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Hands-on: Corsair Gaming's new K70 is the first RGB-backlit Cherry MX keyboard

Hayden Dingman | Sept. 23, 2014
Hot on the heels of Logitech's G910 Orion Spark keyboard announcement last week, Corsair's rebranding its entire peripheral depart to "Corsair Gaming" and releasing its own RGB-enabled keyboard: the K70 RGB. The difference? Corsair gets to keep those sweet, sweet Cherry MX switches. It's a backlit mechanical keyboard arms race, and I'm all too happy to watch it play out.

On the other hand, Corsair's built some intuitive software to go along with this device, and it's easy to set up anything from a solid background color to a WASD/Shooter control scheme that pulses quietly to a setup that sends waves for each key press to...well, complete visual chaos. You can just keep adding layers of lights until your eyes bleed, though you can only have a maximum of sixteen distinct colors on the board at a time.

Too lazy to make your own lighting scheme? Corsair allows you to import/export whatever you'd like, and is partnering with a few e-sports teams to, for example, make a keyboard set-up in that team's colors.

Similar to Logitech, Corsair is also putting out an SDK for the keyboard so developers can integrate the new lighting features into games — for instance, turning your entire keyboard into a health bar that fades from green to red as you take damage.

Sounds like a fantastic keyboard, right? Just like Logitech's Orion Spark, however, I expect the price to be the point where you choke: $170 for the K70 and $190 for the K95 (which adds eighteen dedicated macro keys to the left side, though both the K70 and K95 allow you to set a macro on any key, both on press and release). That $170 flies in a bit underneath Logitech's $180 offering but still, holy mother of expensive peripherals.

We'll have a more extensive review sometime soon, but at the end of the day Corsair's K70 is a Cherry MX keyboard with full RGB backlighting, and it's the only such keyboard on the market. For now, Corsair's your only option if both those features are important to you.

A new name, a new logo, a new era

As I mentioned at the top, the K70 is just part of Corsair's new "Corsair Gaming" rollout, which ditches the old name, the old logo, and symbolizes a focus on name recognition. Corsair's reps admitted to me that they're more known for their internal hardware than their peripherals, and this new onslaught of devices is their attempt to turn that around.

So alongside the K70 and K95's release today Corsair's also putting out the M65 RGB mouse, which seems exactly the same as the previous M65 model except it has programmable three-zone backlighting and features the new Corsair Gaming logo.

And then there are the H1500 and H2100 headsets. Both feature 7.1 Dolby Surround with 50 millimeter drivers, and I was told they feature a "fun" audio footprint — not flat response, but not as bass-boosted as something like Beats. The H1500 is wired, the H2100 wireless, and they retail for $80 and $100 respectively. I'll be doing a review of both in the coming weeks, but if they're even halfway decent headsets then that's a really impressive price point to fly in at.

Overall, it's a big push by Corsair. A really big push.

 

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