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Corsair K70 Mk2 keyboard - impressions

My last 'good' keyboard, at least the last keyboard on which I spent any significant amount of money, was a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, way back in the before-times of 2005/06. It had no fancy RGB, no mechanical switches, and it needed a PS/2 to USB converter, but it was... bent? So that's nice. It was awful for gaming, and I don't really think it made any difference to typing either. Though to my surprise, you can still buy the things

 

I paired that keyboard with the last PC I ever built before this year, which died in 2008. Ever since then, I've used laptop keyboards and, more recently, an awful Logitech MK250, and not much else.

 

I built my current machine in July this year, after trying to source a reasonably-priced graphics card since December 2020. After trying and failing to get a graphics card for less than my car is worth, starting in February I took the approach of stashing away the money I would be prepared to spend on my desired card (an EVGA RTX 3070), then buying one component a month. I figured it would take me so long to find one that I'd have everything else I needed by the time it arrived, and I could invest in higher-quality components by spreading the cost out over like, a year.

 

Fortunately at the end of June I found the exact card I wanted, for just a tiny sliver above RRP. Unfortunately, I found it a bit earlier than I thought I would, and I still didn't have my CPU, RAM, PSU, or SSDs yet. I ended up buying everything in a hurry, temporarily bankrupting myself in the process, and I just didn't have enough left over for things like a keyboard. So I was stuck using an old Logitech MK250 that I had originally bought to connect to my Xbox 360. It was an awful thing to use as a daily driver, even more awful than the various laptop keyboards I've used over the years. Over the next two months while I rebuilt my savings a bit, I spent some time researching more premium keyboards, reading reviews, and even getting some of those 'sample switches'.

 

I tell you this rather dull tale so that you know in advance that I'm not a mechanical keyboard guru with years of experience of using the things. This is, in fact, the first mechanical keyboard I've used since the 1980s beige things my dad used to bring home when I was a mini-Fruit. That's why I've called this thread 'impressions', rather than a 'review'. You shouldn't regard me as being authoritative on the subject in any way, shape, or form.

 

Anyway, I eventually settled on the Corsair K70 Mk2. I finally got mine just over a month ago, so I've been using it every day since.

 

My impressions so far are really positive. I know a lot of mechanical keyboard fans out there love the harder, clickier key switches, but after trying a few different switch samples, I've become a very big fan of the quieter Cherry MX Reds that my K70 is equipped with - they have just enough actuation force to give feedback without feeling like they're an effort to use, and each key depress feels very smooth and slick. I liken typing on it to having my fingers dance across it now, rather than wrestling with them as I was on my old keyboard. The layout of the keyboard itself is perfectly logical and standard (in the UK, at least), and the key caps have a nice, soft feel to them. The labels are big, bold, clear, and they glow.

 

This is all reflected in my typing speed, which I feel has measurably increased now that I've grown accustomed to the board. Not that I was ever really paying much attention to my words-per-minute score in the past, but I don't recall ever scoring this highly in a typing test before:

 

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The best part is that my fingers don't ache on this keyboard after prolonged typing sessions!

 

It comes with some optional, textured WASD keys. I was dubious about these at first, but I've been giving them a try for the past week and they do actually help a little while gaming. If you're uncoordinated and easily-panicked like I am, they make it much easier to make sure your fingers are on the right keys even after jumping out of your chair from a jump scare. I've stopped trying to 'use' things instead of running forwards now, anyway! 

 

And then there's the lighting!

 

My Asus Tuf FX505GT laptop, which I bought at the start of the COVID lockdown last year, has keyboard RGB lighting, which was my first in-person experience of it, and aside from being modestly pretty I found it to be surprisingly useful when using it at night, especially after a few glasses of wine. The RGB lighting on the K70 is just on another level, though! The per-key lights bleed through the switches and illuminates the entire brushed aluminium top of the keyboard, which creates a particularly impressive show at night - like the keys are floating on a sea of colours! The Corsair logo glows too, but it's not quite as impressive. The iCUE software (which handily controls my RAM RGB too - and soon-to-be Corsair case fan replacements) lets you customise it pretty easily to all sorts of different patterns. I did at one point set it to light-up in response to my key presses... but at 100+ WPM, that was just giving me epilepsy, so I've got it set to a nice pleasant rainbow glow now.

 

The K70 Mk2 also has a small selection of media buttons on the upper-right corner. I don't believe that these are mechanical, but they're chunky and satisfying to press, and like everything else on the keyboard, they are illuminated with RGB. I particularly like the volume knob above those, which is a cylinder-style metal knob that you rotate up and down, and it feels exceptionally smooth and responsive. To the top-left corner are buttons that control the lighting profiles and - extremely usefully - lock the Windows key. Again, if you're like me and you're easily started in games, the number of times you've accidentally minimised your game by hitting the Windows key will be too embarrassing to tell people about. Not anymore!

 

Other than the lighting it's quite an under-stated design. If you turn the lighting off it's just a handsome, black, metal keyboard, devoid of most of the 'gamer' trappings, which is one of the reasons I chose it.

 

The detachable wrist-rest isn't padded, but rather made from a soft, textured, 'rubberised' plastic material. I find it quite comfortable and pleasant to work on for a long time - I have had cushioned wrist-rests in the past, both integrated and separate, and they always make my wrists feel too warm after prolonged use, which this one doesn't - but others may prefer a cushioned one as found on competitor keyboards such as the Razer models.

 

There are some down sides, though.

 

One minor niggle I have is that when typing at speed, there's an ever-so-slightly audible metal 'ping' with each key press. I don't know if that's just normal for mechanical keyboards or a particular quirk of the K70 Mk2 chassis, and it doesn't bother me too much, but it may bother some people.

 

But the far bigger problem is how much dirt this thing picks up! The aluminium top of the case seems to double as a vacuum cleaner, picking up every speck of everything that goes even slightly near it. And because of its brushed, black style (and perhaps not helped by the RGB casting light on everything), every single mote of dust is supremely visible. I've been cleaning it every week as best I can with a microfibre duster, but getting between the rows of keys isn't easy and within a few days it's back to looking like it's got some kind of disease.

 

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You'd think I lived in some kind of shed or something, but this room isn't particularly dusty; I vacuum every week and dust everything at the same time. My PC doesn't have a dust problem so far, and neither does my monitor or the surrounding desk. But to look at this keyboard, which is only a month-and-change old, you'd think I'd been exfoliating with the thing. 

 

The wrist-rest is almost as bad. You can touch it with freshly-washed hands and still need to wipe it down afterwards. 

 

I'm clearly going to have to remove all the caps and give it a proper clean at some point soon, which I'm not looking forward to doing because of how exceptionally lazy I am. Perhaps pressurised air might work...? Tips and advice on a postcard!

 

It's such a shame that it's such a dirt magnet, as the RGB lighting and brushed aluminium makes it so pretty, and it's spoilt by this ever-present layer of dust.

 

Despite that, it's far and away the best keyboard I've ever owned, and I absolutely don't regret buying it. Despite being a dust magnet it is a beautiful-looking thing, and given how much more pleasant the typing experience is on this board than any other I've used, I can live with having to clean it regularly. I love the smooth switches and the keycaps, which have dramatically improved my quality-of-life so far as typing goes, and the media controls are among the best I've ever tried - simple, but effective and satisfying.

 

I got it on offer for £120, which I feel is probably the ideal price-point for it.

 

Any more than that and you won't be able to afford all of the cleaning products you'll need to keep it looking nice, after all...

 

EDIT: In the dark, it's much prettier, though:

 

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