Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 gaming keyboard announced at Gamescom (hands-on)

In the hubbub of a late evening soiree in the center of Cologne, Mad Catz unveiled its new gaming keyboard. While the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard is certainly punctuation-rich, it's aiming to match all those periods with just as many functions and permutations. The keyboard has a modular design, including a new touchscreen interface offering up some new swipe and gesture controls across both gaming titles and day-to-day PC use. Mad Catz reckons it's the final piece in their gaming range puzzle, complementing both the aforementioned R.A.T. mice and its F.R.E.Q gaming headsets. We take a closer look -- and throw in the suitably bombastic promo video -- after the break. %Gallery-162428% %Gallery-162343%

It's that touchscreen interface (codenamed V.E.N.O.M.) that catches our eye first, looking like a smartphone docked to the edge of the modular board. The LCD touchscreen has several programmable screens, including volume controls, mid-game widgets and website launchers. Thre keyboard itself has interchangeable WASD and cursor keys to be tweaked to your liking while the backlighting is capable of (a brilliantly excessive) 16 million color variants. The function strip is again removable, with another four macro keys to call its own, while the numpad can join you either on the left or right side of the main board. An active palm rest rounds out the modules, with a thumb-wheel and additional action button -- it's joined by a pair of (yet again) adjustable wrist rests that anchor along the bottom edge.

The board feels reassuringly solid, although there was a little wiggle between the numpad and keyboard. Key presses were comfortable and we're intrigued as to how the thumb-wheel module would fare once we got used to it. The touchscreen would also take some getting used to, but it seemed well within reach when we took to our gaming pose with the keyboard on the show floor. A metal framework across the base and metallic feet also add to the premium feel. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 starts shipping today, priced at a weighty $300. Hit up the source if your gaming skills demand the best.

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Mad Catz® Ships S.T.R.I.K.E.™ 7 Professional Gaming Keyboard

Advanced Touch Sensitive Display and Modular Construction Enhance Competitive Gaming

San Diego – August 14, 2012 – Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. ("Mad Catz") (NYSE MKT: MCZ) announced today the S.T.R.I.K.E.7 Professional Gaming Keyboard for PC. Designed to deliver the highest levels of customization and performance, the S.T.R.I.K.E.7 features a unique modular design and the V.E.N.O.M.™ touch screen interface. The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 ships worldwide today.

The unique V.E.N.O.M.™ touch screen interface enables the gamer to take control of their gaming environment, launch games or applications at the swipe of a finger, deploy custom macro commands, program chat, game, media settings and more.

"The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 is the first in a line of new keyboards and rounds out our PC gaming range of F.R.E.Q. headsets and R.A.T. gaming mice." said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. "Our engineers created a keyboard that delivers unprecedented customization and performance. We believe the S.T.R.I.K.E.7 will capture the imagination of passionate gamers and continues to demonstrate our ability to innovative in the core gaming sector."