Corsair did their best, but I still don’t like opto-mechanical keyboards
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that gaming keyboards have come a long way in the past decade. Customizable RGB lighting, dedicated macro keys and media controls have become standard features. And some of the bigger companies have even come up with their own mechanical key designs, with Razer going one step further two years ago with new “opto-mechanical” switches that promised faster entry using fewer physical parts.
Corn I was not a fan – there was no noticeable difference in response time for me, and keystrokes didn’t sound so good. Now Corsair is stepping into the game today with its own opto-mechanical solution, and while the new K100 may represent the best of Corsair’s tech right now, I’m still not convinced of this new type of switch to. key.
Corsair calls the K100 its “pinnacle” of its keyboard line, and it certainly packs all of the features Corsair has released or iterated over the years, but with small improvements that are actually better. The lighting under each key is much brighter, the media buttons are bigger and more clickable, and the roll bar on the top right is much smoother than previous models.
Even the plastic and metal construction is stronger and heavier than older bridges like my beloved K70. All of these little changes alone would make this a great keyboard. You don’t even have to settle for opto-mechanical keys if you don’t really want to; the K100 will also be available with regular Cherry mechanical keys. But this is Corsair’s first attempt at custom switches, so this is the model I wanted to try.
The keys are known as OPX and they are backed up by Corsair’s new AXON processing technology. It interrogates at 4000Hz, which the company says is 4 times faster than standard gaming keyboards. But a 1mm actuation point doesn’t hurt either, and it’s a difference I can immediately discern when typing. It’s very responsive, and I don’t have to put a lot of force on the keys. However, other than the space bar, none of the keys are so sensitive that just touching them with your hand registers an entry. It’s a blessing if you’re a sloppy typist like me, and definitely a must during a tense game where every strike counts.
The only thing Corsair still hasn’t figured out for me, however, is that the opto-mechanical keycaps sound and feel still don’t live up to the standard mechanical keys. I wasn’t a huge Razer’s Huntsman fan because the keys just didn’t sound right; there was a slight metallic ring with each keystroke. The K100 also has a slight dip in its strikes which some might find unpleasant. Compared to the K70’s MX Speed keys, it’s also not that smooth.
But it really is a matter of personal preference. Some people might prefer the K100’s sharper tactile feedback. And even the click of the keys isn’t a big deal if you’re wearing a headset. However, this will likely drive the people around you crazy, especially since the keys all sound slightly different depending on their position on the board. It’s not something you’ll always notice when primarily using the arrow keys and WASD, but I’m typing this with the K100 and it starts to squeak.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to turn on my music by mashing the media buttons, which are really a lot sharper than the older models. However, there is now a wheel on the left side of the bridge that can control your media and more. It can move the tracks and adjust the brightness of the key illumination, you just need to push it to change the function. You can even use the dial to record macros on the fly, instead of having to mess around with iCUE software.
In fact, many features of the K100 allow you to bypass the software entirely. Want to adjust the keyboard lighting pattern? There are keyboard shortcuts for this. But if you want to play around with even more customizations, iCUE has been upgraded to allow separate hardware and software configuration for the K100, saving your profile to the keyboard’s built-in storage. You can also set the macro keys from here, which can now be configured with the features of the Elgato Stream Deck software.
1 / 7
If you watched a $ 100 Stream Deck Mini for your streaming setup, the K100 might actually be a good deal at $ 230 – Corsair’s K95 RGB Platinum XT will set you back $ 200 on its own. It’s an even better buy if you really want those opto-mechanical keys, as the closest Razer Huntsman model, the Elite, will also cost $ 200 and doesn’t come with macro keys at all. And if like me you don’t like the new key technology, you can buy a K100 model with Cherry keys for the same price and still be pretty happy with all the other upgrades Corsair has made.