Corsair Vengeance K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Corsair has had an exciting year so far in 2013 stretch from exciting new product releases including the acquisition of Raptor Gaming to sponsoring Team Solo Mid, one of the most accomplished North American League of Legends team. Corsair’s eagerness to learn and adapt has landed them into the gaming peripheral market where their name has gained recognition within the past year since the M60 and M90 mice, and K60 and K90 keyboards made their debut.
We reviewed the Corsair Vengeance K60 last year with favorable words. We liked its unique industrial look and brushed aluminum as well as the Cherry MX Reds’ responsiveness. However, many other manufacturers have jumped onto the mechanical keyboard bandwagon within the past year and we’ve observed Corsair making moves to expand its presence and respond to demands. The Vengeance K70 is one of Corsair’s new mechanical keyboards for 2013 bringing highly requested backlighting to the K60 design.
My first impression of the Vengeance K70 was mixed. It’s a very attractive mechanical keyboard, but it doesn’t have any other outstanding feature that warrants special attention – maybe the key-by-key customizable backlighting seem cool, we’ll have to examine further. Other advertised features include multimedia keys, 20-key rollover, USB passthrough, a small set of textured keycaps, and a two-year warranty. The K70 has seemingly dropped from its $130 base price, though it’s still an expensive keyboard at $110 for the Silver and Black models, both of which we have for review.
Corsair K70 Features and Technical Specifications:
- 100% Cherry MX Red Mechanical Key Switches
- Cherry MX Blue and Brown switches available for silver keyboard color
- UPDATE: Both the silver and black colored keyboards now have options for Blue, Brown, or Red switches.
- Key-by-key Customizable Backlighting
- Brushed Aluminum Chassis
- Contoured, Textured WASD and 1-6 keycaps
- An extra set of standard typing keycaps and a keycap replacement tool are provided for general typing
- Easy-Access Multimedia Controls
- USB Pass-Through
- Soft-Touch Wrist Rest
- Full key Matrix Anti-Ghosting with 20-Key Rollover
- 2-year warranty
Unboxing the K70
The Vengeance K70’s packaging is really nothing out of the ordinary. The keyboard and its accessories are secured in a cardboard box behind the cardstock outer box.
Oddly enough, the K70 accessories are packed differently. The black model’s keycaps and keypuller are held in a foam block and the silver model’s own are contained in a plastic bag.
The K70 comes included with a set of textured keycaps for WASD and 1-6 keys, a keycap puller, user guide, detachable wristrest, and warranty information.
Looking closer at the Vengeance K70 (Part 1)
The Vengeance K70 is available in two colors: black with red lights and silver with blue lights. (Update: Cherry MX Red switches, Blue switches, and Brown switches are available for both keyboard colors.)
The Vengeance K70 has a standard 104 key layout with dimensions of 17.25(L)x6.5(W)x1.5(H) inch / 437(L)x166(W)x38(H) mm. Attaching the wristrest increases the keyboard width to 8.25 inches. The keyboard enclosure is constructed from plastic and aluminum. The reinforcing plate to which the keys are mounted is exposed.
On the top right of the keyboard are multimedia keys for Play/Pause, Next, Back, Stop, and Mute. A rolling bar controls volume. To the left of the media keys are three buttons, from left to right: key-by-key backlight toggle, backlight intensity control, and Windows key lock.
The K70 has a thick braided 6-foot USB cable that terminates with two plugs. Only one of the USB plugs is necessary to power the keyboard; the other plug handles USB passthrough.
A slider switch near the USB passthrough controls the keyboard polling rate. By default, “1” is 1000 MHz and goes down to 750 MHz, 500 MHz, abd 250 MHz. Sliding the switch all the way to “BIOS” will put the keyboard into a compatibility mode for BIOS that may not recognize the K70.
The K70 allows for key-by-key backlighting. As the user instructions direct, press and hold the backlight button until the ring around it lights up. Then, press each keyboard key to turn the backlight on or off. It’s much quicker to get around than with a software implementation.
All of the 104 keys are backed by a Cherry MX Red mechanical switch. It’s also cool to see that there are additional LEDs under the spacebar to add to the backlight effect that spills from under the keys and onto the backplate.
Looking closer at the Vengeance K70 (Part 2)
Included with the K70 are a keypuller and a set of textured keycaps for WASD and 1-6.
An included wrist rest can be attached to the K70. The wrist rest is secured by sliding and snapping the tabs into the slots on the underside and can be removed by pinching the tabs.
Something not commonly seen is risers on all four corners as opposed to the usual two. This gives some more options for personal adjustment.
Using the Vengeance K70 and Conclusion
A good deal of time has passed since we saw Corsair’s first keyboards and we praised their effort in creating something that stood out while embracing mechanical keyboard technology. We aren’t as impressed with the K70 today because there are many more mechanical keyboards out there. However, the K70 looks incredible. The brushed aluminum is beautiful to look at and pleasant to touch in contrast to the usual plastic enclosure seen with other keyboards. The way the backlight floods out from beneath the keys is striking and giving the impression that the rest of the keyboard glows. The backlights are also silly bright; even the lowest setting is as bright as the brightest most other individually backlit keyboards can output.
$110 for both the silver and black model is huge for those who look at all this as “just a keyboard.” The fact remains however, that the K70 is a keyboard that uses Cherry mechanical switches. It’s not just a good premium keyboard; it’s a very good premium keyboard. The black model only comes with Cherry MX Red switches, but the silver model is available with Blues and Browns. (Update: The black model is now also available with Blue switches and Brown switches) The Cherry MX Red models we reviewed are very good for gaming as a result of the switch mechanism’s low resistance despite being unforgiving of typing mistakes. Otherwise, the Blues and Browns would be the superior personal choice.
On that note, Corsair’s willingness to respond to popular sentiment is particularly what makes the Vengeance K70 special. I like that there’s more than one popular color to choose from and that there is a selection of Cherry switches. The aggressive, but controlled gamer style is compatible with a wide variety of battlestations and the mechanical switch experience is not inhibited by any poor design choices. Key-by-key backlighting and the small kit of textured keycaps add a subtle level of customizability. Even if most of the keyboard isn’t inspiring, it isn’t necessary. This is Corsair showing again it understands what gamers and PC enthusiasts want.
Legit Bottom Line: Corsair’s Vengeance K70 is another mechanical keyboard that meets expectations, but impresses with an aesthetic that can’t be found elsewhere.