Review of the Corsair K-series Gaming Keyboard

Posted on November 29, 2014. Filed under: Keyboard Reviews |

TypeRacer.com scorecard for user valikor

Corsair K65 RGB Keyboard

This keyboard and the customizable lighting (available on the “RGB” models) are insanely cool and its mechanical switches will certainly give you a speed boost. The RGB models come in 3 sizes: K65 compact version (only available from Best Buy in the US), K70 (full-size keyboard), and the K95 extended keyboard with extra programmable keys (available from Amazon).

Tip: You can save a good deal of money by choosing one of the versions without fancy lights: (1) K70/Cherry MX Red, (2) K70/Cherry MX Blue, or (3) K70/Cherry MX Brown (the differences between Red, Blue, and Brown switches are described at the end of this post).

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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 Keyboardicon (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 😉

Corsair-K65-rating-summary

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)


Do you have a favorite keyboard that you’d like to review for our community? You can send us a private message using this form to get your review published on our blog.


Or leave us a comment about David’s review:

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27 Responses to “Review of the Corsair K-series Gaming Keyboard”

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Comment: Nice, I have a earlier model of this keyboard and I have to agree with the comments about the typing experience. I am jealous of the backlighting though :).

Thanks for your feedback!

I think reds may be the ultimate switch for fast typing, but I need to try buckling springs again now that I’ve been improving for some time. I have K65 with red o-rings for shorter throw and padding. Seems to go pretty well. Reds only give what you put in, though. If you don’t know what you’re doing they’re unforgiving. If you know just how to caress them, they’ll give you everything you ever wanted.

But the keyboard isn’t everything. Look at Sean before he won a mechanical in Ultimate Typing Championship. Look at Fyda when she was using scissor switches.

Of course, there is no substitute for skill and practice!

Vo – so what are you suggesting here?

Thanks!

David Pritts
Typeracer

Nice, thank you foe valuable information.

Yeah, nice keyboard! My laptop seems pretty awful in comparaison…. maybe i’ll also think to invest in some better stuff!
In your opinion, what % of improvement can you hope when you switch from a laptop to a good keyboard?

Hard to say what % exactly. David seems to have gone up by at least 10%. Sounds like a good idea for an experiment!

@typeracer – 10%? I really doubt that he gained ~13wpm from this change. I think 1%-2% is more accurate based upon his stats on Sean Wrona’s site.

Hard to say. I still sometimes use my laptop keyboard. I can say that in the first 30 minutes of using the keyboard, I got the highest score that I’d gotten in 6 months (around 170 or 180 I believe). I haven’t calculated my average over the past few weeks that I’ve been using the keyboard but 10% is not unreasonable; my average is currently 145, although this could go up or down within 5 minutes 🙂 The data is readily available for anyone to check if interested.

@typeracer – Oh, a 10% improvement from last month? Well I think his average was ~133wpm for the longest time, and last month is a small sample of like 10 races, so I threw that information out. I’m thinking the switch from laptop to keyboard doesn’t give much speed improvement usually, but a much higher level of comfort.

I was around 130 and jumped up to above 140. It was definitely more than a 1-2% improvement. Ten percent is probably accurate.

David Pritts
Typeracer

I used the Corsair keyboard then moved on to Filco & PFU. There is no comparison lol.

Would you like to provide more info? Thanks!

Comment: I love my corsair. I have a k95. It has 18 programmable macros, because I do game quite a bit. The k95 only comes in the Cherry MX Red variety. I myself prefer MX Blues. They feel amazing to type on. The browns feel mushy and the bump doesn’t do much for me. It’s way too soft. On mechanical keyboards in general, many people agree that they are amazing for typing, miles better than regular rubber-dome style keyboards. They’re also more durable. Take a looky here(http://www.reddit.com/r/mechanicalkeyboards) if you want to check out what mechanical keyboard “enthusiasts” have. For those that want to buy one, check here(https://www.massdrop.com/buy?cat=mechanical+keyboards) from time to time.

Thanks for the info and links!

Hey I was wondering where you can buy this keyboard and how much does it cost?

You can buy most versions online from Amazon and the compact version from Best Buy. Just click on one of the links in this blog post corresponding to the version you want. For example: K70 with Cherry MX Red technology

Thank you 😀

I dunno, but you can e-mail the dude, or contact the typeracer website.

This is a very good site but if you actually used strys that people have heard of, and then maybe more people would sign up. Dont get me wrong this is a very good site for people to improve on using a keyboard.

I feel way too inaccurate on reds – the actuation point is so light and you’re left guessing the actuation point most of the time anyway. Generally speaking the K65 -is- a gaming keyboard, and one that isn’t designed for typing.

The RGB model is also fairly expensive. Your other suggestions are way better, particularly the k70 with MX blues. Fantastic keyboards.

Good review, just a weird choice of keyswitch. MX blues are explicitly designed for typists, and I wholly recommend that you try one. They’re just incredibly satisfying to type on, extremely tactile and tell you when the key is actuated to eliminate the need to bottom out on your keypresses.

The Coolermaster boards are only $79 for MX Blues with backlights, I reccomend every typist to give them a try. After using them, there’s no way I can ever go back to an old keyboard.

Also, PBT keycaps are fantastic. They give each keypress a deeper and more guttural feel to them. PBT is thicker, has a better texture to it and lasts much, much longer than the standard ABS keycaps that most keyboards come with.

My advice? You should sell your Corsair K65 and give the K70 with MX Blues a try, your fingers will thank you.

This is a good call out. If I get a chance, I will definitely consider trying out one with the MX Blues.

Thanks!

David Pritts
Typeracer

I like the HHKB.

hey is anybody here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didnt really read the darn thing cuz it’s WAY TOO LONG. But I felt like leaving a comment. I have an improovement idea for the typeracer website. Stop making the blogs so long. If you want people to actually read then, make them a little more interesting too. Not hatin’, just statin’.
Luv,
lalaloopsy22

What type of switches is better? After reading review? I understood that I want to buy mechanical keyboard, but I still can’t decide – What type of switches am I need?


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