Corsair K70 Core
“Corsair’s K70 Core is the first mainstream keyboard that can boast high-end features.”
excellent linear red switch
multifunctional rotary dial
dedicated media control
Bright RGB using iCUE
plastic wrist rest
non-removable usb cable
no usb passthrough
Corsair continues to expand its famous K70 keyboard series with the introduction of a new keyboard. After the K70 RGB Pro and K70 Pro Mini, we now have the K70 Core. This is a mainstream keyboard that costs $100, but it’s still packed with high-end features.
Kicking off an excellent new line of switches, the K70 Core can compete with Corsair’s flagship K100 RGB. After using the new keyboard for a while, I’m ready to give up 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 some design changes. Its footprint is quite small as the extra area around the keys has been reduced, giving it a clean, minimalistic look. It consists of a solid aluminum top plate with a plastic cover on the bottom. Surprisingly, it’s not overly heavy, but also feels very sturdy.
In addition to the standard set of keys, there’s a configurable dial in the top right corner, as well as a customizable media button and standard status indicators for Scroll Lock, Caps Lock, and Num Lock. At the bottom, there are two large folding legs for height adjustment and a USB cable that you can’t remove. Seeing as how Corsair moved to a removable USB-C cable on the K70 RGB Pro last year, the choice to have a fixed cable here is odd. Perhaps Corsair wants to limit it to Pro keyboards only. I would also like 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 accents. Corsair says it will sell a special edition of the keyboard in white and gray finishes, as well as various keycap color combinations.
Additionally, you can buy the K70 Core with or without a wrist rest. While it’s good to see the company giving users options, the wrist rest itself isn’t perfect. Yes, it attaches magnetically and comes with a nice texture on the top, but the all-plastic finish and awkwardly low angle don’t make typing or gaming as comfortable as what I’m used to on my Corsair K100 RGB . This is something we encountered last year on the K70 RGB Pro.
Although the design changes aren’t groundbreaking, it’s a nice departure from the older K70 model. 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 a few features of the K70 Core that are worth noting. First, let’s talk about the configurable dial. It’s made 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 volume. Corsair has removed the multi-functional dial from its K100 RGB keyboard and added it to the K70 Core. By default, the dial controls the volume, and pressing it lets you mute or unmute. Using Corsair’s iCUE software, you can configure it to perform more actions like zooming in and out on the page, vertical and horizontal scrolling, and controlling backlight brightness. Switching between these functions can be done using iCUE or by 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 installed iCUE. Without software, you’re limited to volume controls only. As I mentioned, this multi-functional dial was first introduced on the K100 RGB, but three years later, Corsair hasn’t added new actions nor the ability to assign custom user actions.
Even with that problem, considering the mainstream price, the Dial is a great addition to the K70 Core. This was a big reason I chose the K100 RGB in the first place, and the K70 Core is offering similar functionality at half the price.
There is also a dedicated media control button that is set to pause or play media by default and can be customized in iCUE. Additional media controls and functions such as backlight brightness, profile switching, and Windows lock have also been added to the function 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 has one of the best companion software from any manufacturer. The keyboard also offers five custom profiles and the ability to store various macros, as well as on-the-fly macro recordings.
switches and keys
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 which come pre-lubricated. The switches are said to come with 45 grams of actuation force, 1.9mm actuation distance, 4mm of total travel, and are guaranteed to last up to 70 million keystrokes.
The double-shot ABS keycaps look great with proper lettering and allow the RGB backlight to shine through them. Notably, there are secondary function symbols printed on the F-keys. PBT keycaps last a long time, but I highly doubt these keycaps are going to wear out over time. They do wobble a bit, but that’s something that can only be fixed with stronger stabilizers.
I’ve enjoyed the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches on my Corsair K100 RGB that I’ve been using for about two years. They can be overly sensitive sometimes, but I’ve got used to it. On the other hand, despite using the keyboard for a limited time, I’m completely sold on Corsair’s Red Linear switches. As for the multi-function dial, the K100 and K70 cores are evenly matched. However, when it comes to the Switch, the cheaper K70 Core is definitely ahead.
Offering smooth and precise keystrokes, typing on the keyboard feels very satisfying while the two layers of sound-deadening EVA foam makes the overall experience absolutely luxurious. The combination of the switches with the foam padding inside creates a “thunky” sound, and I found them to be low noise, as all linear switches should be.
I also did a bit of gaming and I think the keyboard performs really well. Apart from getting used to the size and shape, I don’t think I missed a single key during some tough sessions top legends, Speaking of gaming, the keyboard is not targeted at eSports players, thus it offers a standard polling rate of 1000Hz (as opposed to 8000Hz on the K70 RGB Pro) which is enough for most users.
The K70 Core is definitely an important product in Corsair’s lineup. Although it maintains the overall form factor, it feels refreshed with subtle changes in the aesthetics. The red linear switches and rotary dial were definitely my favorite features, especially considering the mainstream price point Corsair has set for this keyboard. Apart from the K70 Core’s plastic wrist rest, it’s a better keyboard than the K100 RGB.
The price of 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 nice wrist rest. The biggest competitor is the Razer BlackWidow V3, which comes in at a similar price to Corsair’s latest. However, Corsair definitely has the edge on the Switch front.
Despite the stiff competition, the Corsair K70 Core stands out with excellent switches, board foam, and a multi-function dial previously reserved for high-end keyboards.