CORSAIR Strafe RGB MX Si­lent

Computer Shopper - - GAMING KEYBOARDS -

£150 From www.cur­rys.co.uk

VERDICT

Its quiet keyswitches are nice, but the Strafe RGB MX Si­lent is far more than a one-trick key­board

ME­CHAN­I­CAL GAM­ING KEY­BOARDS pose an un­usual dilemma. Me­chan­i­cal switches are sim­ply bet­ter than rub­ber domes for gam­ing; they’re more re­spon­sive and have greater tac­tile feed­back, which is cru­cial when you need to keep your eyes on what’s hap­pen­ing on the screen. How­ever, me­chan­i­cal switches mean more noise, which might be good for touch-typ­ists but can en­croach on the fidelity of a game’s sound­track.

En­ter stal­wart switch-maker Cherry, and its MX Si­lent RGB de­sign. This is a bump­less, click­less lin­ear switch (like the more com­mon MX Red) de­signed for true me­chan­i­cal feel and dura­bil­ity, while be­ing as quiet as pos­si­ble and con­tain­ing an RGB LED to boot. Corsair’s Strafe RGB MX Si­lent, on test here, was the first show­ing of the damp­ened switch in ac­tion.

Sure enough, it’s con­sid­er­ably qui­eter – not ac­tu­ally si­lent, un­sur­pris­ingly – than the rest of Cherry’s switches, in­clud­ing the rel­a­tively hushed MX Red. There’s no loud click or clack what­so­ever, sim­i­lar to the switches uses in Ma­tias’ Quiet Pro se­ries of

of­fice key­boards; for the cu­ri­ous, they’re about the same vol­ume over­all, per­haps with the MX Si­lent’s hav­ing a higher reg­is­ter while Ma­tias’ are lower-pitched.

So, it’s a great fit for undis­turbed gam­ing on the noise front, though when it comes to feel, the Strafe RGB MX Si­lent is sur­pris­ingly mushy when bot­tom­ing out. It’s still a lot sharper and nim­bler than a mem­brane key­board, but if you’re likely to be do­ing a lot of typ­ing on the same PC you use for gam­ing, other Cherry switches (or SteelSeries’ QZ2 switches, seen in the Apex M750) are a bit more sat­is­fy­ing to hit.

The good news is that this mi­nor quib­ble doesn’t af­fect per­for­mance, and the Strafe RGB MX Si­lent is beau­ti­fully quick and re­spon­sive – ex­actly what a gam­ing pe­riph­eral needs to be. There are other help­ful fea­tures in the form of full 104-key rollover to pre­vent ghost­ing, and a but­ton on the top-right that dis­ables the Win­dows key, elim­i­nat­ing the chances of ac­ci­den­tally open­ing the Start menu dur­ing a heated mo­ment. A de­tach­able soft-touch wrist rest also helps keep lengthy play ses­sions com­fort­able, even if it is a bit short from top to bot­tom.

By de­fault, the back­light­ing is mostly red, with the WASD and ar­row keys high­lighted in white, though ob­vi­ously the ben­e­fit of RGB is that you can cus­tomise the light­ing how­ever you want with the Corsair Util­ity En­gine (CUE) desk­top ap­pli­ca­tion. If you have other Corsair RGB hard­ware, such as a suit­able case or stand­alone light­ing strips, you can even sync the key­board light­ing’s colours and ef­fects to these parts of your rig.

Round­ing out the list of ex­tras is a set of tex­tured key­caps for the most-used keys in FPS and MOBA ti­tles, and a USB2 pass-through port. The for­mer can be an ac­quired taste (or, more ac­cu­rately, an ac­quired touch), but the USB port is handy for ev­ery­one, as it can trans­fer data as well as power other pe­riph­er­als. It’s a small but wel­come touch and shows that even when mak­ing a fuss about its quiet switches, Corsair knows the finer de­tails also make for a great key­board.

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