Manufacturer: Corsair UK Price: £52.99 US Price: $49.99
Although mechanical keyboards have dropped in price significantly in recent years, you still have to pay quite a premium for one with backlighting and other ‘gaming’ features. That’s where the likes of the Corsair Raptor K40 come in. This keyboard eschews mechanical keys in favour of multi-colour backlighting, extra programmable keys and multimedia keys, all while keeping the price just a speck over £50.
The Corsair Raptor K40 may look just like its more expensive siblings, the Corsair Vengeance K90, K70 and K65, with its black base, non-sunken keys and silver trim, but it’s different in one crucial way: it doesn’t feature any aluminium in its construction. The Vengeance line incorporate, to various degrees, hefty slices of brushed aluminium to give a nice premium feel. In contrast the K40 is all plastic, with its silver section being painted on.
Otherwise it’s a smart-looking well put together keyboard. The black and silver combination looks great and there’s a nice consistency to the matt finishes used – fingerprints on shiny surfaces won’t be a problem here. There’s a bit of flex if you pick it up and twist it but set flat on a table or lap it provides a secure typing surface.
The K40’s cable is 2m long, which is plenty, but isn’t braided and there are no routing options, with it projecting straight out the middle of the back. Meanwhile underneath there are the standard pair of extendable feet for raising the keyboard’s angle of attack. No wrist rest – squishy or otherwise – is included.
In terms of features you’ve got pretty much everything here. There are six dedicated macro/gaming keys, full adjustable backlighting that can be set to one of 16.8million colours and of course there are multimedia controls too.
The macro keys are ranged down the left edge, where they’re reasonably convenient. We sometimes find that we place our hands incorrectly when extra keys are added here – after all, by habit the pinky always goes on the bottom left most key – and so it is with this keyboard but with practice you learn to avoid this.
The backlighting is very good quality. Corsair has managed to ensure there is absolutely no backlight bleed from this keyboard, which makes for a very neat effect. In contrast the backlighting from, in particular, most mechanical-switch keyboards tends to flood out from underneath the keys, illuminating the base of the keyboard. This somewhat dents the visual appeal of them. This is something that particularly effected the stealthy credentials of the CM Storm Quick Fire TK Stealth for instance.
You can of course adjust the backlighting too. There’s a button on the top right edge of the keyboard for adjust intensity, with it cycling through four different levels, including off. For changing the colour you’ll have to download, install and open up the driver.
The 16.8 million colours can be adjusted via RGB sliders, picking from a selection of eight predefined colours or using the full colour chart. There’s also the option to have the ‘true colour’ or the nearest equivalent with maximum brightness. The lighting can also be set to pulse on and off or cycle through the colours, with a further option to have these come on only when the keyboard is idling. It’s an impressively comprehensive selection of options, though the one obvious missing feature is individual or zonal lighting – here it’s all or nothing.
We do have one further complaint about the backlighting, which is that it isn’t all that bright, particularly when viewed from a slight angle (i.e. the angle you type at). It’s sufficient for most scenarios but is noticeably dimmer than, for instance, the Logitech G710+. Not that we can think of a circumstance where this would be much of a problem but the point stands.