Corsair K70 RGB review

A gaming keyboard with color control at your fingertips

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Our Verdict

Frankly, this is the color-customizable mechanical gaming keyboard to get. But unless you're ready to dig deep, prepare to wrestle with Corsair's software.

For

  • Great build quality
  • Matte black finish
  • Cherry MX Red switches
  • Sturdy palm rest

Against

  • Difficult software suite

Corsair has brought a colorful, LED-backlit keyboard to the masses. The K70 RGB is Corsair's newest Cherry MX mechanical keyboard, which features customizable backlighting and gives users 16.8 million color options per key. But this extravagant plank comes with a price tag to match – it retails for $170 (about £103, AU$192).

The Corsair K70 RGB is an update of last year's tremendous K70 mechanical keyboard. Although this is a major change in terms of lighting, this update shares the same chassis, aluminum faceplate, and keycaps. Both models feature a 10-key number pad, but don't offer any macro keys. For those, you'll need to upgrade to the K90 or K95 RGB.

The original K70, if you didn't see it in action, only came with solid red backlighting. You can understand my confusion, then, when I first plugged in the K70 RGB, and saw the keyboard's default backlight color is – wait for it – red.

I had expected it to come preloaded with a wide array of colors. Instead, you'll need to download Corsair's software suite to customize the backlighting.

Powerful software suite, steep learning curve

The software suite, while primarily used for customizing the plank's LED backlighting, isn't its only function. You can use the app to create hotkeys and shortcuts, too. It's also a place to update the keyboard's firmware further down the road.

Corsair's K70 RGB software suite features four tabs, which include Profiles, Actions, Lighting, and Settings. The Profiles tab lets you customize and create a profile for the keyboard, that you can then export as a .prf file.

When you're finished, you can upload the files to Corsair's K70 RGB forum, where you'll find hundreds of profiles created by users. Some people have spent hours customizing profiles and their hard work is available, for free, on this forum.

The Actions tab is where you can create hotkey shortcuts, while the Lighting tab lets you create lighting effects. Lastly, the Settings tab lets you tweak the keyboard's individual program settings.

It's powerful software. Some users have been able to create fantastic LED-lighting effects. But for the average gamer coming from rubber membrane boards, it will likely be frustratingly difficult to use.

Corsair grants a ridiculous amount of control for a lighting effect's speed, timing, and brightness. But, unless you're used to working with this kind of software, the enormous amount of control you're given is overwhelming. That said, if you don't want to fiddle around with settings for hours on end, you can always download a premade, user-created profile from Corsair's forums.

Just my type

The K70 given to TechRadar contained Red Cherry MX switches. There are other options available through Corsair's website, but in my experience, Red keys work best for day-to-day gaming and typing.

Cherry MX Red switches feature a smoother and quieter typing experience compared to their clunkier Blue or Brown switch counterparts. Regardless of what type of switch you decide to go with, you'll like the matte finish on the keys. The material does a superb job of keeping fingerprints or smudges from sticking to the keys.

Overall, the entire keyboard feels well built from its sturdy palm rest to its hefty 2.63-pound chassis. There's simply nothing to knock here when it comes to build quality. Its quality can easily stand up to the likes of the Das Keyboard 4, and it's much hardier than Gigabyte's wobbly Aivia Osmium or CoolerMaster's all-plastic Quickfire XT.

Final verdict

While the $170 (about £103, AU$192) price tag is jarring for first-time mechanical keyboard buyers, it's actually competitive with other manufacturers. Razer's Chroma runs $169 (around £104, AU$190), and the upcoming Logitech G910 Orion Spark RGB will cost $179 (about £110, 201$AU) when it lands in November. This means if you want a keyboard with 16.8 million different colors, you'll need to be prepared to spend.

Keep in mind, however, that the standard, or first-generation, K70 is around $109 (around £67,123$AU). Go for the standard first-gen K70, if you don't care about color customization. You'll save some money and get the same gaming and typing performance that the K70 RGB offers.

I'd say that dishing out an extra $60 for an awesome set of customizable LEDs is a small price to pay. I'm a fan of the colors, and I like the option to download cool profiles created by fellow players. The K70 RGB is no doubt the color-customizable keyboard to get, but beware: the software is for hardcore enthusiasts only.