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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Bold, customizable lighting
Passthrough USB port
Textured keycaps for gaming
Quiet Cherry MX Silent keys
Stores user-profiles locally
Keys don’t feel tactile
Wrist rest is a little creaky
The Cherry MX Silent keys don’t provide the most tactile sensation, but otherwise, this vibrant mechanical gaming keyboard does the job right.
Sure, you can play PC games with any computer keyboard—but if you’re a die-hard with a custom, souped-up gaming rig, then some plain old keyboard isn’t likely to satisfy. Corsair’s Strafe RGB Mk.2 MX Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a very good option if you’re keen on a mechanical keyboard with all the familiar bells and whistles but without the loud key clacking heard on some competing boards. It also has dedicated media controls, which are handy, not to mention swappable keycap sets designed for popular competitive game genres.
The $150 price range is very competitive for gaming keyboards, however, and Corsair’s mid-range device isn’t perfect. There are a couple of potential hang-ups worth knowing if you’re considering adding this technicolor peripheral to your gaming setup. I tested the Corsair Strafe RGB Mk.2 MX Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for a full week across several games, as well as during my everyday work routine.
Plug in the two USB-A connectors that emerge from the bulky, fabric-lined cable and the Corsair Strafe RGB Mk.2 springs to life, with color emanating from beneath the black keycaps and the letters, numbers, and symbols atop. That’s par for the course for every gaming keyboard today, but it’s especially striking here, with bold coloring across the board thanks to dynamic per-key backlighting.
The surface around the keys is made up of textured black plastic, with a smooth white surface beneath the keys themselves to amplify the color effect. At the top is brushed black metal, while the Corsair logo at top center glows in harmony with the keys themselves.
Along that top bar, you’ll also find a dedicated mute button and a metal volume roller on the right, letting you make subtle changes to the sound level by sliding your finger up or down along it. Over on the left are buttons that let you change between multiple user profiles, adjust the brightness level of the backlighting, and lock the Windows key, respectively. To the right of the thick cable on the top is a USB passthrough port intended for a mouse—good news since the keyboard itself requires two USB ports to function.
To the right of the thick cable on the top is a USB passthrough port intended for a mouse—good news since the keyboard itself requires two USB ports to function.
At approximate dimensions of 17.6 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches (HWD) without the wrist rest, it’s a pretty sizable keyboard—a little chunky, but not dramatically so. The wrist rest snaps on and off with ease and is labeled as having a “soft touch,” but it’s not cushioned: just lightly textured plastic. It was a little creakier than I’d hoped for a keyboard of this price range. Elsewhere, the keyboard feels very hefty and durable; the wrist rest is the outlier.
The Cherry MX Silent key switches here nearly do live up to their name. While not entirely silent, they are very quiet and don’t make a whole lot of clatter even when typing documents. The trade-off, however, is that the Cherry MX Silent switches don’t have the same kind of strong, tactile sensation as some other switch types, so typing might feel a bit mushy depending on what you’re used to.
The Cherry MX Silent switches don’t have the same kind of strong, tactile sensation as some other switch types, so typing might feel a bit mushy depending on what you’re used to.
It’s a solid enough typing experience, but ultimately preferred the more tactile feeling of the pricier Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT and its Cherry MX Speed Silver switches. The Strafe Mk.2’s keys are guaranteed to last for more than 50 million keystrokes apiece, so this keyboard should work well for ages if treated right.
The Corsair Strafe RGB Mk.2 performed well with all types of games, whether blasting away in battle royale shooter Fortnite or patrolling the rift in League of Legends—and it has specialized keycaps for both shooters and MOBA games.
Using the simple included tool, you can easily pluck off the WASD keys and pop on specialized versions that are grey-colored, textured, and sloped to keep your fingers in the right spots for first-person shooter movement. Likewise, there’s a separate set of QWERDF keys that are differently sloped to accommodate the usual MOBA control scheme. These are a great little perk, and swapping the caps only takes seconds.
Using the simple included tool, you can easily pluck off the WASD keys and pop on specialized versions that are grey-colored, textured, and sloped to keep your fingers in the right spots for first-person shooter movement.
As mentioned, the Cherry MX Silent keys do trade off a bit of tactile sensation in favor of keeping quiet, which you may or may not appreciate. There are plenty of other gaming keyboard options out there if that’s not your kind of key.
Additionally, the soft-touch wrist rest does pale in comparison to better-supported rests seen with other keyboards, such as the aforementioned Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT keyboard.
Corsair’s iCUE software is used to control the lighting effects of the keyboard, letting you choose from various preset animations, customize the color schemes, and personalize them as you see fit. This PC and Mac program is also where you can program macros and create custom lighting profiles that can live on the keyboard itself thanks to the 8MB of built-in memory. That way, you can cart it from computer to computer without losing your personal touches.
The $150 price point of the Corsair Strafe RGB Mk.2 MX Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboard puts it right in the middle of the pack. There are cheaper, entry-level options with potentially weaker lighting skills or fewer features, and you can definitely pay more for keyboards with more premium-feeling components and other perks.
If you’re okay with paying $150 for a high-end keyboard, then you might even look a little bit higher to see if it’s worth upping your budget just a bit for additional features. This feels like a solid value for the price, compared to the competition, but there may be other configurations that better suit your needs and preferences.
The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT (see on Amazon) has more tactile-feeling keys, which are also rated for 100 million presses apiece, plus the cushy wrist rest is much sturdier and more comfortable. It also has a strip of added lighting at the top, plus an extra column of keys at the left that are targeted at streamers thanks to Elgato Stream Deck integration.
Otherwise, these keyboards are very similar: the lighting is mostly the same, both have the same bonus keycap sets, and both look mostly alike. But the Platinum XT costs an extra $50 for its various enhancements and additions.
If you like it silent, Corsair won’t disappoint.
From its vibrant, customizable lighting to its passthrough port and swappable genre-centric keycaps, there’s a lot to like about the Corsair Strafe RGB Mk.2 MX Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. The ultra-quiet keys do lack a tactile punch and the wrist rest isn’t especially comfortable—but for those who prefer that kind of typing sensation, it’s a strong option.