Corsair has updated its high-end K70 mechanical keyboard, adding enough new features to earn it the designation K70 RGB MK.2 (See it on Amazon). The original K70 was widely regarded as an exceptional mechanical keyboard though, and for the most part Corsair has followed the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” model with its successor. Though you might not even notice the changes at first glance, there's some mild improvements throughout. I spent some time with the K70 MK.2 to see if this new iteration on a much-loved board is worth the hefty $160 investment.
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 - Design and Features
At first glance the MK2 looks exactly like the MK1, with the only noticeable difference being the glowing Corsair logo at the top-center. The previous version just had a plastic logo, so Corsair has added illumination to it. The dark, brushed aluminum body on the K70 RGB MK.2 is unchanged, and looks and feels fantastic. If I had to equate the body to another keyboard, Corsair’s flagship K95 Platinum comes immediately to mind.
There’s a pleasant weight to the board and I never had any issues with the K70 MK.2 sliding around my desk even during intense gaming sessions. The included—and detachable—wrist rest varies slightly from the original K70 with a rubberized grip that feels softer than the hard plastic of the previous model. Mercifully, the wrist rest is also larger now, which is one of the big changes in the MK2, so it fits my larger hands.
The keycaps have a floating design in line with the direction Corsair seems to have taken with nearly all of its mechanical keyboard. This greatly benefits the RGB light show dancing under the keys and makes it super easy to clean. But much like its Strafe MK.2 cousin, these ABS plastic keycaps seem to show fingerprints very easily. The caps are easily removed, however, and Corsair has included a key-puller tool along with a set of grey replacement keycaps for the WASD keys. The replacements have a raised, textured finish and look great next to the rest of the ordinary, matte black keys on the K70 MK.2. I especially enjoy using them for first-person shooters, and there's keycaps for MOBA gamers too.
Under the keycaps, Corsair has stuck with the ubiquitous and well-loved range of Cherry MX mechanical switches. There are five different switch options now, as opposed to just three with the previous model. The review unit sent to me was loaded with Silver Speed switches, but the K70 MK.2 is also available with Red, Blue, Brown, or Silent switches. I’m partial to the plain old Red switches, but there’s a very low actuation point (1.2mm) on the Speed switches, compared to the 2mm actuation on the Red variety. The Speed switches do the job and are a real joy while playing fast-action shooter games.
Above the numpad, Corsair has slightly tweaked the look of the media controls but otherwise left things unchanged. There's still a row of dedicated media keys, and they’re very pronounced and easy to locate when you’re just chilling out and listening to Spotify. Above the media keys is the excellent volume roll-bar. I’ve grown to really love these volume dial setups on keyboards, although I wish Corsair would find a way to add Windows 10 Dial functionality, similar to what’s found on the Roccat Horde AIMO.
Corsair has moved the buttons for changing lighting brightness and the "gaming" button that disables the Windows key from the right-side to the left-side of the top of the keyboard, while adding a new key for switching profiles. This is another one of the new features of the MK2; there's now 8MB of onboard memory for storing up to three different profiles, and you can switch between them without any additional software. There’s still no dedicated macro keys like on the K95, but as I’ll discuss in a moment, you can use any key on the K70 MK.2 for macros anyway.
The lighting on this keyboard really is the star of the show—perhaps the best feature on the new K70 after its overall incredible build quality. The per-key lighting is obviously fully customizable and the brightness is just about perfect (and it can be adjusted).
The last change to the K70 that should be noted are that there's now a cable-routing tunnel underneath the keyboard so you don't need to have it sticking straight out from the back anymore.
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 - Software
The K70 MK.2 uses Corsair’s catch-all software, which is apparently called iCue now (its former name was just Cue). In any case, iCue should be immediately familiar to anyone who has used Corsair’s products in the past. But if you’ve never had the pleasure it’s a decent suite of tools that allows you to customize RGB lighting and set macros. Unfortunately, it still has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to figuring out its little eccentricities. There’s a lot of making selections only to have them not apply because you failed to drag-drop them to some other confusing profile menu.
But when you get the hang of things, iCue works fairly well and you can sync lighting up between all of your various Corsair peripherals and even internal computer hardware components. The K70 MK.2 and its wonderful RGB lighting benefit from the process in the form of preset effects (breathing, color wave, etc) and per-key custom configurations. Corsair has also started to load iCue up with game-specific lighting profiles, a la Razer Chroma. Far Cry 5 puts an incredible, waving American flag across the keys in the menus, for example.
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 - Gaming
...RGB lighting finds a nice balance between brightness and not going overboard.
The Cherry MX Speed switches are super fast on the K70 MK.2 and perfectly setup for playing fast-paced games. I especially appreciated the quick, linear keypresses while playing games like Overwatch and Destiny 2. Again, I don’t think these switches are all that noticeably “faster” than the regular Cherry MX Red, but they’re nonetheless quick and effective. The replacement keycaps work extremely well and feel exactly the same as the included keycaps on the more expensive K95 Platinum.
Key spacing on the new K70 is comfortable, whether typing or gaming. I never stumbled over keys while playing games and they’re comfortable for just about any game type. The volume wheel is great and obviously super simple to use to adjust game audio quickly on the fly. Moreover, the RGB lighting finds a nice balance between brightness and not going overboard into distraction.
Ultimately, the K70 MK.2 is very, very similar to the $200 K95 Platinum with the exception of missing the dedicated macro keys on the latter. If you’re a huge MMO or MOBA player, it is worth the extra $30 for the K95. But for someone like myself it makes far more sense to save the cash—and desk space— to to with the K70 and use iCue to assign the occasional macro to a key sequence.
The Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 sells for $160, and since it was recently released it's the same price on Amazon:
- See it on Amazon