Welcome to T3’s Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review. Corsair consistently delivers solid dependable PC peripherals - the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is sitting happily in our best gaming keyboards line-up - but the K100 is the glittering RGB jewel in its mechanical line up. Corsair’s most expensive keyboard, the K100 comes with a choice of Cherry MX Speed and Corsair’s proprietary OPX switches. We’re reviewing the latter below.
Despite a hefty $229/£229 price tag, the K100 is another wired mechanical keyboard. While both Razer and Logitech have competitive lag-free wireless options at this kind of premium price, for this keyboard Corsair is sticking to a thick braided cable with a USB pass through as a handy extra charging point.
Instead of wireless, the K100 is heavily focussed on features to justify that big outlay. Corsair is boasting a 4,000Hz polling rate, a comfortable wrist rest is ready to prevent that awkward keyboard hover we’ve all become accustomed to, and what Corsair calls the Control Wheel makes for a useful tool outside of gaming.
It it all worth it? Let's break it down.
Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review: Design & setup
There’s no getting around it, the K100 is solidly impressive on the eyes. A brushed black aluminium finish brings a premium feel to proceedings and the raised top bar with the extra Control and volume wheels makes this a keyboard that looks like it means business. It feels it too. The K100 is sitting at a hefty 1.35kg so it’s a good thing it’s just sitting pretty on your desk with a stylish magnetic wrist rest. We’re not saying it would make a good weapon but we’re also not saying it wouldn’t…
Of course, it’s all about that RGB. The K100 has impressively bright customisable lighting that isn’t just restricted to the keys. Light strips along the top and sides of the keyboard are a lovely touch that you’ll appreciate dark gaming sessions.
Setup is remarkably easy. If you want that extra USB 2.0 passthrough charger, you’ll have to find two free USB slots for the premium feeling cable, but it’s just a case of plugging in and playing. The iCue software is an easy download if you want customisation options, and it automatically recognised our Corsair PC fan, which was a nice touch.
Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review: Features & performance
So how does it feel to do that all-important typing thing? Choose the K100’s RGB proprietary optical mechanical OPX switches and you’ll be rewarded with a satisfyingly clacky typing experience not unlike a much smoother version of an old school word processor. An impressively low actuation point of 1mm with 45g of force means you won’t be exhausting those fingers while gaming and dancing across the keys during fast paced bouts feels intuitive and flowing. And, while we didn’t get a chance to check on the claims of 150,000,000 keypresses, it certainly feels like the OPX switches are up to the task.
If you want to go for something a little clickier, the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches offer a similar force and a 1.2mm actuation point but a slightly less clacky sound.
Features-wise, the big sell here is what Corsair is calling the Control Wheel which is a programmable wheel on the top left of the keyboard. Press the middle button and you can switch between controlling key brightness, track skipping or jogging, scrolling on web browsers, and even zoom functionality. You can also add extra actions within the iCue software. While this has little purpose during gaming, we found ourselves straying to the control wheel to skip Spotify tracks instead of heading ‘all the way’ to the media keys above the number pad.
Also worth noting is the volume control’s enjoyably premium resistance. If you’re spending this much on a keyboard, you want your rolling metal to have just the right level of pushback.
Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review: Price & verdict
This is a significant outlay for a wired keyboard, but the K100 feels like an exceptionally premium piece of kit. The typing and gaming experience is an absolute joy on the OPX switches and the magnetic wrist rest is a comfortable addition that will quickly convert you to never wanting a naked keyboard again.
And, while the iCue software isn’t quite as slick as something like Razer’s Synapse program, the download and installation is easy and you’ll have slews of LED rainbows or waterfalls in no time. There’s even the option to match your keyboard colours to the temperature of your CPU if that’s your hot or cold bag.
At this point, there’s no shortage of wired mechanical gaming keyboards that will all happily keep you playing late into the night, and no-one is reinventing the colour wheel, so to speak – and that applies here too. The Corsair K100 is an impressively slick premium package that comes with enough bells and whistles to make its high price point not feel like a rip-off, but you can certainly get similar features in a lower-priced package, so the value isn't quite as crisp as the key switches.