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Review: Corsair K100 RGB

by Parm Mann on 1 October 2020, 14:00

Tags: Corsair

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaeonz

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Software and Summary

Following in the footsteps of the K95 RGB Platinum, Stream Deck automatically recognises the six G-Keys, allowing users to drag-and-drop their choice of predefined shortcuts for popular services such as Mixer, Twitch and YouTube. Setup is straightforward, though do be aware that unlike the existing K95, the newer K100 RGB doesn't include interchangeable blue-tipped S-Keys to help differentiate gaming and streaming shortcuts.

The bulk of customisation takes place in iCue, where Corsair has implemented better separation between software and hardware profiles. With the K100 RGB, hardware lighting and hardware actions now have their own dedicated tabs, making it easy to identify which customisations can be saved to onboard storage for use without iCue running.

When it comes to lighting, the 44-zone LightEdge, 8-zone wheel, sails logo, wheel key and keyswitches are all configurable. Up to 20 layers of predefined effects can be saved to hardware, and when you do return to iCue, hardware profiles can be copied back across for editing. You're unlikely to run out of space - there's enough onboard storage for 200 profiles - but do be aware that synchronised lighting effects with multiple components/peripherals are only available when iCue is actively running.

Summary

We've reached the stage where under-the-hood hardware upgrades on flagship peripherals are becoming increasingly difficult to quantify. What we can say is that the K100 RGB is Corsair's most capable keyboard to date, and it hasn't missed a step throughout our testing.

There's a lot to like, as is to be expected at £230, but not every feature will appeal to every user. I personally find it difficult to adapt to keyboards that install extra keys on the left side - there shouldn't be anything beyond Esc in my opinion - and as we approach the tail end of 2020, USB 2.0 passthrough feels well behind the times.

A few limitations remain, but there's plenty on offer for enthusiast gamers wanting to tick most boxes on the spec sheet. OPX optical-mechanical keyswitches feel suitably responsive while practically eliminating any unwanted debounce, the iCue Control Wheel is a welcome addition, and Corsair's software configuration and Stream Deck integration leaves ample scope for further customisation.

Bottom line: the K100 RGB looks the part and has enough going on to be considered a noteworthy upgrade for deep-pocketed enthusiasts.

The Good
 
The Bad
Corsair's best keyboard hardware
iCue Control Wheel is useful
Elgato Stream Deck integration
Seemingly limitless lighting options
Dedicated macro and multimedia keys
 
Costs £230
Still only USB 2.0 passthrough
Palm rest has tendency to wobble



Corsair K100 RGB

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The Corsair K100 RGB gaming keyboard will be available to purchase from Scan Computers.

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At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.



*UK-based HEXUS community members are eligible for free delivery and priority customer service through the SCAN.care@HEXUS forum.



HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

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It can't be 3.2 why can't it be 3 ? I've got a 10ft USB3 extension cable that isn't particularly thick.
I got myself a Roccat vulcan 120 last weekend as the old Razer keyboard kicked the bucket, found a bundle with the kain 100 mouse, so jumped on that as my mouse was also pretty bad.

Take some getting used to these newfangled keys :pcpunch:
I love how it has a real time operating system. I'm sick of the relativity effects from my OS working in the increased gravity compared to my brain. Glad they finally got that niggle sorted.

Now, also, for £230 I'd expect options of USB 3.2 and a shorter cable or USB 3.0 with an extension or swapout cable provided in the box for those who need less girth and more length.

Frankly, I'm finding it impossible to believe that keyboards need this level of bloatware and complexity. It has made mine an absolute pain and ensured I won't buy Razor ever again (because it was a systemic problem affecting loads of users and the company never resolved it on a halo product - I don't mind problems, but I expect them to be fixed when I've handed over a tonne of cash). My keyboard downloads the macro key assignments and other settings from the cloud… it won't work properly without an internet connection and a username / password. Let's have a look at the start up impact of their bloatware - “high”. I'm running a stupidly fast PC and it is slowed down waiting for the keyboard software to run and connect to the server, so I can use my shortcut keys.

For £230, with an onboard SOC and RAM, I'd expect macro key assignments to be stored in the keyboard. If I'm running a gaming machine, I want as little bloatware running as possible and one look at iCue tells me it's bloated with the best of them. I've had a keyboard before with a load of shortcuts, all configurable within the Windows settings. Can I do this? Can I use the software to configure the lighting and fancy dancy stuff and then store it in the keyboard, disable the iCue on start up, using the Windows utility to manage the shortcut keys? I may lose a feature or two, but it's up to me whether that is worth the trade off.

I have bloatware running for my keyboard, mouse, games (because without leaving Steam running I find I have to spend 20 minutes updating games before I can play them) and sound card (granted that is actually useful to me on a regular basis). Never mind the mobo app centre that's required to stop the fans screeching and the ATI software…. yes, it's still ATI to me.

I want gaming products that don't soak up runtime and RAM with bloat. If they want to include it for those who like it, great, but I'd rather they develop a secondary route to using most of the features without the full bloatware experience. Doesn't matter if it's a bit fiddly or slightly reduces the feature set, that's fine. I built the damned PC, I think I can handle it.
philehidiot
I love how it has a real time operating system. I'm sick of the relativity effects from my OS working in the increased gravity compared to my brain. Glad they finally got that niggle sorted.

FYI, real-time actually has a specific meaning here. Specifically the operating system is engineered to be judged on wall-clock “real” time rather than cycle based CPU time. In practical terms, it means they're really confident in the latency figures for the keyboard.
230£ for a keyboard?
The prices for PC peripherals are getting out of hand!
And I'm sick of the argument that if you don't like it you're probably not the target market.
True, there's probably somebody willing to spend that type of money for a keyboard, but that doesn't make it any les absurd.