The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is one of two keyboards that mark the return of the company’s S.T.R.I.K.E. line of keyboards. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is the budget model with the S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 being a more high-end keyboard that competes with industry leaders. As such, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 doesn’t match the feature set and build of say a Roccat Vulcan, but for the price range, it compares very favorably to the competition.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 Review | Design
The S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 shares the same overall design as the more expensive S.T.R.I.K.E. 4. The primary difference between the two keyboards is that the S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 utilizes mechanical key switches, and the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 uses a cheaper membrane type.
Overall the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2’s design is pleasing. The typeface on the keys is a bold, unique font that stands out well, and it follows the standard rectangular keyboard form that we’ve seen for the last 50 years or so. There’s no wrist rest, so if that’s something you need, you’ll have to buy that separately.
The only concession that makes this keyboard unique design-wise is the little flourish at the bottom and the Mad Catz logo in the bottom left. I’m a fan of understated design, and the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 has that little bit of “gamer aesthetic” without being too bulky or in your face with it.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 Review | Keys
The keys on the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 use a membrane striking mechanism which explains why the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 retails for $49.99 and the very similar, but mechanical switch equipped, S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 has an MSRP of $129.99.
I have to say I’m not as turned off by membrane-type switches as most PC enthusiasts. In my youth, I learned about computers in a school equipped with the legendary IBM Model M and went home to my stock, cheap-as-you-can-get off-brand membrane keyboard, and I appreciated both of them.
The S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is much better than your run-of-the-mill keyboard that comes with a pre-built, and the membrane keys are satisfying to press. They don’t quite have that feeling of immediate return and actuation that an excellent mechanical keyboard does, but if you’re on a budget and you still want something a punch above a basic model, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is a good choice.
Alternatively, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 would make a great first gaming keyboard if you’re building a kid’s first gaming PC. They get the aesthetic of a gaming keyboard along with exceptional performance for a membrane-type keyboard, and you’re not out $120+ if they accidentally spill something on it.
The S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is also equipped with RGB lighting, which puts it a step above the competition at a similar price range. It’s not per-key lighting, but it does have a 26-key matrix that allows you to choose from a variety of effects. You don’t even have to install software to control the RGB. All the settings can be changed with a combination of keypresses.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 Review | Durability
Membrane keys tend to wear out faster than mechanical switches, so that’s one thing to watch out for with the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2. However, the action feels meaty, and it looks like the membrane is more robust than a standard keyboard, so you can likely depend on the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 for years to come.
I had no mechanical issues with the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 while using it for testing. It performed admirably and responded to every keystroke perfectly. It’s got a good heft to it, and it’s constructed well. There’s no rattles or ill-fitting seams anywhere on the board.
Mad Catz has come a long way from the N64 controller you had to play with at your friend’s house, and I’d gauge that the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is a keyboard that you can count on for years to come even with moderate or heavy use.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 Review | Bottom Line
The Mad Catz Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 is an excellent keyboard for the price and is one you should look at if you’re in the market for a new one and need to cut costs. At $49.99 it’s a bargain for all the features you get, and its build quality belies its price.
However, the membrane key mechanism might be a turn off for some. If mechanical key switches are a must for you, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 carries the same design as the S.T.R.I.K.E. 2 but includes mechanical switches.