Mad Catz Strike M

A tiny keyboard that packs a big punch

With the launch of the M.O.J.O., Mad Catz is making a name for itself as the undisputed king of the Android-powered micro console. Because of the nature of Android, though, and the fact that the M.O.J.O. is really just a tablet on your TV, there comes the inherent difficulty of entering text.

The issue isn’t just with the M.O.J.O.; it’s with every device that’s hooked up to a TV and uses some form of controller as the main method of input. A smart TV, for example, uses the remote, a PS3 uses its controller and so on. What’s needed in these situations is a good old-fashioned keyboard.

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Naturally, you could pair up any old Bluetooth or wireless compatible keyboard, but more often than not the size of such a keyboard is something of a turn off. The Mad Catz Strike M, however, has been designed specifically for this sort of scenario.

The Strike M is a small, stylish and capable keyboard, which is lightweight and compact enough to sit in a living room without getting in the way or taking up your lap when you choose to use it. It measures just 260 x 110 x 15mm, weighs a mere 0.197kg, and it features some pretty impressive functions.

For starters, it’s backlit, with clear visibility across all the keys including the gaming W, A, S, D keys, and you can alter the brightness levels to your own tastes. It has an optical finger sensor, which acts as a kind of touchpad, and there are a pair of dedicated left- and right-click mouse buttons either side.

As well as that, there are also dedicated media controls for play, pause, skip forward and back and an integrated volume button. It’s Bluetooth 4.0 and can pair with up to four devices at once, with a button to allow you to cycle through the paired channels, which are indicated by an LCD strip along one side. Just to note, we didn’t have any problems pairing the Strike M with a PS3, Android tablet or PC.

The packaging comes with a micro-to-standard USB cable for charging, a foldout stand for the keyboard and a neoprene travel case, complete with the Mad Catz logo on the front. It’s devilishly well designed and packaged in such a way that will undoubtedly tantalise the consumer.

The same eye for detail has been applied to the keyboard itself. The Strike M is available in a range of colours; our version was red with a black keyboard, which looked impressive indeed. Although diminutive, the keyboard has a decent tactile feel to it with 2mm travel and a 60g actuation force. This is thanks to the Mad Catz PULSE scissor key switches, which have been designed for longevity and responsiveness.

However, despite all this, the keyboard does present a slight problem. For people like us, who have giant sausage-like fingers, the microscopic size of keys make typing quite difficult. If you’re simply entering a password or searching for an item, it’s not too bad, as there’s very little contact. Typing out anything lengthy, though, is a chore.

It’s a niche device, in all honesty – one that fits snugly in the living room as a media keyboard or as a tablet keyboard, but when in that role, it’s excellent and certainly worth every penny. David Hayward

A great little keyboard perfect for media centre duties and tablet-like gaming.

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