Corsair has done what very few keyboard manufacturers have managed to do till this date; come up with a mechanical keyboard that retains all the functionality and bells and whistles that go along with owning a mechanical keyboard while having completely silent switches.
While I understand that there are a lot of people out there that simply adore the clicky-clacky sound that most mechanical switches out there make, there is another, huge market that just want the pleasure of using a mechanical keyboard without it sounding like a typewriter out of the late nineteenth century.
Enter the Corsair Strafe with Cherry MX Silent switches. We got the RGB variant of the keyboard for review here at JAGS and after using it for a considerable amount of time, I can conclude that this is the best possible keyboard for the work that I do, namely streaming and prolonged content creation sessions at a busy office.
Seeing as how Corsair are the ones behind the keyboard it’s easy to see why there were no corners cut when build quality is concerned. The keyboard is heavy with a sturdy metal plate for rigidity and support, and there is absolutely no flex what so ever to speak of. Moreover, the entire keyboard rests on top of a white plate that really makes the RGB lighting pop.
Built along the same grain as its older brother the K70, the Strafe lacks the dedicated media buttons and the volume slider as well as the USB pass-through, so for those of you who like to connect their phones to their keyboards while playing, I am sorry to say you will be disappointed. However, given the keyboard also comes in at $20 or about INR 3000 cheaper than the K70 RGB, these omissions are okay, as the functionality in terms of what you get with a full size RGB mechanical keyboard are not compromised in the slightest.
Now, if you’re moving from a “traditional” mechanical keyboard, the initial feel of the keyboard might come across as a bit weird, there is simply no other way of articulating this feeling. The keys feel slightly mushy and don’t have the crisp feedback that one gets used to while using blue or red switches. However, after typing out a few paras you begin to realize this keyboards true greatness. Also, have I said yet that as a streamer, this keyboard is an absolute godsend? No longer do you need to fiddle around with pesky noise gates and compromise your audio fidelity because of the proximity of your mic to the keyboard, you can simply stream and forget about the keyboard ever being picked up by even the most sensitive of condenser mics (I own a Blue Yeti that never once picked up a single keystroke while streaming).
When it comes to the lighting, you have access to the full suite of lighting options and profiles that come bundled with the Corsair Engine software. You can customize the lighting on a per key basis and literally have rave like lighting on your keyboard should you so choose to do so. The possibilities are endless and because of that, the software may feel a bit daunting. If that is the case, just go ahead and search the internet for the millions of user created profiles that have been uploaded on the Corsair website, pick out a few you like and run with it.
All in all, the Corsair Strafe is a fantastic mechanical keyboard. However, the one gripe I do have with it has nothing to do with the keyboard or Corsair, and that’s the price. With a price tag of $99 in the States, this keyboard is a no brainer, however in India it sells at upwards of INR 12000 in most places online, and at that price point you start looking for cheaper alternatives. There is a non RGB version with red LED backlighting that is available for under 10K, but still the pricing in India is extremely prohibitive, making this keyboard an option only for the most hardcore of enthusiasts and desperate streamers/content creators.
For those of you looking for an alternative, try going for keyboards with kailh red/brown switches of Romer G switches, both of which are fairly silent and have a lower cost of entry even for RGB variants. However, if the price is no barrier, and you want the full RGB mechanical keyboard experience in pin drop silence, pick this keyboard up in a heartbeat.