Well, there we have it: after all these years, Corsair is finally bringing out a fully featured TKL (tenkeyless) keyboard. This is the K70 RGB TKL Champion Series, and at first glance it looks like the whole package. The K70 RGB TKL has the longstanding, but still first-class design from Corsair, Cherry MX switches, the full range of media buttons, volume control and of course the addressable RGB lighting per button. If you are looking for a keyboard that does everything in TKL format, these are the one to keep an eye on. Or maybe not.
Compared to the K65 RGB TKL, the K70 TKL in its different versions offers the full range of dedicated media buttons, a volume control, lock / unlock buttons, more RGB with a pretty, illuminated Corsair logo and a detachable USB type. C-cables, a switch for tournament mode, 8000 Hz hyper-polling and PBT keycaps ex works.
That's a lot of updates, but after spending some time on them I'm not entirely convinced that this is the keyboard you should get. It's an excellent little board, but it's the keyboard that I would have expected Corsair to bring out five years ago, and in today's market it has a mixed personality.
Corsair, where is the palm rest?
As much as TKL keyboards in general represent a tradeoff between practicality and gaming performance, this hallway makes some design choices that make them primarily for gaming and much less for office use. It comes with an 8,000Hz axon hyper-polling mode which ensures you can count on your keyboard to respond to your input, and while I don't think it makes any difference above 1,000Hz, In conjunction with NKRO you can rest assured that all errors in the game are 100% your fault and at least not your keyboard's. The additional space in the TKL layout offers you additional mouse space. So overall, this is a pleasant game board.
At the same time, it offers you luxury such as media buttons and the navigation island. So it's a board that you can use on a daily basis too, right? Well, not really, and for one simple reason: Corsair cut out the included palm rest.
I'm not sure why Corsair chose to do this. With no flat switches, it's a big keyboard for typing, and it's not comfortable without a palm rest to help either. For the most part, Corsair always included palm rests with its keyboards. At the bottom of the K70 TKL you will find cutouts where they would have been attached. But for some reason someone at Corsair thought it was a great idea to leave it out.
Then you have the choice between the switches. After spending some hands-on time with the K100 RGB and Corsair opto-mechanical OPX switches, I'm a little sad to see that they are not (yet) an option with the K70 RGB TKL. Especially when you consider that the K70 RGB TKL is equipped with 8,000 Hz polling, I don't understand why optical switches are not an option as electromechanical switches still have to debounce, completely negating the usefulness of the 8,000 Hz polling .
I understand, of course, that Corsair would like to reserve its top switch for its top-of-the-line board. I think we'll have to wait for the K100 RGB TKL to come out. But I fundamentally disagree: just because we don't want a full-size, full-price keyboard doesn't mean we should be penalized with less than the best switch options. Instead, we'll limit ourselves to the Cherry MX Red, Silent Red, and MX Speed Silver switches – all excellent options – but nothing new or groundbreaking, and they're in today's market where most manufacturers are releasing their own, better ones, somewhat out of date switch.
Enough negativity, let's talk about the good things
At $ 140, this isn't an expensive keyboard. Okay, that's not cheap either, but it's not $ 250 like many flagships on the market today, and for the money I would say it still has a lot of great features and the quality of the materials backs the price up above .
Based on the black anodized and brushed aluminum plate, this is clearly a quality product. The inclusion of PBT keycaps as well as some textured extra keys for your WASD and surrounding keys absolutely adds to the overall quality.
The USB Type-C cable is braided and detachable. It's a good cable, but a bit thin, so nothing to write home about. The fact that it's interchangeable means you can easily swap it out for a neat spiral and sleeve cable, and I appreciate that.
Gaming: Where this keyboard is oh so good
While it might not be particularly comfortable for everyday use, a TKL layout is a lot easier to get used to than a 60% layout like the one on the just released K65 RGB Mini. All in all, it's okay to do your daily chores, provided you don't spend my hours working on it as a writer like me.
But switch it to tournament mode, start a game and you will quickly find the K70 RGB in its home territory. The tournament mode switch sets the RGB lighting to red to reduce distractions and disable all macros. Combined with the lock mode that disables the Windows key, it makes a great gaming companion.
The two shooting games I play regularly are Destiny 2 and Insurgency Sandstorm, both fast-paced and exactly the kind of titles that the K70 RGB TKL was a very valued companion on. The buttons were quick to respond, the textured and angled WASD buttons made it easy to find the right position and stay there. Without the number pad, I also gained a lot of space to romp around, so that I could reduce the DPI of my mouse and play more precisely. My Insurgency Sandstorm friends group likes to play against a bot team with the maximum number of bots at the highest level of difficulty (I know it's like we'd like to fail), and it is in these scenarios that the K70 RGB TKL has the biggest difference in my K made: D ratio.
Not bad, but better suited for the 2016 market
If you're looking for a keyboard that is brilliant for (tournament) gaming and you're not ready to make the jump to a 60% layout like the K65 RGB Mini or the Razer Huntsman Mini, a TKL keyboard can be a be good middle ground. It offers a clear gaming performance benefit while maintaining an element of day-to-day usability.
And while the K70 RGB TKL Champion Series has made a huge impact on everyday usability by eliminating the palm rest, you can still write an essay about it once a week, provided you're young and don't have tired wrists like mine. As long as you know you are playing on the K70 RGB TKL more than 80% of the time, you won't be disappointed – in fact, it's pretty brilliant as a gaming keyboard.
I just really wish it had a palm rest and Corsair's opto-mechanical OPX switches. But for that we will probably have to wait a little longer and save a little more.