Corsair Vengeance K70 Keyboard Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on June 9, 2014 11:30 AM EST
- Posted in
- Cherry MX
A Closer Look
One major upgrade over the Vengeance K60 is the inclusion of backlighting. The silver version of the Vengeance K70 has blue LEDs installed, while the black versions come with red LEDs. Every typical key has one LED installed beneath it, illuminating both the major and minor character, with the sole exception being the Space Bar. In order to improve the uniformity of the backlighting, Corsair added two stand-alone LEDs beneath the Space Bar. This definitely helps aesthetically but the backlighting of the Vengeance K70 is perceptibly uneven, which is natural for a construct of multiple-point lighting and without a reflective background. This is a problem with all such keyboards but the "levitating" design of the Vengeance K70 enhances the effect. Furthermore, most manufacturers install highly reflective surfaces beneath the keys in order to reduce the problem and the black anodized aluminum body of the Vengeance K70 is not up to the task.
As expected, beneath every keycap is a Cherry MX mechanical switch, even under the longer keys. Cross type supports can be found under the five long keys (Space, Shift, Enter and Backspace), which prevent the keys from wobbling and give the Vengeance K70 a very robust feel. Red Cherry MX switches are very soft and linear, Brown are soft with a very light and noiseless tactile feeling, while Blue are similar to the Browns but have a strong and raucous tactile feedback instead.
There is a lot of marketing hype going around about which switch is better for gaming, typing, and overall use. We strongly believe that there is no single switch that is right for everyone—it simply is a matter of personal preference. For example, there are gamers that prefer the tactile Blue switches over the linear Red switches and typists that enjoy the comfort of the Red switch over the noisy Blue switch. There are even gamers that do not prefer mechanical switches and would rather use rubber dome switches.
Ultimately, the choice of switch should be based entirely on the personal preferences of each user. Unfortunately, that makes first time mechanical switch keyboard purchases a bit tricky. If you have no experience with mechanical keyboards and do not know which switch is right for you, you could acquire a tester board before your final selection. It won't really let you experience actual typing/gaming, and as such it would be better if you could get hands-on time with several keyboards with the different switches, but at least the tester board will let you feel/hear what the switches are like.
Quality-wise, the Vengeance K70 is one of the best made keyboards that we have ever seen. The aluminum chassis offers excellent mechanical strength and the plastics are of very high quality. Inside the keyboard, we discovered a very clean assembly accompanied by a textbook soldering job. A Freescale MC9S08JM32 Microcontroller and a Holtek HT1632C LED driver are the heart of the Vengeance K70.
Performance is a qualitative factor when it comes to keyboards, almost exclusively depending on the keys used and the features that the user requires. Beyond that, few quantifiable figures can be used to measure the performance of a keyboard, with the key rollover being perhaps the only exception. The Corsair Vengeance K70 supports n-key (infinite key) rollover, meaning that you can press virtually any number of keys simultaneously and every single one of them will register.
While this is true, as the Vengeance K70 registered all 12 keys that we pressed simultaneously, given human beings are limited to ten fingers anything above this level is practically useless under in most circumstances—even if you were to play a split-screen game with two people using one keyboard, it is unlikely you'd need more than 10-15 keys (and getting that many fingers on a single keyboard is going to be very crowded). We also found no key combinations that would cause the keyboard to "ghost" (i.e. not register the keystrokes), something that gamers will be really glad about. In terms of feel and quality, the Corsair Vengeance K70 also scores very high, being one of the most robust and consistent keyboards that we have ever used.
Where the Vengeance K70 does not fare well at all is on versatility and software—there is none. There are no macro keys and no programming capabilities at all, leaving the Vengeance K70 without any advanced keyboard capabilities. With a price tag of $129.99 at the time of this review, the Vengeance K70 feels more like an overly glorified simple keyboard and less of a product designed for advanced users. If you simply enjoy simplicity and do not care about having programmable keys or macros, the Vengeance K70 is one of the highest quality products that money can buy, albeit for a hefty price tag. For those that merely need macro keys, Corsair retails the Vengeance K95, an extended version of the K70 with eighteen programmable keys on its left side, which however only comes with Cherry MX red switches and with an even heftier price tag of $179.99. If however you want/need something more advanced, you might want to wait a few months for the MX RGB versions of the Vengeance K70/K95, as they will include advanced features (at higher prices than the standard models reviewed here).
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EzioAs - Monday, June 9, 2014 - linkI have the silver + MX Blue and I love it. Much more when you looked at it in person compared to pictures and dedicated media keys are just what keyboards at this price point should have (instead of dopey Fn). The only thing I have to complain is the LEDs, they're dying very quickly.
The first dead LED was about 2 weeks after I bought it. Fast forward 7 months later (today), 34 of the LEDs are dead (I counted it). Not a deal breaker for me (since LEDs are just extra), but a lot of people complain about this in their forums.
So, I'd like to advise those who are interested in buying these models, if backlighting is important to you, be prepared to lose some (it may happen to you too). Early adopters of the upcoming MX RGB should probably consider this as well.
CuriousMike - Monday, June 9, 2014 - linkDead LEDs. I bought this keyboard for my wife in February 2014, and in light use, we have 6 dead LEDs.
Don't throw away your receipt, you'll need it for RMA.
olderkid - Monday, June 9, 2014 - linkI've had mine for a little over 9 months - keyboard stays lit 24x7 and I haven't lost a single LED yet.
Great keyboard for doing a lot of typing.
xdeadzx - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - linkHad my first for ~16 months, no dead LEDs (fried during a storm, keys stopped pressing)
My second is on ~10 months, no dead LEDs. I did however have to RMA the second once to get all my LEDs, the RMA'd was missing an LED while one flickered at low light.
I think it's more of getting them dead than it is them going dead later. *k90 for reference.
FaaR - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - linkMy K70 had about two dead LEDs - which I thought was because I once thumped it pretty hard in a fit of TF2-induced rage but now realize might have been part of a larger pattern - until it died completely, spontaneously all by itself.
Woke up one morning months after first discovering the dead LEDs, PC had bluescreened overnight, having been running Folding@Home constantly. Oh well, I thought. Such is the overclocker's lot. However, keyboard would not respond anymore, no matter what. I realize this (keyboard dying) is probably what crashed the computer.
I never bothered to try and return the keyboard, seeing as I thumped it (there's no visible damage at all - it's surprisingly solid despite the seemingly delicate-looking mechanical switches), but now I'm thinking maybe I should. *shrug* I have a K60 as reserve, which works okay now after the firmware flash. It every once in a blue moon burps out double keystrokes, but at least no longer produces those stuck buttons that were so annoying/dangerous, especially when typing and hitting backspace...
kmi187 - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - linkSame here, for a period of about 7 months now, they are lit 24/7, not a single dead LED. It even fell off my desk once while the girlfriend was cleaning and it survived. The wooden floor has a little pit and scratch from the corner of the keyboard hitting it though.
Antronman - Monday, June 9, 2014 - linkRGB shouldn't have that problem.
Joeypogs - Monday, June 9, 2014 - linkI too had the same problem with the LED's on my 1st Corsair K70-- Cherry mxbrown with blue LED's. It was after a month that LED's started dying first it was 3 then the next day 7 and so on.. So i RMA'd it (which took more than a month to be replaced poor customer support really) and got the mxblue with red LED's variant and so far it's been holding out without a single dead LED.
I believe there have been quality control problems with the blue LED variants because as what i have read in corsair forums most of the owners got dead LED's and the red LED owners are not complaining. and when i RMA'd my blue led the support people told me that blue LED's are no longer available which lead me to believe that Corsair is issuing a silent recall for the blue LED's just my theory i suppose.
Evilkoala13 - Friday, June 13, 2014 - linkI think you're right about the blue LEDs having quality issues. I got the mx brown and blue LEDs version and some of the LEDs failed after 3 weeks. I RMAed it and got the replacement quickly. Then, the replacement started losing LEDs and I RMAed it again, but this time the mx brown with blue LEDs was no longer in stock. I kept checking every few weeks but it never came in. Last month I was informed that Corsair has discontinued the blue LEDs model and now is only shipping the reds. Corsair has been great with customer service though and is replacing my broken keyboard with the MX Brown and red LED model.
dyc4ha - Monday, June 9, 2014 - linkyup i love the keyboard, but 3 dead LEDs in within the first 2 months.. =/