I’ve used a Logitech 710+ keyboard for almost 3 years. It is mechanical with Cherry MX Brown switches and has 6 programmable keys along its left edge, which I used day to day for things such as closing windows or moving forward and backwards between browser tabs, and options such as select all for in EVE. It is probably the longest I have ever used a keyboard, but it was starting to show its age with a glitch here and there and a couple loose keys.
I recently looked around for a replacement, but Logitech did not offer anything exactly the same and neither did the myriad of other brands. I ended up getting a Corsair K95 RGB keyboard – also with Cheery MX Brown switches but with 18 programmable keys along its left edge.
The K95 is a very solid weighty keyboard which doesn’t flex or readily move in normal use. The lack of flex was its first negative. I use a 15 year old desk with a return. There is a very slight height variation between them – a fraction of a millimeter. I could straddle the Logitech keyboard across this, but the stiffer Corsair rocks slightly when used in the same position.
A little surprisingly, the Corsair keyboard fits within the same footprint of the Logitech, so does not use extra desk space. It fits 2 extra columns of keys into that footprint, which makes it feel a little squishy in comparison to the Logitech. I am still not used to this after two weeks, so my typing accuracy still suffers, and my hands are more likely to ache after a long day of typing.
I do like the design of how the keys sit on the back plate. It makes it much easier to clean away crumbs and what not. Having said that, the matt surface on the keys tends to show up your finger prints more.
The keys themselves are louder and feel heavier than the Logitech, but some of that might just be due to the age of the older keyboard.
While I did not need 18 programmable keys, I figured I would set them up like the old Razer Nostromo Game Pad I still used for Dungeon and Dragons Online. While it certainly works functionally, its smaller size means my hand tends to get cramped and sore after an hour of gaming.
I’ve used programmable keyboards for years now, and am very comfortable with the Logitech, Steelseries and Razor software. While the Corsair Gaming software covers everything I would expect, I have not found it as straight forward to use. It was very odd that there was not a default solid-lighting effect, you had to create one. While I like the option of saving the profiles to the keyboard, the way you do this should be more obvious. The setup of Macros / Assignments wasn’t as nice. There were also odd colour assignment issues. If I assigned a colour to the predefined key combinations – All keys, Arrow Keys, G-Keys or WASD, and then assigned the same colour to a single key – it would not appear the same. In the photo above you can see All keys were assigned red. The WASD keys were then assigned the same red colour individually – yet were clearly a different colour.
Now despite this all I don’t regret the purchase. (Probably lucky given its price.) There seemed to be few other options. I also know some of my issues relate to my age and I suspect a level of RSI in my hands from 20 years of excessive technology use. I know some might view the macro keys as a gimmick, but when you get the right combinations setup and the finger memory to use them automatically, they can really work well. I’ve used keys besides each other for such things as All Drones Engage, or All Drones Return to Bay. I might move forward and backwards through targets, or have two keys to resize the Probe Scan Size and Refresh the Probe Scan results. Some would also think the keyboard colour adjustment is even more of a gimmick. Some comes down to appearance – being able to match your mouse and keyboard colours for example, but if set up right, I find it useful to have different layouts for different games, with important keys highlighted in a different colour than the rest of the layout.
So all told, you can configure the keyboard in lots of useful ways, but it requires a bit more effort than it should.