Bringing PC Gaming to the Couch
Can Corsair perfect PC gaming on the couch?
PC gaming lives at the cutting edge, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to kick back on the couch to enjoy a game. Not long ago, we were stuck with controllers or draping long wires across our floors, but as technology has advanced, those compromises are becoming a thing of the past. Today, we’re looking at the latest combo from Corsair with the K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and their custom-fit Lapboard.
Are the days of balancing keyboards on our legs and mousing from couch cushions finally behind us? Let’s find out.
- MSRP: $159.99 (Amazon.com)
- Keyboard Compatibility: Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- Cushion: Full length memory foam
- Mouse Pad: Soft surface, replaceable
- Dimensions (Mouse Pad): 10.44” (L) x 8.26” (W) x 0.05” (H)
- Dimensions (Lapboard): 26.4” (L) x 10.9” (W) x 2.1” (H)
- Accessories: x2 spare retention clips, x2 spare retention hooks
- Weight: 4.07lbs (without keyboard)
- Warranty: Two years
K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard:
- Key Switches: Cherry MX Red
- Key Lifespan: 50 Million Actuations
- Layout: Tenkeyless, 87 Keys
- Wired Connectivity: USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Type-A
- Wireless Connectivity: Ultra-fast 1ms 2.4GHz or Bluetooth® 4.2 + LE
- Battery: Lithium Ion (Battery Charging Charges via USB to computer)
- Battery Life: Up to 15 hours at normal brightness, 25 hours (low brightness), 75 hours no backlighting
- Report Rate: 1000Hz
- Keyboard Rollover: Full Key (NKRO) with 100% Anti-Ghosting
- Illumination: Ice Blue LED
- Media Controls: Yes, Dedicated
- Macro Keys: No
- USB Pass-through: No
- Adjustable Height: Yes
- Weight: 2.4lbs (1.09kg)
- Warranty: Two years
Corsair Gaming K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Starting with the keyboard, the K63 comes in the traditional black and yellow packaging of Corsair products. The highlight here is definitely the wireless connectivity with rapid 1ms response time. We also see the usual callout to Cherry MX style keys, which are well known for their high quality standard. Interestingly, the K63 Wireless is only available in linear-style Cherry MX Red at this time.
Taking it out of the box, it’s clear that Corsair hasn’t skimped on materials compared to their other keyboards. The K63 is remarkably similar to the larger, wired K68 we reviewed here, minus the RGB backlighting, dust, and spill resistance. Apart from being wireless, this variant is also tenkeyless, which means it lacks the full number pad. As a result, we also find some of our media controls shifted to the left side of the board. It’s heavy, coming in at just under two-and-a-half pounds and offers very little flex thanks to the steel mounting plate under the keys.
Excepting those changes, the frame is largely identical. The top plate is plastic but feels dense and well-constructed with the rest of the chassis. We also see the return of the floating key design, which exposes the switch housings and allows for light spill between the keys. The backlight here is “ice blue” and Corsair has included a matching mat to create the “light bed” effect seen on the K68 and Strafe keyboards. I’m a fan of RGB but this undeniably looks good.
Here we can take a better look at the Cherry MX Red switches and the blue under-mat. These switches are linear, which means there’s no tactile bump. They’re light to the touch with only 45g of force needed to actuate. For gaming, they work well for rapid movements and double-taps. For writing, there is a bit of a learning curve as they lack of tactile feedback and lightweight touch does tend to result in more typos. The mat also has a slight sound damping effect, making this one of the quieter Cherry MX Red keyboards I’ve used.
The one area where I feel the K63 falls short and, frankly, gaming keyboards in general, is the keycaps. Corsair uses a large, stylized font that’s great for shine-through illumination but gives the keyboard a distinctly “gaming” flair. In the privacy of your own home, this is acceptable but will stand out in an office setting.
No, the real criticism here comes from the build of the keycaps themselves. They’re made of thin-walled ABS plastic, which is prone to shining over time. The surface treatment here feels particularly susceptible to that, though did not begin in my two-week review period. The thinness of the walls can also be felt in the typing experience, so if you’re coming from a keyboard that does have thick walls, you’ll almost certainly notice the difference. They’re also single-shot and spray painted, so legend wear is a concern in the long-term.
That said, virtually any criticism of a keycap is a niche at best. If you’ve never thought about keycaps before, the K63 certainly won’t make you start.
Looking at the rear, we find the on/off switch as well as the micro-USB port, used for connecting the K63 to the PC for charging. The bottom of the keyboard features two flip-out plastic tilt feet, as well as four non-slip rubber pads to keep the keyboard stationary on your desk.
Also included in the box is your USB dongle/insert, the micro-USB to USB Type-A charging cable, and a micro-USB to USB Type-A adapter so the cable can act as a range extender. The K63 also comes with a plastic wrist rest that’s textured to prevent slippage.
Finally, here’s a shot in low light so you can get an idea of the vibrancy of the LEDs. Brightness can be adjusted using the button to the right of the logo in three levels. To the right of the brightness button is our Windows Lock key. To the right of that are our power, wireless, caps lock, and numlock indicators, as well as our dedicated volume controls.
Like Corsair’s other gaming keyboards, the K63 Wireless is compatible with the Corsair Utility Engine or CUE for short. Within CUE, you can program macros, timers, launch executables, and more, as well as set your lighting effects. The following is drawn from our review of the Corsair K68 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and still holds true for the K63.
CUE also allows you to program macros for your favorite games or work tasks. You start by selecting which key you’d like to bind, then hit record. You can add, edit, or remove delays quickly and easily (which is great if you’re automating work online). In truth, I use this function more for work than gaming but certain genre fans will definitely benefit from it.
You can also bind keys to output strings of text, key combinations (like alt+shift), launch executables, and control your media. If you’re waiting on a cooldown, you can set a key to trigger a countdown timer for launching a certain command. You can launch common programs or individual executables, enable, or disable keys. If you’re adventurous, you can pair it with AutoHotKey to really automate your computer use. It’s a powerful software suite with benefits outside of just gaming.
Since the K63 is not an RGB keyboard and has been necessarily simplified for wireless battery life, the available lighting effects have been pared down some from its fancier big brothers. Here we have a selection of presets, including reactive lighting, a breathe-type Pulse effect, and even a neat Visor effect that reminds me a little of Tron. Rain is also neat with the blue backlighting.
Wireless Functionality and Overall Impressions
The K63 feels very good to type on, thin keycaps aside. The Cherry MX Red key switches are perfect for gaming, even more so than the extra-sensitive Cherry MX Speeds found on their flagship K95 RGB Platinum. I appreciate that Corsair didn’t skimp on any of the core features, like the media keys, as I often find myself using both sets and dedicated buttons are much more convenient than secondary functions.
Using the 2.4GHz wireless dongle, Corsair promises a response time of 1ms, putting it on par with wired gaming keyboards. Even in intense shooters, like Battlefield 1, the K63 held its own. I’ve played countless hours of Battlefield over the years and could tell no difference between the wireless K63 and my wired K95. I was impressed. Over bluetooth, this response time drops to 7ms. For gaming, this is less ideal but is perfectly fine for less demanding tasks or firing off a quick email on your tablet.
When it comes to battery life, the K63 is fairly impressive. With maximum brightness settings, I was able to go about 13 hours before needing a recharge. This is slightly less than the quoted 15 hours but can also be impacted by how heavily the keyboard is being used. If you’re willing to turn down or disable backlighting, Corsair promises up to 75 hours between charges of its Lithium Ion battery.
Corsair Gaming K63 Wireless Gaming Lapboard
Like the K63 (and everything from Corsair), the Gaming Lapboard ships in very similar black and yellow packaging. Inside the box, everything is well secured in cardboard cutouts, though additional accessories are sparse. Since the Lapboard is really just a single unit, it ships with some documentation, as well as a pair of additional clips and hooks for holding the keyboard in place.
The K63 Wireless Lapboard is the successor to 2016’s Lapdog and is a marked improvement. One of the challenges with lapboards is that they’re fairly awkward and cumbersome to get settled with. By cutting the cord, much of that has been alleviated while still retaining roughly the same size. Corsair has also managed to shave a pound from its overall weight.
The mousing surface is soft, but it’s also replaceable; another nice touch. I found it to be a comfortable size but if you’re used to large sweeping motions common to low DPI first-person shooters, you might find it a touch too small.
On of the biggest improvements here is the new mounting system. On the Lapdog, you were forced to screw your K70/K65 into place. Here, you simply slide your keyboard into the tray and two plastic hooks slot into the same slots used by the wrist rest. Then, you secure two clasps along the rear to keep it from sliding out of position.
They may have gone a touch too far, though, as these clips seem sure to break over time. It’s good that Corsair included an extra set of each in the box but building them more durably in the first place would have been a better idea.
Flipping the board over, we find an excellent memory foam pad. It’s about half an inch thick across the entire surface, which helps it to set level. I found it to be quite comfortable during my testing period.
Practical Use and Final Thoughts
With the details of the combo out of the way, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with lapdesks and a few things stood out to me in actual use with Corsair’s Lapboard. First, you’ll notice that there is no USB pass through on the K63 nor any mouse included in the combo. This means that you’ll need to use a wireless mouse with a fairly healthy range. Corsair’s wireless gaming mice should work fine, but if your desk is set back from your tower, it’s possible to lose sync, so distances are worth bearing in mind for both peripherals you’ll be using, not just the K63.
The second thing is that, without a wire, your mouse is likely to slide right off the lapboard the minute you take your hand off of it. Since your “desk” rests on your legs, you’ll rarely be completely level and there’s no lip to keep the mouse in place.
With those two issues in mind, kicking back on the couch with the K63 Wireless Lapboard combo is sublime. Playing a round of Civilization or even something more intense like Call of Duty is not only possible but easier than ever before.
Really though, this combo is about more than games. It doesn’t much matter what you’re doing; the Lapboard allows you to be free of your desk. After a long day, being able to kick back in a recliner or comfy couch and still enjoy content the way you enjoy most is liberating and taps into the single biggest benefit of being a console gamer.
For the MSRP of $159.99, the K63 Lapboard Combo is without peer in price or functionality. If you have a wireless mouse to add to the set, it’s an easy recommendation to make.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from Corsair for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of Corsair but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||Corsair had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Corsair for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||Corsair has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||Corsair is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review.|
I LOVE the concept of this
I LOVE the concept of this keyboard, but it has a fatal flaw, in my opinion. The keyboard doesn’t have a sleep mode. If you do not turn it off, using the switch on the back of the device, the keyboard will drain the battery, whether you are using it or not.
Every other wireless keyboard I have used will go to sleep after inactivity, automatically, resulting in weeks to months of use between charges or battery changes. This keyboard doesn’t do that, and that is a serious omission for living room/HTPC use.
Thing is, if you are camping
Thing is, if you are camping and don’t want your keyboard to go sleep.
Edit: I realize making this a configurable feature would be great, a few minutes after typing this.
Bought just the k63 keyboard
Bought just the k63 keyboard near launch, and from a fairly slender Ducky One this board feels bulky. It is taller and significantly thicker, with a healthy heft to it. Great build, but the blue back plate doesn’t blend in when the backlight is off. Battery handles a 12H holiday gaming session just fine.
CUE is surprisingly useful, saved me a lot of headache programming the One. I hope it can differentiate between multiple Corsair boards, though. I am seriously considering another of these if a blue switch version is available.
The bluetooth pairing is slightly tricky, the device wants a passcode typed on the board but it doesn’t always work. The connection is solid once the pairing is done though. Both on IOS and on Android.
The board hasn’t shown a sign of failure yet, granted it is fairly new for a mech keyboard. The backlights haven’t died on me yet unlike my One, the keys always register over dongle or over bluetooth, the board itself have endured a few drops and considerably more angry slams.