Corsair today announced an updated version of its K70 mechanical keyboard, which comes with more responsive OPX optical mechanical switches. It costs $149.99, $10 more than the stock K70 released last year with more traditional Cherry mechanical switches. Aside from the switch change, the new K70 is largely identical to last year’s model, with a detachable USB-C cable, RGB lighting and a ten-keyless layout.
The reason you might want a gaming keyboard with optical switches comes down to debounce delay, which usually affects keyboards with traditional mechanical switches. When you press a mechanical switch, there may be a brief period of time where the metal contacts clatter against each other before finally settling down, meaning the keyboard takes a moment to register a keystroke. Optical switches simply interrupt a beam of infrared light when pressed and do not suffer from this delay by default, making them a great choice for gaming.
But the benefits of optical switches on Corsair’s keyboards are a little more complicated. Spokesperson Justin Ocbina tells me the company’s Axon technology can already avoid any debounce delays that occur when you first press a mechanical switch. The benefits of an optical switch on Corsair’s keyboard come when you repeatedly press the same switch. There is no 5 ms period in which a key cannot register a second press after a first; it’s ready to be pressed again immediately – useful for all games where speed is of the essence.
Ocbina declined to share who makes Corsair’s OPX optical mechanical switches, but said it is a linear switch with a 1mm actuation distance. That compares to a 2mm actuation distance for Cherry’s MX Red switch or 1.2mm for its speed-focused Silver switch. The K70 internally scans for keystrokes at 4,000 Hz (four times faster than many mechanical keyboards) and reports them to a connected PC at up to 8,000 Hz (eight times faster than most). Corsair says this keeps the median latency below 0.25 ms.
Other K70 features include durable PBT double-shot keycaps, a hardware tournament switch to disable macros during competitive play, media keys, a volume roller and the ability to coordinate the keyboard’s lighting effects via Corsair’s iCUE software. . Check out our review of last year’s Corsair K70 for an idea of how the non-switch parts of the keyboard perform in practice.