Takes a lickin' and keeps on clickin'
Over the years, Corsair has developed a name for itself as one of the premiere manufacturers of mechanical gaming keyboards in the market. One could argue that their K70 series is the leading inspiration for gaming keyboard design to today. Their dominance isn’t just limited to physical design, however. RGB illumination and powerful software programming have also defined their keyboards and set them apart from the competition.
Today, we’re looking at a newer entry in the mechanical keys catalog with the K68 RGB. The K68 is more of a budget-entry, but still packs a suite of premium features to please gaming fans. It’s also water and dust resistant with an IP32 rating. We put that to the test. Without further ado, let’s take a close look.
Specifications and Design
- MSRP: $119.99
- Keyboard Size: Standard
- Key Switches: Cherry MX Red
- Keyboard Backlighting: RGB
- Switch Lifespan: 50-million actuations
- Report Rate: 1000Hz
- Matrix: Full Key (NKRO), 100% anti-ghosting
- Water/Dust Resistance: IP32
- Media Keys: Dedicated
- Wrist Rest: Yes
- Cable Type: Tangle-free rubber
- WIN Lock: Yes
- Software: CUE Enabled
- Dimensions: 455mm x 170mm x 39mm
- Weight: 1.41kg
- Warranty: Two years
The K68 arrives in standard Corsair keyboard packaging. The box is rich with feature-highlights and definitely plays up the RGB illumination. This is 2018 and a Corsair product, so that should come as no surprise.
Everything is well packed inside the box. The keyboard ships with the usual plastic dust-sleeves on both the keyboard, cable, and plastic wrist-rest. We also get a pair of small documentation inserts that describe the warranty and unlabeled hotkeys.
Taking it out of the box, it’s here we get the first indicators of how Corsair managed to cut $50 off the price of the K70 RGB. The cable, rather than coming braided, is standard rubber. Likewise, the included wrist-rest is a more lightweight plastic, felt especially in the more flexible arms attaching it to the keyboard’s body. Neither of these are bad, especially when many gaming keyboards don’t include a wrist-rest at all.
Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2018 - 08:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: speakers, romer-g, mechanical, logitech, keyboard, key switches
Logitech has announced a pair of devices featuring the company’s “LIGHTSYNC” technology, with the new G560 gaming speaker and G513 gaming keyboard. What is LIGHTSYNC? According to Logitech, the technology synchronizes audio and RGB lighting with gameplay, to create a more immersive experience. We have seen a similar concept with the Philips Ambilight TVs, which project lighting onto a rear wall, synchronized with on-screen content to enhance immersion.
How is this new lighting tech implemented with gaming peripherals, exactly? We begin with the G560, which offers plenty of power with a 120W (240W peak) amplifier, and 3D audio effects courtesy of DTS:X Ultra 1.0. As to the LIGHTSYNC implementation, Logitech explains:
“Powered by advanced LIGHTSYNC technology, the Logitech G560 synchronizes brilliant RGB lighting and powerful audio in real time to match on-screen gameplay action. Light and animation effects can be customized across approximately 16.8 million colors, with four lighting zones.”
The G560 offers USB and 3.5mm connectivity, as well as Bluetooth, and Logitech's "Easy-Switch" technology allows for switching between any four connected devices. The included LIGHTSYNC technology works with both video and music.
Next we have the G513 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, which combines Romer-G switches (your choice of either Romer-G Tactile or Linear), and support for LIGHTSYNC. The Logitech G513 offers a brushed aluminum top case and USB passthrough port, and includes an optional palm rest.
As to pricing, the Logitech G560 PC Gaming Speaker will carry an MSRP of $199.99, with a $149.99 MSRP for the G513 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Availability is set for April 2018.
Cherry is one of the most well-known brands in the mechanical keyboard industry. The company, based in Germany, is best known for their MX key switches, which have become the gold standard in the premium keyboard market. As a result of their high standards, tight quality control, and even the occasional scarcity, “genuine Cherry key switches” has become a veritable marketing point on more than a few features lists.
Since they make their own switches, it should come as no surprise that Cherry also produces their own keyboards. Today, we’re looking at the G80-3494, a new entry in the G80-3000 line and one of the few keyboards in the United States to feature Cherry MX Silent Black key switches. Do their full-fledged boards live up to the lofty standards of their switches?
- MSRP: $149.99 (currently sale price: $111.56)
- Layout: ANSI, 104-key
- Key Switch: Cherry MX Silent Black (linear)
- Key Lifespan: 50M keystroke
- Actuation Force: 60cN
- N-Key Rollover: 14-key simultaneous
- Cable: 1.75m, non-detachable, PVC coated
- Dimensions: 470 x 195 x 44 mm
- Weight: 935g
Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 07:19 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: MX Red, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, K63, gaming, corsair, Cherry MX, bluetooth, 2.4GHz, CES 2018, CES, wireless
Corsair continues the expansion of their peripheral portfolio at CES, and the focus here is wireless. The new products include a new wireless keyboard and mouse (Corsair's first wireless mouse) along with a Qi wireless charging mousepad and new lap board.
K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
First up is the K63 keyboard, a wireless TKL design with a trio of connection options. In addition to Corsair's 2.4 GHz connection which offers 1 ms latency, there is also the option of connecting via Bluetooth 4.2 (with a latency of 7.5 ms) or use a standard wired connection via USB (which also charges the keyboard).
The K63 keyboard has Cherry MX Red key switches (no option for other colors, currently), individual backlighting, and battery life that ranges from 15 hours of continuous use with default backlighting (default brightness is 66%), up to a whopping 75 hours of continuous use without backlight. AES 128-bit encryption is also supported, and for gamers who do not want the additional latency this adds (total of 1.08 ms), encryption can be toggled on and off via software.
DARK CORE RGB Wireless Mouse
Corsair's first wireless mouse offers the same three connectivity options as the K63 keyboard, with 2.4 GHz or BT 4.2 wireless in addition to USB, and there is an SE version of the mouse that also supports the Qi wireless standard with its integrated charging coil, and that is complimented by the MM1000 Qi wireless charging mousepad.
Not only did Corsair announce the new keyboard and mouse, but also the K63 Lapboard for your slick new wireless peripherals. It's a lightweight design that features memory foam padding and a built-in wrist rest, and the mouse pad is removable for cleaning/replacement.
All of these new wireless peripherals and accessories are available now, with pricing as follows:
- Dark Core RGB Mouse: $79.99
- Dark Core RGB SE Mouse: $89.99
- MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mousepad: $79.99
- K63 Wireless Keyboard: $109.99
- K63 Wireless Gaming Lapboard: $59.99
- K63 Wireless Gaming Keyboard/Lapboard Combo: $159.99
Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: ROG Strix, mechanical keyboard, keyboard, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX, CES 2018, CES, ASUS ROG, asus
ASUS today announced the ROG Strix Flare, an RGB mechanical gaming keyboard.
Featuring Cherry MX switches, dedicated media keys, a USB passthrough port, and a detachable wrist rest, the ROG Strix Flare aims to combine "top-notch performance with ergonomic comfort." Oh, and those dedicated media keys? They're all located on the upper-left side of the keyboard, enabling gamers to adjust volume and control their tunes without needing to take their hands off the mouse (sorry, southpaws...).
ROG Strix Flare is an RGB mechanical gaming keyboard that combines top-notch performance with ergonomic comfort, and brings customizable style to a whole new level. Constructed with world-renowned Cherry MX RGB switches — the preferred choice of professional and amateur gamers alike — every press of the ROG Strix Flare is of optimal actuation to deliver satisfying and reliable keystrokes. Dedicated media keys, including a convenient volume wheel, are located on the upper left of the keyboard for instant access, so the gamer’s right hand can remain on the mouse at all times. A USB pass-through port lets gamers connect a mouse or other device, and a detachable wrist rest provides extra comfort during extended gaming sessions.
The ROG Strix Flare will be available in the first half of this year, with pricing information to be announced at launch.
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2017 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, keyboard, gaming keyboard, mechanical keyboard, wireless keyboard
Techspot have posted a comprehensive keyboard roundup, encompassing a wide variety of usage including, work, gaming, wireless, HTPC and budget categories. The brands include Das Keyboard and Corsair but the majority of the categories are ruled by a veteran brand. Logitech takes top spot in numerous categories, including the budget choice but also the wireless categories. The review also offers runner ups, so drop by if you or someone on your list is in the market for a new keyboard.
"Whether you are focused on productivity, or are looking for a gaming-centric keyboard, or something that can connect to multiple devices over Bluetooth, here are our favorite keyboards on every category."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HyperX Alloy FPS Pro @ TechARP
- Rantopad MXX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master MasterKeys MK750 Keyboard @ TechPowerUp
- Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB @ Benchmark Reviews
- Patriot Viper V770 @ Kitguru
- Cherry MX Board 6.0 @ TechPowerUp
- ROCCAT Sova MK @ TechPowerUp
- Cougar Minos X5 Gaming Mouse Review @ Neoseeker
- Roccat Kone AIMO Gaming Mouse with Roccat Kanga & Taito XXL @ Kitguru
- Corsair Glaive RGB @ TechPowerUp
Keeping a Low Profile
Havit is a Chinese company with a unique product for the enthusiast PC segment: the thinnest mechanical keyboard on the market at 22.5 mm. Their slim HV-KB395L keyboard offers real mechanical switching via Kailh low-profile blue switches, and full RGB lighting is thrown in for good measure. For a keyboard that retails for $79.99 this is certainly an interesting mix, but how in the world does low-profile mechanical feel? I will attempt to translate that experience into words (by… typing words).
- 104-key Mechanical Keyboard
- Customizable RGB backlighting
- Kailh PG1350 Low Profile Blue Switch
- 3mm of total travel, 45g of operating force
- N-Key Rollover
- Detachable USB Cable
- Weight: 0.57 kg
- Dimensions: 43.6 x 12.6 x 2.25 cm
First impressions of the keyboard are great, with nice packaging that cradles the keyboard in a carton inside the box. The keyboard itself feels quite premium, with a top panel that is actually metal - unusual for this price-point.
A Tale of Two Form-Factors
HyperX (a division of Kingston) entered the mechanical keyboard market a year ago with the Alloy series, which began as a pair of 104-key designs with the Alloy Elite and Alloy FPS. Both keyboards feature Cherry MX keys, with the FPS sporting a minimalist design with a compact frame to save room on a desk. Now a TKL version of the FPS has arrived - the FPS Pro - to compliment the 104-key version already at the PC Perspective offices, and in this review we will test out both versions of this gaming keyboard.
Both keyboards feature adjustable red backlighting
Features from HyperX for the Alloy FPS:
- Compact design frees desktop space — waste less time reorienting the mouse
- Solid-steel frame for stability, giving you supreme confidence in your controls
- Ultra-portable design with detachable cable is great for LAN parties and tournaments
- Cherry MX mechanical keys for tactile feedback and reliable keypresses
- Convenient USB charge port allows you to charge other devices
- Game mode, 100-percent Anti-Ghosting and full N-key rollover features ensure your inputs are correct
- HyperX red backlit keys with customizable, dynamic lighting functions
- Additional colored, textured keycaps spotlight the most important keys
Now take virtually the same feature list (minus the additional keycaps) and subtract the number pad, and you have the Alloy FPS Pro, an “ultra-minimalistic tenkeyless design ideal for FPS pros”, according to HyperX. This reduction in size and number of keys is accompanied by a reduction in price, and the Alloy FPS Pro will be 20% less expensive than the 104-key FPS when it launches in late August. How do these mechanical keyboards stack up? Read on for our full review!
Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 03:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: logitech, keyboard, craft
Yesterday it was the gaming division pushing out the release of its brand new wireless gaming keyboard, and today, the consumer side of Logitech has its own new pretty item to wave in front of us. The CRAFT keyboard is a unique option that combines wireless connectivity with up to three devices, smart backlight illumination, and a new input dial that helps creative and productivity users get more out of their applications.
Let’s start with that knob in the top right – the crown as Logitech calls it. This crown is an input dial that adapts and changes functions as you switch between applications. On a global scale it can be used to control volume, move between application windows, and change desktops. You can access that functionality by physically pushing down on the dial and rotating it to the left or right.
More interestingly, the crown adjusts its function based on the application you are in. In Excel, for example, you can toggle font sizes, move between cells, select tables and graph formats, and much more, all with the dial and click functionality. You switch between these different functions by tapping on the dial itself, as the entire surface is capacitive. There are functions for PowerPoint and Word as well, offering similar levels of integration.
The Adobe software suite of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro CC 2017 also has pre-built functionality with the Logitech CRAFT keyboard. In Photoshop you can select and adjust image brightness, change the stroke weight in Illustrator or navigate and scrub through the timeline in Premiere Pro. There are many options and capabilities that the Logitech software installer offers out of the box and you have the ability to adjust these capabilities through custom integrations as well.
Explaining in text how this dial works and how it could potential change your workflow is difficult to do. Logitech does provide a set of videos running through some examples of the keyboard in and the dial in use, and they are worth checking out to get a sense of how it functions.
This capability works across both Windows 10 and Mac OS.
The CRAFT keyboard is built with a high quality scissor key switch design that is close in typing feel to some of the best notebook keyboards we have had our hands on. The typing is relatively quiet and the dished keys help you find the proper finger placement for eye-free typing.
Backlighting a battery powered keyboard is always tricky as you balance illumination and battery life. Logitech has created a system that intelligently determines when to light up the keyboard based on your hands approaching the keyboard itself. Logitech won’t share the secret here but it’s likely they are using some kind of proximity sensor similar to what is used on smartphones. We do know the CRAFT integrates an ambient light sensor as well, dimming or turning off backlight when in a well-lit environment.
Above the Insert/Home keys rests three buttons that allow you to easily switch between controller one of three connected systems or devices. The CRAFT supports the Logitech unifying receiver as well as Bluetooth, allowing you to connect to a notebook or even your phone or tablet for advantages when replying to those text messages from mom.
Logitech claims the CRAFT should last an entire week on a single charge, though that will vary based on bright and often the backlights get used. The internal rechargeable battery gets juice via a USB Type-C connection and a Type-C to Type-A cable is included in the box.
The CRAFT isn’t cheap at $199 but the creation and use of the input dial, or crown, is definitely a value add for creatives and productivity users that see the benefit of a two handed input interface. We are still working through a couple of things on our end before doing a review (including a squeaky space bar that Logitech claims was fixed in final production and some last minute software bugs), but I am impressed with Logitech has built. If you frequently spend your time in Microsoft Office or Adobe CC software suites, you should definitely give the CRAFT keyboard a try.
A Premium Mechanical Option Under $100
In the past year or two we have seen a number of sub-$100 mechanical gaming keyboards on the market, and several of these have passed through our hands here at the PC Perspective offices. The latest of these to garner our attention is the ZALMAN ZM-K900M, a premium gaming design featuring RGB lighting effects and Kailh Blue key switches, along with a 1000 Hz polling rate and full N-key rollover. It currently retails for $89.99, though it can be found for as little as $79.99 (currently, at least) with a little googling. How impressive is it in person? Read on to find out!
The ZM-K900M offers a variety of RGB effects
The ZM-K900M certainly checks the right boxes as a gaming keyboard, with the above-mentioned 1000 Hz polling rate (which ZALMAN calls 'Z-Engine') and customizable RGB lighting, supports simulanious key presses for the full 104 keys, and offers programmable macro keys. All of the keyboard features are controlled via hot keys on the ZM-K900M itself, eliminating the need for software.
“The ZM-K900M requires no software installation and is universally compatible with any operating system. The macros automatically remember the time interval between the inputs and run exactly as you typed. The keyboard stores the data inside the keyboard so you can instantly run your macros on any computer.”
Features and specifications from ZALMAN:
- Simple and minimal design
- Equipped with Z-Engine
- Supports USB and PS/2 connection
- Intelligent hardware macro with option to add mouse clicks
- Multimedia hotkeys
- 4-stage macro speed adjustment
- 6-key and N-Key rollover
- Option to lock Windows key or entire keyboard
- High quality laser-etched keycaps
- Model: ZM-K900M
- Keyboard Layout: 104-key
- Key Switch: Kailh Blue mechanical key switch
- Keyboard Matrix: USB & PS/2 N key rollover (anti-ghost function)
- Key cap type: Step Sculpture 2
- Interface: USB
- Cable length: 5.6 ft
- Dimensions: 17.32 x 5.51 x 1.34 inches, 2.75 lbs
- ZALMAN ZM-K900M Keyboard: $89.99 - Amazon.com