Corsair K100 RGB is an improved gaming keyboard. The Corsair K100 RGB, which has RGB support, stands out with its stylish design. Corsair K100 RGB Review.
After the 9 comes the 10, right? With the Corsair K100 RGB, the component manufacturer is now presenting its latest high-end gaming keyboard with everything that is currently possible for the mass market. Also, there is the fact that Corsair optical OPX switch is being used for the first time, but also the Cherry MX Speed RGB as an alternative. We took the keyboard, which costs 250 euros, to our chest.
The last “big keyboard presentation ” in the high-priced segment was carried out by Corsair almost two years ago with the K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile Rapidfire. The switches installed there are still only available from Corsair to date . With the K100, this model series is not taken up, but with the K95 Platinum, which of its time wanted to score with special macro keys. As a small reminder, the Corsair Vengeance K95 should be mentioned again, which is the original model in this list. The last refresh took place in spring with the K95 RGB Platinum, which in turn relies on mechanical MX Speed RGB Silver switches but was not intended for Europe.
This brings us to the end of the history lesson, the K100 RGB will be available in two versions, one as a mechanical version with Cherry MX Speed RGB Silver and one as a version with the brand new Corsair OPX switches, one, as the name suggests, bring optical triggering. One of the few keyboards that work like this is the Razer Huntsman (…)
As usual, the scope of delivery remains manageable. In addition to the keyboard and palm rest, there are now almost obligatory exchangeable keycaps and a small booklet that was included. Let’s take a look at the technical equipment. Not only are the switches different or completely new, no, Corsair also uses the so-called AXON processor (SoC). At this point, it is said that processes can be implemented even faster and more efficiently than with previous generations. The same applies to the processing of input information and lighting instructions that can be implemented with the rotary knob or iCUE.
At this point, I could throw around all of Corsair’s technical terms, which are mentioned in this context. But to get to the point, with the said processor, the manufacturer “promises” that the correct/perfect result is always sent to the PC even in critical keypress situations. The polling rate of 4000 Hz is also intended to massively reduce input processing by peripherals and PCs. Due to the powerful SoC, up to 20 layers are now also possible for the light effects, but we will come to that later in the article.
Corsair OPX – optical-mechanical key switches, at least that’s how Corsair christened the new product. Their mode of operation and also their advantages are explained very simply. If you look at the overview of the various Cherry switches, it quickly becomes clear what was intended. The release distance on the Corsair OPX is a whopping 1.0mm, which is even better than the Cherry MX Speed. Furthermore, the manufacturer guarantees 150 million releases compared to the mechanical alternative (K100 RGB + Cherry MX Speed) with 100 million releases, so there is less wear and tear because there is no mechanical contact.
The keyboard as such has a build quality that is unparalleled without exaggeration. The entire substructure was made of polished aluminum and also anodized black again. The family relationship to any predecessors or parallel models is clearly visible again. Overall, it should also be possible to illuminate up to 44 zones simultaneously or differently – which is definitely an announcement. In practice, this refers to the surrounding lighting zones, which are now intended to effectively highlight the area around the input device.
But for the real differences, you have to take a closer look. For example, the well-known aluminum rotary wheel for volume control has now been kept a little darker so that it does not stand out so clearly. The mute button next to it now triggers differently and has lost the “mechanical stroke”. The area in which the company logo is located has been completely redesigned; a high-quality plastic element has been processed under which the respective settings are then revealed during operation. So CAPSLOCK, NUMLOCK or the Windows lock button. In any case, nothing is printed on it anymore.
Since high-quality PBT keycaps are now also used in the K100, the assembly also changes a little. For example, the space bar no longer has the “diamond plate structure”, but just as “smooth” as the rest of the caps. In general, however, one can say that the keycaps have a slightly roughened surface and, with a wall thickness of 1.5mm, have the necessary material quality to prove their ability over the long term. If you compare the laser cuts with a K70 Low Profile RGB, the small optical differences are already noticeable – only that we mentioned it once (…) The six macro keys have been given a split colour mix and are also made of ABS. The “classic” grip keycaps are also included in the scope of delivery. The macro buttons are primarily intended to work with an Elgato Stream Deck or to access the additional functions from there.
A small improvement can be recorded with the palm rest. On the one hand, this is very pleasantly soft with a certain memory pad, the actual interesting detail is hidden on the underside. How often have you ever broken clips at this point? With the Corsair K100 RGB this has come to an end, because thanks to the elastic rubber holder, the pad can be conveniently pushed into the keyboard frame and can no longer be broken off. It is also held in place by small magnets. Whether the manufacturer’s lettering, which by the way has received a small optical revision and the shape of the new Corsair 4000D or 4000X RGB, really had to go here is more a question of taste.
The bottom is a bit improved compared to other current Corsair keyboards. The cable guides for a mouse or the like already had the K95 Platinum from 2017, the latest version has even more laying options. The small feet are also available again and can vary the installation height again.
The connection cable also has a fabric covering and is connected to the PC via two USB plugs (USB 3.0). The rather thick design is because the data cable for the input device and another for the USB port are run in the fabric sleeve. Unfortunately, the passthrough hub is only specified with USB 2.0.
We come to the highlight of this keyboard – the iCUE Control Wheel. At first glance, this steering wheel is certainly reminiscent of that of the Logitech Craft, where you can combine numerous functions with the rotary wheel. This is also the case with Corsair, except that the range of functions can be extrapolated exponentially, if only because of the lighting options and the integration in iCUE.
Let me summarize it, with the rotary control in iCUE you can call up and control defined settings. In other words, the button in the middle of the rotary control activates a profile/slot in which there are firmly defined rules and which are also provided with colours. For example, green -> zoom in Photoshop, click on the button – red appears -> switch through applications in Windows. In principle, one can say that existing systems from Logitech, for example, have been taken up. So now it goes even further, also, actions/macros can be defined with the iCUE Control Wheel, which can then also be called up via the above selection. I’ll go into more detail on the next page.
Lighting modes and iCue
Basically, one could sum up the lighting quality of the keyboard in just a few words. The keycaps and the LEDs of the switches literally work hand in hand and create almost perfect illumination. Also, there is extremely high flexibility when it comes to finding the lighting you want. Up to 44 zones are the keyword here, which can be found on the side of the input device.
The colours are beautifully strong in their presentation, the same applies to the brightness. The illumination of the individual letters or when viewed as a whole can be described as very homogeneous and first-class implemented. Small detail on the edge, for example, if you set the white colour, small red dots shimmer through the keycaps, but they can only really be seen when you approach them very closely. If you don’t pay attention, it doesn’t matter. The other details, such as on the rotary control or the revised status panel, are purely related to the lighting, also put in a first-class scene and the colours displayed on point.
Handling with Corsair iCUE software
If you are familiar with this software, I don’t need to tell you anything new at this point (…) For a newcomer, this should seem a little overwhelming, especially because of the K100. The setting options that you now get as a user are so extensive that it would surely go beyond the scope and the attention of the reader if all of this was written down here. Let’s briefly summarize: Several profiles can be created and saved; the keyboard, in particular, has two dedicated slots for this purpose to be able to save the iCUE settings “locally” on the input device. It is also possible to call up the lighting and macro settings via hotkeys at any time.
Earlier in the article, there was already talk of the additional customizable zones. This specifically refers to the surrounding areas that are controlled independently of the lighting zone located above. This creates a new set of possibilities. But let’s take another look, the recording of the macros works flawlessly. For example, if you define three or four keystrokes at the same time in Photoshop, the latency and duration are also recorded. The same can then ultimately also be deleted in the macro. But only briefly. But it becomes interesting when you define “actions” that can then be called up using the steering wheel.
From the house, Corsair already gives you some options such as B. a brightness adjustment or a media control (next title etc.) Here you have to differentiate again between the hardware and the software mode. The first has saved the profiles on the keyboard, with the second option the input device accesses them from iCUE. The advantage of hardware stores is that the lighting modes can also be called up due to short cuts. A small note at this point, the issue NEXUS also fits the keyboard, the display has already been supplied with the corresponding bracket. That would roughly say everything and let’s go to the practice and take a look at the new switches.
Corsair OPX switch and practical test
In addition to the Cherry MX Speed RGB, Corsair is now launching a real-world premiere with the K100 RGB. With the Corsair OPX baptized switches, which are also installed in the test sample, the inclined buyer gets an optical switch that promises significantly less wear and tear and thus significantly longer durability. Expressed in numbers, it looks like this: The release path is on the CorsairOPX, believe it or not, 1.0mm, which again undercuts the Cherry MX Speed. Furthermore, the manufacturer guarantees 150 million trips compared to the mechanical alternative (K100 RGB + Cherry MX Speed) with 100 million trips. We remember that the keyboard itself has a Polling rate of up to 4000 Hz, which, in combination with the extremely short release path, should mean massive added value, especially for the gambling faction that can (or wants to) notice the difference. But let’s be honest, the vast majority will probably not perceive this difference in the way it is. In any case, the prerequisites are first-class if the K100 RGB is to serve as a gaming base in the future.
In terms of the switch, we can say at this point that it looks extremely similar to a Cherry derivative. When asked, it could not be clarified whether these would even roll out of their factory.
A small comparison with the keycaps should also be allowed again. On the left of the picture, you can see the exposed macro-caps, which are made of ABS. On the right, the higher quality PBT keycaps with a thickness of 1.5mm. Clearly recognizable and designed even more for durability.
But now a little bit tricky (…) Anyone who is used to a K70 RGB Lowprofile, for example, should really have a hard time switching back. Just because of the increased keycaps. Based purely on the stop and the subjectively assessed noise, one could almost think that clicking noise is generated, which is known from the Cherry MX Black. Strictly speaking, however, it cannot be the case, rather the “reverb” is due to the keycap. If you intend to use this keyboard with the Corsair switches as a prolific writer device, you should definitely be prepared for the appropriate acoustics.
After these functional tests, you have to sort yourself first (…) The material quality and details that Corsair puts in front of your nose are definitely in the upper last segment of an evaluation scale. The equipment is enormous, starting with the rotary control that not only allows supposed players to be of an optical nature, no, it can sometimes also increase productivity. If you want, you can of course use iCUE software to adapt the keyboard to your visual preferences down to the smallest detail – it couldn’t be better!
The new optical Corsair OPX switches will definitely rearrange the field in the gaming segment. This short release path is nothing short of considerable. Paired with the powerful AXON SoC for controlling all commands, particularly demanding gamers should have found their holy grail here. The K100 continues the tradition with the macro keys (…) now you also have the possibility to save functions from the Elgato Stream Deck, the fusion of symbioses takes place here in pure culture. Oh yes, the keyboard will be available in two versions, the one presented here and one with Cherry MX Speed RGB.
So now again about the price, admittedly in the first moment, this caught my eye (and for many, it will most certainly continue to be), if you dissect the equipment a little and contrast it with the price, it comes in quite balanced result with out. So far, PBT keycaps have been few and far between. Up to now, you could or can buy a complete set of keys, which then costs just under 50 euros (entry-level). Corsair now offers the all-round carefree package. But I’ll go with you here, the price is high ( 250 euros RRP) and will put some off BUT you get an exclusive product that convinces. You can also buy it from Amazon.