Today, we look at the Corsair K55 RGB; a budget RGB gaming keyboard that follow the same design language as some of the higher end keyboards in the market, but ends up trading off some of the features that give them the distinct value in the market. For starters, Corsair is no longer using the Cherry MX Mechanical switches; instead, the K55 RGB is a membrane keyboard, but considering the low price tag, it does make sense. Other than that, this keyboard features zone based lighting rather than per key back lighting, so that is another thing that Corsair had to let go in order to keep it more budget friendly. I do not blame Corsair for making the keyboard the way they did, because it is clearly made for a very niche market.
With that said, we are going to treat this keyboard the same way as we do in our other reviews, but we will be keeping the price tag in mind as well to ensure that there is no unjust judgement. Below are the technical specifications of the keyboard that will give you a better idea about what the keyboard is about.
- Weight: 0.8 KG
- Backlighting: Zone RGB.
- Layout: NA.
- Macro Keys: 6
- Polling Rate: 1000Hz.
- Switches: Rubber dome.
- USB Pass Through: None.
- Dimensions: 480.2mm x 166.3mm x 34.6mm.
- Additional Keys: Dedicated media keys.
- Height: Adjustable feet.
Considering how the K55 RGB does not succeed, or precede any other keyboard in the market, we are just going to get straight to its review rather than comparing it with some of the other options in the market.
Packaging and ContentsThe first thing that you need to notice is that the packaging and contents of this keyboard are somewhat different than the other Corsair keyboard. We reviewed the K95 Platinum before, and that had one amazing unboxing experiences as far as the keyboards are concerned. Things here are much simplified, and I honestly do not have any objections since the keyboard is priced competitively as compared to what you have to pay in the market. The front of the box is traditional and shows you the keyboard along with some necessary information.
Flipping the box and you realise that Corsair has kept things simple as well. There is not a whole lot lingering on the back except K55’s front picture with the lights on, and some other information about all the features that this keyboard comes with. Corsair knows that this keyboard attracts the budget minded people, and they are not worried about showing it.
Opening the box, you are greeted with the keyboard itself — wrapped in a plastic bag, and underneath the keyboard, you find all the important documentation tucked away in a plastic bag. Lifting the black base, you get access to the detachable wrist rest that is a nice inclusion considering how cheap the keyboard is, and that is about it.
Corsair has done away with the key cap remover, or extra textured key caps; while this might not please everyone, you need to understand the cost savings on that. Honestly for the price, I do not mind the exclusion of those 2 either. Plus, it is not a mechanical keyboard, so I do not see why something like that would be needed here.
The unboxing experience is not something over the top, and neither underwhelming. It would have been underwhelming if Corsair had released the keyboard for a higher price, but let’s be honest, it is a keyboard that is going to run you about $50, and in that price, you cannot ask for a lot of added goodies into the box.
The KeyboardTaking the keyboard out of the box and the plastic bag, you are welcomed by the looks and the body that reminds you of the Corsair Strafe keyboard that is another popular choice. However, this time around, there are a lot of things that are different. For starters, the K55 RGB is made entirely out of plastic, this is definitely to keep the cost low, which is the smartest way to handle things. However, the plastic introduces flex, and the keyboard creaks if you flex it from both sides. Not something a person would do in real life, but if you want to test out the build quality, this is perhaps the best way to do it. Corsair has also ditched the thick braided wire for a standard wire with a USB connection on the front. Unlike the K70 and K95 series of keyboards, this does not come with 2 USB connectors on the front because there is no USB pass through on this keyboard. Needless to say, the build quality is nothing to write home about.
The keyboard itself is nothing special as far as the looks are concerned, but let’s keep in mind that Corsair is trying to capture the budget market. With the lights off, the keyboard looks very professional; you could almost mistake it for something that you would find on an office desk. The keyboard follows the standard layout, but on the left side, you find 6 fully programmable macro keys. It is nice to see Corsair adding those despite keeping the cost low. Above the number pad, there are dedicated media keys, which are a great inclusion, and on top, you find some more keys that you can use to your convenience. The entire keyboard follows a great cohesive element, making it look one of the best budget keyboards in the market.
I love how Corsair has added a white back plate underneath the keys, this is something they have done with the Strafe as well, and the good thing here is that it reflects the lighting nicely. How nicely? Well, I can say that this is perhaps the best zone lighting I have seen on a budget keyboard, and even though it is not per key lighting, it still looks pretty amazing, so definitely an admirable situation here.
As far as the colours are concerned, they can be changed through the number row + FN key combination, as well as Corsair iCUE. I really love that you can actually change the colours through the function key, because this option is something that is missing from the higher end options that Corsair has in the market. I only wish that you could have the feature on those keyboards as well. The keyboard follows a 3 zone lighting pattern that looks good, it is not as good as the per key back lighting, but let’s admit it, for a keyboard that is this cheap, it certainly is an admirable feature.
As I have mentioned earlier, the keyboard does come with a detachable wrist rest, but Corsair has done away with the the rubberized matter material, and now they are using soft touch plastic; it certainly does not feel as good as the standard material type, but I can assure you, for the price you are getting, having a detachable wrist rest is like getting free stuff.
As you can see, with the wrist rest attached, you could almost confuse this keyboard for a full sized, mechanical one. The wrist rest starts feeling good after you use it for a while, and is still good for people who put the entire weight of their hands on to wrists, but do keep in mind that extensive use might tire your hand, or you might start feeling irritation on your skin, which is normal.
Overall, as far as the looks are concerned, the Corsair K55 RGB is definitely shooting above its pay grade, and while it does hit in several sections, there are some missing factors as well. For instance, the build quality is just not up to what you would expect from Corsair, but as far as the looks are concerned, you certainly get what you are paying for, actually more than what you are paying for.
Typing and GamingIn my review of the Corsair K95 Platinum, I raved about the work Corsair has put in towards making this keyboard it is. But that was a flagship, mechanical keyboard, and what you are looking at today is a budget oriented keyboard that costs a lot less than the K95. The typing and gaming on this keyboard is not as superior as you would want on a mechanical keyboard, but since Corsair is not making any claims about how this keyboard gives you the mechanical like feeling, there is no reason to be scrutinizing.
Okay, this is perhaps where things are going to get controversial. Considering how this is a membrane keyboard and uses rubber dome mechanism, I went in with low expectations as far as the typing is concerned. You see, with keyboards like membrane ones, you have to bottom out the key completely in order to register it, and while that might not be an issue for everyone, the real problem is the mushy feeling you get when pressing on these keys. Considering how there is rubber, it starts losing its elasticity over time, and while you might feel good with typing on this keyboard in the start, it becomes a chore afterwards.
If are a person who types a lot every day, then I am going to be honest with you, and tell you that the keyboard is simply not good enough. Sure, it might be good enough for short articles, or just messaging your friends, but you need to know that this keyboard is not as good for typing as some would expect
Okay, when you move onto the gaming, things are a bit different with the K55 RGB. You see, if you are not playing on a competitive level, then you should not have any issues. However, since the keyboard does not use mechanical switches, it is best for casual gaming. Another thing that you need to know is that if you play for longer times, you are going to develop finger fatigue. But since this problem is with all the membrane keyboards, I will not be cutting any points here.
Overall, both the gaming and typing experience on the keyboards is average at best. They are certainly not winning any awards as war as the performance is concerned, but for anyone who happens to be on a budget, this is certainly a great option that you should definitely consider if you want to have a good experience with the keyboard.
SoftwareJust like all other Corsair peripherals in the market, this one also uses the Corsair iCUE at the time of writing, however, you need to know that there are not many customization options, and that is completely fine. Mainly because this is not a mechanical keyboard, you cannot program all the keys, and in addition to that, there are not many lighting options either. Still, it is nice to see Corsair keeping the cohesion element there and supporting the keyboard despite the low price.
For some reason, the iCUE did not work with the K55 RGB that well, and that is the reason we do not have screen shot for that. But if you are wondering the things you can change from the software, it is primarily the lighting, as well as macros. But other than that, there is not going to be a lot of changes, and as far as the macros are concerned, you can only program the 6 keys and not all of them. So that is one more thing that you need to know when you are buying the K55 RGB.
While the iCUE was certainly on the more difficult side in the beginning, once you get to use it properly, you get used to it, and it becomes much easier and intuitive for you. I can assure you that it happens to be much, much better than the CUE 2 that was the standard at the time of the release.
Final ThoughtsThe Corsair K55 RGB is not going to take you to the promised land because of the price tag. For many, this keyboard matters not at all because it is not mechanical. However, despite the popularity, and demand of mechanical keyboards, there is still a huge chunk of gamers who do not want to buy expensive keyboards, and they are more than okay when it comes to membrane keyboards. Corsair is shooting for that market, and as far as my review of this keyboard is concerned, they are actually hitting.
I really love how the keyboard looks, and the lighting is good too, for a keyboard that does not cost a lot. The iCUE software is actually not that difficult anymore. As a matter of fact, it happens to be a lot more intuitive than it once was. The keyboard also comes with a detachable wrist rest, which means that it has a lot of value for money.
There are not a lot of things that I hate about this keyboard. The build quality is certainly not up to the mark, but the fact that you are paying $50 (at the time of review) for this keyboard is certainly something that you need to know about. The Corsair K55 RGB is the keyboard that shoots way above its pay grade, and it manages to succeed. Given its low cost, I literally cannot find any problem in the keyboard.
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