Corsair is one of the most renowned peripherals brands that managed to outpace their competition several times already. Over the past years, the market of gaming keyboards has become rather stale, as most manufacturers stuck to standard electronics and switches. The time for advancement has come and with the Corsair K100 RGB, this might just have happened.
If you ever had the chance to get your hands on the Corsair K95 RGB you know that this keyboard is an absolute banger. Corsair was still trying to improve on that – and they honestly did a good job in doing so.
The K100 RGB didn’t only get some new paint, it’s also using Corsair’s brand new optomechanical switches and electronics. Those things result in the K100 becoming a unique and outstanding gaming keyboard that manages to take a step ahead of its competition.
The price of $ 230,00 is hard to overlook, but how much quality do you actually get for that amount of money?
Inside the box, you can find an extra ten keycaps separated into two sets and a keycap puller. Those grey keycaps are textured on the top to give additional tactile feedback while gaming. One set of the keycaps is designed for FPS and one is designed for MOBA games. They are both textured and contoured correspondingly.
Attached to the keyboard there’s also a full-size cushioned wrist rest, which is covered in soft textured synthetic fabric and is magnetically detachable.
The design of the K100 is based on the K95 RGB Platinum. It has the same brushed anodized aluminum base with its floating keycaps on top of it. In the top right you can find the same metal roll and media keys as on its predecessors.
The PBT Keycaps have a very good feel to them and the aluminum chassis and hovering keycaps also allow the keyboard to be very easily cleaned. Corsair put much effort into creating a sophisticated premium build.
There is a glossy strip in the middle of the top that holds the backlit Corsair logo and the indicator lights next to it. The lights are very subtle and not distracting from the rest of the design.
Additionally to the standard 104 keys, the K100 RGB offers six dedicated macro buttons on the left end of the keyboard. The keys are in the same grey tone as the extra delivered keycaps, but not textured.
The metallic volume control roll is now wider and also a bit firmer than on previous models. This results in a far better feeling when using the roll.
The K100 RGB also brings some new features to the table. In the top left corner, there’s a control wheel that can be used for several different actions that are indicated by its color. In form of functionality, it reminds a bit of the wheel on the Razer Huntsman Elite. The wheel itself works really well and has a nice tactile feel to it. In the center of it, you can find the iCue logo and click on it to change the current mode. Blue indicates that you’re in the brightness control for the RGBs, green allows you to fast forward or rewind, white lets you jump through different media files and red is for macro recording. The wheel combined with the iCue software drastically improves the flexibility of the keyboard.
Next to the wheel, you can find two additional buttons. One is for cycling through your customized profiles and the other one is for blocking out certain keys.
The one thing that always get’s better with more quantity is RGB lighting. The K100 now features 44 customizable zones. This is including the RGB border that lights up the side and back of the keyboard. This allows to create really cool lightning effects that extend over the edge of the keyboard.
The wrist rest is finally a very different approach from Corsair’s usual one. The soft textured padding makes using this keyboard more comfortable than practically any other of their products. The magnetic mechanism makes attaching the wrist rest fast and effortless. However, the coupling isn’t strong enough to keep the wrist rest in place when the keyboard is moved or lifted harshly.
The bottom of the deck holds four pads that allow the keyboard to sit firmly on any surface. There are also pathways designed to run your cables of other peripherals through it. For example, you can route the mouse or headset cable through it to create an even cleaner setup.
The K100 RGB needs a lot of power. You can supply it by either plugging the braided power cord into one USB 3.0 or two USB 2.0 ports. Right next to the base of the power cord there’s also a USB 2.0 passthrough.
Corsair’s OPX optical-mechanical switches are quite impressive. Essentially they are optical switches that were modified to act similarly to mechanical ones. The switches don’t have any contacts at all and the only mechanical part in them are the return springs. This significantly increases the lifetime in exchange for tactile feedback. The switches are estimated to last about 150 million clicks per switch, which is insanely high.
With a low actuation point of 1 mm, they actuate much faster than any of their competition. The total travel distance of the switches is down to 3.2mm with a typical actuation force of 45g. The keys are very sensitive, but remain accurate at the same time, making them great for typing. Getting used to the sensitive activation might take some time, but if you got the hang of it they offer an amazing experience. You can also opt for Cherry MX Speed switches on the K100 RGB in the rare case that someone doesn’t enjoy the OPX switches.
The OPX switches have a similar feel to the Cherry MX Reds, but you can actually notice the shorter actuation point and travel distance. The Corsair Axon Hyper-Processing Technology allows for a polling rate of 4.000Hz. This makes the K100 RGB four times faster than the typical rate of 1.000Hz. Since we’re talking such low numbers, the difference doesn’t realistically give you many advantages while gaming though. However, the switches feel absolutely amazing when typing. They’re fast, comfortable to use, reliable and accurate.
The K100 actually gives you many features out of the box. Color patterns can be chosen with keyboard shortcuts and their intensity can be changed with the control wheel. Obviously, the real fun begins in the software. You can individually assign colors and behaviors to buttons and reprogram the iCue control wheel for certain tasks. If you find some use for it, you can even use the control wheel for in-game purposes. You also get the option to sync different Corsair products to light up the same way or download lightning presets from the Corsair community forum.
To use the macro buttons to their full potential you’ll have to use the Elgato Stream Deck software. Unfortunately, this also means that two different softwares have to be handled. Nothing more than a minor annoyance, but having the features implemented in iCue would be something convenient for future products. Programming the macro buttons is very easy and there are also plenty of community plugins available.
The conclusion is: Yes, the price is there, but so is the quality. The Corsair K100 RGB is an exceptionally good keyboard that offers a broad spectrum of features and customizability. Corsair’s OPX switches are faster than any others and still feel great to use. The added metallic control wheel adds a whole new set of functionality and is definitely a great adaption. It is convenient and can be used for very user-specific tasks like content creation.
There are similar performing keyboards out there for less money, but getting the Corsair K100 RGB is basically getting the best of the best.
If you have the extra buck, the K100 is highly recommended and will accompany you for a very long time