I’m a simple person. I like it when my keyboards click, and I like it when they clack. The K70 does both. Corsair’s newest peripheral is a sturdy piece of kit that’s surprisingly affordable given the quality, with oodles of customisation options that let you tailor it to your preference.
That’s thanks to Corsair’s iCUE app which supports each of its peripherals. You can completely customise the RGB colours from garishly bright, flickering rainbow lights to subtle reds, but it goes a step further. There are pre-built murals, such as audio-responsive and monitor-reflective lighting, letting you connect your keyboard to your computer in fascinating ways. I used this to my advantage in Counter-Strike 2 and, while most of the time my keyboard lit up because a teammate was shouting something horrible over the mic, it also popped when an enemy’s footsteps could be heard. Handy.
The keyboard itself is a great evolution of Corsair’s past offerings. The keys, with their red linear mechanical switches, are satisfyingly crunchy and smooth to press, the slick texture of the spacebar helps me avoid clicking it accidentally like a numpty, and the magnetic wrist support attachment has helped me curb my habit of clashing bone against desk edge. It’s also fairly cheap, at least for a keyboard of this quality. I’ve spent upward of $300 on peripherals that match the K70, which retails at $99.
Its switches come pre-lubed, which cuts out a tedious part of unpacking and setting up a new keyboard. The K70 is ready to go out of the box. It also uses a sound-dampening foam so that the keyboard rattles less when you use it, which, combined with the aluminium plating and strong backplate that doesn’t flex when typing, lends itself to the sturdier feel that makes the K70 feel like a more premium product.
The best part of it is the knob. Modern aesthetics demand sleek buttons hidden away for the sake of minimalism, but they’re flat and unsatisfying. Just look at our love of all things touchscreen. But it’s not intuitive and, frankly, doesn’t feel good to use. The K70, on the other hand, has a physical volume dial, which is much better than fiddling with function keys just to make your music louder. It sticks out just above the buttons so you don’t accidentally press any keys when going to grab it, and even subtly clicks with each turn. I’m nostalgic for speaker dials and other skeuomorphic design, sue me, so this is a welcome addition.
What’s even better about the knob is that it’s tied to the iCUE app like the rest of the keyboard. Under ‘control dial’, you can tweak what it affects, such as keyboard brightness. Pressing the knob down also has its own unique effect. I left it on ‘mute’, but you can use it to do things like shoot to the bottom of a page or application. Being able to tailor the keyboard to your liking in such excruciating detail is surprisingly intuitive.
One of the major downsides to the K70 is what’s sitting next to the knob. There’s a small button in-level with the base, meaning it’s awkwardly hidden between the Num and Pause keys. You have to reach over to press it, which is tedious because of how handy it is. It’s a pause button, but unlike the knob which brings more physicality to basic functions, it falls into the trappings of sleek design. It’s at odds with the rest of the keyboard, and a pain to get to if you have long nails. A raised key matching the rest would be more intuitive, but it’s easy to miss and tucked away.
The other problem is the wire. While the keyboard is sturdy due to its strong front plating and bulky build, the USB wire is flimsy. It’s 6ft long and made of tangle-free rubber, but it feels and looks cheap. It’s not a particularly resistant material, so it’s one to be cautious with. That being said, the length is incredibly useful as it’s not just supported on PC. You can plug this into a console and use it there, so if you’re sitting a ways away from the TV, this keyboard will reach. Just make sure your cats (other, worse pets are applicable) don’t think it’s a piece of string.
And while the key are satisfying to press, the short actuation distance (1.9mm) makes them incredibly sensitive. I’ve had a few instances where pressing ‘e’ or ‘d’ cause it to input multiple times. In fact, typing that just now, I had to cut a second ‘e’.
Despite these issues, the K70 is one of the best keyboards in this price range, and that’s before you even get to Corsair’s customisation app. The keys feel good to use because of their pre-ready slickness and the loud click-clacking, while the entire kit is solidly built. Corsair’s peripherals continue to impress, and I hope it only continues to bring back old-school dials and buttons to its hardware.
Corsair K70 Core RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Red Switch
Corsair’s K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has been designed with both gaming and typing in mind. Available in both black and steel gray, and with or without the palm rest.
- Physical and adjustable volume knob
- Feels more premium than it costs
- Flimsy wire
- Flat pause button
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