When it comes to selecting a keyboard in the modern environment, there are a plethora of choices — so many in fact, it boggles the mind. Mechanical or dome-keys? Cherry blue, brown, red, or black? Macro buttons? Media control options? The list goes on and on, as do the number of products from mainstream manufacturers. Razer, Logitech, Corsair, not to mention a host of wanna-be competitors all looking to grab a small sample of those on the hunt for the perfect keyboard.
I’ve been using a Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Stealth for a while. I chose the stealth because the green proprietary switches released by Razer do nothing for me. Their resistance is too low, the click-noise is too high and I just find myself annoyed every time I use it. I know Razer make rock solid game-centric products so I went with the stealth version of the same keyboard but things weren’t perfect. For one, the only color is bright green (unless you fork over some serious moolah for the “chroma” variety). Second, there is no dedicated media volume knob/button/wheel. Nope, to adjust the windows volume on the fly, one must press a function key in combination with one of the F-keys to change the volume. Not what one would call user-friendly. Finally, my Razer, after only a year or two of use, began to duplicate inputs. In other words, when typing I’d suddenly see letters doubled, especially “ii” and “ee” (though other keys also exhibited the behavior). So clearly it was time to raid the piggy bank and purchase a new keyboard.
My initial research pushed me back towards the Razer camp. I checked their options but found Razer were still stuck on the green proprietary switches along with the recently highlighted orange switches — their stealth variety. Meh. Plus, prices appear to have gone up so that didn’t look like an option for me. Online research indicated the Logitech G610 and the Corsair K70 were both crowd favorites so I decided to give the Logitech a look first. After all, they own the lion’s share of keyboards I’ve used in the past so why not give them a try?
I wanted something with some color options but sadly the choice for the price point I was looking didn’t include many choices. I settled on the Logitech G610 Orion which was a solid keyboard and introduced me to something I shall forever be in their debt for (more on that later). I enjoyed the keystrokes immensely, thought the media control wheel was excellent and enjoyed the experience right off the top. Sure, in a world of chroma, RGB, spectrum and cascading colors, the white keys seemed a little pedestrian but one can get comfortable with almost anything, right? Finally, the Logitech keyboard driver software was intuitive, easy to mange, and allowed plenty of macro options. Fast forward two days and the shift key began sticking. When I typed a sentence, I noticed both the first and second letter of the intro word would be capitalized. HUh. DIdn’t expect that. NOt something I’ve ever seen before. TOo bad because I loved the feeling of the keys! JUmped in the car and back to the store it went. (You see what I’m talking about, just darn annoying.)
My second keyboard adventure started with the same company, Logitech but this time I went upscale with the G810 Orion Spectrum. Yes, this one had colors, had a media control wheel, and other excellence. I was excited to get this home and see what all the fuss was about — the box was certainly impressed with itself. Sure enough, the colors were extremely enchanting, as where the effects one could program into the keyboard. In fact, of all the keyboards I sampled, the Logitech software was easily the most fluid and comfortable to use while getting meaningful results. However, problems manifested almost instantly. The keys felt quite different. Upon close inspection, I noticed the G610 had Cherry MX Red mechanical switches, while the G810 deployed with ROMER-G keys. Hrmmm. I vastly preferred the Cherry MX Red feel, resistance and travel but that wasn’t the deal breaker. What turned me completely off the G810 was the space bar noise. Oh my goodness, every time I tapped the space bar, there was an audible “PING” sound. It was completely out of tune with the rest of the keyboard. I went back and did some Google Fu on this extremely tedious phenomenon and found forums littered with people complaining about the same noise, including the Logitech forums. Clearly this was either a design choice or design flaw. Irrespective, the space bar and ROMER-G keys were enough for me to hop back in the car and return the keyboard. Too bad. I really loved those color options.
I’ll spare you the details on the third purchase & return. Suffice to say, I picked up the Razer Blackwidow Stealth — again. Heck, I’d been using it for a couple of years, why not just return to something I’d become accustomed to? Yeah, that lasted about 16 hours. I realized I’d sampled a better world, had seen the Cherry MX Red keys at their absolute finest (thank you Logitech) and I wanted more. Additionally, I was just tired of the green Razer keys and didn’t want to spend a ton of money for the chroma option. Not only that, the Razer had failed on me inside just a year or two and I really felt like they hadn’t earned my business a second time. That final decision brought me to the option I’m currently tapping away upon as I write this article.
The fourth purchase (in five days) ended up being the surprising winner and not from a company I’d considered before. Sure, I knew Corsair made PC parts. I’ve been using their coolers in my PC builds for years but keyboards? Really?! I decided I wanted Cherry MX Red keys for my next keyboard but also wanted dedicated media/volume control and perhaps some color. Sure enough, the best option had been sitting on the shelves, staring at me for months — the Corsair K70 LUX. The Corsair K70 family of keyboards has extremely high reviews so I wasn’t concerned about quality or performance (made in Germany, don’t ya know). I was concerned about both the feel of the keys, the space bar and general ergonomics. News flash: I’m a just-so kinda guy. I tried the demo keyboard in the store and was surprised. I relished the feel of the keys (Cherry MX Red), the space bar wasn’t annoying, there was a dedicated media control/volume dial, and finally the keys themselves were illuminated red. Well, I think we have a winner. Sure, I could go for the Corsair K70 RGB with the full color gamut but I didn’t want to plunk down $170 for a keyboard. For now, the Corsair K70 wins the day and I’m extremely happy typing and playing games on this excellent addition to the Rip-Cave.
You know, as I look back over the images of the various keyboards, to the untrained eye I bet they look remarkably similar. Well, trust me, they aren’t. In the final judgment, the answer is evident. Well played, Corsair. You’ve earned my business for the near future.