During the development of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard, we did a lot of testing in order to build the perfect keyboard. Obviously, the most crucial components of any keyboard are the keys themselves, so that’s where we focused the majority of our attention. Specifically, we looked at the force required to trigger a keypress.
On current gaming keyboards our research showed a possible range of 50g to 80g of actuation force was required, so our goal became to put the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 squarely within that range. If the actuation force is too high, long gaming sessions would start to take their toll on the gamers’ digits. Too low, and the key would not reset at a fast enough speed for gaming.
Because the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 would use a membrane keybed instead of individual mechanical keys, one of the design goals was to achieve great tactile feedback for our key input. We specified that there should be a “bump” in the actuation to let the gamer know that their input had been received, and enough actuation force to deliver the necessary tactile feedback. The result is an optimized 60g of actuation force. With other gaming keyboards falling in the 50g to 80g range, our actuation force sits in the optimum zone and is specifically engineered to reduce muscle fatigue and discomfort while remaining speedy and responsive over long gaming sessions.
Along with actuation, the reset point of the key is also crucial for in-game actions. Actions such as double taps would not work if the reset point was farther back on the key travel than the operating point. In order to capture all speeds of key input regardless of whether you are gaming or simply typing, we tuned the reset point to the position of the operation point.
This graph shows the operational characteristics of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 membrane as described above:
When compared against the two most popular mechanical switches (Cherry MX Blue & MX Brown), all three switches have a tactile “bump” in the key travel to let you know when key actuation occurs. The images below display the operational characteristics of both switches.
Given our membrane characteristics, the actuation is closer to the MX Brown, albeit with an altered actuation force to improve the tactile feedback. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 membrane shares the actuation force of the MX Blue, but not the audible “click” on each keypress. The reset point is also different, owing to our design requirements for fast double-tap input.
Our goal from the start was to make the best gaming keyboard available, and we believe we have achieved that by providing the tactile feedback desired by most gamers.