“Corsair's K70 Core is the first mainstream keyboard that can boast high-end features.”
- Excellent linear red switches
- Multi-functional rotary dial
- Dedicated media controls
- Bright RGB using iCUE
- Sleek design
- Plastic wrist rest
- Non-removeable USB cable
- No USB passthrough
Corsair continues to expand its renowned K70 keyboard series with the introduction of a new keyboard. After the K70 RGB Pro and the K70 Pro Mini, we now have the K70 Core. It’s a mainstream keyboard that comes in at $100, but it still packs a punch with high-end features.
Debuting an excellent new range of switches, the K70 Core can go toe-to-toe with Corsair’s flagship K100 RGB. After using the new keyboard for a while, I’m ready to ditch my K100 RGB that I’ve used for almost two years. Here’s why.
Like most of the K70 series, the K70 Core is a full-sized keyboard with per-key RGB lighting, but there are a few design changes. It has a noticeably smaller footprint as the additional area around the keys has been trimmed down, giving it a cleaner, minimalistic look. It continues to have a solid aluminum top plate with a plastic casing at the bottom. Surprisingly it isn’t super heavy, but at the same time feels very sturdy.
Apart from the standard set of keys, the top right corner has a configurable dial, along with a customizable media button and standard status indicators for scroll lock, caps lock, and num lock. At the bottom, there are two large folding feet for height adjustment and a USB cable that you can’t remove. Considering how Corsair moved to a removable USB-C cable last year on the K70 RGB Pro, the choice to have a fixed cable is odd here. Perhaps Corsair only wants to keep that limited to Pro keyboards. I would’ve also loved to see a USB port for pass-through functionality.
The keyboard is available in an all-black finish with only the rotary dial having distinct yellow colored accents. Corsair says that it will be selling a special edition of the keyboard in a white and grey finish, as well as a variety of different keycap color combinations.
Additionally, you can buy the K70 Core either with or without a wrist rest. While it is nice to see the company giving users the choice, the wrist rest itself isn’t up to the mark. Yes, it attaches magnetically and comes with a nice texture on top, but the all-plastic finish and the awkwardly low angle didn’t make typing or gaming as comfortable as the one I am used to on my Corsair K100 RGB. This is something that we faced on the K70 RGB Pro from last year.
While the design changes are not groundbreaking, it is a nice departure from older K70 models. The K70 Core feels sleeker and cleaner and is definitely a modern-looking gaming keyboard for consumers in 2023.
Apart from the design, there are some features of the K70 Core that are worth mentioning. First, let’s talk about the configurable dial. It is made out of metal with a satisfying texture, and the cylindrical shape is a far better choice than Corsair’s previous designs.
The dial offers more functionality than just controlling the volume. Corsair has pulled out the multi-functional dial from its K100 RGB keyboard and added it to the K70 Core. By default, the dial controls volume, and pressing it lets you mute or unmute. Using Corsair’s iCUE software, you can configure it to do more actions like zooming in and out on a page, vertical and horizontal scrolling, and controlling backlight brightness. Switching between these functions can be done using iCUE or simply pressing the Fn and F12 keys. A colored indicator on the F12 key tells you which action is currently enabled.
I absolutely love this functionality but I have two issues. Switching between actions is only possible if you have iCUE installed. Without the software, you are only limited to volume control. As I mentioned, this multi-functional dial was first introduced on the K100 RGB, but three years later, Corsair has not added newer actions nor the ability to assign custom user actions.
Even with that issue, the dial is a massive addition to the K70 Core considering its mainstream price. It was one of the big reasons I chose the K100 RGB in the first place, and the K70 Core is offering the same functionality for half the price.
There’s also a dedicated media control button which is set to pause or play media by default and can be customized in iCUE. Additional media controls and functions like backlight brightness, profile switching, and Windows lock have also been added to the functions keys.
Of course, you also have full control over the RGB lighting using iCUE, and even though Corsair needs to add more RGB effects, it is by far one of the best companion software from any manufacturer. The keyboard also offers the ability to store up to five custom profiles and various macros, as well as on-the-fly macro recording.
Instead of going with Cherry MX, the K70 Core comes with Corsair’s MLX Red linear key switches. These are brand-new switches from the company that come pre-lubricated. The switches are said to come with 45 grams of actuation force, 1.9 mm actuation distance, 4mm of total travel, and are guaranteed to last 70 million keystrokes.
The double-shot ABS keycaps look and feel great with proper lettering allowing the RGB backlight to shine through them. Notably, the secondary function symbols on the F-keys are printed. PBT keycaps tend to last longer, but I highly doubt these keycaps are going to deteriorate with time. They wobble a tiny bit, but that’s something that can only be fixed with strong stabilizers.
I have enjoyed the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches on my Corsair K100 RGB that I’ve been using for almost two years. They tend to be overly sensitive at times, but I have gotten used to it. On the other hand, I am completely sold on Corsair’s Red linear switches, despite using the keyboard for a limited time. For the multi-function dial, the K100 and K70 Core on evenly matched. When it comes to switches, though, the cheaper K70 Core definitely shoots ahead.
Offering smooth and accurate keystrokes, typing on the keyboard feels very satisfying while the two layers of sound-dampening EVA foam make the overall experience absolutely sublime. The combination of the switches with the foam padding on the inside makes for a “thocky” sound, and I found them to be less noisy, as all linear switches should be.
I even did a bit of gaming and I think the keyboard performs really well. Apart from getting used to the shape and size, I don’t think I missed a single key during a few sweaty sessions of Apex Legends. Speaking of gaming, the keyboard isn’t targeted at esports players, thus it offers a standard polling rate of 1000Hz (unlike the 8000Hz on the K70 RGB Pro) which is adequate for most users.
The K70 Core is definitely an important product in Corsair’s lineup. While it maintains the overall form factor, it feels fresh with its subtle changes in aesthetics. The red linear switches and the rotary dial were definitely my favorite features, especially considering the mainstream price point Corsair has set for this keyboard. Outside of the plastic wrist rest of the K70 Core, it’s a better keyboard than the K100 RGB.
Pricing for the Corsair K70 Core starts at $99.99, and for that kind of money, there are quite a few options on the market. The SteelSeries Apex 7 is more expensive at $150, but it offers passthrough and a nicer wrist rest. The biggest competitor is the Razer BlackWidow V3, which comes in at the same price as Corsair’s latest. Corsair definitely has the edge on the switch front, though.
Even with tough competition, the Corsair K70 Core stands out with excellent switches, board foam, and a multi-function dial that was previously reserved for high-end keyboards.
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