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Thursday | June 4, 2020
Corsair K55 RGB Review

Corsair K55 RGB Review

The Corsair K55 RGB gaming keyboard is one of the more affordable big-brand, dedicated gaming keyboards that you can buy right now – this device will only set you back $50 in the US and £40 in the UK.

The lower price is extremely tempting, but it does mean that the Corsair K55 RGB has inevitable compromise. This unit is a membrane device rather than a mechanical keyboard, for instance, and it’s made from plastic rather than metal.

Should you give this keyboard a place on your desk? Find out in our Corsair K55 RGB review.

Design

The Corsair K55 RGB only costs $50 or £40, but it still includes a surprisingly broad range of features.

It’s one of the only keyboards at this price with dedicated macro keys, for instance – the K55 includes a column of six extra buttons to the left of the main keyboard layout.

There are more extra buttons in the top-right corner. Here you’ll find loads of media keys, a macro-recording button, a Game Mode toggle and a button to quickly change the lighting’s brightness.

Corsair K55 RGB 03This, again, is a greater selection than you’ll find on virtually any rival. The Corsair K55 RGB’s nearest competitor is the Razer Cynosa Lite, and that keyboard has no macro keys and no dedicated media buttons.

The Corsair does have RGB LED lighting, which isn’t always a given at this end of the market. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the lighting isn’t installed on individual buttons, as you’ll find on pricier peripherals. Here, it’s only installed in three lighting zones beneath the keys, which means the lighting is less precise.

It still looks good, though: the lighting is solid and consistent, which is more than can be said for feeble illuminations on the Razer. It’s easy to change the effects, too, thanks to the Corsair iCUE app – it’s an intuitive and straightforward bit of software.

The K55 includes a detachable, rubberised wrist-rest – which instantly makes the Corsair more comfortable than the Razer, which has no notable wrist support.

Corsair K55 RGB 05The Corsair is built from smart plastic, but the budget means there isn’t any metal used in its construction. That means build quality suffers. The body of the keyboard does flex back and forth, and the media keys in the top-right corner are a little flimsy.

The Razer has similar flexing issues because it’s also made from just plastic. At least the Razer is smaller, at 455mm wide and 178mm deep. The Corsair’s extra buttons brings those measurements up to 480mm and 200mm.

The Corsair K55 RGB is still sturdy enough to take to LAN parties, but if you want a particularly robust device then you’ll need to spend a little more for a keyboard bolstered with metal.

Elsewhere, there are a few minor design issues. There’s a glossy band of plastic above the keyboard – it looks out of place and attracts fingerprints far too easily.

The Corsair’s button font isn’t brilliant, either; on many of the busier buttons the font is tiny, which is tricky to read.

Also bear in mind that the affordable Corsair K55 RGB doesn’t have USB pass-through and it’s not designed to be specifically spill-resistant – something that the Razer does offer. It doesn’t have a braided or detachable USB cable, and no cable-routing channels underneath.

The Corsair also only has eight-key rollover. That’s a little lower than the Razer, which had ten-key rollover. The vast majority of gamers won’t be impacted by this, especially those who want to buy a more affordable keyboard – but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re a competitive player or if you play games where lots of buttons are depressed simultaneously.

Click here to read our verdict on the best laptops in 2020 for gaming, work and home use!

Performance

The Corsair K55 RGB only costs $50 and £40, which means that it’s not expensive enough to use mechanical buttons while including RGB LEDs and all of its extra features.

Corsair K55 RGB 02Instead, the Corsair has a membrane design. This is where the keys depress down into a single plastic layer in order to register button-presses. That’s in contrast to mechanical keyboards, which have individual physical components in each button with contact mechanisms that register button-presses.

Membrane devices use fewer, cheaper parts, which makes them more affordable than mechanical devices. However, these devices are always softer and a little slower than mechanical hardware. They don’t have the speed or snap to them, even though most companies will claim that their membrane keyboards replicate mechanical hardware.

The Corsair K55 RGB does have one of the best membrane typing experiences on the market. The Corsair’s buttons are fast and very satisfying. They’re firm and they feel robust, and they have a tactile design – so they have a noticeable bump in the middle of their typing action, just like a proper mechanical keyboard. The buttons feel robust and defined. That’s a far cry from the spongy, bouncy and unsatisfying action found on many more affordable membrane gaming keyboards.

The Corsair’s membrane buttons are quieter than most membrane keyboards and definitely make less noise than loud mechanical units. The buttons have a soft-touch finish and a concave shape that adds to their comfort levels.

They’re different when compared to the keys on the Razer unit. The Cynosa Lite had buttons that were noticeably lighter and softer. Many gamers will prefer that.

For mainstream gaming, though, the Corsair K55 RGB is easily good enough thanks to its fast, consistent and comfortable action. Mechanical units are faster, weightier and more clinical – they’re still the ultimate gaming keyboard – but the Corsair isn’t far behind.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Corsair K55 RGB Review – Conclusion

Corsair K55 RGB 01Our Corsair K55 RGB review illustrates that this is a deeply impressive bit of kit. When it comes to its typing action, it’s one of the best membrane options around: fast, consistent and comfortable, with a robust and reliable action.

It’s a little heavier than the lighter Razer keys, and it’s as close as you’ll get to a mechanical unit without forking out extra for one of those. It’s not quite as quick or as crisp as a mechanical keyboard, of course, but the Corsair is easily good enough for mainstream gaming.

Elsewhere, the affordable Corsair still includes loads of extra buttons, RGB LED lighting and good software. Its build quality is middling and we have minor issues with its fonts and rollover specification, but they’re acceptable compromises that won’t cause problems for most people.

The Corsair K55 RGB is a very impressive and well-balanced option for gaming on a relative budget – it has good quality and a broad range of features and it won’t break the bank. It’s also better than the disappointing Razer. If you’re serious, though, save up cash for a mechanical device.

The Corsair K55 RGB costs £40 in the UK and $50 in the USDiscuss our Corsair K55 RGB review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Corsair K55 RGB review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The GoodRecommended Award

  • Loads of features
  • Very affordable
  • High-quality membrane keys

The Bad

  • Not as fast as mechanical switches
  • Middling built quality
  • Eight-key rollover

The Specs
Connection: Wired, USB
Cable: 1.8m, unbraided
Material: Plastic
Switch type: Membrane
Backlighting: 3-zone RGB
Extras: Wrist-rest, macro keys, media keys

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Corsair K55 RGB

About Author

Mike Jennings

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