The first thing you’ll notice about the Corsair K55 is its budget-friendly price tag – available for under $50. But, of course, affordable doesn’t necessarily mean good value. What features will you get for your money? How does it perform? Will it last? A certain skepticism creeps in when it comes to affordable hardware.
So, should you spend your hard-earned cash on this keyboard, or save that extra dollar for something even better? We can’t make that choice for you, but we can guide you through the ups and downs of the K55, from design to performance.
|Special Keys||Dedicated media keys, 6 macro keys, lighting control|
|Key switches||Rubber dome|
|Dimensions and Weight||480.2mm x 166.3mm x 34.6mm|
|Keyboard rollover||8 key selective|
Let’s start with the look of the K55. For a product on the cheaper end of the gaming keyboard spectrum, on the whole it does look more expensive than it is, thanks largely to the colorful backlighting – more on that later.
The K55 is primarily made up of matte black plastic, aside from a glossy strip along the top of the keyboard. This looks attractive and adds interest, but get your microfiber cloth at the ready as it does attract finger prints and dust pretty easily.
Ok, so on first glance it looks the part. But let’s go deeper. The look is neat, if a little square and thin – don’t expect any ergonomic grooves, raised areas or curved edges. The K55 is a slab of a thing, but a sleek slab at that.
The RGB backlighting contributes a lot to the quality look of this keyboard, standing out against the matte black finish and making the K55 pop with color. There are three separate lighting zones, rather than lights behind each key. These zones can be set in a range of color combinations, either static or pulsing and fading between colors – there is even a rainbow effect!
Flip the K55 over and you’ll find 4 rubber pads on the underside as well as two retractable feet to raise the back end of the keyboard – pretty standard keyboard features, but still nice to have.
You’ll also find a detachable wrist rest at the bottom of the keyboard that Corsair describe as ‘soft rubber’. While the wrist rest is not uncomfortable, we wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s soft. But if you like a wrist rest, it’ll do. It is textured too, which adds some grip but does affect a comfort slightly.
Features and Performance
Let’s talk mechanics – or lack thereof. At this price it may not come as a big surprise that the K55 is a membrane keyboard, using rubber domes under the keys rather than mechanical switches. This could be a deal breaker for users looking for that traditional feel and satisfying click, but it does feel smooth and gives a softer sound that some users may like.
The K55 does mimic a mechanical keyboard in some ways, not only with its raised buttons but also with its eight-key rollover. This is a nice feature, handy for complex games involving simultaneous use of many buttons.
Another useful addition to the K55 are the 6 programmable macro keys on the left side – a real bonus in a keyboard of this price range, and super helpful not just for gamers but for other tasks too such as editing photos or video content.
These macro keys can also be programmed without using the software thanks to the handy macro record button found on the glossy strip at the top of the keyboard. Here you also have a set of dedicated multimedia control buttons and a set of small keys for recording macros and changing lighting settings. These buttons do feel a little flimsy compared to the main keys, though, and they are not backlit like the rest of the keys, so can be hard to see if you’re in a darker room.
The thin look of the K55 is mirrored in its weight. It is very light, so if you like a studier keyboard that can sustain a particularly heavy hammering, this may not be for you. The rubber pads on the bottom do help keep it in position, though, and the build quality is decent and firm enough to endure a lively gaming session.
The K55 works as a plug in and play keyboard – you don’t need the software in order to use the main features of the keyboard, with lighting and macros controlled by their own dedicated buttons and key combinations.
For those who want a fuller experience and even more control, though, the K55 is compatible with Corsair’s iCue software. iCue can be used to adjust lighting color schemes and brightness, as well as recording macros for your macro keys. All this can be done, of course, via the keyboard itself but iCue makes it that bit easier.
For an RGB keyboard of this price, Corsair’s K55 has a lot going for it. The build quality is good, with a simple but effective design in two-tone black plastic.
The lighting is eye-catching and has a nice level of customization options for this price range. That said, features such as the wrist rest, macro buttons and media playback buttons mean there is more to the K55 than just jazzy lighting.
There is not much clicky sound to the K55, which depending on your preferences could be a bad or a good thing. And sure, it’s not mechanical, but it is quiet (if that’s what you like!) with smooth with consistent keys. For those on a budget or just getting into PC gaming, the K55 would be a great purchase.
- Good build quality
- Good value
- Good range of key functions
- Customizable lighting
- Membrane rather than mechanical
- Glossy plastic detail is easily marked
- Wrist rest could be more comfortable
Corsair K55 Review
- Overall - 8.2/108.2/10
The Corsair K55 is a solid performer among RGB keyboards under $50. With a sleek but functional design, the K55 is a membrane keyboard that offers a pleasing array of features while remaining budget-friendly. It has its flaws of too, and the membrane base may be a deal-breaker for fans of a more tradition mechanical chassis.