Ozone may in fact be new to me as far as seeing what they have to offer, but in reality, they have been releasing products for gamers for some time now. With our first go with any of their products being the Neon mouse, things between us started off on a really good note. Along with that mouse, we were also sent the newest keyboard in their lineup to have a look at and express our opinion on, and today is the day we do just that.
There is an original to this latest design with the Ozone Strike mechanical keyboard. That keyboard was thick and chunky, had a removable wrist rest, offered a two-port USB hub along with audio pass-through jacks, and was only released with Cherry MX black switches under the keycaps. Other features like backlit keys, one millisecond polling rate, NKRO, and basic layout made for a great keyboard for gamers, or anyone really, as long as the drops of red coloring on the wrist rest wasn't too distracting for the usual typists out there. Thing is, times change, new ideas sprout, and companies find themselves thinking, "if I had the chance to do it all over I would do this or that?" That is exactly what we have going on today.
Ozone has sent along the Strike Pro mechanical gaming keyboard that is also backlit and heavily designed with gamers in mind. All around, the design has been revamped; they have made this version more compact and lighter. They now offer a choice of four Cherry MX switches, and while we do lose a USB 2.0 port in this design, the wrist rest is now an incorporated component of the frame.
There is plenty more that has changed from the Ozone Strike to their latest Strike Pro we are about to get into, but if you want to see what Ozone has delivered in full effect, you need to continue reading as we cover all of the changes and see how well this keyboard can stand up to the flood of mechanical offerings currently on the market.
The Strike Pro offers the typical 104-key US/English layout with single shot keycaps with rubberized coatings placed over Cherry MX red switches (in the version we were sent). Jumping ahead, we see that weight has been dropped from the 1550 grams of the Strike to now just 1300 grams; the height is reduced 6mm, and the width is much smaller this time, but the length from front to back has increased now that the wrist rest has been incorporated into the frame design. Not only are the key caps rubberized, but so is the top portion of the frame, delivering a clean, matte finish to the Strike Pro, and the coating also reduces fingerprints or marks in general. To connect this keyboard to an IBM PC or Windows compatible PC, there is a 1.5-meter braided cloth cable that has a pair of gold plated 3.5mm jacks for the audio and a gold plated USB 2.0 connection for the keyboard and USB 2.0 port on the back of the keyboard.
On a more technical level, there are some really cool features offered. This board supports NKRO over USB, or anti-ghosting, which means combined with the adjustable to 1ms polling rate, this keyboard should never miss a click. Along with Multimedia keys, Macro Keys, and the option to lock-out the Windows keys, we also have LEDs under each key cap. Most of the keyboard will illuminate with white letters and iconography, but the QWEASD keys to the left and the arrow keys at the lower right are backed with red LEDs making movement for gamers very obvious to find on the keyboard. The last major feature we should cover is the onboard memory. Since you can also reprogram key functionality as well as programming Macros via software, the 64KB of memory in the keyboard is handy to allow you to take just the keyboard and keep all of you favorite settings while out on the go.
Finding the Strike Pro is relatively easy at this point since its release. What we are finding is that most listings put this keyboard in a price range right at or just above the $150 mark. When considering I have seen everything from an $80 solution all the way up to and beyond $200, the Strike Pro is priced right in the middle against most of the competition out there today. Just knowing what we do so far, without trying anything out, the pricing seems very reasonable for what we are getting in the Strike Pro backlit mechanical gaming keyboard. All we have to do now is go over everything that Ozone has done and see if the Strike Pro is as good in reality as it looks on paper.
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