Corsair K70 Rapidfire RGB Review with Cherry MX Speed Switches

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In this Corsair K70 Rapidfire RGB review, we will see if the new flagship from Corsair with the MX Speed switches is the best one yet?

Thanks to Corsair India for providing the review sample.

The K70 Rapidfire RGB is the new flagship keyboard for Corsair. It is an evolution of the K70 series with new switches, improved software, new RGB controller and amazing build quality.

With this, they are introducing a new Cherry switch namely Cherry MX Speed. Gamers will love this switch for its ultrafast presses and an activation distance smaller than most of its competitors.

The K70 series was always famous with the PC enthusiasts for its amazing build quality and tons of options offered by it. And the new K70 Rapidfire RGB is no different. So without a further ado, let us find out if it lives up to its name or not?

Packaging and Accessories

The K70 Rapidfire RGB comes in a cardboard box with the usual Corsair black and yellow color scheme. The box contains all the necessary images and gives a nice look at the board's lighting capability. There are also small details about the Cherry MX Speed switches.

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Inside the box, you will get the pizza….. NO, it is just the keyboard and a bag of accessories. You will get some textured keys for FPS and MOBA layout keys, a plastic key puller, a soft touch wrist rest and a couple of warranty papers.

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Design and Comfort

The design of the keyboard is what I will call pseudo-minimalist. It is not overly flashy with angles and weird colors but is also not very minimal. There is a perfect blend of subtle yet noticeable design elements.

It is a full-size 104-keys keyboard with additional multimedia keys. The top plate is a solid piece of aluminium and the rest of the body is made of a very high-quality plastic. The keys are made of ABS plastic and there is a metal volume slider.

Let us get down to the details.

The Frame

Top

The top base is a thick piece of brushed aluminium. It is extremely solid and there is no flex in the whole board. There is also a nice Corsair Logo with a very professional metal finish.

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There is no shroud for the keys and the switches are mounted directly to the aluminium plate. It makes it easier to clean the board. This gives the keys a floating appearance which looks really appealing and also allows the light from the RGB LEDs to reflect off the base plate.

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Front

At the front of the keyboard, there is a USB pass through. The USB port is great for connecting other peripherals like mouse and headsets and if you fancy, a daisy chain of K70s. Though you will not get the best speed for USB 3.1 drives as the port is USB 2.0.

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Besides the USB port, you get a report rate switch which allows you change the report timing and a BIOS option for wider compatibility with some BIOS. The stock setting of 1ms will work for a majority of the users.

Bottom

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At the bottom of the keyboard, everything is standard. You have your keyboard feet and small rubber pads for no slippage. It stays firmly in place and there is no movement at all. One nice addition is the inclusion of four feet which most keyboards miss. This allows the keyboard to be placed in four different positions. Good job Corsair!
Wrist Rest and Cable

You also get a soft-touch wrist rest in the package which uses a simple clip on system. It feels great to touch but is not that great to use, at least for the first few times. The slope is high and the wrists start to slip after some time. Though you will get used to it. A longer and a more anti-slip design will be great.

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At last, there is the 1.8m cable which is thick, flexible and nicely braided. It splits into two USB ports, one for the keyboard and the other for the pass through. The strain reliefs are strong enough to hold the weight of the thick wire.

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The left connector is for running the keyboard and the second is for USB passthrough. You will need both the USB ends for running the USB passthrough.

The Keys

The main keys are made of ABS plastic and there is a metal volume slider. There are 5 multimedia keys and two switches for Win-key lock and for changing LED brightness.

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The spacebar is textured by default.

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The primary keys feel good under the fingertips because of the slight curve of the key. Though if you have thicker fingers then this is of no use. The underside of the keys uses a translucent white plastic to let the light shine through.

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The font is used on the keys is thick and large, a bit too large in my opinion. They let more light through but they look out of place with such a body design. A thinner font on the board will make the keys look a lot better.

You also get some extra keys with different curve and texture. These are mainly for FPS and MOBA games. The textured keys feels good during the gaming but the curve is not suitable for typing.

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There are five dedicated media control keys which can be assigned any other functions through the CUE software. The volume slider is helpful as always but the only thing missing from it is some form of clicky feedback, it is too smooth. There is also a mute button beside it.

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One option that I sorely miss is the sleep button. Its addition will make it a complete package.

MX Speed – The New Gaming Switch

The K70 RapidFire RGB, as the name suggests, uses exclusive short actuation Cherry MX Speed switches. These are exclusive because currently only Corsair has the license to use these for some time and are co-developed by Corsair.

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The switches are linear so there is no hump in between the keystroke. The actuation distance is just 1.2mm – around 0.8mm shorter than its counterparts. Also the activation force for the keyboard is around 45g.

If you want a direct comparison then these are the faster versions of the Cherry Red MX switches. The activation force is same but the travel to activate the switch is 0.8mm shorter.

According to Corsair, this short distance and low activation force makes this switch excellent for gaming. But how does all these mumba-jumba translate into real world performance?

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Performance

Typing

My first few hours of typing with the keyboard were frustrating. The switches are very light. A slight touch and the key is registered.

While pressing the “a” on the board, even a small touch on the Caps Lock key activated it. During the initial phase, the backspace key was my friend.

After a couple of days, I was comfortable with the board and was typing fine. There were fewer typos but some wrong key presses were still there.

The light touch of the keys definitely takes some time to get used to. But when you get a hang of it, you appreciate the light nature and short presses. It is less tiring during long typing sessions and you don’t have to slam the secondary keys, a slight nudge is enough.

Gaming

Just like typing, my first few times gaming with the keyboard resulted in some mis-presses, some wrong weapon selection, and crouching when I needed to run my ass off.

The advantage of the light switches shines through during the games. The sensitive presses are really useful when you have to hit a key multiple times. This is mainly due to the shorter spring back distance after a key press.

Think of driving in GTA games or maybe other racing games. If you like using keyboards for racing games then you will definitely feel some difference while making turns and other small touches like drifting.

In adventure and shooting games, the major benefit comes when you need some extremely fast movements. In slow paced games, there won’t be any difference compared to other mechanical switches.

Don’t be fooled, though. The faster keys won’t make you a faster gamer. But if you are a person who is already quick with his reflexes then these keys can help in certain situations.

Key Sound

TO listen to the key press samples visit this link- Corsair K70 Rapidfire RGB Review - Speed Champion • DesktopRigs.i

Lighting and Corsair CUE

The lighting game was always strong with Corsair keyboards and the new K70 Rapidfire RGB is no different. There is now a better RGB LED controller and the things you can do with it is only limited by your time and imagination.

Except for the status keys, all the keys on the keyboard are customizable. The board supports full 16.7 million colors, 4 levels of brightness control and all the lighting data can be stored in the board memory. Cool!

The lighting and all the other customizable functions of the board can be controlled through the Corsair CUE software. Let us look at some lighting first.
Lighting

The MX Speed switch uses a translucent housing and the LED is situated at the top of the key. This with the white diffused and the stretched font on the keys create a very appealing light show.

The backlight is bright and you can turn it off if you don’t want to use it. The dedicated brightness key on the top right is really useful.

There is one thing that I noticed. The white color backlight is not white. It has a slight greenish tint to it. This is mainly due to the color of the housing of the switches. But this doesn’t affect other colors in anyway.

There are various effects that you can use for the keys. Some of them are Rainbow Wave, Rain, Type Ripple, color shift or the old school static. You can also create custom ones on per-app or different profile basis.

If you think that customizing or creating such RGB profiles are difficult for you then you can simply download some from the Corsair forums. There are some amazing options out there like the PAC-Man, Playback visualizers etc.

Macros and key combinations

CUE allows you to customize every key on the board, both in terms of lighting and functions. You can assign a large macro complete with your mouse movement to any key. So the media keys can act as dedicated macro keys here if you don’t use them much.

You can create profiles for different games and apps with full control of lighting and repetitions. You can insert a whole para with just a single key press. All these functions are of great help for writers, programmers, editors etc. If you spend time to set up such shortcuts then they will save you a lot of time.

CUE is also integrated with all other Corsair Gaming products. So if you have a mouse or headset with customizable functions then you can control and create a cohesive link between all of your Corsair products.

You don’t need CUE to run the keyboard but having it will make sure you get the best out of your product. There are many more functions available in CUE, so covering them here will be difficult.

Problems with CUE

Though Corsair CUE’s functions have improved compared to its previous versions, it is still not perfect. There are some functions that are still sorely missing from it.

First, what is up with this save every now and then. It asks you to save the actions every time. You want to switch to a different item while creating some profile but you will have to save it first. You edited an item but not happy with it and want to delete it now. But no, first you will have to save the item and then delete it. What is this Corsair?

Second, you still cannot assign actions to key combinations. This will not affect many users but for me, it is a basic function. Corsair earlier announced it will implement this feature in future revisions but it is still absent. There are workarounds for it by creating multiple profiles and what not but no option right out of the box.

Third, the help guide sucks. There is no guide available for the current version and the in software guide is of no use. You will need a guide to fully understand the advanced functions of the keyboard. The help PDF on the Corsair site is Out of Date.

A software update will easily solve these problems. But they are important enough to point out.

Wrap Up

The K70 Rapidfire RGB holds true to its K70 lineage. Solid aluminium construction, multi-media keys, macros, extensive lighting options, USB passthrough and much more. Added to all these is the new Cherry MX Speed switch. And in one word they are fast.

The lightweight nature and ultrafast activation makes this switch great for dedicated and pro gamers. Long gaming sessions and quick movements become easy with this keyboard.

I really like the lightness of the key press even though I am not a big gamer. Even in day to day usage the keyboard felt comfortable and well balanced to use. And combine this with the other features of the board and you get a complete deal.

Physically the keyboard is almost great. The lighting is smooth and responsive. The keys feel and sound great, the construction is top notch. The addons like the USB passthrough and the media keys are a welcome addition.

Only things that I would like to see in the physical department is the addition of a less stretched font, a sleep button, a tactile volume slider and a bit larger wrist rest. Nothing major but to make it perfect.

In the software department things can be improved.The saving option should be simplified, multiple key combination support and a better in-app guide should be added.

These problems can be easily solved with a software update. And from what I have seen from the Corsair update history for CUE, I have full faith that the improvements will arrive shortly.
Final Note

All in all, if you are in the market for a gaming keyboard that offers the complete package of quality construction, high quality Cherry MX switches and the responsiveness to match your reflexes then Corsair K70 Rapidfire RGB might be the best option out there.

Original Article with additional photos, key sounds and profile videos available here- Corsair K70 Rapidfire RGB Review - Speed Champion • DesktopRigs.i
 
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