Pros: Great build quality, Pleasant typing experience, Well developed software
The box highlights the new key design; that is of course the main selling point of this keyboard. Also available on this model are individually RGB backlit keys which are configurable through the Corsair Utility Engine.
Included in the box besides the keyboard is a detachable wrist wrest, a warranty guide, a user’s manual, a key puller, and replacement key caps. These caps are rubberized and designed for frequently used gaming keys. Included are WASD as well as a second set of QWERDF. Not sure why they included D and W twice, but you do get two of them. I put just WASD on but I really like the extra grip since it makes finding them easier.
Let's start with the new switches since that’s probably the reason you're reading this. The body is clear with a standard grey plastic stem. They feel most similar to MX Black switches in that they are totally linear. There is no actuation bump on the way down. Their actuation force is 45g which is the same as the Brown and Red, but less than Blue and Black. Imagine the smoothness of the MX Black with the weight of the MX Brown. Browns were previously my favorites since they were quick to actuate, but I definitely like the MX Speed better. The linear actuation means you don't have to bottom out the key for it to register on the computer and there is no bump on the way down. Related to that is the travel distance. The MX Speed's operating point is at 1.2mm as opposed to 2mm for other switches. The 0.8mm difference doesn't seem like a lot but considering a key switch doesn't move much to begin with, it is noticeable. The switch actuates about 1/3 of the way down. This translates into faster typing and a faster response time in games.
Now we'll take a step back and focus on the keyboard as a whole. The keyboard just feels high quality. The frame is made of brushed aluminum and flexes very little even under heavy strain. They keyboard weighs in at just over 2.5lbs and measures 17" by 6.5". The keyboard features no dedicated macro keys, but each key can be remapped in software. More on that later. The overall industrial design is very simple too. There are no plastic edges protruding at odd angles or anything of the sort. It is just a beautiful keyboard.
The RGB backlighting works extremely well in my opinion. The colors are vibrant and illuminate the entire area around the key as well, not just the writing. I think this is more aesthetically pleasing. There are also 3 levels of brightness to choose from. Since Corsair was one of the early players in the RGB hype game, I would expect nothing less. Located right next to the brightness key is a Windows lock key. It can also be configured to disable shift-tab, alt-tab, or alt-f4.
Turning the keyboard around now we find front and back feet for adjusting the angle of the keyboard. I've never seen front feet and didn't end up using them at all, but your mileage may vary depending on your typing style. There were no cable management runs on the back like some manufacturers have included, but I rarely find myself using them so I wasn't at all disappointed. The included soft touch wrist rest is also a nice touch. It snaps in and out easily. It did well at resisting fingerprints but inevitably began to pick up faint marks from everyday use. Nothing major at all and I would highly recommend using it. There are two USB cables attached to the keyboard since it features a pass-through. The cable is sheathed in a sturdy braided material that reflects the quality of the rest of the product.
In terms of additional hardware features, the K70 Rapidfire features media keys and a USB pass-through. Also on the back is a switch for selecting the polling rate or enabling BIOS mode. This can help with compatibility issues caused by your motherboard not recognizing the keyboard. I really like the media keys, especially the volume wheel. I much prefer a wheel over generic up and down buttons. The media playback buttons were a bit disappointing though. They are standard membrane switches, but given they aren't used too frequently, it's acceptable. Their physical placement was also something I would have changed. They are very short compared to the other keys so pressing them was a bit difficult. I had to curl my fingers up and over the numpad to get to them. A taller button would have been a bit easier to use. These pictures also show the height of the rest of the keys. Since they are situated relatively high above the frame, cleaning dust out is very easy as well.
Finally, we'll head over to the software. Corsair Utility Engine, or CUE, is a well-developed companion to the K70 keyboard. Despite some bugs at launch, it now feels polished and very powerful. The main two features are the key assignment and the key lighting.
From the assignment tab you can change the key mapping for every single key. Even the windows, media, and brightness keys can be reprogrammed. You can also enable different layers or profiles for different games or scenarios. The number of different functions an individual key can perform is very large. From key macros, shortcuts, mouse and DPI setting, text entry, timers, to finally media controls, it seems that there's nothing this keyboard can't do. It took a while to get the hang of it and to realize that you had to right click to edit a key, but after that it was smooth sailing. Recording and customizing each action was very simple with a wide variety of advanced options available too.
The lighting tab is equally mature and powerful. You can select any key or group of keys and apply any effect. There are solid colors, ripple effects, wave effects, and much more. I set a solid background with reactive lighting on each key press. The different layers can also have different lighting settings. For example, you could have a gaming layer with your binds set to a different color. Holding the left mouse to drag and select makes complex lighting profiles very easy. As with many products, there is a learning curve. Once you spend a few hours messing around, it's easy to create some really cool stuff with the K70.
The last two main things to look at in CUE are the performance and settings tabs. Performance lets you disable certain common key combinations when the lock is on. This is so you don't accidentally minimize or close your game in the middle of it. The settings menu has some advanced options for the on screen display, media player support, and software updates.
So all in all, the K70 RGB Rapidfire from Corsair is my new favorite keyboard. The MX Speed switch is fast just like its name suggests, the lighting and macro software is very powerful, and the build quality is excellent. The $170 price tag is pretty steep but since Corsair has sole access to the MX Speed for the first few months, they can charge that much. The K70 does come in a non RGB version for those wishing to save about $30, at the cost of some lighting customization. The K70 is fun to type on an for everything from casual social media all the way up to competitive gaming. The lack of dedicated macro keys may turn some users away, but it more than made up for it in software customization. Overall, my impression is that it is just a good solid keyboard. I might wait a little bit for the price to go down, but I highly recommend the K70 RGB Rapidfire from Corsair.
Here is the link to the discussion page on the forum