LAS VEGAS—You probably recognize the Mad Catz brand from its high-quality arcade sticks and gamepads, but you might not know about its PC gaming peripherals. That will change once you get a look at the 'S.T.R.I.K.E. 7', a modular keyboard that’s remarkably easy to break apart and put back together in a radically new configuration. It’s the ultimate DIY keyboard, even without the detachable touchscreen display (with a similarly goofy name: the 'V.E.N.O.M.').
At first glance, the Strike 7 looks like just another garish gaming keyboard. It actually is a garish gaming keyboard, but it also features a nifty little touchscreen mounted above the left-hand side that you can use to launch programs, run custom keyboard macros, and fool around with your media playback settings. It’s a cool bit of tech that works a bit like the LCD touchscreen built into the Razer Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard, with the added benefit that you can pop it off when you don’t want the tiny display to distract you.
That’s right, you can rip off nearly any part of this keyboard and stash it in your drawer until you feel like jamming it back on. The Strike 7 is designed to let you combine its pieces to form a few different, twisted versions of a standard keyboard.
Naturally, you’re limited to removing only the components that are meant to be moved (at least as long as you want them to remain functional). But you can still do some weird things, like swapping out specific keys for more or less textured versions, adding in whole new rows of buttons. You can even use the removable numpad and a few other pieces separately as stand-alone devices.
It’s surprisingly satisfying to rip apart your keyboard and rebuild it to better suit your needs, though the $300 price tag is a little surprising as well. Mad Catz has a history of producing solid modular hardware (don’t forget its MLG Pro Circuit modular gamepad) and the Strike 7 looks to be no exception. Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis; I'll politely request a unit for testing so I can tear it apart to my heart’s content and (hopefully) put it back together again in our Test Center.