October 24, 2015

Unboxing & Review: Corsair Gaming K70 Cherry MX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Through out the day, prior to the existence of this keyboard, I've been asking myself: "Will there ever be a RGB mechanical keyboard?" Corsair delivered.

First announced on CES 2014, the Corsair RGB K70 features RGB LED on every key, in which it's fully customizable. Users of the K70 (non-RGB version) would be familiar with the same design that the K70 RGB has to offer.

Without further ado, let's dive in into the review for this keyboard!

The unit that I've received is a Cherry Red switch version of this keyboard. Corsair also offer variants of this board in Blue (limited) and Brown switches as well.

A closer look into the new logo. (Corsair has updated the packaging with another new logo, which is way cooler than before. The logo you've seen here is obsolete now)

16.8 million color per key and Cherry switches? Best of both worlds! Cherry RGB switches? They're the new switch where Corsair had Cherry exclusively developed and made for the use of this RGB keyboard.

At the other side of the box we can find a brief description on what are the features that this keyboard has to offer.

More details can be found behind of the box.

So, in this box you'll get a brown box, in which within this brown box, the keyboard, wrist rest, manual and warranty guide can be found.

The wrist rest is rubberized with texture. Pretty comfortable wrist rest (which is detachable) to reduce pressure applied on your wrist while using this keyboard on a long period.

The keyboard
As I've mentioned earlier, the design of this keyboard is very similar to the previous non-RGB K70. The K70 RGB is a full layout keyboard, which consists of 104 mechanical keyswitches, a volume wheel and a (membrane) mute key to adjust your volume, 4 (membrane) multimedia keys (Stop, Previous, Play/Pause, Next) and also the Windows Lock and brightness adjust key, which is also membrane. The 3 little 'dots' which is in between the mute and Windows lock key is the Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock indicator respectively. The dedicated media keys is very easy to use unlike other boards (that doesn't have any dedicated media keys) where in most cases uses the FN key combination. The volume wheel is also an added plus where you can tweak your volume easily.

The bottom row (or the spacebar row) is not the typical standard layout where you can find in other keyboards. This means hard time finding replacement keycaps if you would like using some other keycaps. The ABS coated keycaps that comes with this K70 RGB has a pretty decent font, do note that this is pretty subjective.

Cherry stabilizers is used in this keyboard. Cherry PCB mount stabilizers to be precise. This means that there wouldn't be any missing parts unlike Costar stabilizers.

The keyboard also features the new Corsair Gaming Logo (Again, this logo is obsolete now as of the time of writing)

This is also another feature of the K70 RGB keyboard; a switch that can adjust the polling rate of this keyboard. The default rate is 1ms, and you can switch to 2, 4 and 8ms. There's also a BIOS option too! This is a nice addition that will disable all the advanced features of the keyboard for the compatibility of older BIOS systems, in case if you need to access to BIOS with this keyboard.

Long and thick USB cable, which is non-detachable (unfortunately) is also good since thick cables aren't as prone to damage as compared to thin ones.

There's 2 (different) USB connectors as well. You would have to make sure that you connect at least the USB connector with the keyboard logo to use your keyboard. The other connector is the connector that you would have to use if you would like to have the fancy RGB lighting.

Very nice brushed aluminum look can be found in this keyboard as well!

So, what's so special about this Cherry RGB switch? The housing of the switch is transparent, opposed to the black housing where you can find on normal Cherry switches. There isn't any LED holes as well since Corsair used SMD (Surface Mounted Device) LEDs.

4 foot (2 front, 2 back) can be found on the bottom of the keyboard. Rubber pads is also used when the foot aren't utilized.

There's 3 different angles where you can adjust to suit your needs.

This is one powerful keyboard, period.

Not only that this keyboard has the ability to set every key to any color from a variety of 16.8 million colors, every single key is programmable. From remapping to another key or changing DPI, almost anything is possible with the help of the software that Corsair uses for this keyboard, the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE).

Throughout firmware and software updates, Corsair also introduced a lot of new preset LED profiles that you can play with. Warning, the awesomeness of the LED features that you can play around with might eventually cause epilepsy. 

However, the CUE is another long chapter on it's own. There's the manual (very long manual) where you can refer to to unlock this keyboard's potential.

Below is a short video of the preset LED modes that can be found with the latest software and keyboard firmware:

This powerful keyboard is fully NKRO (N-Key Roll Over) as well! This means that you can actually press a whole lot of 104 keys at the same time and all of them will be registered. The most I can accomplish is 11 keys though. Not only it's NKRO, it's fully anti-ghosting as well.

I've personally tested this board for about more than 1000 hour now, well, actually way more than that. I'm really glad to say the outcome is very positive.

With the comfortable wrist rest, I can sustain long gaming sessions and also long typing sessions. Though red switches aren't as nice for a long typing session (i.e. office usage) as compared to tactile brown switches or clicky blue switches, the different setup available with the 4 foot at the bottom really overcome that as I can adjust the angle to the one that I'm most comfortable with. Gaming feels very good with this keyboard. I can setup different profiles to cater to what I need on different games. With a single key I can key in a sentence, or buy a whole set of weapons before the round starts in CS:GO.

During the day, I'll be using this keyboard in my office and it helps a lot. I'm a programmer myself and the macros helped me with all my (long) syntaxes or any other stuff. The macro is noticeably faster than those other software based macros (like autohotkey) too!

Also, Corsair made a smart move by using SMD LEDs. They've a lower failure rate compared to through hole (2 legged) LEDs. The unit that I'm having doesn't have any failed LED as of yet even though with long hours of usage.

Corsair uses 32-bit ARM microprocessor, which acts like the brains of this keyboard. This is a significant upgrade as compared to the older K70 model.

The particular microprocessor used is the NXP (a chip manufacturing company, which also produces our Touch n' Go as well) LPC11U37F, where all the technical details can be found in the link below:

The K70 RGB also uses Panasonic IC (AN32181B) to drive the RGB LEDs.

The technical aspects for the IC can be found below:

Upon removing the switches from the keyboard, the SMD LED can be seen.

A more up close look of the Cherry RGB switches

With the MSRP of RM 775, you might be wondering if this is worth the upgrade from your old, dusty, membrane keyboard. Personally, I feel that it's truly worth it. With the amount of customizations that you can do, from the functional aspects to the lighting features, every Ringgit you've (or you will) spend wouldn't go to waste. Not only you'll get the features, you'll also get firmware and software updates from Corsair as well, to ensure that you'll get the latest (additional) features from Corsair.

What I've liked about this keyboard:
  • Customization, customization and customization!
  • Very nice wrist rest, detachable too!
  • The innovation behind
  • Able to setup great typing angle for prolonged usage
  • The usage of SMD LED means lower failure rate of LED
  • Great dedicated media keys
What I've disliked about this keyboard:
  • Non detachable cable
  • Non standard bottom row
  • (not really about keyboard)CUE needs to be more user friendly. No one would want to read 142 pages of manual, right?