There’s really very little to complain about the new Corsair K70 TKL Champion Series Mechanical Gaming Keyboard besides the mouthful of a name. Retailing for about $200 in Australia, the K70 TKL isn’t a cheap board but it’s certainly cheaper than the $260 Razer Huntsman V2 TKL that I also recently reviewed.
And you know what? The K70 TKL offers everything that I wished the Huntsman V2 TKL had; dedicated media keys, a physical volume dial and an all round sexier design. And while Corsair clearly intended for this board to be used by esports pros(just look at the advertising), the K70 TKL will certainly satisfy even non-gamers. Let’s get into it.
Corsair K70 TKL Review
I wanna start with design because gosh darn it, this is one handsome piece of kit. The first thing you notice is how deep this board is thanks to the extended forehead that adds an extra 1.5cm to the board. And then, you see that gorgeous volume wheel off the right side. I’m a sucker for these physical volume dials and this certainly qualifies as my favorite on any keyboard to date. It’s got an incredible texture that hangs onto your fingertip allowing you to smoothly spin the dial to adjust volume.
Going along the opposite end of the board are the rest of the dedicated profile and media keys that are also nice and chonky but with a curved shape that matches the cylindrical volume dial. In the middle is a large black strip with a backlit Corsair logo which is lot of wasted space and a missed opportunity. Corsair could have copied Steelseries and put an OLED display there for some useful information or custom logos.
The media bar then steps down to join the rest of the K70’s metal frame that falls off to the front. The all black plate has a gorgeous brushed metallic finish and the //K70 name printed in fine detail in the bottom left corner. The key caps float above the backplate and are made of a textured PBT plastic that’s both durable and comfortable to touch. These are swappable for after market caps of your liking. Corsair puts a few in the box to get you started as well as a key cap puller.
At the back of the board is the USB-C port for the detachable braided cable and Corsair is still paying attention to the details with one of the best looking cables in the business. Also next to the USB-C port is the Tournament switch whose sole function is to turn off the dynamic RGB lighting and disables macros. Presumably, esports pros need this to prove that they aren’t cheating? There’s even a red LED on the back to show Judges at a glance that the mode is active.
Now, while the K70 is deeper than most keyboards, as a TKL or tenkeyless, it’s certainly not very wide. By chopping off the number pad and yet keeping the arrow and navigation keys, the K70 TKL sits in that sweet spot that makes it attractive to a wider majority of consumers who want a smaller board for space saving but don’t want to lose essential keys. 60% boards are smalelr and more focused for gaming but the lack of dedicated arrow keys and function keys make them too inconvenient for most productivity work. The K70 TKL is just the right size and weight to stash in a backpack for use on the go.
Need for speed
The Corsair K70 TKL is built for speed and that starts with the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches. These switches are fast, with a 1.2mm actuation and in keeping with the rest of the boards durability, guaranteed 100 million keystrokes. When typing, I’ve found the Silvers to be so fast that I ended up making plenty of typing errors due to sensitivity and respond of the keys. But I’m also not the most accurate typist so fast switches tend to expose my sins more easily.
Of course, pro gamers want this kind of instant response and they won’t be disappointed at all. Additionally, Corsair has brought their proprietary AXON tech which gives the K70 an ridiculous 8000 Hz polling which combined with the Silver switches means it’s just you who’s bad at the game. Maybe I’m just too old but I couldn’t feel the K70 being any faster than my HyperX Alloy Core 60 and I doubt most people will either.
A word of warning though; running peripherals at 8000 Hz polling will tax your CPU a bit – the iCUE software warns you as much when you activate it. At the time of testing, I had a 8-core Intel CPU and didn’t really notice any performance issues but if you have a quad core i3 or i5, you might see a spike in usage.
Speaking of iCUE, Corsairs software is pretty par for the course as far as peripheral ecosystem software goes. It offers a ton of features based on the connected devices. For the K70, you can change the lighting, record macros and play around with various presets. After you’re done, these get saved to the board’s memory so you can access them wherever you go with a press of a button.
Like I said, there’s really nothing to complain about the Corsair K70 TKL Champion Series Mechanical Keyboard. This is one of the best looking, performing and constructed gaming keyboards money can buy. I’d say it comes a close second to the incredibly gorgeous Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO. The keys feel great for work and play and the media keys and tactile volume dial just make it a joy for everyday use.
The added 8K polling means zero latency from the board and the compact design makes it great for portability too. I really do wish Corsair would allow us to choose different switches – I’d go for the Cherry MX Browns since I type more than I play. But other than that, the K70 TKL get’s is an easy recommendation.