The fact that mechanical keyboards may be customized to the user’s preferences is one of their primary selling points. If you have the correct keyboard, there are virtually an infinite number of parts that you can upgrade, switch out, or alter to create a keyboard that is tailored to your requirements in exacting detail. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a keyboard precisely as it is when you take it out of the box, there are times when it is simply enjoyable to experiment with different configurations.
This degree of customization can be taken even farther with hot-swappable keyboard switches. Instead of having the switch for each key soldered to the circuit board (which would need you to bring out a soldering iron in order to change it), hot-swappable switches can be removed from the board using a straightforward pulling tool. Because of this, replacing them is as simple as swapping out a keycap. However, the feature is still not very prevalent on keyboards produced by mainstream or gaming companies, despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly widespread on enthusiast boards.
|Item Weight||1.41 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||9.41 x 4.29 x 1.57 inches|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||9.41 x 4.29 x 1.57 inches|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Date First Available||July 14, 2022|
Because of this, the K70 Pro Mini Wireless from Corsair is an accessory worth considering. At first appearance, it appears to be quite similar to the types of mechanical gaming keyboards that Corsair has been manufacturing for a number of years, complete with an aggressive gamer typeface and RGB lighting. On closer inspection, however, it turns out that this is the first keyboard produced by the company to use hot-swappable switches. This indicates that it provides a formidable combination of gaming-focused features developed by Corsair, such as minimal input latency, together with the customizability of enthusiast boards.
It is pricey, coming in at $179.99, and the layout, which is just 60 percent as large as normal, will not appeal to everyone. However, if you are willing to pay the price, it fulfills a significant number of requirements.
The Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless is easily identifiable as a product manufactured by Corsair. Aside from the bright RGB lighting, the entire thing is black, and each key on it is stylized with a font that is all caps to give it a more aggressive appearance. The top of the keyboard houses a single USB-C port for charging and connectivity, as well as a physical on/off button and a small dock for the 2.4GHz USB dongle that comes with the keyboard.
There is no switch on the keyboard that will put it in a macOS layout mode, and there are no keycaps or legends that are Mac-specific. Given that Corsair is primarily a gaming company, the fact that this keyboard is optimized for Windows is not surprising. You may adjust the angle of the keyboard to your liking using the two feet that are located on the underside of the unit.
There is a wide variety of connecting choices available thanks to its USB dongle, its ability to save up to three distinct Bluetooth connections, and its good old-fashioned cable connectivity. Having said that, there are a few of them that aren’t as responsive as the others. It is only possible to report at a rate of 2,000Hz when the keyboard is connected via its 2.4GHz dongle, so you will need to use wired connectivity in order to get the maximum polling rate that the keyboard is capable of (where it will scan for keystrokes internally at 4,000Hz and report them to your PC at 8,000Hz). Although Corsair does not specify what the polling rate of the keyboard is when using Bluetooth, in general, the wireless standard is not recognized for having a low amount of latency.
Corsair is only selling the K70 Pro Mini Wireless with linear Cherry MX Red or gaming-focused linear Cherry MX Speed Silver switches, but the fact that it’s hot-swappable means that you have a lot of other options if you’re willing to buy switches separately. My review sample had the Cherry MX Red switches. Alternate Cherry switches, such as tactile browns or clicky blues, or even more unusual possibilities available to the community, such as Holy Pandas or Gazzew Boba U4s, could be used in their place. The entire globe is your oyster, so to speak.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO GET IT WITHOUT USING LINEAR CHERRY SWITCHES AT ALL.
For the purpose of removing the switches from the keyboard, Corsair offers the necessary switch puller in the box together with the keyboard (there is also a keycap puller), and I was able to change a couple of them with relative simplicity. The only issue here is that the keyboard’s circuit board can only accommodate switches with three pins, also known as plate-mount switches. If you want to use switches with five pins, known as PCB-mount switches, you will need to clip the plastic legs off of the switches first. It is not the end of the world, but it does imply that you will need to choose your new switches with care or be prepared to do a little bit of tweaking. When the primary benefit of using hot-swap is its ease of use, this situation is less than ideal.
The keycaps of the K70 Pro Mini Wireless are, of course, interchangeable. This is also a possibility. There is no pressing need to do so given that the keycaps that come standard with the keyboard are made of sturdy double-shot PBT and permit the RGB backlighting of the keyboard to be seen through them. There are a lot of additional legends printed on the sides of the keycaps since each of these keys has a secondary function. This is something more that should be mentioned, and it’s important. If you change the keycaps, you could find it difficult to remember the shortcuts you have assigned to the keyboard keys. Last but not least, the keyboard’s switches are arranged such that the north side is facing outward, which may cause compatibility issues with keycaps that have a Cherry profile.
The K70 Pro Mini Wireless is a keyboard that has a very small footprint. Because it employs a 60 percent layout, it does not have additional specialized keys like a function row, a numpad, or even arrow keys. This is because the layout is only 60 percent complete. The end result is a keyboard that is suited for desks with little space as well as large desks when the user wants to absolutely maximize the amount of space that is available for the mouse.
A model like this that is more compact might be of great assistance to gamers who, due to the size of their keyboards, frequently find themselves with insufficient room for their mice. However, such a constrained layout may not be optimal for certain people, and I personally have had a difficult time using the K70 Pro Mini Wireless as a professional keyboard over the past week. It is annoying because you have to hit two buttons simply to reach the arrow keys, and the situation only becomes worse when you need to add more modifiers. However, all of its “missing” keys can be accessed by pressing a function key that is located on the right side of the bottom row of the keyboard. While I was working, I regularly had to hit as many as four keys simultaneously, and it felt like a really inefficient process. For work in an office setting, I do not suggest using this keyboard.
Typing on it is not particularly pleasant either due to the poor quality of the keyboard. Even though original Cherry switches are durable and long-lasting, the construction of the keyboard makes them sound cheap and plasticky, and they don’t feel as good as competing compact keyboards made by Epomaker or Keychron. Despite the fact that Cherry switches are original, the construction of the keyboard makes them sound cheap and plasticky. This is especially true for larger keys, the stabilizers of which have a clinky and metallic sound.
When you use the K70 Pro Mini Wireless for gaming, you don’t miss the extra keys, and (in theory) you have the most to gain from its reduced input latency. As a result, this is the scenario in which the K70 Pro Mini Wireless feels the most at home. However, I do not believe that the majority of individuals are able to experience the benefits of polling rates that are higher than 1,000Hz. I tested the K70 Pro Mini Wireless by using it to play Overwatch on a 120Hz OLED display. At first, I used it in its wired 8,000Hz polling mode (which needs to be manually enabled in Corsair’s iCue software). After that, I used it with its 2,000Hz dongle. However, I was unable to tell any difference between it and a standard 1,000Hz keyboard. It is comforting to know that there does not appear to be a delay in input while using the keyboard wirelessly; nonetheless, you shouldn’t go into this anticipating a significant improvement.
MOUSE SHORTCUTS WERE SURPRISINGLY USEFUL
The mouse shortcuts are a feature of the K70 Pro Mini Wireless that I wasn’t sure would be helpful, but they actually were. I was pleasantly surprised by this. By default, moving the mouse across the screen is accomplished by hitting the Fn key in conjunction with the WASD keys. There are also shortcuts available to speed up or slow down the movement of the mouse, as well as shortcuts for left and right clicking. Because of how imprecise it is, I would never suggest that anyone try playing a game like this, but it is a cool feature for folks like me who have to manage a gaming PC underneath their TVs using a wireless keyboard and trackpad. It implies that couch gamers might want to utilize the K70 Pro Mini Wireless as a useful small tool for starting up a game so that they can subsequently play with a controller, but at $180, it is rather pricey compared to the cheap wireless keyboard / trackpad combos that are commonly available.
According to estimates provided by Corsair, the keyboard has a battery life that is satisfactory but not outstanding. This is because during my testing, I had to frequently plug the keyboard in via USB to check the latency, so I wasn’t able to completely drain the battery during the course of my review. It claims to have a battery life of up to 32 hours when the backlighting is on and up to 200 hours when it is turned off. You should therefore prepare to pay a charge for the privilege of keeping its lights on once per week, or somewhat more than once a month if this is not the case. That is nothing in comparison to Logitech’s (otherwise lower-specced) $150 MX Mechanical Mini, which gives 15 days with backlighting on, or 10 months with it off. However, that is roughly in line with the RGB model of Keychron’s $65 K12 mechanical keyboard (up to 240 hours with backlighting off).
The K70 Pro Mini Wireless is a keyboard that is not going to be suitable for everyone due to its tiny layout that is 60 percent of the total. It’s great that Corsair has caught up with the emerging trend toward hot-swappable switches, but if you’re looking for a compact keyboard that you’ll need to use for equal parts work and play, then my recommendation would be to get a slightly larger 65-percent board that includes an arrow cluster at the very least. It’s great that Corsair has caught up with the emerging trend toward hot-swappable switches. There is no way to make up for the missing keys by personalizing the switches or keycaps in any way at all.
The K70 Pro Mini Wireless performs much better when used primarily as a gaming keyboard, and it’s good to get the customizability of an enthusiast mechanical keyboard without giving up the quality of life features offered by a major manufacturer like Corsair. However, paying $180 for a keyboard that is used only for gaming is quite a bit of money. Even while the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless Keyboard offers a great deal of customization options, it is ultimately not a particularly adaptable option.
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