Review – Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming Keyboard

Posted December 2, 2013 by in Keyboards







Total Score

7.2/ 10


Interface: USB
MSRP: $99.99


+ Quality build
+ Customizable keys
+ Nice wrist rest


- Compatibility & software support
- Physical keyboard layout
- Higher price point

This keyboard is a great entry level keyboard for gamers. The keyboard is made of good solid material, and the customization modes allow for a wide variety of personalization.

by Matt Schlapa
Full Article




The packaging for the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming keyboard is much like you would expect from an experienced keyboard manufacturer. The long rectangular box totes a wide variety of feature rich capabilities that are included with the keyboard. This information caught my attention, and I found myself getting caught up with the promises of millions of color variations, 12 programmable macro buttons, and three personalization modes, which promised 36 total custom macros.

Once I had my fill of marketing, I opened the box and was pleasantly surprised to see a well designed cardboard container holding the various pieces of hardware. Beneath the first flap held the the removable wrist rest, and underneath the second flap was the keyboard, and quick start guide, and the warranty package which included some Mad Catz stickers.

They packed every square inch in this box, and you could tell they are pros at packing. Overall, the unpacking experience was quite pleasant. The items fit snuggly in the box, and there was was no room left to spare.



The build of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is extremely solid, and does not feel cheap or flimsy like so many keyboards today. The plastic appears to be made of solid, durable material, while still being lightweight. On the bottom of the keyboard are two fold out legs, allowing the keyboard to rest at a comfortable angle. However, the legs narrow considerably where they connect with the keyboard, and I was immediately concerned about weight distribution.

I normally am not one to use a wrist rest, but figured I would give this a shot. I flipped the keyboard over to attach it, only to find out that the keyboard does not attach to the wrist rest. Instead, the bottom of the keyboard sits in holders on the wrist rest. This allows for quick removal if needed, which is a nice option.

The USB cord is wrapped in braided fabric, and the ends are made of sturdy plastic. This type of material really alleviates my concerns about wear and tear, as this is more of a robust build. The keyboard we got from Mad Catz was the red colorway, and lit up red when plugged in. Typically, red for me can be overbearing, but this red was the perfect color to illuminate the keys, and light up the keyboard space.

One of Mad Catz most prideful points of interest on the keyboard is the 12 customizable keys that allow you to create custom macros or keystrokes. I was surprised to see these keys split, and located in two completely different areas of the keyboard. The first seven of the 12 live above the ESC through F4 keys, while the remaining five snuggle in around the arrow keys on the opposite side of the keyboard.

Directly above the ESC key is the Mode button, which essentially allows you to switch between three sets of programming. Each mode is color coded, and you can customize which color aligns to each mode.

Directly above the F4 and F5 button, resides my favorite button, the Windows Key On/Off mode. This is simply a switch you flip up or down to turn on or off the Windows key. As someone who frequently gets kicked out of games because I hit the Windows key, I was excited to try this option out.

Other than these items, the keyboard was what you would expect from a standard 10 key keyboard.

User Experience


After everything was setup, I looked through the quick start guide. I was anxious to see how I could customize the keyboard, but was disappointed to find a lack of clear instructions. The quick start guide seemed to be more about pictures and repeating the features on the box, than it did around actually customizing the 12 programmable keys.

After several minutes of reading through the entire guide, I was instructed to visit the support page for more information on programming it. I quickly headed over to, and hit their support for drivers and software. I was disappointed to see that no drivers or software were provided for Windows 8, despite the box boasting its Windows 8 compatibility. I selected Windows 7 for both drivers & software, then downloaded and installed them both. Despite some installation issues, and having to install in compatibility mode, I made it through the install, and returned to the website. I browsed around looking for the user manual, but Mad Catz could only provide the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 or 7 manuals.

I headed back to support, and saw a small section of “Profile Packs”, and downloaded the “Strategy” Profile Pack. To my surprise, I saw a profile for StarCraft 2, and was very excited to see what the keyboard had in store. I headed to my Windows App search area, and typed in Mad Catz. Nothing. S.T.R.I.K.E.? Nothing. I tried every variation I could this of, and ultimately had to browse to C:\Program Files to find the folder and launch the software.

Once inside the software, I quickly realized that this keyboard was not focused on gaming, but on making the Windows experience more pleasurable. All predefined shortcuts and keys were for Windows, and tucked away at the end of the menu was an option to make custom shortcuts. I quickly threw my standard StarCraft shortcuts in the mix, and anxious looked for the option to load the profile pack. Unfortunately, I could not find an option to load the profile pack, and assume these were intended for the older brothers of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3.

After getting as much as I could get setup, I change the Mode to Blue, and launched StarCraft 2. I played for several hours, and noticed several things. The keyboard was angled in a way that made it easier to reach my custom keys above the F1 through F4 keys, and when pressed, the keys responded quicker. I also played for a few hours with very little fatigue, and was intrigued as to how this keyboard managed these 3 tasks so well. I also was please to see that the Windows Lock switch when set to off, actually disabled all Windows key functions, which kept me in the game and ultimately kept me focused. Additionally, the wrist rest had two sections of slip resistant plastic, keeping my hands in place, and making my gaming experience an overall enjoyable experience.

I decided to spend some time with it doing standard tasks for a PC, and found that the keyboard performed much better in this regard. With the customizable keys being focused on Windows functions, I quickly found ways to improve tasks that normally require either or both hands to be present on the keyboard. The customizable keys around the arrow keys proved to be tricky to master. However, they are lower than the arrow keys, and after some use they began to feel familiar.



If I only had one thing to say Mad Catz got right about this keyboard, it would be the style. Aesthetically, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is a sexy beast. The keyboard is nicely designed, has a good layout, and the wrist rest easily prevents fatigue.

The backlit keys and all the variations will leave you with an endless supply of modifications, and once you find the right customization for your keys, doing anything on the computer will be a breeze.



This keyboard clearly stands out in two areas.

The first is that it is an entry level gaming keyboard. While it has some functionality that would improve PC gaming, the clunkiness of both the keys and software made this difficult to use.

Second is that this keyboard is the forgotten bastard of the S.T.R.I.K.E. brand. The Mad Catz website hardly has any useful information of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3, and is missing the manual and other key components the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 and S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 have. After spending a fair amount of time on their website, I felt as if the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 was released under the title of S.T.R.I.K.E., in the hopes that those unfamiliar with gaming would buy it.

With these two things in mind, this is a strong, reliable PC keyboard. It is a bit pricey at $99, and I am not sure the added functionality justifies the cost.