UK price (as reviewed):£68 (inc VAT) US price (as reviewed):$79.99 (ex Tax)
Since its acquisition of Raptor Gaming, Corsair has developed its Raptor branded peripherals, to be more affordable alternatives to its premium Vengeance products. In the case of the Raptor K50 gaming keyboard, while we're reluctant to call it cheap, compared to the £130 or so you'll pay for a Vengeance K95, it's certainly more affordable and doesn't seem like a bad deal when you realise that many of the latter's features have been carried over to the Raptor model, including customisable RGB backlighting. The catch, as you may have guessed, is that the keyboard is entirely free of mechanical keys, as the Raptor K50 utilises rubber dome switches instead.
Sadly, the gorgeous brushed aluminium front plate of the Vengeance keyboards is no longer present either, and has been replaced by a smaller section along the top, which still looks attractive. The raised keys and clean cut edges also lend the K50 a certain sleekness that most fail to match. The Raptor K50 is also still well built – the black plastic body is very rigid, and remains so when you exert force upon it.
Click to enlarge - The eight highlighted gaming keys add visual interest without becoming tacky
The thick, non-detachable braided cable is also of high quality, and ends in a pair of USB connectors; one for the keyboard, and one for its rear USB 2.0 pass-through port. We do wish Corsair would update its keyboards with USB 3.0 ports – using a USB 2.0 memory stick for sizeable file transfers is now painfully slow.
The Raptor's layout is almost identical to that of the Vengeance K95, and it's therefore a rather wide keyboard at just over 500mm. That said, it doesn't waste space – the extra width it has over the K70, for example, comes from the three rows of macro keys to the left, but these are packed in quite closely. The detachable wrist-rest spans the whole length of the keyboard, and is very comfortable thanks to the soft touch plastic finish. It's on the shallower side of things, which also keeps the keyboard smaller than it could be, and is thus better suited for resting palms on than entire wrists.
Click to enlarge
With eighteen macro keys and three profile buttons above them, users have a total of 54 programmable macros to choose from at any one time. The remaining keys can't be customised, but this is still rather a lot, and more than we found ourselves requiring. Luckily for those that don't need quite so many Corsair also offers the cheaper Raptor K30 with fewer macro keys. The macro record button allows you to quickly record macros on the fly, while next to this is the ever handy Windows lock key, which usefully lights up white when active.
Over on the right side of the board we find Corsair's media keys. We've praised these before, and we're happy to do so again. They're easy and quick to reach with your right hand, but their flat profile and position above the num pad keeps them tucked out of the way of normal use. The textured metal wheel that's assigned to volume adjustment is also a fine piece of craftsmanship.
Click to enlarge
The final button, positioned next to the lock indicators, alters the brightness of the backlighting between three levels (or off altogether). The actual colour of the RGB LEDs is set in the software, though it's worth noting that other than the mute key, all buttons along the top section are lit by white LEDs (or red in the case of the ring around the macro record key) rather than RGB ones.
Flipping the board over, there aren't any cable channels, but four small rubber pads ensure the keyboard grips your desk well, as do an extra pair on the wrist-rest. Sadly, neither the front nor back angle adjustment legs are rubber padded, so using these results in the keyboard being easier to accidentally move in use.
Dimensions (mm): 502 x 163 x 24 (W x D xH)
Connection: Wired (2 x USB)
Cable: 2m braided
Build: Plastic, brushed aluminium
Key switch: Rubber dome
Backlighting: RGB (~16.8 million colours)
Macro keys: 18 keys, 3 profiles
USB pass-through: 1 x USB 2.0 socket
Key-rollover: Full key rollover on USB
Extra features: Anti-ghosting, Windows key lock, removable wrist rest, 6 media keys, BIOS compatibility switch, on-board profile storage