Archive for November, 2014
I’ve been involved in competitive typing for over 8 years (the last 6 years on typeracer.com), and although I’ve seen countless discussions on our blog and forums about the importance of using a quality keyboard, I was still using my laptop keyboard almost exclusively until now. I’m happy that I can finally offer my view on this topic (which is, basically, yes, absolutely you will type faster on a mechanical keyboard!), as well as share a my review of the keyboard I recently purchased: a Corsair K65 RGB LED Mechanical
Gaming Speedtyping Keyboard (it’s marketed as a “gaming” keyboard, but as far as I’m concerned, this slick machine was made for speed typing)!
I bought this keyboard because it looked so cool at Best Buy that I just had to have it! Each key is backlit by an LED that can display over a million colors (the same lighting technology used for large screens and signs). It’s also completely customizable: if you were so inclined, you could, in theory, even configure your Corsair RGB keyboard to light up with a picture of your face 😯 (the mod I saw actually makes the picture of your face bleed bright red around the key you’ve just pressed :evil:, which gradually starts healing after you release the key 😎)! I just can’t promise that the pixel resolution is going to do enough justice to your good looks ;-). But seriously, there are a lot of extremely cool user-made themes that you can download and set up in like 20 seconds. To appreciate the coolness, check out my video review on YouTube where I do a race at 169 WPM using this awesome piece of hardware!
Fancy lighting aside, this keyboard is quite comfortable to type on. It didn’t take me long to get used to it even though I’d never used a mechanical-switch keyboard before. In fact, I averaged 170 WPM just in my first ten or so races with it, which was the highest score I’d gotten on TypeRacer in months (I’ve been getting a bit rusty until I bought this thing)! The build quality feels and looks superior, and it uses German Cherry MX Red key switches, which, from my perusal of various discussions on the TypeRacer forums, seem to be the gold standard in mechanical keyboard manufacturing. My only complaint is that some fingers on my right hand seem to get tired a bit more quickly than usual, but I may not be using the best posture for my hands. Editor’s note: or maybe David is just not used to typing this fast 😉
This product is not perfect though. It’s kind of annoying that it requires two USB ports for full functionality (it needs more power than one USB port can provide), though I didn’t dock any points from my overall rating for this. The main reason I can’t give this keyboard a 5-star review, is the fact that the software for creating your own customized lighting theme is not very user-friendly and the documentation is pretty bad (but hey, have you ever bought a computer product that came with well-written docs?). On the bright side though, lots of awesome lighting themes have already been created and shared by other users, so this is still an incredibly cool keyboard.
My conclusion is that having a really good keyboard like the Corsair K65 improved my typing. This is not an inexpensive keyboard, but I consider it a worthwhile purchase and am giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
– David Pritts (valikor)
Editor’s note: With the K70 model, you also have your choice of the Cherry switch type: Red, Brown, or Blue (these “colors” actually denote the level of tactile feedback provided by the switch, not to be confused with the color of the LED backlight). And if you don’t need the 16-million-color LED lighting in your keyboard, you can save some money by getting one of the non-RGB versions of the same keyboard:
- K70 with Cherry MX Red technology: “Cherry MX Red switches are categorized as linear, non-tactile. This means that their feel remains constant through each up-down key stroke. The result is a feel that most perceive as “smoother” and “faster”, making them especially popular among gaming enthusiasts.”
- K70 with Cherry MX Blue technology: “The blue switches are considered to be the best switch for typing because they have a “clicky” tactile bump when the activation point is hit. While many people prefer them for gaming, it is not as easy to double tap as other switches since the release point is above the actuation point.”
- K70 with Cherry MX Brown technology: “The Cherry Brown switches are about halfway between a typing and a gaming switch. Some people prefer them for gaming since it enables you to double tap faster. The browns have a soft, tactile bump about halfway through the key press. The MX Brown switches have a softer click when depressed and require less force to actuate than the blue switches.”
(Descriptions of the about the Cherry MX Red, Blue, and Brown switches were taken from this guide)
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