Ozone Strike Pro Keyboard Review
Ozone Gaming Gear have been a round for a while now, yet the OZONE Strike Pro Gaming keyboard is the first product to ever pass through the pcG office. Considering that Ozone focus heavily on PC Gaming gear, I’m intrigued to see what they have come up with…
The Ozone Strike Pro is a fully mechanical backlit Gaming keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches (it’s off to a good start!). The keyboard is also available with Cherry MX Black, Blue or Brown switches. In addition to this the Ozone Strike Pro features a USB Hub (although I would say it’s a USB pass-through), audio ports (Headphone & Microphone), has 64KB of on-board memory and can support up to 30 Macros across 5 differing Profiles.
The Ozone Strike Pro came in a smart, predominantly red ‘n black box with a large image of the keyboard on the front. There’s even a small cut-out allowing you to test out those Cherry MX Red switches. As you can see our sample was a UK sample, the following features are also highlighted:
The back of the box shows another image of the Strike Pro highlighting various features (see above right). In addition to this the back of the box sports an endorsement from a Pro Gamer, shows the system requirements and also the weight (1300g), cable length (1.5m) and the keyboard’s physical dimensions (34mm x 441mm x 135mm).
The sides of the box highlight other features of the Ozone Strike Pro as well as shows the switch designation (in this case Cherry MX Red), while also showing the others available (Black, Blue & Brown).
On sliding the keyboard out from the box we can see that the Strike Pro is well packaged and well protected with a plastic cover.
Once into the box we can take a look at the Ozone Strike Pro for the first time and see the array of accessories that it comes with.
Within the box other than the keyboard itself there’s a User Manual, Software CD, Sticker and some additional rubber feet (I hope that’s not a sign that they fall off easily!).
At the time of writing the Ozone Strike Pro keyboard is retailing for approximately £85 on OZONE Strike Pro UK 104 Key Backlit MX Cherry Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of OZONE
- Keyboard：STRIKE PRO 104 Keys Cherry Switch Mechanical Keyboard
- Compatible： IBM PC ，Win7，Win8, WinNT，Win2003, Win XP or Win Vista
- Size: H: 34.30±1mm x L: 441.25±1 mm x W: 135.70±1mm
- Weight: 1300 G
- Cable Length: 1.5m Braided Cable
- Keycaps/ Main Housing：ABS 94HB
- Inner Metal Plate：SPCC
- Voltage: 4.75V +/- 10%
- Power Consumption: ≤ 250 mA
- Memory: 64 KB on board memory
- Connector: USB 18K gold plated
- Nkey Rollover: All (104keys) keys with Nkey Rollover (anti-ghost)
- Working Mode: Normal PC Mode/ Gaming Mode
- Gaming Mode: Deactivation of Win Key / “AWSD” & “Arrow Keys” function swappable/ Macro Function through Software
- HUB & Audio: USB x 1 / Audio x 1 / Mic x 1
- LED Backlit: White LED with Gaming Keys in Red LED / 6 backlit options (OFF/ 100% breathing/ 30%/ 70%/ 100% still / Gaming Key [ESC, QWEASD & 4 Direction Keys] light up only)
First impressions are pretty good, the Ozone Strike Pro feels well made (it’s damn heavy at 1300g) and it looks pretty good to boot. The styling is simple and functional, I rather like the in-built wrist rest too! There’s not much to dislike to be honest, and with those Cherry MX Red switches it’s already looking like a good Gaming keyboard.
As you can see the Ozone Strike Pro features a white rectangular block at the base of some of the keys. This designates that there is additional functionality via the Ozone Key (or function key). F1 – F2 allows you to change the Key Response Time, F3 – F4 allows you to change the Polling Rate and F5 – F12 supports Media playback and Volume control. The Print Screen key doubles as a Gaming key allowing you to switch to Gaming Mode, where the Windows Key is disabled and the Macro keys (M1 – M6) are enabled, it also (rather strangely) allows you to swap the Cursor keys and the Gaming WASD keys around, meaning that when you press up (on the cursor keys) you get a ‘W’! Scroll Lock controls the illumination Profiles and the keys below (M1 – M6) are the dedicated Macro keys.
The wrist rest is actually part of the keyboard’s main frame, so it cannot be removed, I rather like it but some may not. It is a little narrow though, I think I would have preferred it to be a about another 20mm deeper. The Strike Pro logo in the bottom left is also a nice touch, let’s just hope the logo doesn’t wear though as it’s beneath your left palm/wrist (although at the time of review there was no sign of wear).
In the top right corner of the Ozone Strike Pro there’s a single branded Ozone plate, here you would normally find the Shift/Lock indicator LEDs, but the Strike Pro has none! Instead the Strike Pro has opted to illuminate the individual keys (Shift/Scroll Lock/Num Lock) via the LED back-lighting. A strange idea, meaning that by default the Shift key is not illuminated…
Looking at the back of the Ozone Strike Pro we find a single USB port, a Headphone and a Microphone socket. Ozone claims a USB Hub, but I’d say it was a single USB pass-through, as there’s only one port and no separate power cable.
Looking at the underside of the Ozone Strike Pro there’s not much to see as one would expect. At the front of the keyboard we can see four rubber feet and at the back there’s two additional feet. Also another neat feature is the cable routing at the back of the keyboard, allowing you to route the braided cable left, right or centrally. I rather like this feature and I would like to see more manufacturers adopting it.
These feet have rubber tips and can be deployed to lift the back of the keyboard by approximately 8mm. Below you can see the keyboard at its lowest setting and also at its inclined (highest) setting. Note that at this angle we can also see that the keyboard itself features a slight contour to its key-caps.
There’s not too much to the Ozone Strike Pro but what’s here is good, after the Initial Impressions the Strike Pro is still looking like a fine mechanical Gaming keyboard. Now let’s take it for spin and see what we think…
The Ozone Strike Pro was tested on my Intel Test Rig, a fresh installation of Windows Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) was performed prior to testing. The latest version of the Ozone Strike Pro software was also downloaded (here) and installed. Version 1.0 was used throughout testing.
NOTE: That the software is supplied via a .rar file meaning that you’ll not be able to open it in Windows without the use of a third party program such as WinZip or WinRar. This annoys me greatly, if Ozone wish to continue down this path then they should add the third party software to the requirements list along side Windows…
The following games were used during testing:
With the Ozone Strike Pro powered up we can take a look at its illumination, interesting it is too, as the following keys (ESC, Q, W, E, A, S, D & Cursor Keys) illuminate Red! This colour option is fixed (all other keys illuminate white) and cannot be changed, various illumination Profiles are available though via the Ozone key.
The switches used in the Ozone Strike Pro are Cherry MX Red, these I have (somewhat obviously!) come across before and I have to admit are probably my favourite switch type for Gaming, as there’s no perceivable actuation point and no audible click. Not so good for typing, but great for Gaming (IMHO!).
During Gaming I found the keys to be very responsive (mainly due to the low 45cN actuation force) and the keyboard as a whole was a joy to play on.
The software. download here is simple but functional and is relatively easy to use and it allows you to do most of the things that a Gamer wants/needs to do.
- SOFTWARE – (Main Control / Adv. Settings)
The first tab Main Control of the Ozone Strike Pro’s software allows you to assign keys etc, but if you want to assign a Macro to a key, you’ll have to assign it to one of the dedicated six Macro keys (M1 – M6). This really isn’t good enough and I’m sure for some will be a deal breaker, not too sure why Ozone have done this but you really need to be able to assign a Macro to any key you wish! In addition to this the first tab allows you to create and manage up to five Profiles and also has a handy Driver Reset reset function, useful when you’ve gone that little bit too far… 😉 I also noticed that programming the keyboard itself (pressing APPLY) took a rather long time, with a wait cursor appearing for almost 30 seconds!?
The final tab is the Adv. Settings tab this allows you modify the Polling Rate, the Key Response Time and turn the Windows key on/off. In addition to this you can control the illumination effects from here (the same as pressing the Ozone key (Function key) and Scroll Lock).
- SOFTWARE – (Macro Settings / Macro Manager)
The Macro Settings tab allows you to assign Macros to any of the six supported Macro keys (M1 – M6), found just above the cursor keys, none of the other keys are supported. As I have already stated this seems to be a rather bizarre shortcoming of the Ozone Strike Pro and it’s a shame.
Selecting a Macro Key and then the Macro Manager allows you to create and record simple Macros but mouse input is not supported. Delays between key presses can be recorded in real time or fixed, but editing is not supported.
Overall the OZONE Strike Pro Gaming keyboard is a very good Gaming keyboard, it’s one of the cases where what’s here, in the way of features is good, but at approximately £85 it’s what’s not here that tends to let it down…
The Ozone Strike Pro came well packaged and was well presented in a smart red ‘n black box, in the box there’s a decent manual, Driver CD (one of the small ones!), some additional rubber feet and of course the all important sticker!
Taking a look at the Strike Pro for the first time reveals a well made keyboard with a high build quality, it’s certainly sturdy weighing in at a rather heavy 1300g. A least it’s not going to move around on your desk during those more intense, in-game moments. The keyboard looks smart and I liked the in-built wrist rest, although I would have liked it to have been a little deeper. The in-built USB pass-though and audio connections are also welcome, but the 1.5 metre braided cable is too short for my liking.
The lack of any Shift/Lock indicators is also a curious option; Ozone have opted to illuminate the keys themselves to show on/off status, an interesting idea! The illuminated red Gaming keys are also an interesting idea, but of course this means (due to one LED per switch) that there’s no control over what’s on or off or what’s Red or White.
Overall, from a performance point of view the Cherry MX Red (Black, Blue & Brown also available) switches performed faultlessly during testing suggesting that its N-Key Rollover and Anti-Ghosting support was doing its job well.
The main problem with the Ozone Strike Pro is really its price, as I have already stated there’s nothing wrong with what’s here; but there’s many other mechanical keyboards that offer a similar or better feature set for a similar price. By keeping things simple and while retailing for over £75 the Ozone doesn’t stand out from the crowd enough. Although, as long as you understand what’s here, you wont be disappointed…
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Many thanks to Ozone for providing this sample for review