Which gaming keyboard is best?
Internal components aside, the keyboard is one of the most important devices that you can attach to your computer. Without it, you will find it nearly impossible to control gaming actions, type a document or browse the web.
No two keyboards are the same, and it can be rather difficult to figure out which brand and model works best for you. The choice largely depends on what your preferences are regarding mechanical versus membrane keyboards and RGB lighting.
But with a $150 difference in price, which Corsair K keyboard is right for you?
K55 RGB gaming keyboard
Corsair has several affordable gaming peripherals in their product lineup and the K55 RGB is one of them. The membrane (nonmechanical) keyboard is packed with features for every scenario.
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K55 RGB gaming keyboard pros
The wired K55 is a tenkey keyboard, meaning that it has all the standard keys plus a tenkey numeric pad on the right side of the board. The keys are quiet and responsive and have a tactile bump to make finding the correct one easier.
At the top of the board is where you’ll find the media buttons such as play, pause, skip and volume control. There is also a dedicated button to prevent you from accidentally pressing the Windows key while in the middle of something important.
To give it a bit of personality, the K55 features six onboard lighting effects, including the ability to program your own combination or assign a different color to each lighting zone. The lighting effects range from pulsing and color shift to color wave and rainbow wave.
If you have other Corsair products that use RGB lighting, you can use the included iCUE software. This allows you to change the lighting on the keyboard, but to also synchronize it with other Corsair RGB accessories.
On the left side of the K55 is the macro key bar. Here you’ll find the six dedicated macro keys that you can use for additional inputs in a game. You simply record your key combination through the provided software and save it to a profile. If you have an Elgato stream deck, you can also program the macro keys to work with your streaming commands.
Late-night gaming sessions can get a bit exciting, which is why Corsair has also made the K55 resistant to liquid accidents and dust buildup. It can easily be cleaned up with a dry cloth, and you would be ready to go another round.
K55 RGB gaming keyboard cons
Mechanical gaming keyboards are generally more responsive than membrane boards, but the K55 puts up a good fight. But even still, the membrane devices can’t compete with the speed and accuracy of professional mechanical keyboards.
If you are serious about your RGB capabilities, you might find the zone lighting to be lacking a bit. Most gamers are used to (and some expect) per-key lighting, and the simple LED backlighting that the K55 provides won’t be sufficient.
In terms of build quality, it isn’t as sturdy as some hard-core gamers would like. It is still made from durable plastic, but where others are a combination of plastic and aluminum alloy, the material can feel a bit on the cheap side.
K95 RGB gaming keyboard
The mechanical keyboard has quickly become a beloved accessory for many gamers after its release. While it has similar features to the K55, it does have some extras that you won’t find anywhere else.
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K95 RGB gaming keyboard pros
Being a mechanical keyboard, it features Cherry MX switches. This is good news for gamers, as it allows for fast reaction times and the option of changing the switches. The keyboard is compatible with several of the Cherry MX switches available.
For lighting effects, it features per-key lighting that can be changed and customized through the iCUE software. The board also features the unique LightEdge technology. This allows for a colored light to be visible at the top edge of the board. This light also spans the full RGB color spectrum.
Multimedia controls can be found in the top right corner, where you can pause, play and skip content. The volume roller is just above that, with a dedicated mute button.
The K95 is also a tenkey keyboard, and the numeric pad is located on the right side, just below the media controls. It also features six programmable macro keys to the left of the keyboard that can be used to create complex keypress combinations.
It has a USB 2.0 Type-A pass-through, anti-ghosting technology, and 8MB of onboard memory that can store three different profiles. There is also a detachable, dual-sided wrist rest and height-adjustable feet for better accessibility.
K95 RGB gaming keyboard cons
While the K95 is compatible with some Cherry MX switches, there are some that won’t work with it. You will be limited to the Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Speed. If you prefer other types of switches, then the K95 will be a disappointment.
The board is customizable through different RGB lighting settings, but if you use the Linux operating system you’re going to be in for a tough time. While it works with Linux, the keyboard needs to be customized on a different OS before using it on Linux.
Should you get the K55 or the K95?
The K55 might be an entry-level gaming keyboard, but it has a lot going for it. With the detachable wrist rest and the programmable macro keys, it is a great choice for a first-time gamer. But the K95 is just as feature packed, which can make the choice difficult.
Both keyboards have a polling rate of 1,000Hz, so in terms of checking for key presses per second, they are on par. The K95 trumps the K55 however on the fact that it is a mechanical keyboard. This will always feel better, and the keypresses will be registered with precision.
The K95 also feels more durable. It is made from a combination of plastic and aircraft-grade aluminum, so there is some heft to it.
There are, however, a lot of similarities between the two keyboards: the wrist rest, RGB lighting, the use of iCUE software, and macro keys. So, with that in mind, can you justify paying $200 for a keyboard that functions remarkably like a $50 one?
That is why the decision isn’t so clear cut. If you are looking for a first-time gaming keyboard, the K55 will be perfect. But if you already have a gaming keyboard and looking to step it up a bit, the K95 will be well worth your money.
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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