CORSAIR K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Manufacturer: CORSAIR CORSAIR K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

CORSAIR has released a number of new products in recent weeks, and today the company is launching their latest keyboard: the K100 RGB. This new model represents “the pinnacle of CORSAIR keyboards”, according to the company, “offering the cutting-edge performance, style, durability, and customization that gamers need to stand above the rest”.

The list of features is quite impressive, with the new OPX RGB optical-mechanical key switches of particular interest. These linear switches have a very fast 1.0 mm actuation point, 150 million keystroke lifespan, and “register keypresses up to 4x faster than standard mechanical gaming keyboards”. This latter claim is based on CORSAIR’s “AXON Hyper-Processing Technology”, which offers a native 4,000 Hz hyper-polling and 4,000 Hz key scanning rate.

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“The incomparable CORSAIR K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard combines stunning aluminum design with per-key RGB lighting and a 44-zone LightEdge. Powerful CORSAIR AXON Hyper-Processing Technology enables unparalleled capabilities such as 4,000Hz polling. CORSAIR OPX RGB optical-mechanical keyswitches, guaranteed for 150 million keypresses, offer hyper-fast 1.0mm actuation while registering keypresses up to 4x faster than standard mechanical gaming keyboards thanks to AXON, housed in durable double-shot PBT keycaps. Harness the power of iCUE software to customize an endlessly versatile programmable control wheel, synchronized RGB lighting, and six dedicated macro keys that can execute macros or streaming commands via Elgato Stream Deck software. A magnetic detachable memory foam palm rest offers the comfort to play for hours, while 8MB of onboard storage lets you save up to 200 macro and lighting profiles.”

Product Specifications
  • Chassis: Aluminum, black anodized, brushed finish
  • Key Switches: CORSAIR OPX, optical-mechanical, 45g actuation force, 1.0mm actuation distance
  • Backlight: Individually lit and per-key programmable
  • LED Color: RGB, 16.8 million colors
  • Keycaps: 104/105/108-Key PBT double-shot keycap set, 1.5mm thick, backlight compatible
  • Macro Keys: Yes, six dedicated keys with textured 2-piece ABS keycaps
  • Connectivity: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • USB Pass-through: 1x USB 2.0 Type-A
  • USB Report Rate: Up to 4,000Hz
  • Matrix: Full key rollover (NKRO) with 100% anti-ghosting
  • On-Board Profiles: Yes, up to 200
  • Media Keys: Yes, five dedicated hotkeys (play/pause, stop, next track, last track, mute) and volume roller (volume up and down)
  • Brightness Key: Yes
  • Windows Lock Key: Yes
  • Adjustable Height: Yes, two tilt heights
  • Palm Rest: Full length, detachable magnetic cushioned with memory foam cushion
  • iCUE (Software): Supported in Windows 10 and macOS 10.15
  • Cable: 1.82m / 6ft, braided fiber
  • Dimensions: 470 (L) x 166 (W) x 38 (H) mm / 18.51 (L) x 6.54 (W) x 1.5 (H) inches
  • Weight: 1.31 kg / 2.89 lbs
Pricing

MSRP $229.99 USD

Manufacturer Description

“The CORSAIR K100 RGB is the pinnacle of CORSAIR keyboards, offering the cutting-edge performance, style, durability, and customization that gamers need to stand above the rest.”

Features

CORSAIR provides this extensive list of features for their new flagship keyboard:

  • You’ve Reached the Top: The CORSAIR K100 RGB is the pinnacle of CORSAIR keyboards, offering the cutting-edge performance, style, durability, and customization that gamers need to stand above the rest.
  • The Centerpiece of Your Setup: The CORSAIR K100 RGB boasts a refined design bolstered by a durable aluminum frame, dynamic per-key RGB backlighting, and a 44-zone three-sided LightEdge.
  • Powered by CORSAIR AXON Hyper-Processing Technology: CORSAIR’s most advanced gaming keyboard experience delivers up to 4x faster throughput with native 4,000Hz hyper-polling and 4,000Hz key scanning, while simultaneously driving up to 20-layer lighting effects.
  • Exclusive CORSAIR OPX RGB Optical-Mechanical Keyswitches: Hyper-fast input with 1.0mm actuation distance and smooth linear travel, guaranteed for 150 million keystrokes, and register keypresses up to 4x faster than standard mechanical gaming keyboards with CORSAIR AXON.
  • Multi-Function at Your Fingertips: Take command over backlighting, media jogging, and more with a versatile iCUE control wheel, fully programmable to perform actions in games and applications.
  • PBT Double-shot 104/105/108-Keycap Set: A precision-molded keycap set with a standard bottom row layout resists wear, fading, and shine, with 1.5mm thickness for rigid stability.
  • Magnetic Detachable Leatherette Palm Rest: Easily slides into place, with a soft-textured surface and memory foam cushioning for the plush comfort to breeze through hours of gaming.
  • Six Dedicated Macro Keys with Elgato Stream Deck Software Integration: Fully programmable for complex macros and key remaps, or program special streaming commands through Elgato Stream Deck software.
  • 8MB of Onboard Storage: Store up to 200 onboard profiles with custom macros, settings, and custom RGB lighting effects with up to 20 lighting layers.
  • Powerful CORSAIR iCUE Software: Enables vivid dynamic RGB lighting control, key remaps and macro programming, and full-system lighting synchronization across all iCUE-compatible CORSAIR devices.
  • Dedicated Media Keys and Volume Roller: Convenient media keys and a signature CORSAIR aluminum volume roller let you take command of your media without interrupting your game.
  • USB Pass-Through Port: Provides convenient access to an additional USB device such as a mouse or headset, with tidy cable routing under the keyboard.

Keyboard Design

If you read our review of CORSAIR’s K95 RGB PLATINUM XT keyboard then you won’t notice a significant redesign here with the K100 RGB – other than the new iCUE control wheel, of course.

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The keyboard is surprisingly light in weight, built with an aluminum frame, though the base is still plastic (with rubber feet to keep things stable). This K100 RGB features everything you’d expect from a high-end mechanical keyboard, and really does seem to check every imaginable box.

There is plenty of style on offer here, with full RGB integration with per-key backlighting and a 44-zone LightEdge side illumination system really setting off the brushed aluminum frame. Between the extensive lighting and premium build quality it’s quite an attractive – if somewhat busy – looking keyboard.

Functional essentials include NKRO with 100% anti-ghosting, a USB passthrough port (always a plus), 8MB of onboard storage to store up to 200 profiles, dedicated media keys with a volume roller. The palm rest is very nice, as well – an upgrade over the K95 XT with a soft “leatherette” finish and an easy magnetic connection.

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The double-shot PBT keycaps from the K95 RGB PLATINUM XT are back, and these provide a premium feel – essential for a flagship keyboard with a $229 USD price tag. For the uninitiated, double-shot PBT keycaps are a thicker, stronger alternative to standard ABS caps that not only look and feel different, but hold up a lot better over time

There’s a lot more going on than key caps, with that iCUE control wheel of particular interest on the upper left corner. Both of these additions likely resulted in the $30 increase from the $199 K95 Plat XT, by the way, and believe it or not the $229 list price is actually about $100 below the high end of the enthusiast keyboard market (and custom builds get even more out of hand).

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This iCUE wheel is user-programmable, of course, and can be used for “backlighting, media jogging, and more” as well as “to perform actions in games and applications”. iCUE integration is strong here.

Key Switches

Key switches are as personal as it gets with enthusiast PC hardware, of course, so adoption of the new OPX optical-mechanical key switches with their shallow actuation is part of the deal here.

CORSAIR OPX Optical-Mechanical Keyswitches:

  • Actuation Distance: 1.0mm
  • Actuation Force: 45g
  • Total Travel: 3.2 mm
  • Keyswitch Life: 150 Million Keypresses
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“OPX is CORSAIR’s exclusive optical-mechanical keyswitch that uses a beam of infrared light to detect keystrokes with zero debounce and offers a smooth and linear travel for hyper-fast gaming performance.”

CORSAIR calls out the linear travel with these switches, and indeed that have a familiar sort of feel, aided by a 45g actuation force. That 1.0 mm actuation distance is quite shallow, and I found that even if you bottom-out keys (like me) there’s still a nice springy bounce from the keys to keep things feeling “fast”. The 3.2 mm total travel is on the shallow side, as well.

Usage Impressions

The overall experience with a keyboard is rather complex, as it encompasses everything from the rigidity of the frame, to the key switch actuation force and travel distance, key cap material feel/weight, and overall responsiveness.

I found this K100 RGB keyboard to offer a near-perfect mix of the elements of feel, with the key switches (and caps) providing a very pleasant – and very fast – key press experience. I tend to like tactile switches more than linear, but these OPX RGB optical-mechanical switches might lure me to the linear side. My only hangup is the shallow actuation, but I think I could get used to it. Only time will tell.

Of course a big part of the experience is the iCUE software, and I’ve included a few select screenshots to give you an idea of the level of control you can exert over this keyboard at the software level.

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Final Thoughts

It would be easy to say that this K100 RGB keyboard is among the finest I’ve ever used, but my criteria for evaluating this might differ from yours. Ultimately I think anyone who had the chance to spend some time with this would appreciate the build quality and attention to detail, but for $229 that should be expected.

A lot of attention has been paid to this design and a ton of features have been integrated. It’s a beast, and it doesn’t really have any weaknesses that I’ve been able to find so far. Will everyone love the key switches? Of course not, but if you like linear switches (think black, red) these are very satisfying – and the double-shot PBT caps help a lot with feel, too.

A huge aspect of this keyboard is the sheer number of features it offers. CORSAIR seems to have adopted a kitchen sink approach to product development, but you certainly won’t feel cheated even if you don’t make use of every single option available.

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TL;DR

CORSAIR’s K100 RGB keyboard is a fantastic product with superior build quality and feel, and an overwhelming number of features – though the privilege of reaching the pinnacle of CORSAIR’s lineup will set you back $229.

Review Disclosures

This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.

How Product Was Obtained

The keyboard is on loan from CORSAIR for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The keyboard remains the property of CORSAIR but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.

Company Involvement

CORSAIR provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but 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 made through those links.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

6 Comments

  1. JASON

    My first mechanical keyboard was a k90 with red switches > I liked it at the time, but I followed it with a k95 and k95 platinum with mx browns and really love them, I spend 90% of my time doing work. Hopefully they aren’t going away, I only see the new OPX and reds offered on corsair’s site currently

    Reply
  2. ErgoProxy

    I have my “old” K95 RGB with 18 G-keys. It cost me about the same money back then and is still far superior to this new K100 when it comes to functionality. It’s just a little less luxurious.

    Reply
  3. Hokumsrazor

    Call me paranoid, but have Corsair and Razer ever been seen in the same place at the same time?

    Reply

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