It’s been a while since I’ve done a hardware post, and as most of you know I’m not really a keep up with the Joneses kind of guy. I try not to skimp on PC components, but I also recognize a good deal when I see one, even if it is on something that some might consider mid-range. I’m okay with not having the best thing money can buy, because it will be on sale sooner or later. And sometimes, you hit gold on something that fits your budget. I feel like that is the case with my most recent upgrade.
The Corsair Strafe Keyboard
I was coming home from visiting a friend last night, and there’s a Fry’s Electronics along the route I was driving, so I thought I’d just pop in to answer some questions that have been floating around in my head for a while. I told myself I was just going to check out their selection of monitors because I have been thinking about getting one. I’m running on an LCD TV at the moment, so it doesn’t have the best refresh rate, nor can it display anything more than 1920×1080 resolution. I was toying with an upgrade to at least a 2k monitor with a decent refresh rate, and relegating the trusty old 32″ to PS4 duty (which it’s perfect for). That would allow me to stream things in the background off the PS4 and dedicate my PC to gaming or whatever other projects I’m working on. I really want that two screen experience. But I digress. That purchase was not made on this day.
I looked at all kinds of goodies. I found some really cool custom fighting game controllers for the PS4, and other various accessories that I might invest in at some point. I have a good idea now of what I’ll probably end up spending on a new monitor when the time comes. I checked out Podcast microphones (they did have the Blue Yeti in stock!), hard drives I could potentially use to expand upon my PS4’s capacity, even tablets. I think I’m leaning more towards a new monitor over a tablet, though either solution would give me the two screen experience. Finally, I found myself looking at mechanical keyboards.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no real reason for this upgrade, but man am I glad I made the decision to go for it. My Corsair Raptor K30 was a fine keyboard, and has handled 2+ years of blogging, school work, and gaming use. But it was showing signs of wear, and one of the support legs in the back had broken so it would wobble at times and that was rather annoying. To be fair I guess it was time to buy a new one, but my cheap as could justify keeping it for a while still. Somewhere along the line though I decided that I wanted to upgrade to a mechanical keyboard, but when I was looking at the prices of the K70s and comparable models, I was swallowing hard at the price tags. There was a rather neat Logitech (G910 I think it was?) that had a dock for your smart phone, and a mobile app that integrated with the keyboard to work similarly to other keyboards with built in screens, providing in-game data. It was also almost $200 and for a keyboard that feels rather steep.
So I went with the Corsair STRAFE (non-RGB). I’m fond of the company, having had one of their keyboards prior to this one, along with using a Corsair mouse and water cooler. It was half the price of some of the higher end models, but at $100 I can’t complain one bit. It has Cherry MX Red keys, individual per key lighting, some animations/effects for the keys, and programmable keys and lighting schemes. It’s a plastic shell, unlike the K70 which is aluminum, so that’s part of where the reduced cost comes in. It also lacks a wrist wrest, and dedicated media keys. That is the only aspect that I miss from my old keyboard, but having to hold the FN key and then hit a function key to control the media isn’t that big of a deal. It’s less convienient sure, but it’s not a huge deal. The keys are smooth plastic, but the space bar is textured. Optional keys were provided for FPS and MOBA set ups. Since both use most of the same keys, I used all that were provided, so Q-R and A-F are all grey faced now, along with being curved directionally apropriate. I played a couple of Rogue-likes earlier and got a feel for playing a WASD focused game, and it felt fine. I’m planning on playing a game of League to see how it feels after finishing up this post, but I wanted to see how typing on it felt, and I have to say that I rather like it. I feel like I can type a bit faster when I get on a roll, but I’m not quite used to the key placement and touch that goes along with a mechanical keyboard. It’s getting easier the further I get into this post, but I can tell that after a month of using this I’m going to be typing 100 WPM. Maybe not, but it still feels that way!
So yeah, if you think spending $150-200 on a keyboard feels silly, I humbly recommend the Corsair Strafe. It’s a budget priced ($100) well constructed gaming keyboard that has already exceeded my expectations.