A keyboard is one of the most essential pieces of tech that you can have on your desk, and a lackluster board can be rather infuriating to use overall. While Corsair and I haven’t always gotten along, the K70 Core instantly flipped my impressions around, providing an excellent budget-friendly keyboard with a variety of options available to users that rivals some of the pricier keyboards on the market. I walked away impressed with my time using the K70 Core, and it’s going to take a lot for me to consider getting a different keyboard in the future.
Switches That Are Ready To Roll
I’m one of those types of folks who visit big box stores like Best Buy when I’m looking for new parts for my PC, and the keyboard section always draws me in. Display samples are one of my biggest weaknesses, as I always want to see what’s new and exciting in the world of technology, so getting to go hands-on with a particular product is always key in my purchasing experience.
Corsair has never been my favorite brand, especially when seeing how other keyboards continued to innovate, and they always felt bland by comparison. However, what they lacked in innovation, they made up for in reliability, so the K55 was one of my first mechanical keyboard purchases.
While incredibly reliable, I just wasn’t an overall fan of how it felt under my fingers in the long run. I spend a lot of time in front of my PC, be it for work or play, so having something that I know I’m going to enjoy using for a long time is always important, and something I’ve learned over the years. I’ve always felt that Corsair keyboards felt cheap and less-than-satisfying, so I was shocked when I took the K70 Core for a test run.
From the moment that I took this particular keyboard out of its box, I was impressed. It felt weighty; the keystrokes that I laid down felt much more solid and impressive than my previous experiences with their keyboards, and there are a few things to thank for that. Pre-lubricated switches that spring to life with a single touch, a layer of sound-dampening foam inside to keep the generalized noise to a minimum, and software/hardware touches that I could tweak to my exact specifications. It was love at first sight. And you know, what better way to test out a keyboard than writing and gaming, right?
Featuring MLX Red linear switches under the ABS keycaps, I found the overall typing experience to be sublime. While I’ve torn apart keyboards and added foam and new switches, this feels premium right out of the box, minus the price tag that usually follows alongside these upgrades. Gone are the hollow feeling keystrokes of Corsair keyboards of the past; feeling like an upgrade from a Geo Metro to a Ferarri. Yes, it’s that dramatic and drastic.
iCue Is A Bit Of A Struggle
Another new feature I was introduced to is the iCue software, which allows me to tweak the individual lighting settings of my keyboard and make it as visually exciting as I would like it to be. With a variety of different profiles, including an option to use Murals (which are pre-rendered light shows that can make your keyboard dance with different lights), the software is customizable to your heart’s desire. That is, when iCue decides that it wants to work.
During my initial setup, I encountered an error that would not allow me to customize my keyboard at all. It went from a colorful symphony of colors and effects to… just red. Nothing else beyond that, just every key was red. After uninstalling the program and reinstalling the program, I was able to finally customize the keyboard as I had hoped to from the start. While slightly annoying, it wasn’t the end of the world, even if iCue doesn’t like to play well with other hardware programs on your PC. It did mention that I needed to turn off or uninstall specific programs, but that would have hindered the rest of my build.
My PC is a Frankenstein’s monster of different parts, with fans from multiple companies, all with their own software to control the RGB inside. A water cooler with its own software, MSI software for the motherboard, and its control over the RGB within my system, and iCue doesn’t like to play friendly with all these different programs. Sure, I could easily subjugate it and just upgrade my parts to everything Corsair in the future, but is it worth all of the time, money, and effort just to make sure that my keyboard follows every command I give it? It should be able to collaborate with all of the different programs, since they have no problems working with one another.
Impressive Build Quality That Goes Beyond Its Price
I think the thing that impresses me the most about the K70 Core is the price. For $99, you get a stellar full-sized keyboard with pre-lubed switches, sound-dampening foam, interactive software, and even a media knob that can be repurposed and used for other things. It’s an impressive package, and while I may recommend spending the extra $10 to get the magnetic wristpad to ensure you can perform at maximum capacity, it’s a comfortable keyboard to type on, no matter what.
I struggle to think of another keyboard on the market that can really compete at this particular price point, as most that contain all of these features will run at least $50 or more above the price of the K70 Core. Even Corsair’s own K100 runs at least $100 to $150 more while offering a similar experience. It’s very impressive to see what Corsair could fit into this particular keyboard while providing their customers with one of the best typing and gaming experiences currently available.
However, for those who have either built their own keyboards in the past or have bought other brands, there are a few things that the K70 Core can’t compete with. A lot of specialty keyboards include a removable cord, so you can adjust the length that you can be away from your television set if you’re planning on gaming on the couch on your PC or Xbox/PlayStation console, and that’s just not here on the K70 Core. You’ve got an attached cable that runs off of USB-A as to be expected, so you may need to sit a little closer than you’d like if you’re hoping to game on the big screen.
And while this may not be something that bothers me much, there is a lack of Macro keys and media keys. Yes, the volume/media knob is an excellent addition, but it would have been nice to see some dedicated media playback keys available to coincide and make this the complete package. You can use the FN key to access media playback tools, but this could be more trouble than it’s worth to some users.
If you’re in the market for a new keyboard and don’t want to bankrupt yourself to get the best of the best currently available on the market, the K70 Core is the current bargain king. With impressive features for the price and a variety of key features that help set itself apart from other keyboards that are currently available to purchase, there is very little wrong with this particular entry into the Corsair family.
While iCue may not have been as user-friendly and intuitive as I would have liked, and the lack of proper media keys and macro keys may be a deal breaker for those hoping to customize every aspect of this keyboard completely, it’s an impressive keyboard for an even more impressive price. The dual-layer sound-dampening foam and pre-lubed switches are game changers and something that makes this keyboard easily one of the best I’ve ever used.
Corsair K70 Core Keyboard
While iCue may not have been as user-friendly and intuitive as I would have liked, and the lack of proper media keys and macro keys may be a deal breaker for those hoping to completely customize every aspect of this keyboard, it's an impressive keyboard for an even more impressive price. The dual-layer sound-dampening foam and pre-lubed switches are game changers, and something that makes this keyboard easily one of the best I've ever used.
- Sound dampening foam and pre-lubed switches out of the box
- Incredible typing and gaming feel
- Magnetic wrist rest is something I never knew I needed
- Price to quality ratio is through the roof
- Lacking Macro Keys/Media Keys
- iCue is slightly unintuitive