User Experience, STRIX Sofware, and Conclusion
As mentioned on the first page this particular sample shipped with the Cherry MX Brown switches, and the feel of a keypress with these is somewhere between standard membrane and the clicky mechanical models on the market. Ultimately I was left with the impression of a solid, yet light feel. There is a reassuring amount of key travel, and a speed that makes very rapid keypresses possible. This is first and foremost a gaming keyboard, and in this capacity it was crisp and responsive. Of course, not everyone will have the same preference, but overall I found the keyboard to be a great all-around performer and as you can tell I enjoyed my time with it quite a bit.
Looking at some of the keyboard's features you'll notice that the keys have full backlighting, which is an amber shade that can be adjusted to various intensity levels or simply turned off. At the lowest level this produced a softer glow suitable for night use, while the brightest setting allowed the lighting to remain visible in a well-lit room.
Next we'll look at some of the special function buttons on the TACTIC PRO. While there are quite a few programmable macro buttons on the keyboard, there are quite a few dual-purpose buttons which are activated by holding the function (FN) key, including the brightness control and a couple of important game-oriented modes. The first of these is the NKRO toggle, which switches between true N-key and a 6-key rollover mode.
There are three programmable buttons below the spacebar as well
Dedicated audio controls are located on the top right, and a large roller controls volume in Windows. These functioned as expected in my testing, and the volume roller offered finer control than I had anticipated.
Finally, we'll check out a couple of additional details. First, the USB cable, which is a substantial braided design with a gold-plated USB connector:
And the bottom of the keyboard:
A pair of adjustable feet on the back of the keyboard allow users to set the angle to their own liking (I leave my own keyboards flat), and no less than 8 rubber feet keep the keyboard in place on your desk.
Next we'll quickly look at the software, which allows for simple programming for the buttons on the keyboard. The keyboard is mapped out on the screen and it's a simple as clicking on the button you'd like to program, and choosing a desired function.
The STRIX TACTIC PRO keyboard is a very well designed product with exceptionally good build quality and overall feel. The design looks really cool in an understated way, with a subdued finish and muted accents.
The design is very angular (almost bat-like), and I personally like it a lot. The matte finish makes it look very solid, and the matching trim and backlight color provides cohesion that adds to the effect of a well-implemented design. Beyond style the TACTIC PRO performed admirably in games, though this is a subjective assessment as I did not perform any speed or latency tests. While not positioned for typing this keyboard provided a great experience there as well, and I quickly became used to it as my daily driver and felt – at least psychologically – very productive using it (there's just something about a mechanical keyboard…).
Attention to detail is evident with this keyboard as well, as backlighting is well implemented and software worked very well. There are plenty of macro functions (21 keys total when you count the assignable F-keys) for a truly custom experience. Bottom line, I would have no hesitation recommending this keyboard to anyone as a solid gaming and productivity choice – as long as they like the Cherry MX Brown experience. However, while tastes may differ widely I do think MX Brown switches offer an excellent balance between performance and feel.
While the price of the STRIX TACTIC PRO at $150 is high for a keyboard, you certainly get what you pay for.
- Very high build quality
- Distinctive, angular design
- Good backlighting implementation
- Excellent performance
- Software is easy to use
- Pricing befits a premium product, but will be a barrier to entry