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Corsair K70 RGB mechanical keyboard review: Plenty of potential undercut by terrible software

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 2, 2015
Corsair's K70 RGB and K95 RGB should be the best RGB mechanical keyboards thanks to real Cherry MX switches, but the software side is a broken nightmare.

Corsair K70

The Corsair K70 and K95 RGB are the only keyboard models in this roundup that use Cherry MX switches--a relief for my fingers, after traipsing through Kailh Yellows and Kailh Browns and Romer-Gs and Razer Greens, only to return home to my tried-and-true Cherry Blues.

But surprisingly, the real moral of the K70 RGB (and by extension, the K95 RGB) is that switches aren't everything. While I love Cherry Blues--they make my fingers sing when typing--Corsair makes some drastic missteps on both the hardware and software sides that undermine what should be a fantastic keyboard.

The K70 keyboard is a Corsair classic, with a sleek, brushed-aluminum industrial look that stands out from the competition. The K95 is basically the exact same keyboard, except there are three rows of macro keys attached to the left side. And I mean "attached" in the most literal of ways: The K95 looks like someone took a K70 and pasted an extra piece onto it. It's not very pretty compared to the stripped-down K70, but if you need the dedicated macro keys that's your prerogative. On the other hand, you could just use Corsair's software to assign macros to literally any key on the keyboard and save yourself some desk space in the process.

The K70 RGB also features the new Corsair Gaming logo, though I trust (like my earlier headset reviews, including the Corsair H1500) we can skip arguing over it. You either love it or hate it.

I honestly love the K70 RGB in almost every aspect--Cherry Blue switches (or whatever you prefer), an attractive typeface, and one of the best volume rollers I've ever used. I love basically every aspect except for the damn RGB lighting.

The reason we haven't had any RGB-enabled mechanical keyboards before this year is that Cherry's switch design didn't play nice with the enlarged LEDs necessary for that sort of backlighting. One color? Fine. 16.8 million colors? Impossible.

Or at least, it was "impossible" until Corsair and Cherry completely redesigned the underlying switch. The stem--in other words, the most important aspect of Cherry switches--remains untouched. Cherry Blues still feel like Cherry Blues. Cherry Reds feel like Cherry Reds. That's a relief if the alternative is something like Logitech's subpar Romer-G switch.

There's a give and take, though. In order to preserve the stem, Corsair and Cherry embedded the LEDs on the board itself and then wrapped the whole thing in clear plastic.

If this were a normal keyboard even that might not be a problem. Like earlier incarnations of the K70, however, the keys on the K70 RGB don't actually embed into the frame itself. Instead, they sort of hover above the base, about a quarter of an inch or so.


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