Have you noticed that almost every new keyboard marketed toward gamers is mechanical? I have and that’s a good thing. I couldn’t help but notice the Corsair K65 RGB. I mean, look at the thing. How can you not?!
First thing you probably noticed is the fact that it doesn’t come equipped with a number pad. Believe it or not, it’s a thing called a “ten keyless” keyboard. It’s ideal for maximizing space on your desk and that’s one of the features I sorely needed on my ever crowded workstation / game station. I have to admit that it took a little getting used to since I’m so accustomed to having a full-sized keyboard. The lack of dedicated programmable macro keys also threw me off, but after a few days I got used to it. The size aside, let’s get to the fun features!
You noticed the term “RGB” in the name? Well, that’s a fancy way of saying that this keyboard features programmable lighting for both colors and modes. Technically, it’s capable of displaying millions of colors – 16.8 million to be exact. Each key has a dedicated LED that allows for a truly customized look.
As you can see in the picture, I’ve singled out the Fn key to be a weird color since I seldom use it in games. I’ve assigned a distinct color to the WASD cluster and media control buttons because, why not? The lighting can also be programmed to put on an animated light show or execute via key presses. Although I usually thumb my nose at such features, I couldn’t help using the residual lighting effect for every key that I press. I never notice such things since my eyeballs are glued to the screen but all your friends and spectators can be dazzled by the show that you’re putting on both on screen and on your keyboard!
The Cherry MX Red switches perform as they should: responsive, sturdy and with the right amount of resistance (for me). Corsair initially launched their Vengeance line of gaming keyboards with Cherry Red switches but they’ve expanded their arsenal by including Browns (very light, fast), and Blues (the famous tactile *click*). Take your pick!
As another neat feature, this keyboard sports is a switch located on the back of the unit to set the polling rate. Although I’ve never had issues with response time for key presses, I’m guessing most hardcore gamers would leave the switch locked into the 1000Hz position. Another cool thing about the switch itself is that there is a BIOS position. Moving the switch into that position allows for the keyboard to work with most legacy systems. Corsair keyboards traditionally have a hard time working with the XIM4, which I use to connect my mouse and keyboard to game consoles. The BIOS setting allows the keyboard to work, but not without experience breaking bugs. Just thought I’d throw that little bit in there.
The Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) allows pretty much every Corsair peripheral to be accessed and configured to your liking. Akin to Logitech’s Gaming Software, the interface is clean, flat, and fairly easy to use. Everything from lighting, macros, and DPI can be manipulated in the CUE. I personally found it to be a bit too robust. It can be a bit cumbersome to navigate and profile activation and management can be confusing. I’m hoping that in the coming months, Corsair will update and improve the user experience on this potentially kick-ass software.
The market is flooded with gaming keyboards. Just a few years ago, gaming on a mechanical keyboard wasn’t all that prevalent. Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find a peripheral company that doesn’t have some sort of mechanical “gaming grade” keyboard. That’s great and all but as a first time consumer, I can imagine being overwhelmed with the bevy of choices. Although most mechanical gaming keyboards are a bit higher on the price scale, go for the K65 RGB if you’re into the Red switches. It’s not as light as the Browns but if you’re a button smasher like me, the K65 would be an ideal fit. The Corsair K65 RGB is a Best Buy exclusive but still can be found on major online retailer websites as well. The MSRP is $149.99.