Overall and Final Verdict
Corsairs new K57 takes a traditional keyboard layout along with gaming-focused features like its G keys on the left side of the keyboard and packs it all into a wireless combination. They manage to stick with the gaming theme by running their Slipstream wireless tech to keep inputs quick and with low latency. In my testing, I never noticed the K57 was wireless at all. I just didn’t have any weird latency issues, signal interference, or other issues. The only reason the wireless is noticeable is that there isn’t a wire and because you can take the K57 across the room and continue to use it. A full-sized keyboard with full per-key RGB lighting, however, would normally mean horrible battery life but Corsair used their new CAPELLIX LEDs to make things a lot more efficient. In fact, in my testing, I found if anything the lighting when turned all the way up was too bright. Being able to run on a medium setting translates to up to 35/40 hours of battery life depending on which wireless option you are using. As someone who hates having to charge wireless devices all of the time, this is a blessing. If you are extremely active you only need to plug in every few days or if you are using the K57 at work you might even make the full week without having to charge it. For media center use this may even mean weeks or months of use depending on how often you need it.
The Slipstream wireless tech is really nice, but bundling in Bluetooth as well was a nice touch by Corsair. You can actually run the K57 on three devices and quickly swap between them with the two Bluetooth connections on top of the dongle.
The K57 wasn’t perfect. For example, with all of the amazing lighting, I was extremely surprised that Corsair didn’t also light up the media keys as well. To add insult to everything all of the non-backlit keys have a basic printed legend which I think will wear off quickly if they are used often. I also would prefer to see a less “gamer” font used for the key legends and maybe something a little larger and easier to read for the home keys. The overall size of the K57 was a touch larger than I would like due to it having larger bezels than Corsair normally goes with on their keyboards. My main complaint is with the membrane keys though. The K57 is all decked out in features and looks like a mechanical keyboard but it isn’t a mechanical keyboard. A lot of people might not care or even notice, but if you are going back and forth from a mech to the K57 you are going to notice a mushier key feel.
By not going mechanical was Corsair able to balance the battery life issues of wireless keyboards with RGB backlighting and did it help keep the cost down? Well, the battery life is clearly a big improvement, as for the pricing the K57 has an MSRP of $99.99. I was a little town on the pricing. In one way this is clearly cheaper than what an RGB wireless mechanical keyboard would run. Hell, a lot of the standard wired RGB mechanical keyboards would be more than this. But on the other hand, if you take the wireless away, the K57 would be similar to something like the CM MasterKeys Light L which is half the price and comes with a mouse as well. So you are paying a premium for the wireless and the new CAPELLIX LEDs that allow for the bright lighting and great battery life. I think the K57 would be a little better at $89.99, but even at $99.99, you are getting a great wireless keyboard, assuming you are okay with it not being mechanical. The other faults leave room for improvement from Corsair later but none of the issues are a deal-breaker. If you want to use the K57 on your VR PC in your living room to play a few normal games from the comfort of your couch you might need to invest in a nice wireless mouse as well.
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