Corsair K70 CORE Review – Buttery Smooth
+ Smooth, uninterrupted keystrokes
+ Great sound dampening
+ Amazing build quality
+ Highly customizable
+ 5 onboard profiles
+ Reasonable value
- Non-detachable rubber cable
- Rotary dial feels a bit resistive
- Lacks dedicated media controls
- iCUE involves a fairly steep learning curve
- No wrist rest out-of-the-box
Unboxing & Appearance
As with all Corsair products, the packaging of K70 CORE is unmistakably yellow which you can easily spot even from a room away. It’s worth mentioning that the official name doesn’t contain the word ‘RGB’ in it despite its support for customizable lighting, unlike its more premium counterparts, such as the K70 PRO RGB. Our review unit comes with the proprietary Corsair MLX RED switches, which is the only switch type available for this model so far.
However, inside the box you’re greeted with a very minimal amount of things – leaving only the mandatory warranty leaflet and the Corsair K70 CORE itself, with nothing else in sight. As for the user guide, the company has conveniently put that under a QR code located inside the box. Pretty environment-friendly, I’d say.
In terms of customizable keys, you have two of them: one is the iCUE button that acts as play/pause button by default. You can of course customize this through iCUE, though it’s not quite obvious to me on the first encounter as I thought this is probably just a shortcut key that calls up the iCUE app itself. Meanwhile, the yellow-accented rotary dial has multiple functions that you can switch using Fn+F12, and it includes scrolling, volume control, keyboard brightness, and even page zoom.
The rear reveals two feet that only have a single stage of height when opened up, which can raise the keyboard by quite a bit. One bummer is the connection, however – it’s hardwired into the chassis with the USB-A connector, so be sure not to break it as it won’t be replaceable.
Corsair K70 CORE
|Aluminum top plate with plastic frame
|Corsair MLX RED (linear)
Actuation force: 45g
Total travel: 4.0mm
Lifespan: 70M keystrokes
|N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
|PC: Windows 10 or later
Mac: macOS 10.15 or later
PlayStation 4/5 support available through Fn+Win shortcut
Xbox platforms (detailed support list unspecified)
|Non-detachable wired rubber cable, USB 3.x Type-A
No USB passthrough ports
|Black (as tested)
|448 x 153 x 35.3 mm
If I had to choose between clicky, tactile, and linear – I’m usually the tactile kind of person. Still, despite the fact that Corsair’s K70 CORE only comes with the proprietary MLX RED linear switches, it doesn’t affect my typing feel in any discernible way compared to other types of switches. I’ve come to like the feel of it and just how buttery smooth each key feels, and the foam did a good job at keeping the noise low and reasonable even at rapid typing sessions.
If you can try one of these switches, there’s a good chance you’ll like them a lot; but not everyone has the luxury to get this keyboard up close as it’s not quite the ubiquitous keyboard that you can just see in every computer store. For that, here’s a quick test on how it sounds like:
In terms of build quality, full points for Corsair. While it’s not entirely constructed of aluminum chassis, the top plate and plastic frame still provide very good rigidity while still having a premium look. The keycaps themselves aren’t using the higher quality doubleshot PBT keycaps – despite that, the doubleshot ABS serves well enough with some levels of texture on it to prevent your sweaty finger from slipping.
One of the highlights of this keyboard is the huge amount of customization on offer on iCUE. If you happen to be someone who uses a ton of shortcut keys and macros (say, you’re a video editor), iCUE allows you to remap virtually every key (including the iCUE button) into anything you like, from macros, text inputs, soundboard – anything. Not that using such a nice keyboard as a secondary one is exactly an economically sound idea, but you can.
Adding on that, the keyboard offers a total of five profiles supported on its onboard memory, so you can just plug it into your machine, your work machine, or just someone else’s machine, each with different mapping and customization options. If you’re really going for it, I imagine you might spend many hours tweaking this keyboard to your absolute liking.
One of the biggest flaws of the Corsair K70 CORE, in my opinion, is the lack of detachable cables. The cable itself doesn’t come braided either – making this premium-looking keyboard just lost a bit of that feel, while also making it a potential issue down the road should the cable ever break. On that note, it’d be nice to see a USB passthrough port as a nice-to-have feature.
The next issue is more of a personal preference than an objective downside, but I do feel the rotary dial feels a bit too resistive to be operated using one finger scroll (especially during precision scroll). Some people may not find any issues with this – but it’s worth pointing out depending on your preference of how rotary dial mechanisms behave. On that subject, the lack of dedicated media keys is a bummer, as there’s no quick way of skipping tracks. (Fn+F6/F8 is just not as convenient.)
While iCUE offer great amounts of customization, learning to use it can be difficult for first-time users. This keyboard comes with two separate operating modes (for some reason) for both RGB and key assignments, so setting up custom profiles simply isn’t as straightforward as it could’ve been. Finally, given the keyboard’s fairly tall chassis, it would be nice to include a wrist rest as well – as my hands were resting in a less-than-ideal position unless I prop it up with considerable angle.
To be clear, the Corsair K70 CORE is by no means a perfect starting point for anyone getting into mechanical keyboards – there’s plenty of options out there that can cater to different kinds of people depending on what they prioritize the most. For this keyboard, one thing I can say: the typing feel is done right. If you’re after the typing experience, I think the K70 CORE is going to positive surprise you.
As for the price, it costs RM499 apiece, which is by no means cheap in the keyboard spectrum. However, if you take all aspects of the keyboard into account, this is a mechanical keyboard that, while not offering many creature comforts like its more premium counterparts in the K70 series, is worth the money – if you appreciate a good switch above all else, that is.
Special thanks to Corsair for providing the K70 CORE keyboard for this review.