Keys to gaming

Keys to gaming
Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB full-colour gaming mechanical keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards have become quite popular with PC gamers recently.

These keyboards use an individual physical switch under each key to define a key push.

Compared with regular keyboards, which use plastic membranes with dome-shaped rubber switches under the keys to determine a key press, mechanical keyboards give a better audible and tactile response, as well as improved speed and accuracy.

Now, gamers can even customise the backlight colour of the keys from a palette of 16.8 million colours.

Digital Life tests three full-colour gaming mechanical keyboards.

Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB

$239; 1.2kg

The Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB is the lightest and least expensive of the three keyboards in this shootout.

Measuring 44cm wide, it takes up the least amount of space with its keys so compactly arranged.

There are no extra rows for macro or profile keys. Yet, it manages to squeeze in a button for backlighting levels, a volume control roller and a set of media keys.

It connects to your computer using a braided tangle-free cable via two USB connectors. A detachable palm rest is included, but I find it is more comfortable to type without using the palm rest. And it frees more space on your desk.

The design is quite spartan, so you can see the anodised aluminium base. All the keys seem to be floating as the keyboard lacks a covering to hide the mechanical switches.

Unlike Logitech and Razer, which claim to use their own mechanical switches, Corsair opts for the industrial-standard Cherry MX mechanical switches. There are Cherry MX Red, Blue and Brown versions of this keyboard.

The review unit comes in the quieter and springy Red version.

I find that the keys have a more subtle tactile and audio feedback. Personally, I would prefer it louder and more responsive.

The keyboard performs splendidly. Playing first-person shooter Titanfall and the action role-playing game Diablo III felt comfortable and intuitive.

Even normal typing feels great with less finger travel between the keys, because the keyboard is compact.

On the downside, the lighting effects are not as pretty or as striking as on the other two keyboards. The K70 RGB's lighting is not as bright and distinct, too.

The Corsair Utility Engine 1.3.91 software is really complicated to use and is not user-friendly, unlike those of the Logitech and Razer.

You need to download the manual (the URL is available on the software) and follow the instructions to do the simplest of tasks, such as getting a new lighting profile.

You really just want to give up using this software.

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