Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB keyboard review

Tom Morgan
17 Jul 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
140
inc VAT

The Corsair Gaming range gets off to a flying start with the world's first RGB-backlit mechanical keyboard

Advertisement

Specifications

Keyboard shape: Standard, Number pad: Yes, Connection: USB, Warranty: Two-year RTB

The K70 RGB isn't just the first keyboard to launch under Corsair's rebranded peripheral division Corsair Gaming; it's also the world's first mechanical keyboard with full RGB colour backlighting, which means it's guaranteed to stand out on your desk, or make an impression at a LAN party.

Previously, the switches used in mechanical keyboards only had room for single colour LEDs, meaning anyone after full RGB backlighting had to buy a membrane or dome-switch keyboard. These typically don't support gamer-friendly features like n-key rollover, where a PC can detect as many keys as you can press at once, and aren't as responsive or tactile when typing.

That changed when Corsair approached Cherry, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of mechanical keyboard switches, to develop a new switch design that would support RGB lighting. The result is the Cherry MX RGB, which makes its first appearance in the K70 RGB.

YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE

With complete colour and brightness control over every single key, the K70 RGB has almost unlimited possibilities for customisation. Out of the box, the keyboard lights up in red while the WASD and arrow keys pulse subtly in white, helping you find them in the dark when you want to play a  game. At maximum brightness the LEDs are clear to see in daylight, but the effect comes into its own in a dark room.

That's just the start though; using the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) driver software, you can add solid colours, gradients, waves and ripples to individual keys or custom groups. Type lighting, which reacts as you press individual keys, can even send shockwaves of colour across the keyboard, or temporarily illuminate the keys you press.

We threw together a gaming profile which illuminated all the keys we needed for our lunchtime Call of Duty skirmishes in a matter of minutes, but you'll have to dig into the driver software for the flashier effects. With no demo profiles installed by default, you'll either have to use trial and error or download the 130+ page manual from Corsair's website to truly get the most from it, but once you take the time to get to grips with the software the effects can be seriously impressive.

Corsair's official forum is rapidly filling up with user-created profiles, which are free to download and only take a second to install, so even if you aren't willing to get your hands dirty with the software you can still customise your keyboard. We're big fans of the rainbow wave effect, a Knight Rider-esque red pulse and a Matrix-inspired green which falls down the keyboard from the keys you press.

The company is also working on advanced scripting that will eventually let developers and gamers trigger specific lighting effects when playing games. That could mean the entire keyboard flashes red when you get shot in an FPS, or the number keys light up when an ability comes off cooldown in an MMO or MOBA. There's currently no ETA, but it's great to see Corsair looking for ways to stand out other than colourful lights.

SWITCH ME ON

We were sent a K70 RGB with Cherry MX Red switches, which require roughly 45g of force to register a keypress. With no audible click and a linear motion that means no tactile feedback, Cherry Reds are the switches of choice for most gamers – they are quick, quiet and precise. We couldn't find any differences in terms of responsiveness, sound or feedback from the RGB switches when we placed the K70 side-by-side with a regular Cherry Red mechanical keyboard.

For fans of Cherry's other, more firm keyboard switches, Corsair will also be launching the K70 RGB with blue and brown switches, but we were more than happy with the Reds – each key responded almost instantaneously to our presses and springs right back into place after. Much quieter than other mechanical keyboards we've used in the past, we had no noise complaints from the rest of the office, and the slightly angled keys were comfortable to type on all day.

All the standard keys can be remapped, meaning they can effectively all become macro buttons when playing a game, but you can go a step further with the driver software. It supports timer countdown for triggering macros, as well as double macros that activate on key press and key release – meaning even the most hardened MMO guild members will be able to streamline their raiding down to just a few keypresses.

HEAVY METAL

Aside from the new lightning system, the K70 RGB shares much in common with the original K70 keyboard. It has the same black anodised aluminium base plate, which gives the board excellent rigidity as well as gorgeous looks. It's a step above the plastic found on most other gaming keyboards, and should hold up to years of punishment. The removable wrist rest is another welcome addition; made from textured, soft-touch plastic, it makes typing and long gaming sessions much more comfortable than hovering your hands over the keyboard.

You also get dedicated multimedia keys and a volume dial, which can also be customised to any other function or macro should you prefer. Other than that, the K70 RGB doesn't try to cram in other superfluous features or macro keys, so will still fit on a small desk. Switch the RGB lighting off using the dedicated brightness key and it won't look out of place in the office thanks to a sleek yet restrained design. The only things missing are USB passthrough and audio jacks, but unless you're coming from a keyboard that had them already, these aren't crucial omissions.

TASTE THE RAINBOW

It's taken a lot of effort, but RGB lighting and mechanical keyboard switches are together at last. Thanks to Corsair's deal with Cherry, the Corsair Gaming keyboards are the only ones of their kind for the time being, so if you're looking for a seriously customisable keyboard it's your only choice. Thankfully the K70 RGB isn't compromised in other areas, so even without the lights it's still a fantastic keyboard, and at £140 isn't ridiculously overpriced for a gaming keyboard, either. Yes it's expensive, even for a mechanical keyboard, but if you want ultimate customisation and mechanical keys, there's nothing else out there on par with this.

SPECIFICATIONS
Keyboard shapeStandard
Number padYes
ConnectionUSB
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Detailswww.corsair.com
Part codeK70 RGB

Read more

Reviews