A tradeshow came and went, leaving behind a predictable pile of new keyboards. We’ve already discussed the new offerings from Logitech and Dell (of note, both involving low profile keyboards) that emerged at or near Gamescom 2019, but my inbox filled up with news of multiple others this past week. Here’s the list.
Corsair K57 RGB Wireless
Corsair just iterates on its existing IP now, and has for years. There have been very few major design changes (save for the lowpro keyboards that they built for Cherry’s LP switches), virtually no experimentation with new technologies, no risks. On one hand, it’s hard to criticize that strategy–why mess with what’s working–but on the other hand, the result is that we have an endless stream of Corsair keyboards that look nearly identical and all have kind of the same name.
The K57 RGB Wireless was, then, to be expected. What’s unique-ish about the K57 RGB Wireless within Corsair’s extensive product stack is that it possesses the company’s new Capellix LEDs and its Slipstream wireless technology.
The Capellix LEDs are actually pretty great, though. They’re significantly smaller than conventional LEDs, thus smoothing out linear backlighting, and Corsair claims they’re also brighter and far more energy efficient. Back at CES, Corsair debuted Capellix in some RGB RAM.
Assuming Corsair is at least somewhat correct that the leaner, meaner LEDs demand less energy, they could make the wireless nature of the K57 RGB Wireless more valuable to users by prolonging battery life. Corsair is promising up to 35 hours on a single charge with the lighting enabled over the 2.4 GHz Slipstream wireless connection. On Bluetooth, that number creeps up to 40 hours.
Those are genuinely attractive features, but unfortunately Corsair wrapped them in the least sexy version of Corsair design they have. Instead of the sleek, brushed-metal top and floating keys, there’s what appears to be a plastic top plate resting on a translucent plastic back. Worse, this isn’t even a mechanical keyboard–it just has rubber dome switches. It’s a hundred bucks on Amazon.
Roccat Vulcan 121 and 122 Aimo
If nothing else, Roccat gets 50 points for product numbering. Well, sort of. The company, now under the aegis of Turtle Beach, announced its new Titan switch and three Vulcan Aimo keyboards last year at Computex, numbering them 80, 100, and 120. Now there are two more in the family–the Vulcan 121 and 122 Aimo. Simple.
The extra digits denote very different things. The 122 is exactly the same as the 120, but dressed in Arctic White.
By contrast, the 121 is not just a different color (Ash Black), it has a new version of the Titan switch. This one is called the Titan Switch Speed and has a shorter overall travel (2.8mm) and higher actuation point (1.4mm)–that, compared to the 3.6mm/1.8mm of the original Titan switch. Presumably it’s linear. The release materials say that the new switch has “a hefty 45g of force to minimize accidental key presses,” which is funny, because “hefty” and “45g” are not two terms that make sense together in a keyswitch context–45g is awfully light.
The original Vulcan 120 Aimo was a Best Buy exclusive. The 121 is available for $160 ($150 sans wrist rest), although the Amazon listing has the old Titan switch in the specs. That may just be a typo. The 122 is not apparently for sale yet, but it will cost the same as the 121.
HyperX Aqua Switch and Alloy Origins keyboard
HyperX’s announcements came without a lot of details. The headlining keyboard announcement was the HyperX Aqua switch, yet another rebranded switch. HyperX has a pair now, the HyperX Red from Computex and the new Aqua.
The latter sounds awfully similar to the latest Titan switch, with 45g actuation and “shorter travel time,” although the Aqua is tactile and light, light the Logitech Romer-G.
It’s coming on the Alloy Origins keyboard, which has three custom lighting profiles available and is otherwise note especially notable–another variation on the Alloy theme. These follow an earlier announcement about HyperX’s doubleshot PBT pudding keycaps.
G.Skill’s $50 KM360 TKL keyboards in black or white
G.Skill’s keyboards don’t have what you’d call a significant foothold in the market, and sometimes the designs are a little…much…but the new KM360 TKL keyboards from the company have a more conservative, no-frills design that becomes more appealing when you see the price tag. For fifty bucks, you can get a white KM360 with white double-injected ABS keycaps, white backlighting, Cherry MX switches, USB Type-C removable cable, and of course they have a compact TKL layout.
Looking closely at the images, the edges of these keyboards look like they may be plasticy and not super refined, but for the price it may be excusable. You can get the black or white versions on Newegg.
The surprise entry on this list is a mechanical keyboard from Philips. Yes, that Philips, with the light bulbs and whatnot. I have many questions about this keyboard, and I sent all of those questions along to Philip’s PR people. The keyboard has Philips-branded switches, what appears to be programmable RGB lighting, and a not-terrible black-on-silver look.
Apparently elsewhere in the world, Philips has already been distributing the SK8404 mechanical keyboard, but stateside this is a first. Meanwhile, you can find the SPK8404 on Amazon for the low, low price of $33. The new SPK8614 is just $40.
Scream at us on Twitter with any mechanical keyboard-related Gamescom announcements we missed.
If you click links in this article and subsequently make a purchase, we may receive a small commission on that purchase.