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January 04, 2014

Corsair Raptor K30 and K50 Gaming Keyboards


Introducing Corsair Raptor K30 and K50 Gaming Keyboards


Back in 2012, Corsair acquired a certain assets of Raptor Gaming, a gaming peripherals maker company who has a strong retail presence in the European market. The acquisition expanded Corsair’s gaming peripherals’ business by forming the Corsair Raptor series alongside with their Corsair Vengeance series.

Today we have the Corsair’s Raptop K30 and K50 gaming keyboard in house. In contrast to their Vengeance series gaming keyboards, both Raptor K30 and K50 gaming keyboards comes with normal membrane switches instead of Cherry MX mechanical switches.

If you're one of those who doesn't fond of those incredibly high priced mechanical alternatives, read on for our review on the Corsair Raptop K30 and K50 gaming keyboards to see which one suits your gaming needs.

*K30 priced at MYR209, K50 priced at MYR345



Tech Specs - Corsair Raptor K30

  • Rubber dome keys
  • Red LED backlighting with 3 levels of illumination
  • 6 dedicated macro keys
  • 36kb onboard memory
  • 7 easy access multimedia keys
  • Windows lock key for uninterrupted game play
  • Anti-ghosting key matrix

Packaging - Corsair Raptor K30



With K30 being a smaller and lighter keyboard, hence it comes in a smaller box.


Some information in various languages at the back of the box.


Open box, you're straight greeted with the keyboard in clear plastic bag.


What's in the box:

  • Corsair Raptor K30 gaming keyboard
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty information


The USB cable is a standard cable without any braidings. With the USB connector coloured in red, I'm sure it'll be much easier for us to identify it when your computer is plugged with different USB devices.


The a glance, the Raptor series gaming keyboards are sharing the same designs as Corsair Vengeance series gaming keyboards. One difference set them apart is the body's build material. The K30 comes with a plastic body.


The top part of the chassis although looks like aluminium, in fact it is the paint job that makes it resembles aluminium. By the way, the USB cable is non-detachable.


The K30 comes with 6 dedicated programmable macro keys.


With 3 switch-able profiles, that makes a total of 18 macro configurations. The MR button is used for on-the-fly macro recording:

  1. Press the MR button and the MR button ring will blink in red.
  2. Press the G key you want to record your macro.
  3. Perform your action.
  4. Press the MR button again to complete the record.

The configured macro settings will be stored on board the keyboard's 36kb memory so that you can bring your macro configuration along with the keyboard to any PC without installing the software.

Not to forget the Windows Lock button at the far right, which when engaged will lock the Windows key on your keyboard to prevent unwanted interruption during intense gaming session.


Unlike any other keyboards, the K30 also shares the same "half-naked" design from the Vengeance series where there is no top casing. As you can see from the picture above, the switch housing under the keys are exposed. This makes cleaning the keyboard a breeze.


If you take a closer inspection at the bottom row of the keyboard (spacebar row), you'll notice that the key surface are actually slightly slanted forward. I find the unique curvature on the spacebar row makes the WASD hand posture slightly more comfortable.


Dedicated media control keys which I find it quite useful cause you can control your media playback while working on other stuff such as web browsing or document editing without the need of switching over to your media player.

If you notice there's a lonely button at the far side, it is used to configure the backlight:

  • Off
  • Level 1 brightness
  • Level 2 brightness
  • Level 3 brightness


Move on to the bottom side of the keyboard, there are 4 rubber feet that will make sure your keyboard doesn't move around when you're typing or gaming.


The flip up stand does the job well by increasing the tilting angle. Although there's no rubber feet on it, but the bottom two rubber feet should be sufficient for holding the keyboard in place as long as you're not trying to use the keyboard sideways.



Hope this shows the height difference.


Plug in the keyboard.


Too bad the keyboard only comes with one colour illumination - Red.


Though there are 3 levels of brightness control, but I find their brightness tend to be indifferent to each another...

Software



The software is not included in the package, thus you need to download it from Corsair's website.

The first tab is the macro key management where you can set up and manage your macro settings.


Second tab would be for profile management. You can associate which profile to which application. The next time you launch the application, the configured profile would be loaded immediately.


The last tab would be the configuration tab for the backlight settings. To be frank, there's nothing much you can do with it. Other than configuring the brightness, there's another option in configuring the lighting effect such as breathing mode.

Tech Specs - Corsair Raptor K50


  • Rubber dome keys
  • RGB LED backlighting with three levels of illumination
  • 18 dedicated macro keys
  • 36kb onboard memory
  • 6 easy access multimedia keys
  • Windows lock key for uninterrupted game play
  • Anti-ghosting key matrix

Packaging - Corsair Raptor K50



The K50 comes in a rather big box, compared to the K30's minimal packaging.


More information at the back of the box.


Removing the external colour box reveals the internal brown box which securely packs the Raptor K50 gaming keyboard.


What's inside the box:

  • Corsair Raptor K50 gaming keyboard
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty information


The K50 comes with 2 USB connector, one for the keyboard and one for the USB pass through. Just like the K30, the connector is in red so that it is easy for us identify in the sea of USB connectors while in hurry.


The cable is very thick and braided for extra durability. However, that also makes the cable feels stiffer and less flexible.


The USB pass through port is located at the top of the keyboard.

If you notice the brushed finish on the body of the keyboard, the top silver part is actually made of aluminium. That whole piece of aluminium is enough to make the difference to the overall solidness and weight of the keyboard.


The K50 comes with a detachable wrist rest. The surface of the wrist rest is coated with a layer of comfortable soft rubbery substance. There are dimples across the surface to reduce the chance of sweating.

But then, the rubberized finish also raise another issue where it might turn sticky after some time due to Malaysia's climate (hot weather and high humidity). Unless you stay in air-conditioned room or somewhere low humid, this shall not be an issue.


Unlike any other bundled wrist rest which typically just a piece of thin plastic, the K50's wrist rest is actually very solid and doesn't feel cheap at all.


The wrist rest is easily attached to the keyboard.


The attached wrist rest.


The most significant difference between K30 and K50 - the amount of macro keys.

Just look at all that 18 programmable macro keys, there are 3 more layers of macro which makes them a total of 54 keys. That's whole ton loads of automation.


The overall key layout is the same throughout the Raptor series, such as the slightly forward angled spacebar row for extra comfort during WASD posture.


Very useful dedicated media control keys for media playback while meddling with other applications. The K50 uses the scroll wheel for volume control which I think is superior over the K30's 2 button volume control because it feels a lot more intuitive by just scrolling up for higher volume and vice versa.

And there's backlight toggle button:

  • Off
  • Level 1 brightness
  • Level 2 brightness
  • Level 3 brightness


Just like the K30, there's a pair of same flip up height adjustment feet under the keyboard.


But K50 comes with another pair of the flip up feet at the lower part of the keyboard, right beside the connecting point of the wrist rest. The following photos will show the height differences.




Out of all three configurations, I find that the second configuration to be less stable due to the added wrist rest.


Plug in the keyboard.





K50's full RGB backlight proves to be better option compared to the K30's single colour backlight. You can basically configure any colour you want through the software.

The colours are alright, but then the same issue as the K30 - the 3 level brightness control has minimal difference.

Software



Same as the K30's configuration, the overall configuration is separated into 3 sections.

The first section being the macro key management.


Second section for the application specific profile management. This means your keyboard is always automatically switched to your preferred settings whenever you fire up your application or game.


And the Backlight section, as the name suggest, manages the backlight configuration of K50. Compared to the K30's configuration, there's much more to play with over here. To be specific, you'll have over 16 millions of possible RGB value combination.

Even the Light FX option has an extra effect - Cycle, which cycles through all the colours as if the keyboard is overflowing with rainbow.

Final Thoughts


Corsair Raptor K30

Pros:

  • Easy cleaning chassis design
  • Comfortable spacebar row
  • Coloured USB connector for easy identifying
  • Useful media control keys
  • 6 dedicated macro keys
  • 36kb onboard memory for your macro configurations
  • Windows lock key for uninterrupted game play
  • Anti-ghosting key matrix
  • User friendly software
  • Backlight

Cons:

  • Thin USB cable
  • Button based volume control instead of scroll wheel based control
  • Single coloured backlight
  • Not much difference in brightness control

Corsair Raptor K50

Pros:

  • Superior build quality with brushed aluminium top panel
  • Easy cleaning chassis design
  • Comfortable spacebar row
  • High quality braided cable
  • Coloured USB connector for easy identifying
  • Useful media control keys
  • 18 dedicated macro keys
  • 36kb onboard memory for your macro configurations
  • Windows lock key for uninterrupted game play
  • Anti-ghosting key matrix
  • USB pass through
  • Comfortable wrist rest
  • User friendly software
  • Multi-colour backlight with interesting Cycle light FX

Cons:

  • Cable is too stiff and not flexible
  • Wrist rest's rubberized finish prone to damaged by climate condition
  • Unstable when top flip up stand is used along with wrist rest
  • Not much difference in brightness control

You all might think that K30 is actually a handicapped K50 by stripping off some of the features but then, after spending quite some time with both keyboards, I find both of them feels and performs almost similar with some difference in terms of use case and budget.

First of all, obviously the Raptor K30 and K50 are built based on the exact same design from the Vengeance series with some minor changes especially the overall material used. Since the Raptor K30 and K50 uses rubber dome key switches, a plastic plate is employed instead of Vengeance’s metal plate. Still, the Raptors reeks quality and feels extremely solid when compared to other rubber dome keyboards.

Then, there are several points that differentiates them such as the macro key package, LED backlight and wrist rest. For the macro key set, some might argue that having 18 macro keys is overkill, but then the final call is up to the user’s preference and requirement. Some power users or gamers are happy with them as it saves them the hassle of repeating a certain action, and with that much keys available, they can record as much actions as possible and keeping them handy.

Of course, all those differences in the end boils down to your preferences in finding the best keyboard for your game conquest. The K30 packs a punch and comes with a wallet friendly MYR209 price tag while K50 though almost 75% more expensive than its sibling, but still a lot more cheaper than its Vengeance counterpart.


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