Gaming Keyboard Buyer's Guide

Corsair K55 Gaming Keyboard Review

The Corsair K55 is a fantastic budget keyboard option for anyone that isn’t up for spending the hundreds some boards cost, It comes with some extra features and all for under £50.

by Shaun

Gaming Keyboard Buyer's Guide

Corsair K55 Gaming Keyboard Review

The Corsair K55 is a fantastic budget keyboard option for anyone that isn’t up for spending the hundreds some boards cost, It comes with some extra features and all for under £50.

by Shaun

by Shaun

Corsair has a multitude of options when it comes to keyboards and not just high-end ones. The Corsair K55 is a budget option that can sometimes be bought as a bundle with the Corsair Harpoon and has some interesting features for the price.

The first impressions on the Corsair K55 weren’t bad, the board has a very simple understated design which you would expect for the price but maybe not from a typical gaming keyboard. The board is made completely of plastic and as a result, feels lightweight. It features Membrane switches but has some rudimentary RGB lighting and effects along with on the fly macro recording. The Corsair K55 features dedicated media keys and 6 extra buttons for macros which when you consider the board is under £50 is pretty good value. It may not be the best keyboard Corsair have ever created but it certainly has some potential.

Pros

  • Quality build – Sturdy, well-built keyboard
  • Great Features – Dedicated media keys/ RGB
  • Excellent Software – Intuitive and easy to use
  • Macros – Dedicated macro keys/ on the fly macro recording

Cons

  • Switches – Membrane

Keyboard Size & Weight 

  • Weight: 822g with cable
  • Size: 100%
  • Length: 48cm – 18.9 inches
  • Width: 16.6cm – 6.5 inches
  • Height: 3.4cm – 1.3 inches

Keyboard Tech

  • Switches: Membrane
  • OS Support: Windows 7,8,10
  • Media keys: Yes
  • RGB: Yes
  • Passthrough: No
  • Connection: Wired
  • Cable length: 1.8 m
  • Cable: Non-braided

What’s in the box

The keyboard arrived in a standard Corsair box with the product image splashed across the front. The box features the same two-tone colour scheme we see from other Corsair products with bright yellow on the front and black for the sides. On the back, we see some features to the keyboard. It’s a thick sturdy box which protects the product but I would have liked the board to come inside an extra cloth bag to help protect it.

Inside we have:

  • Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
  • Wrist rest
  • User guide

Keyboard Design Section

Size & Weight

The Corsair K55 is a full sized keyboard (100%) and is pretty much the same size as your other full Corsair keyboards. With a length of 48 cm, it’s slightly longer than the K70 boards due to the extra macro keys featured on the left-hand side. The width of the board (16.6cm) allows for some function keys to sit along the top and the depth is average at 3.4 cm which makes the board feel somewhere in the middle between low profile and chunky. So the board is a standard size really but due to the materials it only weighs 822 g and feels lightweight to carry.

Keycaps

The keycaps featured on the Corsair K55 have quite a flat profile with a very gentle ergonomic curve that goes left to right helping your finger nestle in the button. The keys have a ‘floating’ appearance like many Corsair boards which assists the RGB lightings aesthetics and the overall design. The keycaps have a more standard font compared to the Corsair K70 low profile keyboard which is a bit plain but I think it looks much more appealing and professional. The keycaps are made from ABS plastic which can wear quite easily over time compared to other materials like PBT but this is a standard keycap material and even premium boards can feature it. There was no keycap removal tool with the Corsair K55 but the keys don’t require a lot of force to remove them and the board could be cleaned if needed.

Switches

I generally lean towards mechanical keyboards because they feel satisfying to type on and do produce quite an addictive noise when being used, however, I can’t say I notice the difference in the grand scheme of things. The board uses membrane switches that use the rubber dome design and do a reasonably good job for what they are. It’s one of the better membrane keyboards I’ve used that feels about as close to mechanical as membrane could be. The big thing to mention with this type of switch is the fact membrane switches are not as durable as mechanical because over time the membrane layer can flatten out and this is often reflected in the price.

Design, Shape & Texture, Case/Internals

Corsair might not be winning any design awards for the K55 keyboard but it is a value board that can fit into most peoples budget and they had to cut the costs somewhere. The board is a near perfect rectangle and features a 2-tone plastic design. The top of the board is a glossy reflective plastic that I feel could get scratched quite easily and it’s already picking up some dust but it looks generally fine overall and showcases the logo nicely. The plastic case around the keys is a matte plastic which I didn’t like at first but it actually seems to help the keys stand out a little more and adds a bit of contrast. The membrane underneath is an opaque white colour which helps the RGB shine more vibrantly again just helping the board to look a bit nicer than your average keyboard.

The Corsair K55 as mentioned is slightly longer and that is due to the macro buttons we see on the left-hand side, These buttons can be reprogramed on the fly from the keyboard as it was originally not compatible with the iCUE software but has since become supported. You record the macros by using the ‘macro recording’ function button at the top which sits next to the ‘brightness control’ button for RGB. There is a ‘lock windows’ key featured at the top which can come in handy when gaming if you tend to press multiple keys by accident but seeing as this keyboard is a membrane, accidental pressing was at a minimum. The board features some dedicated media keys above the number pad allowing you to play, pause, fast forward, and rewind. There is no volume scroll bar with this board but you still get some volume control and a mute function in the right corner which works perfectly well and is very convenient.

The underbelly to the board is pretty much a plain piece of plastic but it does have some rubber feet in the corners to minimise movement. The feet could have been a bit bigger but whether I was gaming or typing the board didn’t move once. There is some flip out stands to elevate the board to a more ergonomic position and they don’t collapse easy meaning I could shift the board without having to pop them back out.

The cable is 1.8m long which is perfectly fine but it isn’t braided and that’s not a major issue if you take excellent care of your peripherals but it will wear a lot easier without. The board connects with a single USB and doesn’t feature any pass-through as you get with newer boards from Corsair.

Features & Performance

As mentioned this is a budget gaming keyboard but it does come with some decent features. The board is backlit by RGB which sits underneath the membrane layer, shining through to produce a nice opaque variety of colours. The RGB isn’t particularly vibrant but it illuminates the board enough for the price. The board was originally designed to plug and play so the RGB effects can be changed at the press of a command using the Fn button + 1-7 to cycle through. Corsair has since supported the board through iCUE software and can now you can add effects or use the instant colour feature. It’s worth noting this board doesn’t support as much customisation as other Corsair keyboards but at least you can have some.

The board comes with a detachable wrist rest in the box which is just a simple no-nonsense plastic rest. The rest is made of the same material as the ones we see in the expensive K70 keyboards and maybe a little smaller but overall it was easy to clip on and off. The soft touch plastic has some texture to it which I wasn’t a fan of plus the plastic coating just isn’t comfortable compared to my cloth mouse pad so I won’t be using it for much longer if I’m honest. I like the way Corsair design these to stay attached as I do move my keyboard around every now and then which can become irritating if you have a passive rest that always falls off.

You can record macros straight from the Corsair K55 at the press of a button and then assign it to one of the 6 macro buttons available but as mentioned the software now supports this board so further customisation can be done in iCUE.

Testing

  • Sound Test – test the noise when typing

Comparison

  • Compare the keyboard to similar competitors or to its own brands previous model

Software

You can plug and play with this board no problem while still taking advantage of its features.  There are a few effects to cycle through and it’s saved as a default profile to the board but installing the iCUE software will give you access to the rest of the keyboards potential. Corsairs software doesn’t take up too much space and is one of the better software packages available. In the software, you can’t customise the lighting like you can with more expensive boards and you are limited in RGB options. The instant lighting option will quickly light the board as one colour and some gamers find one colour a bit less distracting than the rainbow spectrum whizzing round. Macro customisation is intuitive and you can also set the ‘lock windows’ button to lock other commands at the click of a button if you wanted to.

Visit our software guide on Corsairs iCUE soon.

Our Verdict

The bottom line is down to preference and coming back from a mechanical keyboard to use this membrane one wasn’t very satisfying. Don’t get me wrong this is a sturdy well-built keyboard and Corsair are known for quality products so it’s by no means a bad purchase. Performance wise the membrane/ rubber dome switches do begin to tire my hands after excessive typing due to the fact the button has to be pressed all the way down with a greater actuation force than your Cherry MX switches. There isn’t any clicky feedback which could be a positive or negative depending on you but I like a little bit of audio. My issues with the board aside it’s a really good option for the price as the switches are responsive and feel a bit better than your standard membrane boards.  It’s worth noting the board was nice to type with and I made minimal to no mistakes thanks to the low chatter keys. For under £50 you get RGB and macro customisation along with some dedicated media keys and wrist rest, that’s a fair amount of features for this price range and for anyone on a budget who doesn’t mind membrane the Corsair K55 is a contender.

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