The Corsair K100 RGB optical-mechanical keyboard is one of the brand’s latest installments in their product line. It features an upgraded design with proprietary switches, a new dial, and of course, RGB backlighting. However, just because the Corsair K100 looks premium, with a price to match, doesn’t mean it’s for everybody. With that said, is Corsair’s new mechanical gaming keyboard worth the price it asks for? Let’s check it out.
What Is the Corsair K100?
The Corsair K100 keyboard is an RGB keyboard that comes with mechanical keys designed for high-performance gaming. It sports either Corsair’s optical-mechanical switches or Cherry MX speed switches. The keyboard is wired and features a full-size layout, so you won’t miss the Numpad or additional command keys.
Moreover, the keyboard comes with a fancy dial for convenient controls and even has a detachable wrist rest. Overall, the Corsair K100 is durable, comfortable to use for long periods, and has accompanying software for easy customization.
Through the software, you can swiftly customize the backlighting or reprogram keys anytime you want. It also provides dedicated media and macro keys, so it’s handy for both games and media consumption.
Corsair K100 Specs
|Dimensions||1.6 x 18.5 x 6.5 inches (height, width, depth)|
|Wrist Rest||9.3 inches deep; detachable|
|Keycaps||Doubleshot PBT with a few ABS for macros and others|
|Switches||Optical or Cherry MX speed|
|Build||Plastic Base, Metal Top Plate|
|Backlighting||Individually lit RGB keys; programmable|
|Connectivity||5.9 ft wired connection|
|Operating System Compatibility||Windows; macOS (partial); Linux (partial)|
|Software||Corsair iCUE Software for backlighting and macro customization|
|Profiles||6+ With Onboard Memory|
|Other Features||Dedicated Media Keys; Dial; USB Passthrough|
Corsair K100 Gaming Keyboard Review
We take a look at various aspects of this gaming keyboard and decide whether it’s worth the price tag, especially for gaming enthusiasts.
First off, let’s talk about the Corsair K100 RGB in terms of design. The first thing you’ll probably observe about the keyboard is that it’s large. We’re not just talking about the natural size of full-size keyboards, either. Sure, keyboards with number pads are always substantially bigger. However, the Corsair K100 isn’t big because of its layout but because of the inclusion of the top band.
Now, this doesn’t mean the keyboard is bad. After all, this component houses the control dial, profile, a screen to indicate functions, and a few command buttons. It’s also where the volume scroll and mute buttons are located. Overall, this area adds functionality to the keyboard but also adds quite a bit of bulk.
Not to mention the keyboard also houses one whole column full of customizable “G keys.” This column (located on the left) allows users to map controls and conveniently enable gaming shortcuts. Likewise, however, this adds size to the keyboard. Finally, if you include the detachable magnetic wrist rest, the mechanism requires a significantly large space.
With that said, the Corsair K100 isn’t the most portable of the bunch – nor is it suitable for small workspaces. It’s a heavy-duty keyboard, features-wise, with the aesthetics to match. Speaking of which, the gamer aesthetic on the keyboard stands out, and its bulky design along with the RGB backlighting only contributes to this design.
Apart from size, the design is fairly versatile. It features a pass-through port next to the cable attachment and kickstands that stick out sideways. There are also cable management channels underneath so you can achieve a cleaner desktop aesthetic.
The Corsair keyboard is quite durable overall. Its top chassis uses anodized, brushed aluminum to give it a more premium feel and weight. Underneath, you’ll find solid plastic and rubber pads to tie things together. It also incorporates incline feet so you can type more comfortably overall.
The inclines are thick and don’t move about too much. Hence, the Corsair K100 shouldn’t fall apart even if you move it around or if you’re a heavy user. Apart from this, the cable connector on the keyboard is braided and incredibly sturdy. It has two USB-A plugs for the USB passthrough and your computer.
Quality of Keys
What are the Corsair K100 keycaps like? The first thing you’ll notice upon laying your hands on this machine is that it feels premium to the touch. Its keys are textured and resist wear well, ensuring the symbols don’t fade easily over time. This, along with the solid, non-wobbly build, are largely thanks to the Doubleshot PBT keys.
What switches are in the Corsair K100? There are two variants: the Corsair K100 Cherry MX vs Optical (OPX) switches. The OPX keys are mechanical and have a light, 1.0mm actuation distance. Its keys immediately reset, registering strokes easily even if you type lightly. They can also take 150 million keystrokes before wearing them down, so they’ll certainly last a long time.
If you’re using the Cherry MX Speed switches, you’ll find that the Corsair K100 types almost equally well. Like the OPX, these are responsive and have a low pre-travel distance. Although, the OPX ones do have a shorter distance than the Cherry MX Speeds.
In addition, regardless of the switches, the keyboard’s best feature is arguably the built-in Axon Hyper-Processing technology. This allows the keyboard to have 4000Hz hyper-polling and key scanning. That’s faster than most other gaming keyboards that usually only come with 1000Hz. This, along with the N-key rollover, allows for more accurate gameplay.
Overall, the typing quality on the Corsair K100 is outstanding. Both switches require little force to actuate. However, they do have some downsides. For one, the low actuation can also mean higher chances of typos. Additionally, the lack of tactile feedback is unsettling and may make this problem worse. Finally, the keys are raised, so they’re not dust-resistant like other keyboards. You need to make sure not to get dust, dirt, or grime underneath while typing.
The Corsair K100 is packed full of features. There’s the dial, for one thing. It allows you to scroll not only through one setting but multiple, thanks to the button in the middle.
Press the button and the dial will change color, with each one representing different settings. For example, blue usually signifies backlighting adjustment. When the dial is blue, you can turn it left and right to adjust the intensity. Other colors allow you to scroll through playlists, zoom on a canvas, or switch between apps. It’s functional and satisfyingly tactile.
Of course, you can only get the dial’s full functionality if your computer supports the Corsair iCUE software. Otherwise, you’re limited to using only four out of the eight functions that are normally available. Moreover, customizing the dial’s functionality will take more work – as much as it would for macros reprogramming.
Apart from this, the Corsair K100 also sports RGB backlighting. There are 44 unique zones, including the peripheral buttons like the dial. You can customize the RGB individually if you use the accompanying iCUE software. Furthermore, you can even use different presets on different keyboard sections.
Additionally, the Corsair K100 can store up to 200 different profiles on the onboard memory. This allows users more control and freedom when it comes to customization. You can set profiles for gaming, art, work, and more all through the software.
Lastly, the Corsair K100 is also compatible with the Elgato software. This allows streamers to streamline their processes by creating shortcuts and remapping keys. It will help streamers more easily start/stop recordings, open games, take screenshots, and more.
The Corsair K100 doesn’t produce much sound, regardless of whether it’s the Cherry MX or the linear optical switches. They’re quiet and create little to no noise so they should be appropriate even for office use. However, don’t expect them to be clicky or provide tactile feedback like other mechanical gaming keyboards.
The dream of having a Corsair K100 wireless keyboard remains just that – a dream. That’s because the keyboard only comes with a wired connection and isn’t BlueTooth compatible. Hence, you can’t pair it with mobile phones or tablets for easy typing.
Unfortunately, because the Corsair K100 doesn’t have BlueTooth, it isn’t compatible with Android, iOS, or iPadOS. Hence, you can only use it with a desktop or laptop. Even then, it’s only fully compatible with Windows computers. On a macOS, there’s only partial compatibility. You’ll have to give up the Pause Break, Scroll Lock, and Print Screen buttons to use this keyboard.
Finally, the software is incompatible with Linux OS. Hence, using the Corsair K100 with a Linux computer renders multiple features unusable. For example, you can’t use the G1 to G6 macro keys (unless you program them on a Mac/PC beforehand). Nonetheless, you can still use it with Linux, but it just won’t work as well as it does on Windows.
Lastly, the keyboard is incompatible with consoles of any kind. Hence, if you want a keyboard that’s compatible with your PS5 or Xbox, you might want to look elsewhere.
The Corsair K100 price is $229.99 on their website. However, sometimes the keyboard goes on sale and can go for even $30 less. On sites like Amazon, you might even find the keyboard retail for less than $200.
Corsair K100 FAQs
Is It Hot-Swappable?
Unfortunately, Corsair keyboards aren’t known to be hot-swappable, so it’s unlikely that the Corsair K100 is an exception. Your choice of keyboard switches will be final once you purchase the product.
Is Corsair K100 an Analogue Keyboard?
No, the Corsair K100 does not use analog switches. It uses either optical-mechanical switches made by Corsair or Cherry MX Speed Silver switches.
How to Change Color on Tthe Corsair K100?
For users of the Corsair K100, how to change color is essential knowledge. Thankfully, Corsair makes it easy and incorporates multiple keyboard shortcuts that can automatically adjust your lighting effects. You can find them in the online manual here. If you don’t like these presets, you can also adjust and incorporate a Corsair K100 gold theme – or any other theme you like, for that matter – using the iCUE software.
Corsair K100 vs Competitors
The Corsair K100 is already a superb choice if you’re looking for a versatile gaming keyboard. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the perfect option for everyone. It is expensive, and as such, seems unattainable for people on a budget. Moreover, its linear switches don’t provide tactile feedback, and they’re not hot-swappable, either. That’s why we also recommend checking out the K100’s competitors before you land on a decision.
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
Between the Corsair K100 vs K95, which is the better option? Both of these models are similar. They’re made by the same company, and as such, share similar features. However, the CorsairK100 is naturally a step above the K95 in terms of overall performance. It has lower click latency and doesn’t have a heavy operating force.
Nonetheless, there are upsides to the Corsair K100’s predecessor. For one, the K95 has more tactile and clicky switches that are absent on the K100. It’s also much cheaper, coming in at $140 on Amazon. If you’re on the market for a more affordable yet almost equally robust gaming keyboard, it’s certainly a good choice.
Ducky One 3
Razer and Corsair keyboards might excel in gaming. However, they’re not the only brands that perform well in this area. Ducky keyboards have long been the top choice of many keyboard enthusiasts – and it’s easy to see why. The Ducky One 3, for example, outdoes the Corsair when it comes to variety and versatility.
That’s because it comes in multiple sizes and colors, so you can change the aesthetics easily. The keyboard also types well and provides low latency. Moreover, it comes with several different Cherry MX switches depending on your preferences.
However, what arguably makes it more competitive than the Corsair K100 is its hot-swappable nature. That’s right. You can easily hot-swap the PCB keys on the Ducky One 3 – a feature Corsair keyboards don’t usually have. This allows users to express their creativity and truly customize the keyboard the way they want. Whether it’s keycaps or switches, you’re allowed to change anything as long as it’s compatible.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the Corsair K100 doesn’t have its advantages. That’s because it offers extra features that most Ducky keyboards don’t have. For example, it has dedicated media controls, a wrist rest, a USB passthrough, and a highly competitive polling rate. It’s also customizable, thanks to Corsair’s iCUE software. Nonetheless, if you want a much cheaper alternative that’s hot-swappable, the Ducky One 3 is tough to beat.
Razer Huntsman Elite
The Razer Huntsman Elite is a powerful full-sized gaming keyboard with similar features. It has dedicated media controls and wrist rest, and comes with either tactile or linear optical keys. This makes it a viable alternative for those looking for better tactile feedback that the Corsair K100 doesn’t offer.
However, despite this seeming key advantage, the Corsair K100 is still the better option in terms of typing experience. The keys on Corsair’s keyboard are much more sensitive, even though they’re not as responsive as the Elite. Moreover, the Elite doesn’t have dedicated macros as the Corsair K100 does – and its keys are more slippery. Nonetheless, if you want a solid alternative for only $140.
Razer Huntsman V2
The Razer Huntsman V2 is also a full-sized mechanical gaming keyboard, just like the Corsair K100. Like the Corsair, it has dedicated media keys, a volume knob, and low latency for comfortable typing. However, while the V2 is certainly robust, it does lack a few perks the K100 offers.
For example, it doesn’t have a programmable dial, nor does it have a USB passthrough. It also lacks dedicated macro keys – you’ll have to program regular keys for macros separately. In addition, the keys on the Huntsman V2 are more wobbly than the solid ones on the Corsair K100. The linear switches also are sensitive, so you might want the clicky optical switches if you dislike sensitive keys.
Nonetheless, it’s a good choice if you dislike the Corsair K100’s quiet yet feedback-less linear keys. Like the Elite, the Huntsman V2 is more affordable and retails for $150 on Amazon.
SteelSeries Apex Pro
Which is the better option: the SteelSeries Apex Pro vs Corsair K100? Firstly, we’d like to note that both these keyboards are excellent. They both have high levels of customization and great build quality all around. However, the main advantage the Corsair K100 has over the Apex is its dedicated column of macro keys.
On the other hand, the SteelSeries wins over the Corsair when it comes to pre-travel distance. That’s because each key’s distance is customizable, allowing you to be more accurate when playing games. Moreover, it’s the cheaper option between the two and only goes for a little over $150 on Amazon. Sure, it doesn’t have the fancy dial, and it’s slightly less appealing design-wise. Nonetheless, it’s a great alternative, especially if you can’t afford a more than $200 keyboard.
Verdict: Is the Corsair K100 Worth Getting Today?
Is The Corsair K100 worth it? It’s a robust gaming keyboard, that’s for sure. The Corsair K100 has tons of functionality and features that should be more than enough for the average gamer. From dedicated media and macro keys to a special dial and volume scroll, it has everything you need. If you download Corsair’s iCUE Software, that functionality only increases as you can customize the RGB and keys without qualms.
Apart from bells and whistles, the keyboard is also a fast performer regardless of the switch you choose. The only catch is the price. If you can afford it, we highly recommend checking it out. Otherwise, you might want to find alternatives that are a bit more budget-friendly.