If you are a serious computer gamer, you know the importance of having the right keyboard. Since this peripheral is often the primary game control, the function of the keyboard can greatly affect gameplay experience. Slow response times or heavy key resistance may cause a poor gaming performance, where low resistance and high-speed actuation can potentially improve your stats. Many gamers have found that they are the happiest and most competitive with a Corsair K70 keyboard.
What Makes a Gaming Keyboard Different?
There are quite a few differences between a typical plug-and-play keyboard and a gaming keyboard. While a gaming keyboard can be used for typical computer operation, it is specifically designed with gaming in mind. At first glance, the immediately obvious differences includes LED backlit keys, which are less common on traditional keyboards; sturdier construction; and key caps that are easily removed or replaced.
Key switches generally come in two designs. Rubber domes provide feedback for membrane switches. These switches have become most popular in standard-use keyboards. Mechanical switches, on the other hand, feature metal contacts and use a spring to provide resistance and keep the key cap in place. Metal contact switches are more popular with gamers because they are more tactile, respond faster and last longer.
Cherry, a German company, has been the leader in producing the keyboard switches used in gaming keyboard construction and customization. In recent years, several companies have started to produce their own switches, but most are very similar to the Cherry switches in style and design. Most Cherry switches are color-coded, with each color providing a different user experience:
- Blue – This heavy switch is more appropriate for typing than for gaming. It produces a distinctive click noise when pressed and gives a slight bump for tactile response. Actuation Force: 60g
- Green – Green switches are similar to Blue switches with the bump response and click sound but require more pressure to actuate. The excess force of this heavy switch has made it less popular with both typists and gamers. Actuation Force: 80g
- Brown – Featuring a lighter touch with a slight bump response, the Brown switch is quiet and does not produce a click sound that can be irritating to those around you. Popular with gamers, this versatile switch is also a good choice for typing applications. Actuation Force: 45g
- Clear – Clear switches are rare in some circles. Very similar to Brown switches in operation, they need a little more force to actuate. Actuation Force: 65g
- Red – Red switches are one of the most popular quiet switches. They respond with a relatively light touch with no tactile bump, which makes for fast actuation. Actuation force: 45g
- Black – Another quiet switch with no tactile bump, Black switches require more pressure for activation. The higher resistance can make it feel slower in gaming. Actuation Force: 60g
- MX Speed – The MX Speed switch is a newer design that functions like a modified Red but has a shorter travel distance. The switch is gray in color but is not identified by this color. Actuation Force: 45g
Gaming keyboards are also quite different in terms of usability and personalization. Full-spectrum LED backlights for individually lit keys provide endless options for how the keyboard looks. Key remapping available on most or all keys and macro assigning options make these keyboards capable of doing much more than just text entry.
What Does the Corsair K70 LUX Feature?
While Corsair produces a full line of gaming keyboards, for the purposes of simplicity this article will focus only on the Corsair K70 LUX RGB Gaming Keyboard (K70 LUX). The K70 LUX is a mechanical keyboard constructed with a lightweight, anodized brushed aluminum body crafted from aircraft-grade metal. Key switches have gold contacts for precise, consistent and fast key activation.
Similar in design to its forerunner, the K70, the K70 LUX has a sleeker look with its satin chassis and textured spacebar featuring a diamond plate design. It touts 100 percent anti-ghosting and a Windows lock button to disable certain functions while gaming.
All keys in the K70 LUX feature Cherry MX RGB Brown key switches. Similar models are available with Blue or Red switches as well. Large font keycaps provide ease of use with highly visible key identification. Built for speed, this peripheral is both exceedingly accurate and reliable even at the fastest operating speeds. Specially streamlined, this keyboard works exceptionally well with shooter games.
One of the most popular features of the Corsair K70 LUX is the powerful and intuitive Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software. With CUE, you have complete control over the back-lighting brightness and color for each key individually. Custom layouts are easily created for your favorite games and can be saved to be loaded each time you switch games.
Key Light Color
In the heat of battle, even microseconds count. The ability to change each key’s light color or to turn off the light for keys not needed for the game being played provides an enhanced gaming experience. Unlimited, personalized lighting puts you in control in a way you’ve never experienced before. The CUE software supports the ability for assigning macros and key remapping for every key.
The full-spectrum keyboard colors can be set to cycle through a preset choice of color palettes or highlight any one of millions of color options. Color changes can be instant or in a ripple or wave pattern.
Pattern and effect controls can be set to specify the direction, velocity and duration of each lighting effect. Color effects can be applied to the entire keyboard or just to the keys you want to use for your current game. Additional color lighting effects include Rain, Color Wave, Spiral Rainbow, Color Shift, Rainbow Wave and more.
The Reactive Typing setting causes keys light up or change color as they are used or based on the frequency of use. Multimedia is easily controlled even during gameplay with the dedicated media control keys, and users can quickly adjust the system’s sound levels with the textured control wheel.
The open base design does create some color bleeding. This mixing of colors can sometimes create a messy appearance or unintended colors when nearby colors blend. The possibility for blended colors leads some users to prefer simple, high-contrast colors to differentiate keyboard sections or specific keys.
Other features include a USB pass-through port, MOBA and FPS keycap sets and a soft-touch, detachable wrist rest. Some of the more frequently used keycaps can be swapped out with the more ergonomic set included with the keyboard purchase.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are many online retailers that offer the Corsair K70 LUX. A simple search revealed that prices tend to vary from $120-$160 for this quality keyboard. The price tag may seem a little high to some, especially with low-cost options available in the $50 range. However, the quality of the design, the durability of the build and the unlimited options possible with the CUE software make the higher price worth it.
Can It Be Torn Down?
While not recommended unless you are extremely proficient with electronic components, the Corsair K70 LUX can be taken apart to fix certain issues. The keyboard is not designed to be dismantled, so taking it apart may voice the warranty and is likely to cause permanent damage to the piece.
The teardown process is rather involved as there are more than 20 screws that need to be removed before the keyboard can be completely opened. Some of the screws are hidden or hard to access, but failure to remove them will result in broken components.
Corsair offers a two-year warranty with your purchase. It is a better choice to rely on this warranty if repairs are needed rather than trying to fix it yourself.
How Does It Compare?
The Corsair K70 is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming keyboard market. With consistently near perfect customer reviews, it is a best seller on many retail sites.
The CUE software is a big advantage of the K70 LUX over its competitors. A few other keyboards try to match up, but none of the others have the versatility or customizable control available with CUE. The variety of lighting effect options are also unique to the CUE software.
The K70 LUX is a full-size keyboard with a built-in number pad. Several of the competitors feature a compact design with a compressed keyboard. Other keyboards remove the number pad completely, like Corsair’s own K65 model. The compact and compressed design of some of the other keyboards can cause a different and even uncomfortable experience when compared to the full-size design of the Corsair K70 LUX.
There are other keyboards that feature backlit keys. However, many of them offer only monochrome or limited color palette options. The full-spectrum options of the K70 LUX give you unlimited color control and options. The Logitech G610 is a strong product with only a monochrome lighting option.
One of the top competitors is the Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum. The G810 is an excellent keyboard but is lacking in a few areas in comparison to the K70 LUX. Logitech has created their own switches rather than following the industry standard of using Cherry switches. Logitech’s switches perform well but are a little stiffer than the switches in the K70.
The Logitech G810 does well with full-spectrum lighting. Their software package allows for the creation of unique color effects and a heatmap that highlights the keys being pressed most often. Dedicated media keys and an on and off button to disable certain keys while gaming are additional strong points that make it a worthy opponent.
On the other side, Logitech has chosen not to provide a passthrough USB, which has become a must-have among most gamers. The G810 is also designed with an enclosed base, which can lead to a buildup of debris in the keyboard over time.
The HyperX Alloy Elite keyboard offers USB passthrough and a detachable wrist rest. Backlights for the HyperX model are red only with no customizable features. It is priced a little lower than the Corsair K70 LUX, but it is not a large enough price difference to entice a gamer to give up all the features of the Corsair K70 LUX.
The frameless Roccat Suora is popular with some gamers but doesn’t stand up well against the Corsair K70 LUX. Roccat’s option does not use Cherry switches. While the key use feels somewhat like Cherry Brown switches, the keys are very noisy and can be distracting even to the user. The unusually loud function is likely to make you unpopular with roommates or significant others.
Another lower-cost option is the Logitech K840. It is a well built and durable keyboard, but it does not offer USB passthrough or dedicated macros and does not have key backlights. The K840 is a reliable keyboard but probably not one you want to spend hours gaming on.
There are a few other low-cost options from UtechSmart, Redragon and Aukey. While functional, the expression “You get what you pay for” comes to mind. These options are less durable and flimsy in comparison to the Corsair K70 LUX. They also do not offer the control and personalization available with the CUE software.
Should You Buy It?
The Corsair K70 LUX RGB Gaming Keyboard is a best-seller because it is a well-constructed and fully customizable keyboard. It easily trounces most of its competitors and is therefore highly recommended.
It is a little more of an investment than some of its competitors, which means it is best suited for serious gamers looking to get many hours of gameplay from a keyboard. The quick-start guide means that even the relatively inexperienced will be able to it get up and gaming in a few minutes. Nearly unlimited macro and backlight options are perfect for any computer gamer.
The CUE software that controls the lighting options and effects is the extra asset that makes this keyboard stand ahead of its competitors. Personalized layouts that can be loaded to match each game and reactive type functions makes this not only a highly customizable keyboard, but one that looks really cool sitting on your desk.
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