Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Corsair’s K70 RGB Rapidfire raises the bar.

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Already well regarded for its high-performance memory and PSUs, Corsair has been making strides in the field of PC gaming hardware. Its latest release is the K70 RGB Rapidfire mechanical keyboard, which offers a significant difference from other keyboards with the design of its new mechanical switches.

When we reviewed the K70 RGB two years ago, we were really impressed by the offering. The new keyboard ups the ante with Cherry switches exclusive to Corsair. Cherry, for those not in the know, is a German manufacturer with a sterling reputation for high-quality key switches. Corsair’s previous exclusivity deal with the manufacturer gave them exclusive access to the Cherry MX RGB switches for a year.

The new Cherry MX Speed switch is designed specifically for gaming by offering light actuation force of 45g and higher actuation speed compared to other switches with its shorter length of 1.2mm. Regular switches have a 2mm actuation. Needless to say, I was curious as to whether this would have any impact on real-world performance.

Technical Specs
LAYOUT:              105 Key ISO/104 ANSI
MATERIAL:          Brushed aluminium and plastic
MACRO SUPPORT:           All Keys
WEIGHT:              1.20 kg / 2.65 lbs.
REPORT RATE:   Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms and BIOS mode
WRIST REST:       YES
ANTI-GHOSTING:             100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover on USB
MEDIA KEYS:      Six dedicated multimedia keys, incl. Volume Up/Down roller
DIMENSIONS:    436(L) x 165(W) x 38(H) mm
SOFTWARE:        Available, Not Compulsary
SWITCH TYPE:    Cherry MX Speed RGB, mechanical, 45g actuation force, 1.2mm actuation distance, guaranteed durability for >50M keystrokes, gold cross-point contacts ”
BACKLIGTHING: RGB 16.8 Million Colours
INTERFACE:        USB
Warranty:            Two years

The keyboard comes in a modestly packaged brown cardboard box containing the keyboard, a soft surface wrist-wrest identical to the one on the previous K70 RGB, and two sets of textured and contoured keycaps designed for FPS gamers and MOBA gamers respectively and a plastic key-puller. Users without the ability to touch-type may find them useful in a pinch, although I preferred not to use them at all, as they weren’t particularly comfortable to type on. That said, they’re completely optional–so you don’t have to use them.

Anyone who likes to customize their keyboards will also be disappointed to learn that the bottom row is of non-standard size with 1×1 sized Windows key and context menu buttons, so acquiring replacements might take some work and they won’t be fully compatible with the high-quality GMK keycaps that are often available on Massdrop unless you’re fine with slotting them with Esc keys. It’s not an issue that most gamers should even concern themselves with, however.

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As for the keyboard itself, gone is the tramp stamp logo that marred the surface of the original K70 RGB, replaced with the much more elegant, classic Corsair sails logo. The keyboard features an anodized aluminum chassis giving it a feeling of durability as well as being easy to clean. It also comes with a USB 2.0 passthrough that’ll function with any mouse or headset, and multimedia controls for adjusting the volume or playing, pausing, and switching music tracks, which work if you have iTunes or Foobar 2000 running in the background. The keycaps are made of ABS and should have no problem taking a beating. The only difference between the keycaps here and on the previous models is the textured spacebar. Like the other K70 models, there is no shroud, so the keyboard is very easy to clean.

The keyboard can be used without installing any additional software, although you’ll definitely want to check out the Corsair Utility Engine if you intend to customize the RGB settings. CUE’s come a very long way since we first experienced it two years ago, when we complained about its user interface. Gone are most, if not all of the problems we faced, and the software is easier than ever to use. It’s also the only engine besides Razer’s that’ll allow you to download user-made animated color profiles and even export your own.

Here’s a video of a cool set of RGB profiles someone made for Overwatch:

The CUE software will allow you to sync up the keyboard with any other Corsair peripherals you might have, including the Corsair Sabre Optical RGB mouse that I reviewed not too long ago.

editors-choiceAll of these features are entrees leading up to the main course: the new Cherry MX Speed switches that define the keyboard. With an already wide variety of great switches for gamers to choose from, Corsair teamed up with Cherry to offer something new. Like the previous Cherry MX RGB switches, these new switches have a clear plastic housing and silver stems for good lighting and offer the same feel as the Cherry MX Red, but with much shorter actuation for keypresses that should be theoretically faster. In practice however, I didn’t really notice much of a difference in my gaming performance in either CS:GO or Overwatch. I was however very pleased with how comfortable they were to play on, and type on in day-to-day usage. Will the Cherry MX Speed switches make much of a difference to the non-professional gamer? Probably not, but there’s no denying that they’re very comfortable to use.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire mechanical keyboard is a great addition to Corsair’s already extensive offerings for PC gamers and it’s one that I have no problem recommending to anyone in search of a solid mechanical keyboard to game or even type with. It’s exceptionally comfortable to use, theoretically raises the performance ceiling for skilled gamers who may be feeling bottlenecked by their equipment, and it’ll take a good beating. I couldn’t ask for more.

The Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire retails for $169.99 and is available directly from Corsair.

Disclosure: A unit was provided by Corsair for the purpose of this review.