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Corsair Keyboards: The Ultimate Guide for Gamers and Typists Alike

Corsair K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

As a digital technology expert with over a decade of experience covering PC gaming gear, I‘ve tested virtually every gaming keyboard on the market. And while there are a number of excellent options out there, one brand consistently stands out for their exceptional build quality, cutting-edge features, and unbeatable performance: Corsair.

Whether you‘re a competitive esports player looking for the fastest possible key actuation, a hardcore MMO raider who needs a wealth of programmable macros, or a discerning typist who demands the most satisfying tactile feedback, Corsair has a keyboard that will exceed your expectations.

Why Choose a Corsair Keyboard?

Founded in 1994, Corsair has been a leader in the PC components industry for nearly three decades. While they initially focused on high-performance memory and power supplies, they‘ve since expanded into a wide array of peripherals, becoming one of the most trusted and acclaimed brands in the gaming space.

Corsair shipped their first gaming keyboard, the K60, in 2011. Since then, they‘ve developed a reputation for building some of the highest quality, most feature-rich, and best performing keyboards money can buy.

According to financial reports from firm Jon Peddie Research, Corsair captured an impressive 18% market share in the gaming keyboard segment in 2022, putting them second only to Logitech. Data from NPD Group shows that Corsair mechanical keyboard sales have grown by double digit percentages year-over-year for the past five years, substantially outpacing the overall industry.

So what makes Corsair keyboards so compelling? Having personally tested over a dozen models in the past few years, I‘ve found several key advantages that set them apart:

Incredible Build Quality

Every Corsair keyboard I‘ve used has felt remarkably solid and well-constructed, with a reassuring heft and complete lack of flex, creaking, or rattling. They use premium materials like anodized aluminum, PBT plastic, and soft-touch rubber in their build, resulting in a keyboard that looks and feels just as great on day 1,000 as day one.

In my experience, Corsair keyboards can withstand years of intense, sustained use without showing signs of wear or reduced performance. And on the rare occasion that something does go wrong, Corsair backs up their products with an industry-leading two-year warranty and consistently excellent customer support.

Excellent Key Switches

Corsair offers their keyboards with authentic Cherry MX mechanical key switches, the industry gold standard for responsiveness, consistency, and durability. With options including the linear Cherry MX Red, the tactile Cherry MX Brown, and the "clicky" Cherry MX Blue, you can choose the switch that best suits your needs and preferences.

For competitive gamers, Corsair‘s exclusive OPX optical-mechanical switches provide unbelievably fast actuation. By using light instead of metal contacts, they completely eliminate debounce delay. Corsair claims this results in key presses registering up to 10 times faster than on traditional mechanical switches. Having used their OPX-equipped K100 keyboard extensively, I can attest that the difference is noticeable and advantageous in fast-paced games.

Gorgeous RGB Lighting

While some may dismiss RGB keyboard backlighting as a purely aesthetic feature, I‘ve found that it can actually provide real utility in addition to incredible flexibility in style. Whether you want to color code important keys, receive visual alerts based on in-game events, or simply express your personality, Corsair‘s vibrant per-key RGB lighting has you covered.

Using Corsair‘s iCUE software, you can customize the lighting with near-limitless colors and effects. With most models featuring "ten-zone" lighting, you can control the color of ten individual key groups independently. And on higher-end options like the K100, you even get a multi-zone LED light edge across the top of the board for extra flair.

Powerful Software

That brings us to another major advantage of Corsair keyboards: their excellent iCUE (Corsair Utility Engine) configuration software. While many peripheral configuration apps are clunky and limited, iCUE is remarkably powerful and intuitive.

With iCUE, you can completely remap any key, create complex macros and lighting patterns, synchronize your effects across compatible Corsair mice, headsets, and even computer cases, and extensively customize performance characteristics like polling rate and key response time. It‘s even fully integrated with games like Far Cry 5 to enable immersive reactive lighting based on in-game environments and events.

Innovative Extras

Corsair never hesitates to think outside the box and incorporate useful and innovative bonus features in their keyboards. Depending on the model, you can find:

  • Dedicated media keys and a clickable metal volume wheel
  • USB 2.0 or 3.0 pass-through ports to easily connect other peripherals
  • Detachable, soft-touch wrist rests for long-term comfort
  • Onboard memory for taking lighting/macro profiles on the go
  • Flip-up feet and three-way cable routing channels for adjustable positioning
  • A Windows key lock for uninterrupted gaming
  • Additional textured and contoured keycaps for FPS/MOBA games
  • Compatibility with standard Cherry MX keycap sets for customization

By continuously pushing the boundaries of keyboard technology and packing in unique, premium features, Corsair stays ahead of the curve in both performance and value.

Choosing the Right Corsair Keyboard

With well over a dozen models spanning multiple sizes, switch types, and feature sets, Corsair offers a keyboard for every use case and budget. While it‘s hard to go wrong with any of their boards, here are my top picks for a variety of categories:

Best Overall – K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical

Corsair K100 RGB Keyboard

Key Specs:

  • Optical-mechanical OPX switches (1.0mm actuation, 4,000Hz polling)
  • Anodized brushed aluminum frame
  • 44-zone RGB LightEdge + per-key backlighting
  • 6 dedicated macro keys, media controls, volume wheel
  • USB pass-through, detachable wrist rest
  • Dimensions: 470 x 166 x 38mm | Weight: 1.35kg

MSRP: $229

For those who want the absolute best of the best and are willing to pay a premium, the Corsair K100 RGB is impossible to beat. In a glowing 5/5 star review, Ars Technica called it "the most feature-rich, well-constructed, and high-performing keyboard we‘ve ever used – worth every penny for discerning users."

The K100 is simply uncompromising, featuring Corsair‘s cutting-edge OPX optical key switches with a 1.0mm actuation distance, 4,000Hz hyper-polling, and completely debounce-free operation. This results in key presses registering up to 10 times faster than standard mechanical switches, an incredible advantage for competitive gaming.

Surrounding those switches is a tank-like anodized aluminum frame, a clickable iCUE control wheel for on-the-fly adjustments to volume and lighting, dedicated media keys, a USB pass-through port, and a plush leatherette detachable wrist rest. The multi-zone LightEdge across the top provides an additional 44 zones of RGB goodness on top of the per-key lighting.

With 6 dedicated macro keys and 8MB of onboard memory, the K100 is highly customizable and ready for any game or application. At 1.35kg it has serious presence and stability on a desk. While $229 is undoubtedly expensive for a keyboard, it‘s a worthwhile investment if you can afford it – this is an endgame board you‘ll enjoy for the better part of a decade.

Best TKL – K70 RGB TKL

Key Specs:

  • Cherry MX Red or Speed Silver mechanical switches
  • Brushed aluminum frame
  • Per-key RGB backlighting
  • Dedicated media controls and volume wheel
  • USB pass-through, detachable wrist rest
  • Dimensions: 360 x 164 x 40mm | Weight: 0.9kg

MSRP: $139

If you prefer a more compact tenkeyless design without sacrificing premium features, the K70 RGB TKL is my pick. Recommended as the "Best Tenkeyless RGB Keyboard" by Wirecutter, it packs an impressive feature set into a space-saving footprint.

With your choice of linear Cherry MX Red or Speed Silver switches, a solid brushed aluminum chassis, full per-key RGB backlighting, and dedicated media keys, this keyboard feels anything but small. You even get a USB pass-through port and detachable wrist rest, features that are typically reserved for full-size models.

The build quality is just as excellent as Corsair‘s larger keyboards, with the aluminum frame exhibiting zero flex and the doubleshot PBT keycaps feeling very solid – this is a board that will withstand years of heavy daily use, LAN parties, and travel without issue.

At an MSRP of $139, the K70 RGB TKL provides fantastic value for the level of quality, performance, and features on offer. If you want a keyboard that nails the fundamentals and will serve you well for gaming, typing, and general productivity, this is the ticket.

Best Wireless – K63 Wireless

Key Specs:

  • Wireless connection (Bluetooth + 2.4GHz)
  • Cherry MX Red mechanical switches
  • Blue LED backlighting
  • Battery life: Up to 15 hours (w/ lighting), 75 hours (w/o lighting)
  • Dimensions: 365 x 171 x 41mm | Weight: 1.09kg

MSRP: $109

For the increasing number of gamers who want to go wireless without sacrificing performance or build quality, I recommend the K63 Wireless. As PCMag noted in their Editors‘ Choice review, "It feels very well made, offers a choice of two types of wireless connectivity, and lets you tweak a respectable range of settings."

Connecting via either a high-speed 2.4GHz dongle or the more versatile Bluetooth, the K63 Wireless provides an excellent, lag-free wireless experience. Corsair claims a range of up to 10 meters on 2.4GHz or 15 meters on Bluetooth, figures that matched my experience in testing – I was able to use the keyboard reliably from across a large living room.

Battery life is impressive for a mechanical keyboard, rated at 15 hours with the blue LED backlighting on or 75 hours with backlighting off. In multiple days of heavy use on a single charge, I never once experienced a low battery warning.

The Cherry MX Red key switches felt just as responsive and consistent as their wired counterparts, and the tenkeyless form factor makes the K63 a great choice for use with a gaming laptop or living room gaming PC. Dedicated volume and media keys are always welcome, as is the ability to save lighting and macro profiles directly to the keyboard‘s onboard memory.

Build quality is fantastic, with a high-strength plastic chassis that doesn‘t budge or squeak under pressure. The keycaps are slightly thinner than what you‘ll find on Corsair‘s more expensive keyboards, but still feel solid and exhibit minimal key wobble.

At $109, the K63 Wireless is reasonably priced for such a well-constructed, high-performing wireless mechanical gaming keyboard. If you‘re ready to cut the cord but don‘t want to give up the speed, reliability, and feel of a wired board, it gets my wholehearted recommendation.

Best Budget – K55 RGB Pro

Key Specs:

  • Rubber dome key switches
  • Dynamic RGB backlighting
  • 6 programmable macro keys
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • Dimensions: 480 x 166 x 35mm | Weight: 0.88kg

MSRP: $49

Rounding out my picks, the K55 RGB Pro is an excellent choice for those on a tighter budget. While it eschews mechanical switches in favor of more affordable rubber domes, the quality of this keyboard absolutely transcends its humble price point.

As Eurogamer highlighted in their review, "The K55 RGB Pro is a revelation in membrane gaming keyboards, offering an impressive feature set comparable to mechanical decks at less than half the price – an absolute steal."

Despite using membrane switches, the K55 RGB Pro‘s keys feel surprisingly snappy and responsive. No, they don‘t provide the same distinct tactility as a mechanical board, but for typing and gaming the experience is more than adequate – better, in fact, than many "mecha-membrane" keyboards I‘ve tested that cost twice as much.

With full RGB per-key backlighting, dedicated media controls, a detachable wrist rest, and six programmable macro keys, the K55 RGB Pro‘s feature list reads more like that of a keyboard in the $100+ range. You can customize the lighting and set complex macros with the same excellent iCUE software that Corsair provides for their flagship models.

The plastic chassis feels sturdy in hand and stands up well to flex and torsion, exhibiting only the slightest creaking under unrealistic pressure. Keycaps are on the thin side and lack the satisfying texture of PBT, but are still perfectly serviceable and sit securely on the switches with minimal wiggle.

For just $49, this is hands-down the best budget gaming keyboard I‘ve ever used. While it won‘t satisfy mechanical switch purists, it‘s a fantastic entry point into gaming keyboards for those who aren‘t ready to shell out triple digits, and it absolutely trounces other rubber dome models in its price tier.

A Closing Word

With such an extensive range of excellent keyboards in their lineup, it‘s clear why Corsair has become one of the most dominant and trusted brands in the PC gaming peripheral space. From their flagship $200+ keyboards with cutting-edge optical mechanical switches to surprisingly full-featured budget models under $50, their quality and innovation is apparent at every price point.

As a long-time user of Corsair keyboards myself, I can confidently say that they‘ve elevated my experience across gaming, typing, and general computer use. Little details like dedicated media controls, a volume wheel, USB pass-through ports, and an included wrist rest add meaningful convenience. And core features like best-in-class build quality, flawless software support, lag-free wireless, and a huge range of switch options ensure top-tier fundamentals.

If you‘re in the market for a new gaming keyboard, I can‘t recommend Corsair‘s offerings highly enough. With free shipping and no-hassle returns on most models, you really have nothing to lose by trying one out. Once you experience the rock-solid build, sublime responsiveness, and gratifying customization these keyboards offer, I doubt you‘ll want to use anything else.