Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB

Corsair Caming is a new division within the company, solely responsible for its nigh-end performance peripherals. It also aims to give Corsair a bigger presence at gaming and eSports events worldwide, and within online gaming communities generally. One of Corsair Gaming's first products, the K70 RGB, has been a tong time in the making. It's an upgrade to the Vengeance K70, but boasts the major feature of Cherry MX RGB (referring to the LEDs) mechanical switches, on which Corsair has a time-limited exclusivity deal.

Other than the new logo, the design is almost identical to the original K70 As such, the anodised, brushed aluminium front plate has outstanding build quality and looks fantastic, and the raised keycaps are likewise striking and also make the keyboard easy to clean. Prior Cherry MX switches only had space fora 3mm LED, but RGB LEDs (which can light up in red, green or blue colours) measure 5mm across. The solution is to surface mount the RGB LEDs onto the switch's PCB, which also improves reliability by reducing the chance of static discharge. Accordingly, Ihekeyboardliasa Iwo-year warranty, and a single LED failure entitles you to a replacement.

Other handy features include low-profile media keys, a detachable wrist rest, front and hind legs, and a switch for compatibility with older motherboard BIOSes. The Windows lock and brightness control buttons also remain, but the backlighting control button has been eschewed in favour of a software system to handle the greater complexity.

The new Corsair Utility Engine software is feature-rich. Every key can be reprogrammed with macros or other functions and its own RGB colour. Lighting patterns, including gradient shifts and reactive typing can be applied on aper-key basis, while wave and ripple effects can be applied to user-defined key groups. Profiles can be assigned to programs for automatic switching too, and you can have multiple modes within profiles, each with its own key mappings and lighting patterns.

The software's complexity can make it confusing and unintuitive at first, but Corsair will hopefully revise it in the future. Regardless, it's still the most detailed and comprehensive keyboard programming software set we've yet seen. Profiles, macros and lighting patterns can all be imported and exported easily, and Corsair will have a dedicated forum for sharing them, so you can even let someone else do the hard work for you.

There's also full key rollover but, annoyingly, no USB pass-through; the keyboard requires both USB connections itself, thanks to its hiqher power requirements. Meanwhile, typing on the laser-etched keycaps is a joy, and there's no discernible dif fe'ence in the performance of the switches (our sample used Red switches, but Brown and Blue versions are also available). The perforated, soft-touch wrist rest is comfortable too, should you choose to use it.


The price alone dictates that this keyboard isn't for everyone. The original Vengeance K70 is available for closer to £100, and is still a fantastic keyboard - if you aren't fussed about macros or customisable RGB lighting then save yourself some cash. However, the K70 RGB offers the current pinnacleof keyboard customisation, both in terms of key functions and lighting, and it's also one of only two keyboards to feature Cherry MX RGB switches (the other being the K95 RGB). The lack of USB pass-through is the only physical letdown, and the software's learning curve may be steep but it isn't impossible. Otherwise, if you're looking for the fanciest keyboard in town, without compromising cn quality, this is the keyboard for you. MATTHEW LAMBERT

Not everyone needs such a fancy keyboard, but the K70 RGB offers unmatched customisation, with a fantastic keyboard underneath.