I am someone who spends an average of 6-8 hours a day on the computer,which means that, in addition to a solid gaming keyboard, (usually backlighting and some useful extra keys) I wanted an accessory that was smooth and enjoyable to type on. After all, I spend a lot of time writing as well.
Continuing my quest for a gaming keyboard I would want to last, I sought out the Corsair Vengeance K70.
The Mechanical Difference
Unlike the Steelseries Apex which I reviewed previously, the K70 is a mechanical keyboard. Most, if not all current Apple keyboards are either chiclet or membrane-based. These have a soft, almost squishy feel to the keys when depressed. They have the benefit of being very quiet, and more resistant to dirt and liquids. They are also lighter and often more portable.
Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, provide the satisfying tactile and audible feedback missing from other keyboard styles. They also boast longer lifespans (barring spills) and a generally sturdier construction. There is no clear winner as to which style of keyboard is better, so I’d suggest evaluating your typing needs and preferences to make a decision.
I’ve been using non-mechanical keyboards for the last several years on a daily basis, so at first the change almost felt odd. But then I noticed just how good it feels to type on this keyboard and I was hooked.
At a Glance
The K70 is made out of brushed black anodized aluminum. This gives it a sturdy construction and decent weight. You won’t want to be lugging this around, but it’s not so big that it will take up your whole desk. A few extra keys control media and volume, while three small buttons control the backlighting and Windows lock key, if you want it. I was pleased to find it also includes an optional detachable palm rest. Lastly, it has four legs under the keyboard so you can tilt it how you want.
One of the reasons I got this keyboard is because I wanted one with backlighting. A potential downside of this model is that the lighting only comes in one color - red. Red happens to be my favorite color, so this is no issue for me, but if you don’t like the color it could be a problem. Obviously you can turn the backlighting off, but there’s no point buying a backlit keyboard and not using it. Corsair does sell a more expensive version that lets you change the backlighting to any color you want, but this feature wasn’t worth the extra $40 to me.
The default red lighting was perfect for night use and can toggle between 3 levels of brightness in addition to turning it off completely. You can also program only certain keys to light up, then switch between this and full lighting with a the press of a button.
Another nice feature is the textured space bar, which feels great under your thumbs. Additionally the package gives you spare WASD and 1-6 number keys to replace with red textured keycaps. A small key-pulling tool is included to make this process easy. The textured keys feel so good I’d actually enjoy an entire keyboard this way.
The K70 comes in three different key “switch” configurations: Red, Brown and Blue. These determine how much pressure is needed for a keypress to register in addition to controlling how “clicky” the keys are. I tested the Red and Brown switches for this review.
I went for the reds first because they were listed as being the quietest. However, I found the actuation of the keys to be overly sensitive to my typing style and I would frequently make mistakes and typos. This isn’t a fault of the keyboard or the switch style, but rather the slight contour to the keys. I have been using a chiclet keyboard for the last few years which has flat keys everywhere. So as I type on the K70 my fingertips would inadvertently brush over the tops of other keys. On the red setting, this was enough for me to make lots of typos. It felt incredibly smooth to type on, but in the end I decided to return it due to the sensitivity.
Next, I tried the Brown switches (you have to order another keyboard for this) and found it to be the perfect match while still delivering everything else I loved about the K70. I would guess that most people would find the Brown switches to be perfect, but if you are an ardent typist you may already know what works for you best. I didn’t try the Blues so I can’t comment on those, but what I do know is they are the loudest and require the most actuation force to get the keys to register, and neither of those things appeal to me.
Some Configuration Required
As the K70 is configured for Windows out of the box, you’re going to want to make some changes, such as reversing the command and option keys. For added functionality, you should also set the BIOS switch to #4 in the back.
If you’ve got the cash for it, and have been looking to try out a mechanical keyboard, I highly recommend the Corsair Vengeance K70. It feels sturdy, has a nice set of features, and feels simply amazing on your fingers. I know I’m going to be using it for a long time to come for all my gaming and writing needs.
- Feels amazing to type on
- Detachable palm rest
- Sturdy construction
- Textured spacebar and optional WASD, 1-6 keys
- No color options for backlighting unless you spend $40 more