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Corsair K70 Mk. 2 SE: More Platinum than Platinum

By Christopher Coke on July 11, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Corsair K70 Mk. 2 SE: More Platinum than Platinum

Corsair refreshed their line of premium mechanical keyboards this month with the Mk. 2 series. With the revisions, each of their revised models has received some major upgrades. Today, we’re looking at what we think is their most impressive keyboard to date: the Corsair K70 Mk. 2 SE. Packed with all the features a gamer could want, thick PBT keycaps, and a stunning silver and white finish, you may even want to consider this over the K95 Platinum.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $179.99
  • Keyboard Backlighting: Per-Key RGB
  • Size (Full/TKL): Full Size
  • Key Switches: Cherry MX Speed
  • Switch Actuation: 1.2mm
  • Switch Travel: 3.4mm
  • Keyboard Report Rate: 1000Hz
  • USB Pass-through: USB 2.0 Type-A
  • Keyboard Connectivity: Wired
  • Adjustable Height: Yes
  • Media Controls: Yes
  • Keyboard Rollover: Full Key (NKRO), 100% anti-ghosting
  • Wired Connectivity: USB 2.0 Type-A
  • WIN Lock: Yes
  • Media Keys: Dedicated Buttons (Stop, Previous, Play/Pause, Next)
  • Wrist Rest: Included, detachable, with soft touch finish
  • Keyboard Cable: Braided
  • Keyboard CUE Software Supported in CUE 2.x
  • Weight: 1.25kg
  • Warranty: Two Year

If you’ve explored the world of mechanical keyboards at all, you’ve already heard all about Corsair. Their K70 is one of the most acclaimed gaming keyboards on the market today. The heavy duty aluminum top, ultra-programmable lighting and programming options, long-term durability, and easy synchronization across an entire spectrum of accessories and components have propelled Corsair to become one of the most compelling keyboard makers in the business. Yet, it’s been years since their per-key RGB line first hit the market and, while they’ve continually released new products, many of us were beginning to wonder what was next for the K70.

The Mk. 2 series is the answer to that question. Rather than reinvent the series, they’ve instead refreshed it with a solid trickle-down of features from their top-of-the-line K95 Platinum. We’ve already reviewed the K70 as well as the K95 Platinum, so be sure to give those a read to find out what makes those keyboards so highly acclaimed. Instead, I’d like to talk about what improvements the Mk. 2 series has brought and why the SE, in particular, is just so impressive.

Starting things off, you’ll find that the logo has been pulled straight from the K95 and is a marked improvement over the original. The original featured the same sails logo but in a glued decal. Have a look here in my demonstration of the lighting on the K70 LUX:

Now, we have a much more elegant cut-out that illuminates in sync with the rest of the keyboard. It’s a small upgrade but one that makes the look much more cohesive.

The media keys have also seen a substantial improvement that brings them in line with company’s flagship. The layout is almost identical but the media controls now use much higher buttons. This makes them easier to press but also easier to see behind your number pad keys (an issue original K70 owners can relate to).

Around the back, we have our USB 2.0 passthrough. Depending on which version of the K70 you’d looked at previously, this may or may not be a new feature. It’s certainly useful, though. In my own setup, I plug my Polaris RGB mouse pad into it and then my RGB mouse into that.

Turning to the keys, we find the return of Corsair’s large format font, which is great for letting your lighting shine through. This is also one of the extremely rare keyboards that uses high quality, thick-walled PBT for the keycap material. More on those points in a moment.

One of the biggest changes coming with the K70 Mk. 2 series is Corsair’s “Pick Your Switch” campaign. Until now, Corsair’s options were limited, though admittedly quality, always utilizing high-end Cherry MX key switches. At max, you would have the option of Red, Brown, or Blue switches and, for whatever reason, clicky MX Blues always seemed in short supply. Now, you’ll have the choice between Red, Blue, Brown, MX Speed, and MX Silent, right out of the gate.

If you opt for the SE edition we’re reviewing today - and I think you should - you will be limited to MX Speed switches. Given that it’s a “Special Edition” and probably won’t be mass produced in the same way as the standard K70, this is understandable but may still be disappointing to some.

MX Speed switches are great for gaming. With an actuation distance of 1.2mm - down from 2.0 - 2.2mm on standard MX switches - they are definitively faster and capable of providing a concrete advantage in games if your reaction speed is up to it. For competitive gamers, they’re a clear choice, though average joes like you and I should be advised that they can almost seem too sensitive until you climb the learning curve.

Much of the rest of the keyboards are the same as the previous models. You still have the amazing, Photoshop-like layers of lighting through the iCUE software suite. You still have the thickly braided cable and popular metal volume wheel. You still have the nice wrist rest, hefty weight, and swappable gaming keys for MOBA and FPS titles. The Mk. 2 series is about refinement and presenting the best possible version of these keyboards, not reworking what already works so well. They’ve accomplished that goal here, and by bringing features down from the $199 K95 Platinum, have effectively delivered more keyboard for the money.

But the K70 SE… this is the best version of the K70 money can buy. For only $10 more, you get a keyboard that functions identically but looks and feels so much better. On the surface, you might be tempted to dismiss the SE version as a simple silver variant - and it is, but remember, these keyboards are about illumination and swapping to silver and white makes a HUGE difference:

With the lights off, that silver finish acts as one big mirror for the RGB lighting. It reflects your colors into one gorgeous, flowing light pool beneath your keys. The white keycaps also illuminate right up their sides giving your lighting a whole new texture and sense of depth. The picture above really doesn’t do it justice. Love RGB or hate it, the K70 SE will make you say “wow.”

Which brings me to my next point: the keycaps on this version are the hands-down best pack-ins included from a major brand gaming keyboard today. In fact, they’re the exact same PBT set Corsair sells separately for an additional $50. If you’re not familiar with the world of keycaps, gaming keyboards often use thin-walled ABS, which is a lighter weight plastic prone to surface shine as the oils on your fingers wear down their surface treatment. The caps here won’t suffer the same wear and tear and are double-shot, made from two pieces of plastic, so the legends will never fade. Even more meaningful is that they’re more than twice the thickness of standard keycaps. They feel more solid and higher quality than virtually any competitor competing at Corsair’s level and make the $179.99 MSRP seem WAY more reasonable.

Final Thoughts

The Mk. 2 series is all about refinement: bringing together small improvements that collectively make the boards look and feel better to use. The original K70 series was already great and this is easily the best version yet. The K70 SE, however, is an all-star. The silver brushed aluminum and white keys make it downright stunning in the dark. Including the PBT keycap set for next to nothing is fantastic, immediately rocketing the value and feel of this keyboard above the ABS competition. It’s so good that if you don’t need the macro keys on the K95 Platinum, I recommend picking this up any day of the week.

In short, the Mk. 2 series is a great refinement on an already very good set of keyboards. The K70 Mk. 2 SE is simply fantastic and one of the best major brand gaming keyboards you could buy. Whether you’re just looking at high-performance gaming or taking your setup to the next level, you simply can’t go wrong.

Pros

  • Stunning aluminum and white finish
  • PBT keycaps (!!)
  • Illuminated logo and improved media controls
  • MUCH more vibrant lighting over standard K70
  • Only $10 more than standard K70 Mk.2

Cons

  • “Pick Your Switch” not carried over to SE version

The product discussed in this article was provided by Corsair for the purposes of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.