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January 05, 2017

Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard Review

By: Low Chern Lin



Over the years of transition, mechanical keyboards have gone from the status of something only a hipster will get, to the now mainstream status that enthusiasts and gamers would be willing to burn a hole in their pocket just to get one. Still, there are users who still prefers the tactility of the good old membrane/rubber dome switch keyboard, but eager to have those fancy RGB lighting modes.

Corsair is one of those gaming peripherals manufacturers that still caters to the needs of these users, and thanks to Corsair Malaysia and Cudo Technologies Sdn. Bhd, we've managed to get our hands on Corsair's K55 RGB gaming keyboard here in Tech Critter's lab for a first-hand experience with the keyboard. 


(The Corsair K55 RGB retails at RM 259.00)

Specifications



Packaging

The Corsair K55 RGB comes in a pretty attractive looking packaging that gives it a premium appearance just like the rest of Corsair's gaming keyboards. At the back of the box, you'll find the K55 with its features highlighted for the end users to easily navigate through before getting the box off the shelf and proceed to the payment counter.

Accessories

The included accessories is pretty basic we'd say, a removable arm rest, product warranty guide and a quick start guide.


At first glance, the K55 is a pretty decent looking keyboard and does somehow reminded us of the K70 with the media keys on its upper right section, except that you won't be getting the same metal top plate and the scrolling wheel design for the volume control.


USB connector wise, Corsair is sticking to its usual design with an aesthetically eye-catching USB connector that allow users to easily differentiate its peripherals to the rest of the USB devices connected to their system. 


Like they said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While we're not exactly a big fan of glossy surface design due to its vulnerability towards scratches, dust, fingerprints and some nasty stains, there are users who is into the design. 


Unlike most gaming keyboard we've seen to date, the K55 comes with a flat key profile instead of the commonly seen ergonomic curve design. 


The K55 isn't actually a mechanical keyboard, but it's good to see that Corsair is actually using these metal wire stabilizer for the longer keys (space bar, modifiers) to ensure that key wobbling on the longer keys are reduced to the minimal.


At the top right section of the keyboard, you'll find these gamer friendly media keys that allows you to easily adjust the volume or access the current playing media without having to interrupt the task or game that you're currently on.   


Other than the gamer friendly media keys, the K55 comes also with a total of 6 dedicated macro keys that can be recorded on the fly. If you're really into the macro keys, here's how you can get things done:
  • Hold down the MR key at the media keys section and wait for the LED indicator to start blinking
  • Select the desired macro keys (G1 to G6) and start pressing down the keystrokes you wish to assign to the macro key and press the MR key again to stop recording
  • If you wish to remove the recorded macro, just hold down the macro key for 3 seconds and the LED will start blinking rapidly for 3 times, which indicates that the macro has been removed

There isn't much to talk about when it comes to the bottom of the keyboard, but here's one thing that we would really appreciate - rubber padded keyboard feet. As raising the keyboard feet that doesn't comes rubber padded will reduce the grip of the keyboard towards the surface of the desk, and most gaming keyboard nowadays can be seen to come with the rubber padded feet.


For those who prefer to have an arm rest for long hours of usage, the included clip-on arm rest will come in handy - but do handle the clip on hinge with care, as it's made of plastic and you don't really want to break it.  


It's rather subjective when it comes to the surface of the arm rest, as some might find the extruded uncomfortable overtime. So it's up to you to decide whether to have the arm rest installed or removed.

Corsair K55 RGB Lighting Mode Preview



Key Rollover Test
While it's already stated on the box that the keyboard comes with the so called 'Anti-Ghosting' feature but that doesn't stops us from checking out the claim. Many used the terms of 'Anti-Ghosting' wrongly as a marketing gimmick without knowing how does the actual key ghosting looks like. 

A more suitable term for what the manufacturer wants to present to the end user should be either: 

  • Key Rollover - the maximum amount of keys registered when a large amount of keys is pressed down randomly 
  • Gaming Optimized Matrix - unlike key rollover, gaming optimized matrix focuses on the most frequent used keys by gamers so signal blocking will not occur on these key combinations 

The gaming optimized keys seems to passed the test with flying colors, just as promised.



As a rhythm games player ourselves, it's always our priority to test out the commonly used key combination by rhythm game players. With the key combination accepted without any issue, that's definitely a certified yes from us.


Final Thoughts
For a rubber dome switch gaming keyboard, we'd say the Corsair K55 RGB is a pretty decent one compared to most of the so-called rubber dome switch based gaming keyboard out there.            

Performance wise, there's no way for the K55 RGB to go up against a mechanical keyboard, as the nature of the rubber dome switch actuation design is far less superior than what a mechanical switch can deliver, regardless of the brand. 

What makes the K55 RGB a still-considerable choice is the functionality it has compared to most of the traditional rubber dome switch keyboard - responsiveness, gaming optimized key matrix, media keys, on-the-fly macro recording. 

As for the worthiness of the K55 RGB itself, unless you're a die hard Corsair fan or one of those who are still not ready to take the leap of faith to invest in a mechanical keyboard, we'd say that it's quite hard for us to recommend it to mechanical keyboard users nor those who just getting started with all the thoughts of investing in a gaming peripherals. 

Pros
  • Decent RGB lightings despite of being a rubber dome switch keyboard
  • Easily accessible media keys
  • Dedicated macro keys with on-the-fly macro recording function
  • Very well optimized key matrix for gaming
Cons
  • Rather costly for a rubber dome switch gaming keyboard
  • Glossy surface on the top of the keyboard is highly prone to scratches, fingerprints, dust and other kind of stains
  • Could really use rubber pads on the keyboard feet

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