality, no-nonsense way to play your favorite video games. While a few more bells and whistles would have been nice, the Corsair Strafe offers excellent in-game performance at a good price.

Corsair Strafe Design

If you’ve ever used the Corsair Vengeance K70, the Corsair Strafe should look immediately familiar to you. This full-size keyboard features a straight forward physical appearance, swappable, textured keys and eye-searing red backlighting on every key. The only big difference is that it has no wrist rest, which saves a lot of space, but could be troublesome if you need extra wrist support.

 

Corsair Strafe

Corsair Strafe

The Strafe measures 17.6 x 6.7 inches, making it a bit smaller than the average gaming keyboard. Corsair’s fancier Gaming K70 RGB exceeds the Strafe’s size at 18.6 x 8.3 inches, as does the Razer BlackWidow Chroma at 18.7 x 6.7 inches. While the Strafe is hardly small, it does pack a lot of keyboard into a relatively compact space.

Corsair Strafe Keys

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is simply no substitute for authentic Cherry MX mechanical switches. Like Corsair’s other keyboards, the Corsair Strafe uses Cherry MX switches too, and the experience is a pure delight. Corsair Strafe comes in only Cherry MX Red and Brown flavors, which are both quiet and have a soft touch (the Brown is more resistant, though). Old-school typists who crave the clickety-clack of the Cherry MX Blue switches are out of luck on the Strafe.

Given the keys’ pedigree, it’s not surprising that they function so well. Using TypingTest.com, I evaluated my typing speed on both the Strafe and a standard Dell office keyboard. I typed at 117 wpm with 10 errors on the Strafe, versus 115 wpm with nine errors on the Dell — not a significant difference on either count, but not bad, considering that I had never used the Strafe before and I use the Dell every day.

The disappointing thing about the Strafe’s keys is not what it has, but rather, what it lacks. The Vengeance K70 and Gaming K70 RGB both had dedicated media controls. Conversely, Strafe’s top row of Function keys doubles as media controls. Instead of simple, dedicated buttons, users now have to reach across the keyboard to activate functions like play, pause and skip. This presumably helps keep the cost down, but it’s a huge step backward from Corsair’s previous keyboards.

Corsair highlights the fact that it offers swappable, textured keycaps for the Q, W, E, R, A, S, D and F keys in order to benefit FPS and MOBA players who need these keys to feel distinct from their neighbors. These keycaps are gray instead of black, and feel rough to the tough. Combined with a textured spacebar, it’s a nice, optional touch that has tangible benefits for gameplay.

Corsair Strafe Performance

With a comfortable key layout and authentic Cherry MX keys, it should come as no surprise that the Strafe is excellent when it comes to gameplay. I put the keyboard through its paces with Titanfall, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Batman: Arkham Knight and Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it performed extremely well in each case.

In particular, I enjoyed playing Titanfall with the Strafe, thanks to its textured keys. The coarse keys helped keep my fingers exactly where they were supposed to be, and helped them gravitate back to the right buttons when my hand wandered for other commands.

 

The standard warning about massively multiplayer online (MMO) games applies for the Strafe. Since the peripheral lacks additional macro keys, it may not be the best choice for hardcore players who need to access their entire skill rotations at the touch of a button. For everyday players, though, it’s a fine choice.

Corsair Strafe Software

While the Strafe doesn’t offer the full-color backlighting of its Gaming K70 counterpart, it uses the same Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software. The CUE has been on the market for a few months now, and while it’s far better than Corsair’s old a-la-carte programs, it’s still very complicated compared to competing software from Logitech, Razer and SteelSeries.

Once you create a new profile, the sheer number of options at your disposal can be daunting. You can select a number of different lighting patterns, or program your own. Users can reassign every key on the Strafe, as well as create macros (although with no dedicated macro keys, there’s not much reason to do this). You can also create different profiles and link them to individual games, although with only one color option and no extra keys, I couldn’t think of any particular advantage for this functionality.

Likewise, there’s not much to say about the lighting. Like the Vengeance K70, you have your choice between bright red backlighting, dim red backlighting or no backlighting at all. To me, the color is rather garish, but if the rest of your gaming setup is red, it will match nicely. On the other hand, the Strafe would probably look out of place in a professional setting. This is too bad, as its keys and overall design are lovely.

Corsair K70 RGB— Cherry MX Brown

Corsair K70 RGB is colorful, it feels great and there’s a whole new software suite to go along with it.

Corsair K70 RGB

Corsair K70 RGB

Dig a little deeper, though, and it seems Corsair sacrificed a lot of the original’s simplicity upon the altar of granularity. The Corsair K70 RGB isn’t quite perfect, but it’s still one of the best mechanical keyboards on the market today.why?

Corsair Strafe Design

Corsair K70 RGB

Corsair K70 RGB

Corsair K70 RGB measures 18.6 x 8.3 inches, making it a bit bigger than its predecessor, the K70, which was 17.2 x 8.3 inches. However, I’m not exactly sure where the extra inch was hiding, as the two devices look almost identical. Either way, the keyboard is a perfectly reasonable size and will fit easily on just about any desk.

Beyond that, the keyboard mirrors its non-RGB counterpart in almost every way. The keys are smooth and black; the wrist rest is large and textured; and there are no extra rows for macro keys. But the K70 RGB’s true standout feature is its lighting.

Whereas the standard K70 had only a red backlight (which I described as “garish” in my initial review, and stand by that), the RGB lives up to its name by offering gamers 16.8 million colors to play with. Unlike most keyboards with customizable backlighting, the K70 RGB allows you to customize individual keys, not just choose one color for the entire setup.

In fact, the sheer variety of illumination options is staggering. Colors — even very similar ones — all look distinct, and the ability to choose a distinct one for each key opens up some truly gorgeous options. For example, I created a profile for Titanfall where most keys were green, the Tab and Backspace columns were blue, and the W, A, S, D and arrow keys were pink. Not only did the contrast make it easy to pick out keys on the fly, but seeing my keyboard change from a default red-and-white into my watermelon monstrosity made me feel like I made something unique out of an everyday product.

Though the lighting is gorgeous, it is much harder to control than it really should be. More on that later.

Corsair Strafe Keys

If you’re familiar with the original K70, then you’ll notice that not too much has changed in the K70 RGB. It still has a full keyboard layout without any additional keys for macros. There’s a button to adjust the illumination level, one to activate gaming mode (which can disable Alt + Tab and similar combinations that might interrupt your game) and a set of media controls. I particularly like that there’s a volume slider rather than two separate buttons.

One thing I do miss about the original, though, is that it came with textured alternatives for the W, A, S, D and arrow keys. Unless you buy third-party keys, the K70 RGB is stuck with the smooth, black keys. They’re by no means uncomfortable, but they don’t give the extra grip that I found very helpful for first-person shooters, in particular.

The K70 RGB is a mechanical keyboard and comes in three certified Cherry MX flavors: Red, Brown and Blue. For those who need a refresher, Red switches are quiet and pliable, Blues are noisy and resistant, and Browns offer a pleasant middle ground.

In my experience, Cherry-certified switches tend to be better than third-party imitators, and the K70 RGB was no exception. I reviewed the Red model in particular, and although I prefer louder keys, when I pressed each key, it gave a very firm sensation that I was hitting a switch rather than a circuit board. After a long stint reviewing membrane keyboards, it was a real pleasure to use a mechanical one again, and the K70 RGB is one of the most comfortable and tactile ones on the market.

Typists should also take note that the K70 RGB is at least as good as whatever membrane keyboard you’re currently using. Using the Ten Thumbs typing test, I scored 91 words per minute with a 0 percent error rate on the K70 RGB, as opposed to 91 words per minute with a 1 percent error rate on a standard Dell office model.

Corsair Strafe Features

The biggest change from the K70 to the K70 RGB is Corsair’s new software, the CUE system. This is also where I ran into the most problems. Corsair’s software was always a little impenetrable at the best of times, but the CUE breaks new ground in just how confusing and user-unfriendly a keyboard interface can be.

As previously mentioned, the K70 RGB has some pretty intense lighting options, and CUE allows you to navigate through all of them — although it would be a bit of a stretch to say it “helps” you navigate. Even after an hour-long private conference with Corsair, it still took me a good 15 minutes and a trip to an Internet forum to figure out how to set up a new lighting profile from scratch and assign it as my default.

The problem with the CUE software is that there’s no easy mode for users who just want to add a few pretty lights and be done with it. Corsair assumes that every user will be willing to expend the time, effort and programming know-how necessary to generate rippling rainbows or keys that cycle through colors each time they’re pressed.

These are all things you can do with CUE, and they look just as impressive as they sound. But aside from exciting the senses, it doesn’t really do much for gameplay. Creating custom lighting profiles for Titanfall and Watch Dogs was helpful, but I wish the process had been a little more straightforward. I am (and I imagine many other gamers are) more interested in jumping into a game for an hour or two rather than spending the same amount of time grappling with how cool the keyboard can look.

Otherwise, recording macros, reassigning keys, linking programs and other things you may need are fairly straightforward, once you find out where the options are hiding and how to match them with your custom profiles. There is the nut of a good program in the CUE, but it’s hidden underneath a layer of confusion.

Corsair Strafe Performance

Once you’re set up and ready to play, the K70 RGB handles like a dream. I put the peripheral through its paces with Titanfall, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Watch Dogs and Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it excelled with every game. The keys were comfortable and stood up just fine to vigorous and repeated use.

The keyboard didn’t have one particular standout genre, but I especially enjoyed using it to pilot giant mechas in Titanfall and blast my way through Terran armies in Heart of the Swarm. A full-size keyboard that has a numpad but lacks macro buttons is ideally suited for first-person shooters and real-time strategy games, but it will work just fine for moderate massively multiplayer online (MMO) play. (A controller is still better for action/adventure titles like Watch Dogs.

My only real criticism here is that the keyboard lacks on-the-fly macro recording, so you’ll have to memorize your timing pretty well (or use a second monitor) if you want to record and assign macros with the CUE software. Even then, since there are no dedicated macro buttons, you’ll have to replace something else. This didn’t compromise my experience with any of the games I tested, including The Old Republic, but hardcore MMO players will need a different keyboard.

Corsair Strafe Bottom line

The K70 RGB presents something of a recommendation dilemma. Technically speaking, it’s a better, more refined product than its predecessor, but its software is also more difficult to use. If I had to buy any new keyboard today, it would probably be the K70 RGB — yet if I could find a regular K70 for a fraction of the price, I could probably live with the ugly red lighting and happily pocket the savings.

Pick up the K70 RGB if you want one of the best keyboards available right now, but don’t be surprised if you have to spend some time grappling with it before you understand why it earns the title.

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