Full-Size and Full of Features: A Review of the Corsair K70 RGB Pro
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that esports are slowly becoming as popular as professional sports, and that means they need professional-grade equipment. We do have that level of equipment on our list of the Best Gaming Keyboards, but even these picks don’t have many unique features that make games more fair. This is where the Corsair K70 RGB Pro clicks in with its AXON technology, which gives it the 8,000Hz polling rate we’ve seen before and up to 50 onboard profiles. But the tournament switch, which turns off special settings to make the game more fair, might be even more important. This board costs $160, but it has a lot of cool features.
The new Corsair K70 RGB Pro is a full-size mechanical keyboard with a magnetic wrist rest, per-key RGB, double-shot PBT keycaps, AXON technology, and a tournament switch that limits RGB to a static red and turns off macros for $160.
The K70 RGB Pro is run by AXON technology, just like the version without tenkeys. The MCU on the board has a real-time operating system called AXON Technology built in (microcontroller unit). With this special MCU, the K70 RGB Pro has a polling rate of 8,000Hz, a scanning rate of 4,000Hz, and 20 different layers of RGB lighting.
Here, the speed of AXON technology is matched by a wide range of switch options, including Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown, Silent Red, and Speed Silver. I got Speed Silver or MX Silver switches, but you can choose what you want at checkout.
There is a USB-C port and a “Tournament switch” on the back of the keyboard. The “Tournament switch” turns off any macro keys you may have set up and sets the backlighting to red by default. Even though this feature is easy to forget, I did use it. I’ll talk more about that in the section about my gaming experience.
When we talk about macros, the K70 lets you record them right on the keyboard, and with 8MB of storage, you can save up to 50 profiles.
In addition to the tournament switch, the K70 has a bunch of other buttons and things, like keys for changing profiles, an RGB brightness control, a Windows key lock, media keys, and my favorite, a volume wheel. The K70’s volume wheel is smooth and responsive, and it’s exactly the same as the one on my first mechanical keyboard, a Corsair K90, which I got about 10 years ago.
Even though the Speed Silver switches that came with my board have the same spring weight as MX Reds, the Silvers are activated at 1.2 mm while the Reds are activated at 2.0 mm. This didn’t change how I typed, but it had a big effect on how the game felt.
2. The Corsair K70 RGB Pro typing experience
When typing, the Speed Silver switches didn’t feel any different than an MX Red switch because they are all made of the same materials and weigh the same. The only difference is the point at which they are activated. You’ll see further down that I had trouble gaming with these switches, but when it came to regular typing, the only problem I had was the sound the keyboard made.
If you don’t know how MX Red switches feel, they have a spring weight of 45 g and are very light. With a shorter actuation point (1.2 mm vs. 2.0 mm), these Speed Silver switches are even more like hair-triggers. However, it didn’t affect my typing as much as it did my gaming.
Corsair did a good job with the stabilizers on this board because there isn’t much rattle, but the amount of case ping is so bad that it sounds like Corsair did it on purpose (though I highly doubt that). Even with a thick mouse mat under the board, the amount of noise it made was too much to handle. It didn’t bother me as much when I was playing games, but it was really annoying when I was doing other things.
The K70 RGB Pro’s keycaps feel a bit rough, but not as rough as dye-sub PBT keycaps can feel. I was able to finish a MonkeyType test at 92 WPM because the feel of the keycaps and the speed of the switches worked well together.
Aside from that, typing on the K70 isn’t anything to write home about because it’s not a bouncy gasket mount board made for ASMR videos. This is a keyboard for gaming, and performance is the most important thing.
3. How to Play Games with the Corsair K70 RGB Pro
I’ve played games with The K70 more than any other board I’ve reviewed. This is largely due to how great Square Enix’s Guardians of the Galaxy game is and how well the board works with it.
I’ve played Guardians of the Galaxy for more than 16 hours as of this writing, according to Steam. When I wanted to call out which Guardian I wanted to attack, I found the numpad on the K70 to be very helpful. Using the regular number row felt very awkward. So, you can play games with a full-size keyboard.
As I said before, the tournament switch turns off any macro keys you may have set up. It also turns off the windows key and sets the RGB to a constant red color. The most interesting thing about the tournament switch to me is that it lets the referee of your esports game know that you’re not cheating. But it can also be great for reducing distractions or just having a keyboard mapping layer with no macros that you can turn on and off with the flip of a switch. It’s perfect if you only want to bind macros to certain keys for some games and don’t want to mess with the software to switch profiles.
Even though I loved playing games with this board, the MX Silver switches were way too sensitive. I kept accidentally double-clicking, which made Star-Lord (Peter Quill) dash forward and cause me to fall off the map.
The specs of an MX Silver are the same as those of an MX Red, but the silver has a shorter actuation and travel distance, which is probably what caused these accidental movements. I could get used to it, but you should be careful about which switch you pick.
Luckily, the Silver switches saved my behind when I had to spam certain keys and during quick-time events where I would have failed completely with a regular MX switch.
With its tournament switch, per-key RGB, and, of course, AXON technology, the new Corsair K70 RGB Pro is different from most full-size mechanical keyboards that cost $160. The K70 is full of features, and the AXON technology lets you store up to 50 profiles on board. Even though the polling rate of 8,000Hz and the tournament switch didn’t impress me, the level of customization and quality of the keycaps did. This is something that other companies are finding hard to do. Overall, I’m very impressed with the K70 RGB Pro, and I can easily recommend it to gamers, especially those who like to fine-tune things with profiles for different games.