There's a new high-end gaming keyboard in town, and it's different to say the least. At the Gamescom expo in Cologne, Germany, Mad Catz unveiled the Strike 7, a modular keyboard with a flexible layout and an integrated touchscreen. The keys are arranged on three discrete pieces that can be snapped together in different configurations to suit your needs. Each of the three wrists rests is detachable, and one of them comes with a thumb wheel and auxiliary button. The official release video lays out the various options.
More details can be found on Mad Catz's product page for the Strike 7, which reveals that the underlying key switches aren't mechanical. Instead, the keyboards feature a "specially engineered membrane which mimics the tactile feel generated by the mechanical keys often preferred by gamers - - without the resultant excessive noise." Interesting. That key feel better be good, because Mad Catz is charging a whoping $300 for the keyboard.
Of course, that figure also includes the integrated touchscreen. The touch interface can be used to tweak the backlight, lock the Windows key, control media playback, and adjust volume levels on a per-application basis. Program shortcuts and custom macro icons can be loaded onto the touchscreen, which also boasts TeamSpeak integration and a note-taking interface.
Naturally, the Strike 7 has all the amenities one might expect from a high-end keyboard. The WASD and directional keys can be swapped for contoured versions with rubber edges. Backlighting is provided for all the keys, and users can choose from 16 million colors. On the macro front, up to 72 key combos can be programmed across three profiles.
Mad Catz bills the Strike 7 as the perfect sidekick for its adjustable Rat mice, which I love. The keyboard might be a tougher sell, in part because it costs four times as much as the going rate for the Rat 7. The Rat doesn't have a touchscreen, of course, but it also lacks the stigma associated with membrane switches. I'm curious to see whether Mad Catz has actually replicated the feel of mechanical switches without all the noise they typically generate. We might have to test one of these to find out. You can view more pictures of the Strike 7 in the gallery below.