In a saturated market of mechanical keyboards, there are several companies that are now offering mechanical keyboards of all shapes and sizes. The room to innovate has therefore tightened. Corsair throughout the years has been at the forefront of development, such, that they spun of an entire division of their company to concentrate on gaming peripherals.
With the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire Mechanical Keyboard, comes an impressive implementation of Cherry’s MX switches to RGB lighting offering a multitude of functionality and customisation options. However, whilst the hardware on the keyboard is near perfect, the same cannot be said of Corsairs K70 software and these shortcomings prevent the K70 from being the perfect gaming keyboard.
Overview and Design
The Corsair Gaming K70 RGB looks like something that you would pay over a hundred dollars for and chances no game changing risks. It has a standard 104 keys keyboard layout with 5 media control keys, a windows lock key, a brightness toggle that can cycle through 3 levels of brightness and a lovely metal textured volume wheel on the upper right side that gives the keyboard a quality look and feel.
Any gaming enthusiasts will know that comfortable wrist rests are vital and Corsair have not compromised on this in the K70 Rapid fire. The Corsair K70 has soft touched rubberised wrist rests that feel very comfortable over long use. In addition, the keyboard has rubberised bottom feet that flip and do not slip so easily when in use meaning it is not easy to flatten the keyboard unintentionally.
The keyboard is finished with a gorgeous solid brushed aluminium back plate giving a real professional look and feel to it worthy of the price tag.
The keyboard has a nice braided dual USB cord future proofing it from damage. It appears as though it is built to last. On the point about the Dual USB, the second USB input is for USB 2.0 users that will need the extra power for the lights and micro-controller (USB 3.0 users will not need to insert the one with arrows and can leave that to dangle by).
The Corsair K70 RGB comes with a downloadable 142 page manual that contains an extraordinary amount of detail. This is needed when you consider the level of functionality it has but it is unquestionably overwhelming to read through and you will find that it will be referred to as and when you get to certain points.
Corsair’s K70 RGB Cherry MX switches
The Corsair K70 below the key cap, uses 3mm 2 LED’s with a new system that mounts a RGB led on to the PCB of the keyboard using a translucent key cap housing. The LED’s in the Corsair K70 RGB are less susceptible to failure due to static discharge because the surface is mounted to the keyboard.
When in use, the new system feels like a solid improvement which in no way compromises the functionality and tactile characteristics of the Cherry MX switches. In case you do not know, Cherry MX switches is a type of key switch that is used in mechanical keyboards (there are others). Cherry MX is a well-regarded switch which comes in a number of differing types (red, blue brown and clear to name some) that define the type of switch and effort required to actuate the switch. The Corsair Gaming K70 RGB comes in blue, red and brown switch types.
So how does it feel to use?
When put to use for gaming, we had a great experience that felt as good as you will ever experience on a keyboard. Mechanically, the hardware is rock solid and among the best we have ever tried. It feels great to depress the switches, the texture and feel shouts premium quality and the LED lights really do look amazing. It is comfortable over long use and satisfying to depress the keys and with reliable accentuation, very rarely did we miss a key press.
And it’s great not just for gaming. You can pretty much use this for anything that requires execution of macros or complex functionality. You are able to transport your settings to another PC but if the other PC contains K70 settings too, you may find that this can import unwanted settings and information into the host machines profiles though these can be deleted.
The K70 RGB is packed with features and can be customisable in every conceivable way – literally nearly everything is customisable – from LED brightness to mouse DPI changes, mouse clicks, lighting effects, speed of lighting effects, brightness, button reassignment and so on. The list of features of the Corsair K70 RGB is endless.
It’s when it comes to using the Corsair K70 RGB software that the experience becomes slightly jarring. And as is evident from the above, this is not for want of functionality but rather because of ease of access.
We were able to create differing profiles which can be switched automatically or manually upon the start of applications.
Within profiles, we were able to set different modes all fully customisable with their own reactive typing schemes and differing button assignments. We were able to set actions in differing modes, change the colours of certain keys, key sets, and their colour schemes. We were able to set up lighting effects such as waves starting from one end of the keyboard to the other and set whatever waves of colours we wished. Waves are one of a number of different lighting effects available.
But Corsair have not made the software easy to use and navigating your way through the multitude of settings can be cumbersome. We found that though you do eventually get the hang of it, ultimately, it is not as accessible as we would like. And the likely effect is that if you are anywhere near the casual end of the gaming spectrum, you may end up skipping on a lot the keyboard has to offer which, is a shame, given the endless functionality of the keyboard.
That said, we maintain that this is one very powerful gaming keyboard.
We have tested several mechanical keyboards including the Razer Blackwidow Chroma and the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire Mechanical Keyboard is a phenomenal keyboard not just for gaming. It was highly anticipated before release and whilst it suffered some delays, Corsair nailed the hardware on this Keyboard being among the best in the market.
The software however is another matter. It may be our subjective opinion but we found the software cumbersome and jarring to use in some places and whilst it is not unusable, it would be easy, in our view, to quickly lose the casual user amidst its near endless number of customisation options and settings. It’s of no surprise that the Keyboard comes with a 142 page user manual.
However, assuming you can get past this, the Corsair K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard is an excellent keyboard ripe with features and fully customisable – exactly what you would expect from a pro gaming keyboard.
The race of mechanical keyboard dominance is far from over and with many players on the market, you may want to consider some other options before pulling the trigger on a firm choice. You will not go too far wrong in opting for the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB but Razer, Azio and Pictek all have a range of Cherry MX mechanical keyboards that are worthy of consideration.
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