Corsair K70 Lux RGB review: Softly, softly with the MX Silent edition

Corsair K70 Lux RGB header

As much as I loved the Asus ROG Claymore when I tested it at the end of last year, there’s still a very large part of me that balks at the idea of spending £150 on a mechanical keyboard. After years of being perfectly happy with admittedly terrible plastic membrane concoctions, it’s hard to let go.

The Corsair K70 Lux RGB isn’t any less expensive at roughly £145 or $170, but at least this one doesn’t charge you an extra £50 for a number pad, making it better value overall for those looking to make the jump.

Available with several different types of Cherry MX switches, the K70 Lux RGB comes in the clacky clacky red variety that’s better for gaming, an even clackier blue model that’s better suited to typing, a quieter, more balanced brown type that’s something of a halfway house between the two, plus a fast, esportsy Speed version and the definitely not Silent type I’ve got on test here today.

To Corsair’s credit, the Silent MX switches on my particular test sample are certainly less grating on the ears than the Claymore’s red Cherry MX switches, but they’re still not so quiet that you’ll escape having something lobbed at your head if you use them within a ten foot radius of another human being. In the end, the ‘silent’ version of the K70 Lux RGB is just as antisocial as your typical mechanical keyboard, and is thus best confined to a bedroom or attic far beyond the realms of human hearing.

Corsair K70 Lux RGB keys

Even when used in isolation, though, I wasn’t actually that fond of the Silent switches, at least for everyday typing. While they still felt more precise than the squishy membrane keyboards I’ve used in the past, they didn’t feel nearly as clean-cut as the traditional red switches on the Claymore. You might even say they were a tad… spongy.

I admit that’s a strange criticism to level at a mechanical keyboard, whose individual springs and switches are about as far away from the single, bubble-wrap style sheet of contact domes you’ll find inside an ordinary membrane keyboard, but at no point did I ever feel truly at home with it. I normally adapt pretty fast to whatever piece of typing plastic is in front of me, but in this case I was still making mistakes and hitting keys incorrectly even after several days use, and every moment I spent with the K70 Lux just made me wish I was back using the Claymore again.

Admittedly, that hankering for Asus’ compact miracle board practically disappeared when I tried the K70 Lux RGB with a few games, and I’d be hard-pushed to say which one I preferred when zipping round Doom’s UAC facilities or blasting through hordes of Nazis in Wolfenstein II. Indeed, any inherent squishiness in the K70 Lux’s Silent keys never became a problem in busy combat zones, and I actually did come to appreciate their muted clackety clack clacks when I had the game’s soundtrack playing through a normal pair of speakers instead of a headset.

Of course, without testing all the other types of switches available for the K70 Lux RGB, it’s hard to say whether any of those would be a better fit for both typing and gaming. This makes it doubly difficult when it comes to pitting it against Asus’ red switch Claymore, but at least Corsair’s effort comes with a lot of extras to help sweeten the deal.

Corsair K70 Lux RGB port and slider

For starters, there’s a USB port on the rear of the board for a mouse, USB headset or wireless headset adaptor – something the Claymore is decidedly lacking in its bid to keep its footprint as small as possible – and there’s even a slider that lets you adjust the keyboard’s polling rate (how often your PC asks for data) right next to it. This goes from 1ms (1000Hz) all the way up to 8ms (125Hz).

Polling rate options are normally confined to mice (which even then make naff all difference unless you’ve got faster reflexes than a ninja-trained housefly), but here Corsair says it’s meant to help cut down on keystroke latency. Again, unless you regularly touch-type at 100mph, it’s unlikely to make much of an impact on your typing accuracy.

Perceived wisdom suggests that it may (and that’s a big, doubtful ‘may’) improve its compatibility with slightly older systems – much like the BIOS mode tacked on to the end of the slider that turns the keyboard into a regular 104-key board and disables its suite of media keys, RGB lightshow options and the Windows lock key – but why you’d buy this keyboard for (or even own) such a system in the first place is anyone’s guess. Still, at least there’s some built-in flexibility for the handful of people that fulfill this very specific use case.

Corsair K70 Lux RGB media keys

Infinitely more useful are the two batches of replacement key caps (WASD and QWERDF) with grey, textured grips and those aforementioned media keys. You also get a dedicated volume roller and an RGB brightness button that increases the speed of whatever lighting effect you’ve currently got enabled in Corsair’s Utility Engine (Cue) software. And while we’re on the subject of Cue, you can also use this to record your own macros and decide what button combos are disabled when Win Lock is turned on.

The K70 Lux is also arguably one of the least ‘gamey’ looking keyboards around. Rainbow RGBs aside, its plain, brushed aluminium frame is pleasingly free of any gaudy sci-fi designs or try-hard ‘gamer’ branding, and the soft-touch detachable wrist rest is also exceedingly comfy. Without it, typing became even more of a chore, as the four fold-out feet on the K70 Lux’s underside either made the base feel like it was teetering on stilts when they were all extended, or far too low on the ground when the bottom pair weren’t in use. Only when the wrist rest was attached did the keyboard feel the right height.

Corsair K70 Lux RGB wrist rest

In the end, though, I’d probably still pick the Asus ROG Claymore over the silent K70 Lux RGB. The Claymore’s both more comfortable and easier for me to use regardless or whether I’m gaming or not, and I like how small it is despite the fact it costs you any chance of a USB port.

That’s not to say you should rule out Corsair’s board completely, however. It’s still perfectly good for playing games and if you’re not fussed about the RGB effects or having your lighting schemes sync across other compatible Corsair goodies you might own, you can save yourself another big chunk of change by opting for one of the regular K70 Lux models that only have a basic solid red or blue LED backlight. These are currently going for just over £100/$100 and are practically identical to their RGB counterparts in every way save for their multi-coloured light options. That’s a much more palatable price than the sans-number pad Claymore, and you still get the same great build quality, extra key caps, wrist rest and USB port.

37 Comments

  1. Faldrath says:

    … but the very best thing about mechanical keyboards is the noise they make :(

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Right there with you m8. They say Cherry Reds are better for gaming, but in the end the majority of people buying it aren’t playing at a level where it makes that much of a difference, plus regular typing on Reds feels worse than most membranes.

      Also, “least gamey looking keyboard”, followed by “Rainbow RGBs” just kinda rubs me the wrong way. There are plenty of mech gaming boards without the RGBs or garish designs, like the Logitech G710 (adjustable white backlights, design is utilitarian with space for hotkeys, delicious Cherry Blues) or some of the lower-end offerings from Tomoko. Seems like the first thing to eliminate from a “gamey” device would be the RGBs.

      /rant

    • Det. Bullock says:

      Cooler Master also makes some nice mech keyboards that don’t look stupidly “gamey” last I checked.

      • Little_Crow says:

        When researching my own keyboard purchase I spent a lot of time on the Reddit boards. Coolermaster were spared the vitriol most other gaming brands got.

        I think they’re well built and the key caps are all standard sizes. Plus for the Masterkeys S you can get an aftermarket board to allow total customization of all the keys.

  2. Banks says:

    I feel like some mechanical keyboards are weirdly trying to be more like membrane keyboards at the expense of some of their most exciting traits. Cherry Mx Silent, the Steelseries or Logitech switch, cherry mx-low… I get that there is a need of differentiation in an over-saturated market but some of those features kind of defeat the purpose of getting a +100 € keyboard.

    And that is disappointing, as I’d love to see more innovation on this area besides the RGB gimmick. Cherry MX Speed is the only proper advance we’ve seen in the last 5 years.

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      Naw, there’s definitely been other advances:

      – Modular keyboards where you can swap out switches with near-zero effort (rather than the large and potentially keyboard-ruining effort of desoldering a switch then soldering a new one in).
      – Better-than-Cherry switches like input.club’s Hako and Halo switches
      – Relatedly, the ‘box’-style keyswitch heads that remain Cherry-compatible
      – Programmability (it’s almost hard now to get a decent keyboard where you can’t program layout and lighting
      – RGB LED lighting (it’s mostly cosmetic, but hey)

  3. Ghostwise says:

    Typing on a membrane keyboard is like having sex with two condoms on.

    MECHA 4 LIFE – CLACK CLACK CLACK !!

  4. MrBehemoth says:

    I know I sound like an absolute philistine, but a couple of years ago I went for a slightly cheaper num-pad-less mechanical keyboard, and honestly, I don’t mind not having it. It’s worth the extra desk space. I use regular num-padded keyboards at work for various tasks, and I sometimes appreciate the num-pad there, so I do know what I’m missing.

    • treat says:

      The only thing I ever use homerow number keys for is typing symbols and switching my guns in FPS games, and that is all. That is seriously all of it, those two things. There is nothing else. If a number needs to appear on the screen, it will always be conjured from the numpad with astounding finesse and precision. Usually by the mouse hand, sometimes with the left hand. I would punch those numpad digits with my nose if I didn’t have hands, or my toes if I didn’t have a face, or my bones if I didn’t have flesh.

      You may or may not be a philistine, it’s not my place to judge, as I don’t exactly know what that word means. I don’t trouble myself with understanding words, only numbers. Numbers typed through the graceful majesty of the numpad.

    • Faldrath says:

      As a lefty, I really require a numpad for gaming. WASD becomes numpad 8456 for me, and I usually map whatever else is needed to the rest of the keys (jump is numpad 0, for instance). Action games that don’t let me remap keys to the numpad are refunded (hi Destiny 2! So glad I played you during the free weekend)

      • Premium User Badge

        magnificent octopus says:

        Same here. I won’t buy laptops without number pads these days, never mind keyboards. Although instead of 8456, I just turn off numlock and use the arrow keys (so 8426). I will never understand games that expect you to use a mouse/keyboard setup, but don’t allow all keys to be remapped. What is the point of PC gaming, if not the ability to customise your setup?

    • Person of Interest says:

      The solution is to get a keyboard with a dual-purpose keypad that can switch between numpad and cursor/system keys. I have the QuickFire TK (link to coolermaster.com) and while it’s far from perfect, it’s definitely an ergonomics improvement over a full-size keyboard. My main complaints would be the lack of dedicated volume control keys, limited control of the backlight, and feet that don’t stick well enough to the desk. The numpad/cursor toggle works great, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      No, you’re very right, tenkeyless is the true faith. If one really needs a number pad, one can get one; and personally, I prefer my numpad to be on the left side if I have one (then I can enter numbers without removing my hand from the mouse).

  5. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Bought this one in December, coming from and oooold Logitech g15. Pretty impressed with the build quality and feel of it all, but I have the feeling that there will be no games that will take advantage of the colours. Because why should they. I feel a bit like when I bought a 5.1 system and only a few FPS took advantage of the sound design.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’ve had one for a while now and I’m very happy with it. As far as I have noticed, the only game to take advantage of the colours is Diablo III, and the main thing there is that it forces the keyboard to solid red with no capacity for the user to customise, which in my view defeats the point a little – I didn’t buy an RGB keyboard for red backlighting.

      There are some other effects, such as the keyboard flashing when legendary gear drops, but I never even notice that since I’m looking at the screen not the keyboard.

      • Premium User Badge

        Risingson says:

        Same thing happened with the Logitech g15. All in all, the best thing that you could do with the LCD is running performance graphs or that wonderful all that killed whatever running thing that was freezing your graphic card.

  6. Spuzzell says:

    I have the K70 LUX RGB with the numpad and it’s the best keyboard I’ve ever used.

    And I love the lighting system so much I can’t even tell you.

    At Christmas I had a tree and snow falling. On my keyboard.

    I WOULD PAY ANYTHING FOR THAT (up to about £160 inc delivery)

  7. Kalle says:

    Unless Corsair has done a major redesign of their keyboards I would advise people to be very careful with liquids around their keyboards. The chassi has several large holes without any barriers for liquid and if you spill liquid on there and it gets on the circuit board it is impossible to clean up because you’d have to de-solder the keys to remove the front of the chassi. Ask me how I know. :(

  8. left1000 says:

    To anyone reading this. Get Cherry MX Brown switches in your mechanical keyboard. If you’re reading this you’re not a pro esports player and typing is what matters. Gaming keyboards are terrible for typing because they’re designed to prevent typos at the cost of being harder to type with overall, that’s basically the whole point of all the other standard cherry colors white clear blue black etc.

    Oh and definitely don’t ever get anything razer only like green/orange because they’re designed to just be bad. Being hard to type on and making typos more likely because razer just had to be different! (That said some razer keyboards use proper cherry switches so feel free to get one of those).

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      Eh, it really depends. I find I type faster on clicky switches like MX Blues, and they don’t tire my hands out at all (whereas Whites and Greens do). If you really want easy-to-type and you’re trending in the Brown direction, there are potentially better options out there, too, depending on personal preference. I know a friend who’s leaning towards MX Clears now because he likes the quiet bump of MX Browns but could do with a bit more obvious of an actuation and, even moreso, has a tendency to rest his hands on his keyboard so needs that bump to notify him when he’s mashing the keyboard and can benefit from a heavier spring making it harder for him to do so. Meanwhile I know someone else who has wrist and tendon problems that make a linear switch like a Red or Black nicer because of the even and minimal force required.

      There are a lot of cheap knockoffs out there though, yeah. There are some good non-Cherry ones too, though. For instance, if you like Cherry MX Browns, Zealios or input.club’s Halo/Hako switches or Kaihua’s own Brown or Copper switches might also work well for ya.

  9. caff says:

    Corsair keyboards are excellent. Even though they sell for upwards of £100, they are a quality product.

    I’ve had my Strafe since 2016 and it’s solid – it’s built like a tank. It has silent switches and no, I do not want clicky-clacky sounds when I am steathily ninja-ing my way round a game. In fact no-one should want clicky-clacky sounds unless your life is so empty that you feel the need to have a mechanical sound validate your existence in front of your PC.

  10. MushyWaffle says:

    I much prefer my cherry mx brown.. I like the clickity clackity

  11. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    100 quid sounds vaguely reasonable as it has macro facility, but another sixty quid for pretty colours ?

    I have a Unicomp Endura Pro from the US – was about seventy quid including import duty, lovely buckling spring clicky action. However for gaming the PS/2 version doesn’t have full key rollover, I use a Logitech G13 when gaming.

    It’s not just the clickiness, although that is awesome, it’s the precise key action.

  12. jusplathemus says:

    I recently got a Mionix Wei for about the same price and I think it’s fantastic. Lighting is very pretty and the feel of the keys is really good.

  13. BlueTemplar says:

    I’m hopeful that with the incoming color e-ink screens
    ( link to goodereader.com ),
    we will *finally* get a keyboard like the Optimus Maximus (£1000-£2000),
    ( link to artlebedev.com ),
    ( which has a 48×48 pixels screen on each key ),
    but for a reasonable price (and good keyboard feeling) this time !

    (There’s already a monochrome one from Sonder you can pre-order for $200.)

  14. Little_Crow says:

    I just spent a couple of months researching mechanical keyboards and ended up buying the iKBC F108 (Brown MX switches) for £110 and love it.

    I wanted dedicated media keys and that cut down the choice a surprising amount.

    If you’re big on customisation, gaming keyboards generally have non standard key sizes, so if you want to use custom key caps later you’ll be out of luck

  15. Cederic says:

    Hmm. The article conflates latency with typing speed.

    100wpm is how fast you can hit the keys.
    Keyboard latency is how fast the computer realises you hit the keys.

    In a world where people complain about input lag when their screen takes 40ms to update and display a frame, causing a delay on their ability to respond to the contents of that image, I think it’s reasonable that they’d seek a keyboard that wont add a further 125ms delay in recognising that response.

  16. PiiSmith says:

    In the UK/US Amazon store it is only £100/$100. In the German Amazon it is 170€ and I can not find any cheaper offerings from local stores. So it is way more expensive and therefore out of question.

    • fray_bentos says:

      I think that you can simply order from the Amazon UK site and get it delivered to Germany; I certainly know that it works the other way around. If possible, use a credit card and pay in the local currency using an account with no foreign currency fees to avoid Amazon’s currency conversion fees.

  17. caerphoto says:

    If you fancy trying out a mechanical keyboard but don’t want to spend £100 or so, Aukey do a range with knockoff Cherry MX Blue switches for £25–30 and (based on the tenkeyless non-backlit one I have) they’re remarkably good considering the price.

  18. HotSoapyBeard says:

    I’ve had a play with one of these in a certain leading electricals store and while it is quieter than Razer’s equivalent by a fair bit, my wife would still chop my fingers off if I tried to use it in the living room.

  19. kwyjibo says:

    Please do not review godawful RGB “gamer” gear.

  20. drewski says:

    I was hoping this would be a true silent mechanical keyboard but, alas, the wait continues. Not having things thrown at me unfortunately remains a higher priority than whatever it is that mechanical keyboards are supposed to do well.

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