The Ozone Strike Pro is surprisingly understated for a gaming keyboard. It has none of the tacky "blood splatters" that festoon the company's baseline Strike model. And its six macro keys share keycaps with the Insert, Home, Page Up, Delete, End, and Page Down functions.
Turn off its backlight and you could use this keyboard at work. With the backlight on, the WASD block and the arrow keys light up blood-red, which might draw inquisitive glances from your coworkers. The backlight has six settings: Off, three levels of brightness, one level that slowly pulses as though the keyboard is breathing, and one that illuminates only the red sections.
Unfortunately the red backlights don't dim in concert with the white lights. When you're using the keyboard in the dark, the WASD and arrow keys remain garishly bright. Another problem: the illuminated "Strike Pro" logo on the front of the spacebar is blinding when backlit.
The keyboard itself is beautifully designed, as long as it's lying flat. Its fixed narrow wrist rest delivers more support than you might think. After long gaming sessions, however, I found that its material caused the heels of my hands to sweat profusely. And don't deploy its retractable feet: The Strike Pro is a thick keyboard, and tilting it up by flipping its feet out made my wrists ache almost immediately.
What's worse is that these feet are poorly engineered. They're coated with an anti-slip rubber compound on the bottom, but exert too much forward pressure and they collapse, crashing the keyboard to the surface of your desk. Trust me, leave the feet folded up.
Three channels on the bottom of the keyboard allow you to route its thick, braided cable out of the top center or to the left or right sides. The cable ends with three jacks: One USB and 1/8-inch mic and headphone jacks to feed its audio hub.
The keyboard we tested was outfitted with Cherry Red keyswitches, but you can order yours with Cherry Blacks, Browns, or Blues. You can adjust the keyboard's response time and polling rate right from the keyboard, using the "Ozone" key that replaces the right Windows key. There's also a suite of media-player control keys, a backlight adjuster, and a "Game Mode" key that disables the remaining Windows Key and enables macros.
As with most peripherals, Ozone's macro-creation software is garbage. It calls to mind every "extreme" stereotype associated with games peripherals, and its performance is rough. Applying your changes and enabling a new configuration causes the whole computer to hang for upwards of 10 seconds. Fortunately, the macros you'll create with it are stored in the keyboard's onboard memory, so you won't need to deal with the software very often.
The Ozone Strike Pro is a solid, if unremarkable, keyboard. It goes in the bin of "yet another option" when you're looking at mechanical keyboards. It's not a bad choice by any means, but it doesn't do anything that stands out.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.