Corsair gaming has released a line of RGB gaming keyboards, pushing the “16.8 million colors per key backlighting” for each one. Today we’ll be looking at the new K65 RGB keyboard, which ditches the ten-key in favor of making it more compact.
On the note of the color customization, the point does sound quite nice, and we certainly won’t contest it, but as a gaming keyboard, one may not use the backlighting as much as you would think.
Those who are interested in the customization that this offers will need to utilize the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software. Using this software, you will be able to customize every single key, changing the colors by utilizing sliders, entering numbers manually (from 0 to 255 in red, green, and blue intensity settings), or by simply clicking on a display. Those who want a truly unique setup can even create gradient effects, cycling through a number of different colors at varying levels of intensity, or even ripple effects that emanate from a single key out over a range of keys you decide.
The customization can be seen as either a simply cool feature or it could actually be utilized to good effect in some games. You could, for example, highlight your macro keys, and even color-code them according to their actions in a given game in order to help you recall which keys you have set up. Those who are especially creative could even program a key to shift colors at the end of a set time, which could be quite useful in some games to let you know immediately that your ability is available once again if you don’t notice any in-game signals that it is.
In addition to the lighting customization, you can also utilize CUE to reassign keys. If you play a game that tends to focus on the exclusive use of a particular group of keys, this can be useful if said group is not a group that you typically use. If these keys change depending on your character, you can utilize separate modes you will be able to switch between utilizing a user-defined shortcut, and even assign a few words to show on your screen when you swap characters or profiles.
You can also create and edit macros that record keyboard events, mouse movements, clicks, wheel scrolling, and delays. If you so desire, you could utilize these macros to turn any of the above off. Macros can be chained together, allowed to terminate when interrupted, set to run at specified intervals, or even at random intervals between user-defined times.
Final impressions of CUE
Honestly, the CUE software feels like it is a bit more accessible than it did when we looked at the K70 and K95 RGB keyboards. That said, those who want to really enjoy playing around with the multitude of lighting effects will still want to grab the massive user manual from Corsair’s website, as it can be quite overwhelming.
As a mechanical keyboard, the K65 isn’t exactly cheap (currently selling at BestBuy for $149.99). Of course, mechanical keyboards tend to be more expensive than rubber-dome-based keyboards, even when the former are quite austere and thee latter are laden with features. In fact, you’ll seldom see mechanical keyboards selling for much below $70.
The K65 features Cherry MX Red key switches, which, unfortunately, can cause quite a few typos with speed typists as they get used to the keys. The reason for this is simple: the switches are quite sensitive. Of course, since this is a gaming keyboard, the Cherry MX Red switches are a good choice, specifically ideal for fast-twitch gaming.
The K65 comes with twin USBs, which the manual states you will need to plug both in in order to utilize the keyboard. This is both true and false; if you only have USB 2.0, then you will indeed need both plugged in. If, however, you have USB 3.0, you can get away with plugging in only a single USB.
Having tested it in a few MMORPGs and MOBAs, such as Neverwinter and League of Legends, we are happy to report that the keyboard performs just as well as the K70 and K95 do.
Overall the K65 RGB gaming keyboard is a solid investment for those who desire a more compact keyboard that they can customize the lighting and keys on. The price can seem a bit steep, and if you prefer the number pad, you may want to grab one of the other models. If you aren’t scared off by the price and you’re looking for a solid, compact gaming RGB keyboard, then this may be the item for you.
Final score: 4.75/5