October 4, 2018 // 1 p.m.
UK price (as reviewed): £149.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $159.99 (exc. tax)
Corsair has been a major player in the mechanical keyboard market for some time, and the numerous variants of its K70 unit have been popular ever since the original Vengeance K70 launched five years ago. Today, I’m looking at the latest unit, the K70 RGB MK.2, which will set you back between £150 and £170 depending on the exact SKU; the one I have is the Cherry MX RGB Brown switch model, which is £150.
Design wise, the K70 MK.2 is immediately familiar in a good way. Corsair really kick-started the trend of raised keycaps, and fortunately it’s not a look that feels tired yet. The black brushed aluminium faceplate looks and feels suitably premium, broken only by a glossy black plastic trapezoid centred along the top, through which the Corsair logo glows.
Build quality here is phenomenal and hard to fault. The aluminium clearly adds a lot of strength, but the plastic chassis is very strong in its own right. You get a generous application of rubber padding to keep it planted, and the little flick-out legs have rubberised tips as well for good measure.
Even the thick USB cable has a high quality braid. Part of the reason for its thickness is that it actually caters to two USB cables, one for all keyboard functions and power, and another for pass-through. I really, really wish this would be USB 3.0 by now, but alas it’s still a bog-standard USB 2.0, so it’s better suited to peripherals than storage devices.
Corsair does integrate a cross-shaped cable routing channel into the underside, but I reckon this will be of limited use.
The Cherry MX Brown switch is my favourite from the German manufacturer’s range; I find the tactile, click-free action great for typing, which I do more of than gaming, but I also find it pleasant to game on when the time comes. However, if you prefer a linear action, the K70 MK.2 is also available with Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Speed switches. It almost goes without saying these days, but the quality of the switches is as good as ever here, and I instantly felt at home typing on the full-size layout. Meanwhile, full anti-ghosting matrix and n-key rollover will ensure every key press is registered.
An appropriately sized wrist rest is bundled with the keyboard, and it attaches easily and securely to the front. However, the rough texture on it irks me, even if it does have a soft-touch coating. I’m not really sure what benefit the texture brings, and it can get irritating on the hands – a shame, because the size and shape is genuinely useful for typing.
Corsair uses a bold, clear font here, and I had no issues with the size, texture, or contour of the keycaps themselves. The textured space bar I thought would annoy me, but in practice I can’t say I really noticed it at all. For those who are particularly into FPS or MOBA games, Corsair supplies replacement keycap sets for both genres which are a different colour and have a bumpy texture and exaggerated contours to make them easy to identify with sight or feel. I’ve never really found a use for these, and I imagine it will be second nature for most players to locate these keys anyway, but it’s a cool little novelty, and the supplied keycap removal tool makes the swap process speedy.
The return of the metal volume wheel in the top right is a real treat, and it’s flanked by a full suite of dedicated media keys. Also along this top row are buttons for profile switching, RGB brightness control, and Windows lock. There’s no FN key, as all other custom functions are handled through the iCUE software.
As you’d expect, Corsair goes all out with RGB customisation on the K70 RGB MK.2. The Cherry MX Brown RGB switches can be controlled on a per-key basis with numerous patterns, and the iCUE software offers fine-grained control. The Corsair logo is divided into halves with independent RGB control, and the dedicated buttons and media keys all get per-key RGB too. For the most obsessive RGB enthusiast, though, the single-colour (white) lighting for the tiny num/caps/scroll lock indicators may be literally heartbreaking. For everyone else, rest assured that the lighting quality is good: it’s bright, evenly spread across the keys, and whites are convincing and not too in favour of one particular hue.