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Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 Gaming Keyboard Review

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A pretty huge upgrade.

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The Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 (See it on Amazon) is an updated version of the mechanical keyboard of the same name released a couple of years ago. Unlike the also recently-updated K70 RGB MK.2 though, Corsair has added quite a few high-end features to this formerly midrange keyboard, nudging it upwards in both price and features. Since the revised K70 RGB MK.2 is now just $20 more than the Strafe, is there enough to really separate these two models now? I put this keyboard through its paces to find out.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 Design and Features

Right out of the box, the Strafe MK.2 feels like a high-end keyboard. There’s some nice weight to it, even if the aluminum finish of Corsair’s more expensive keyboards is replaced by an all-plastic body on this model. Most of the deck is covered with a matte-black plastic, while the upper edge of the keyboard featuring a ritzy brushed aluminum strip. To be clear, it’s obviously a far stretch from a metal body, but the plastic still feels like it’s high quality at least.

The removable wrist rest has a rubberized coating, and the textured surface kept my hands from sliding around, but it’s a bit too small and could have offered better wrist support. The K70 received a larger wrist rest this update cycle, and it would be welcome here too, but I suppose Corsair is trying to differentiate the models somewhat.

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This is a full-size keyboard, including a full numpad. Easily the biggest change to the MK.2 is Corsair has added the same media control setup it employs on its more expensive keyboards; a small assortment of media keys and a volume wheel. Corsair has really perfected these things, and the Strafe MK.2 is no exception with a nice, textured roller that makes adjusting in-game (or music) volume a breeze.

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Another change to the MK.2 is that it now comes in two switch types; Cherry MX Red or Cherry MX Silent (the previous model was Silent only). The unit sent to me for review featured the latter and I found the switches to work flawlessly with quick, linear action. While the switches on this board are a bit quieter than most mechanical switches, I don’t personally find the normal Cherry MX Red switches to be terribly loud anyway. The availability of more tactile switches, like Browns or Blues, would be a welcome addition.

006switches

The keycaps themselves are comfortably spaced and make typing a pleasant experience. While the soft, matte finish of the keys is decent, I did find them to quickly become fingerprint magnets. But the floating key setup on the Strafe MK.2 does at least keep things easy to clean. Corsair also included a set of textured replacement keycaps for FPS and MOBA games, along with a key-puller tool. These keycaps are very similar to what’s included with the Corsair K70 and work great, though I only tested the replacement FPS caps.

002keycaps

The RGB lighting on the Strafe MK.2 is excellent and the colors glow wonderfully from under the keycaps. The per-key lighting setup means you can customize the Strafe MK.2 to whatever style you want, and the new-for-this-model onboard memory can store three profiles for different users or even particular games. There’s also a couple of handsome light bars on each side of the keyboard that put off some nice side-glow. Oddly this feature is specific to the Strafe, and not found on the more expensive models. Also like the updated K70, the Strafe MK.2 also has tunnels on its underbelly for cable routing, but unlike the K70 there is no USB passthrough at all.

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Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 - Software

The Strafe MK.2 uses Corsair’s Cue software to control lighting effects, macros, and swapping profiles on the keyboard. One new addition to the latest version of Cue is a tab within the software for hardware monitoring. You can keep tabs on things like CPU and GPU heat and processing load, which is a nice touch, if you’re not already using another program to do the same.

001iCueSoftware

The software is unfortunately still kind of a hassle until you get used to navigating the menus. Once you get the hang of it, assigning lighting presets is fairly easy. Recording macros is likewise a fairly straightforward affair—albeit with a real learning curve to figure out how to assign things to a profile. There’s no dedicated macro keys on the Strafe MK.2, but you can essentially assign any function to any key.

And while it’s not quite on par with Razer’s Chroma game integration, Corsair has taken some steps toward more game-specific lighting. Far Cry 5 syncs up with Cue to do some cool lighting effects, like placing a waving American flag on the board while you’re in the game’s menus, for example. You're also able to import custom lighting profiles from other users too, which really opens up a ton of lighting possibilities.

Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 - Gaming

Playing games with the Strafe MK.2 is a great experience, due in no small part to its Cherry MX switches. The actuation on the keys is fast and linear, but not so quick as to lose the feedback you want from a mechanical switch. As mentioned, the key spacing is very natural and comfortable, and I never found myself pawing around to get to the right keys. The replacement keycaps makes finding the right keys super easy thanks to their raised edges and textured finish.

Whether I was playing Far Cry 5, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or even a side-scroller like Inside, the Strafe MK.2 felt well-suited for all of them. Despite its plastic build, the MK.2 has enough weight that it never shifted around while I was playing. Moreover, even though it’s a full-sized keyboard, the MK.2 doesn’t feel like a giant, desk-eating behemoth. The overall build is big enough to make it comfortable to game with, but even with the wrist rest attached, it’s perfectly sized.

There’s no dedicated macro keys on the Strafe MK.2, much like it’s eerily similar cousin the Corsair K70 MK.2, and that may be a dealbreaker for heavy MMO and MOBA users. But for me personally, I’m OK with keeping the extra space on my desk.

Purchasing Guide

The Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 has an MSRP of $140, and since it just came out that's the same price you'll find it for on Amazon:

  • See it on Amazon

The Verdict

The Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 is a substantial update from its predecessor, but there's also been an accompanying price increase. Overall the lighting is superb, the Cherry MX switches work flawlessly, and it’s exceedingly comfortable. It's a really great keyboard, no doubt, but for $20 more the Corsair K70 MK.2 has an aluminum body and USB passthrough, which make it slightly more appealing.

Great
The Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 has evolved from a mild mid-tier offering to a highly effective gaming weapon.
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