Mechanical keyboards are far from a new technology; they are decades old and some of the first mass produced personal computers came with mechanical keyboards back in the 1980's. However, due to their high production cost, they were soon replaced by keyboards other types of electronic switches that were considerably less expensive. Over the years however, the production cost of the mechanical key switches also came down, making them more and more affordable by the day. Today, PC users can find a good selection of mechanical keyboards from numerous manufacturers available at (generally) reasonable prices.

Today we will be having a look at the Vengeance K70 from Corsair, a full size keyboard designed for gaming. It is an upgrade of the popular Vengeance K60 and it is remains strikingly similar visually; however, aside from the various upgrades that we will discuss in this review, Corsair also offers the K70 in various color and switch combinations. In this review we will be looking at the black US layout version of the Vengeance K70, which features red backlighting and comes in three switch types (red, blue or brown), as well as in various layouts. Corsair recently launched the RGB LED backlit model at Computex, but that was not available when we started this review.

The Corsair Vengeance K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The first upgrade over the Vengeance K60 can be found in the bundled items. With the Vengeance K70, Corsair supplies a set of ten textured red keys (1-6, W, A, S, D—the standard gaming keys for FPS games) and a full-size wrist rest, where the older K60 only came with a small 5" wide wrist rest for your left hand while gaming.

Corsair supplied us with the three black US layout versions they produce, each featuring a different Cherry MX switch. The three keyboards are aesthetically the same and no one will be able to tell the difference between them before a keycap is removed. Once a keycap is removed or an experienced user presses a key, the difference between the Blue, Brown and Red switches become apparent. Corsair, at least for the time being, does not offer the Vengeance K70 with Cherry MX Black, Green or other switches.

Visually, the Vengeance K70 stands out from the crowd by following the same design that made the Vengeance K60/K90 popular. The keyboard is built on a brushed aluminum chassis, with the keys levitating over it rather than being embedded into it. Aesthetics are a subjective matter and some people like this design while others hate it. From a practical point of view however, this design is extremely helpful to those that like to keep their keyboards clean, as a simple blow can remove all debris from the surface of the keyboard. A primary aesthetic flaw however is the black company logo at the middle top part of the chassis. Although the logo looks very good on a silver keyboard, I feel it was a poor choice to keep the same logo on the black version of the Vengeance K70. A less important flaw are the screws that keep the motherboard together; most of them are behind keys and invisible, but a few are at places that are somewhat noticeable, such as beneath the Esc key.

Corsair installed multimedia control buttons and a volume knob at the upper right side of the keyboard. There are four keys for playback control (Play/Pause, Stop, Forward and Back) and a volume mute key next to the metallic volume knob. Three smaller keys can be found towards the top center of the Vengeance K70; one that controls the lighting, one that switches the backlight into the "gaming" mode, and one that renders the Windows keys inactive. Between these and the multimedia keys, there are three tiny white LED lights serving as the three standard key lock indicators (Caps Lock, Num Lock, Scroll Lock).

Although the installation of the textured red keys gives the Vengeance K70 a nice, aggressive gaming appearance, we found that these keys are more than just useless to any user that will not play a game using these specific keys. The keys are contoured, which gives them a nice feeling while gaming, but they feel terrible when doing anything else, especially typing. Therefore, unless you are planning to use the keyboard exclusively for playing games that are making use of these exact keys, replacing them each time you want to play a game feels like too much of a hassle.

Corsair installed a single USB 2.0 port at the top back side of the Vengeance K70. Right next to the USB port there is a switch that allows the user to change the polling rate. This function is not needed for any modern system but it increases the keyboard's compatibility with older motherboards and cheap KVM switches, which cannot operate properly when the polling rate is too high. The default polling rate of the Vengeance K70 is 1 ms (or 1 kHz). Beneath the keyboard are four feet for height adjustment, two at the rear and two at the front of the keyboard. Although stands at the rear of the keyboard are quite common, very few designs have the ability to adjust the tilt at the front.

Corsair Vengeance K70 Keyboard Review - Page 2
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  • EzioAs - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    I have the silver + MX Blue and I love it. Much more when you looked at it in person compared to pictures and dedicated media keys are just what keyboards at this price point should have (instead of dopey Fn). The only thing I have to complain is the LEDs, they're dying very quickly.

    The first dead LED was about 2 weeks after I bought it. Fast forward 7 months later (today), 34 of the LEDs are dead (I counted it). Not a deal breaker for me (since LEDs are just extra), but a lot of people complain about this in their forums.

    So, I'd like to advise those who are interested in buying these models, if backlighting is important to you, be prepared to lose some (it may happen to you too). Early adopters of the upcoming MX RGB should probably consider this as well.
  • CuriousMike - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    Dead LEDs. I bought this keyboard for my wife in February 2014, and in light use, we have 6 dead LEDs.
    Don't throw away your receipt, you'll need it for RMA.
  • olderkid - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    I've had mine for a little over 9 months - keyboard stays lit 24x7 and I haven't lost a single LED yet.

    Great keyboard for doing a lot of typing.
  • xdeadzx - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    Had my first for ~16 months, no dead LEDs (fried during a storm, keys stopped pressing)
    My second is on ~10 months, no dead LEDs. I did however have to RMA the second once to get all my LEDs, the RMA'd was missing an LED while one flickered at low light.

    I think it's more of getting them dead than it is them going dead later. *k90 for reference.
  • FaaR - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    My K70 had about two dead LEDs - which I thought was because I once thumped it pretty hard in a fit of TF2-induced rage but now realize might have been part of a larger pattern - until it died completely, spontaneously all by itself.

    Woke up one morning months after first discovering the dead LEDs, PC had bluescreened overnight, having been running Folding@Home constantly. Oh well, I thought. Such is the overclocker's lot. However, keyboard would not respond anymore, no matter what. I realize this (keyboard dying) is probably what crashed the computer.

    I never bothered to try and return the keyboard, seeing as I thumped it (there's no visible damage at all - it's surprisingly solid despite the seemingly delicate-looking mechanical switches), but now I'm thinking maybe I should. *shrug* I have a K60 as reserve, which works okay now after the firmware flash. It every once in a blue moon burps out double keystrokes, but at least no longer produces those stuck buttons that were so annoying/dangerous, especially when typing and hitting backspace...
  • kmi187 - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    Same here, for a period of about 7 months now, they are lit 24/7, not a single dead LED. It even fell off my desk once while the girlfriend was cleaning and it survived. The wooden floor has a little pit and scratch from the corner of the keyboard hitting it though.
  • Antronman - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    RGB shouldn't have that problem.
  • Joeypogs - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    I too had the same problem with the LED's on my 1st Corsair K70-- Cherry mxbrown with blue LED's. It was after a month that LED's started dying first it was 3 then the next day 7 and so on.. So i RMA'd it (which took more than a month to be replaced poor customer support really) and got the mxblue with red LED's variant and so far it's been holding out without a single dead LED.

    I believe there have been quality control problems with the blue LED variants because as what i have read in corsair forums most of the owners got dead LED's and the red LED owners are not complaining. and when i RMA'd my blue led the support people told me that blue LED's are no longer available which lead me to believe that Corsair is issuing a silent recall for the blue LED's just my theory i suppose.
  • Evilkoala13 - Friday, June 13, 2014 - link

    I think you're right about the blue LEDs having quality issues. I got the mx brown and blue LEDs version and some of the LEDs failed after 3 weeks. I RMAed it and got the replacement quickly. Then, the replacement started losing LEDs and I RMAed it again, but this time the mx brown with blue LEDs was no longer in stock. I kept checking every few weeks but it never came in. Last month I was informed that Corsair has discontinued the blue LEDs model and now is only shipping the reds. Corsair has been great with customer service though and is replacing my broken keyboard with the MX Brown and red LED model.
  • dyc4ha - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    yup i love the keyboard, but 3 dead LEDs in within the first 2 months.. =/

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