Ready to take your gaming seriously? We’ve got the (mostly) new Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB in the eTeknix office today, and while you may be familiar with the K70 part, the keyboard now features the all-new and very much improved Cherry MX Speed switches! But what are MX Speed switches? They use the same underlying format as the extremely popular and lightning fast MX Red switches, but with a 40% reduction in actuation distance, meaning they’re even faster than ever before, making them the shortest response mechanical switches on the market today.
- Ultrafast mechanical gaming keyboard: ultrafast 1.2mm actuation and light 45g switch force for truly unrivaled response time.
- 100% Cherry MX Speed RGB key switches: ultrafast performance with the precision and durability of gold contact Cherry MX mechanical gaming key switches.
- Aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame: with light weight and rugged durability you need for a keyboard that’s going to see a lot of action.
- 100% anti-ghosting and full key rollover over USB circuitry: no matter how fast you go your keypresses will always register.
- Advanced lighting control and large font keycaps: experience dynamic, vibrant multi-color backlighting.
- The power of CUE: sophisticated macro programming and fast, fluid dynamic multicolor illumination for an enlightened gaming experience.
- Detachable soft-touch wrist rest: the comfort you need for marathon gaming sessions.
- Dedicated multimedia controls: the control you need to adjust your audio without interrupting your game.
- USB Pass-Through Port: Positioned for uninterrupted game play and ready for your mouse or wireless headset adapter.
- FPS and MOBA keycap sets: Textured and contoured keycaps provide maximum grip and enhanced feel
Every action counts when it comes to competitive gaming, and trimming the fat from the switch means that you’ll be triggering those switches milliseconds before the competition. It’s not a huge advantage, but every little bit adds up and no matter how small it may seem, an edge is an edge.
The packaging is really nicely designed, keeping the usual Corsair colours and showing off the most important features.
You’ll find all the usual stuff in the box, such as the documentation, two sets of gaming caps and a handy key cap puller.
A Closer Look
Available in both K70 (full-size) and K75 (TKL) format, the new keyboard keeps much of that tried and tested K70 design, moving back to the aluminium housing that has proven a big hit with Corsair fans, and stepping away from the more plastic heavy design of the recent Strafe keyboard design. This means it’s durable, stylish and well weighted, which are all welcome perks for any keyboard.
The new design comes with a thick black braided cable, as well as custom designed Corsair USB headers. The most important thing you can see here is that there are two USB headers in action. That’s right, Corsair has brought back USB pass-through!
The keycaps have been completely redesigned, with much more rounded edges, and a significantly bigger and redesigned font; just look at the old ones to see what I mean. What’s really good about this is that a bigger font is going to give us greater surface area on the key cap to let that RGB lighting shine though.
The space bar is treated with a nice texture, the kind you see on steel flooring. Not sure if I would prefer this or a clean-looking cap like the rest of the keyboard, but it’s still pretty cool either way.
There’s a nice amount of spacing between the keys, which should allow for a good under lighting effect from the RGB lighting.
All the usual controls here.
There’s a lip on the front of the keyboard, which looks pretty cool on its own and it certainly doesn’t get in the way of your hands while typing. However, it also acts as a more secure mounting for the included wrist rest, which we’ll see in a moment.
In the top right, the classic K70 layout hasn’t been changed, with lighting brightness control, Windows lock, multimedia controls and that lovely aluminium scroll wheel for master volume control.
We have the K70 model in the office today, you may have noticed this much as we have a number pad here, however, there is a TKL version available should you prefer it.
The keyboard sits nice and low with a fairly flat and fast profile to it. The key caps look slightly revised to accommodate the shorter actuation of the switches too, as you can see quite a lot of the switch housing here. Not that this is a bad thing, it’s just something we noticed.
Around the back of the keyboard, a durable mounting for the hard-wired cable. We do prefer our keyboards with removable cables, but this one is heavily braided and nicely secured for extra reliability.
As I was saying before, we have the very welcome return of the USB passthrough port, meaning you can hook your headset, mouse or any other USB device right into the keyboard for quick and easy access. I’m also confident that many of you will be glad to see that BIOS compatibility switch in place too, no need to keep that dusty Trust keyboard nearby every time something goes wrong with your settings!
On the base, you’ll find four rubber grips to help keep the keyboard firmly planted on your desk.
There are four feet in total, two at the front and two at the back, allowing you to tweak the angle/height of the keyboard to suit your preferences.
I quite like the height adjustment here, as I use an elevated wrist typing position, but at least you can adjust it as you see fit.
The typing angle is improved even further thanks to this full-width rubber-coated wrist rest.
Simply snap it onto the front of the keyboard and you’re good to go. Here you can see it mounted with the keyboard having all four feet raised, giving the wrist rest a steeper angle.
And here it is with the keyboard laid flat, giving you a much lower profile.
The key cap removal tool is a welcome addition for cleaning and maintaining your keyboard, but it’s also a win for quickly showing you those brand new MX Speed switches. As you can see, they’ve got a clear switch housing, which is going to let a huge amount of light through from the built-in per-key RGB lighting, but aside from that, they still look like normal Cherry switches, albeit with a silver coloured stem.
The custom key caps are really nice, giving a grip coating and more ergonomic curve to aid with finger control.
One set is designed for FPS (pictured) while the other is better suited to MOBA style gaming.
Corsair has been nice and uniform with their software for a while now, and the new K70 is no exception, using the same Corsair software we’ve seen on many recent peripherals. This means you can control your keyboard, headset, mouse and any other compatible devices from a single interface. This opens up the possibilities of syncing lighting effects, profiles, macros and more.
Now that we’ve got the basic out-of-the-way, how does this keyboard really perform? Well, on the surface, it looks just like many other K70 keyboards, the RGB lighting is absolutely stunning and has a virtually endless array of effects. What you will be glad to hear is that it is going to be completely compatible with any lighting profiles for previous Corsair keyboards, so you can get downloading and install them as you see fit, or export them from your older models if you’re upgrading to this one.
The biggest difference in the lighting is easily found in the key caps, as the much bigger font lets a lot more light through and makes the keyboard really pop and the letters really stand out much more than they used to. If you want RGB lighting, you’re going to want to see as much of it as possible, so this can only be a good thing in my opinion.
The new switches are really cool, on one hand they still feel and perform like MX Red switches. They’re linear and don’t have the tactile bump found on Brown, Blue or Green switches, which makes them super fast and smooth for typing and gaming. However, the shorter throw of the switch is very noticeable and does take some getting used to. I found myself typing too hard for them and this resulted in a lot of clunky noises from the key caps. A few hours of use, however, and your fingers will learn that you can be much lighter, faster and more nimble with them and still get a keystroke to trigger. This is great for gaming and touch typing as it really helps you pick up a little extra speed and expend a little less effort over time.
The lighting is easy to configure, and the key caps looks and feel great under your fingertips. If I have one criticism, it’s that the keyboard is a little noisy, particularly the space bar which seems to clunk quite loud. Fortunately, the stems are still compatible with O-Ring mods, and after installing a few on the noisier keys as a trial run, we found it really transformed the keyboard and make it much smoother and quieter overall. Of course, this is a subjective thing, and your mileage may vary on which way you prefer your keys to feel and sound.
The Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB will be available from most retailers from today, and we’ll update you with links as soon as we have them. Prices are expected to be £149.99 for the full-size RGB edition, and the TKL-size K65 RGB will be just £119.99. There will also be a non-RGB release of the K70, which is also £119.99.
It’s getting harder and harder to innovate in the keyboard market, as the overall shape and key layout is all but set in stone and has been for a very long time. However, Corsair has really pushed the boat out on their latest keyboard to bring something new, albeit to one of their most enduring designs. The K70 has seen many iterations over the years and while Corsair keeps making something new year after year, it seems consumers just can’t get enough of the single piece aluminium body and stylish aesthetics this one has to offer, and we have to agree, it’s easily one of our all-time favourite designs and I would bet we’ll still be seeing new versions of it in a few years time; no complaints here.
If you’ve every used the K70, any of them, in the past, then you pretty much know what to expect on this one. It’s great to see Corsair listening to their customers and bringing back little additions such as the USB passthrough, as well as the BIOS compatibility switch, as these features add extra value for money on what is obviously a fairly expensive product. Other little changes are most welcome too, such as the much larger and clearer font on the redesigned keycaps, as it really brings out more light from the RGB switches, and that’s great for customisation.
The big change is obviously the new switches, and with Corsair working closely with Cherry to develop them, it’s clearly an important product for both parties. I would like to say the switches are better, which in a way I think they are, but the real word I need here is that they’re different. You can go from one mechanical keyboard to the next, try all the switches you want, it’s about what feels right to you that matters. Is the actuation distance shorter, the force light and the response time quicker on these switches? Yes, and if that’s what you’re after, the latest switches from Cherry will offer you what you desire. They’re going to be a big winner for competitive gaming.
- Aluminium chassis
- Redesigned key caps
- New MX Speed switches
- USB Passthrough
- BIOS Switch
- RGB lighting
- Detachable wrist rest
- Durable braided cable
- Iconic K70 design
- The larger keys (space, enter, shift, etc) are a little noisy when struck
- Detachable cable would be preferable
Thank you Corsair for providing us with this sample.