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Corsair K70 MAX Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Oct 17, 2023 at 10:05 am
Latest change: Test bench update Nov 29, 2023 at 09:32 am
Corsair K70 MAX Picture
8.7
Gaming
6.8
Office
0.9
Mobile/Tablet
7.4
Programming
4.0
Entertainment / HTPC
8.9
Raw Performance

The Corsair K70 MAX is a full-size, wired gaming keyboard that continues Corsair's K70 lineup. It uses CORSAIR MGX switches with magnetic hall-effect sensors to detect how far down they've been pressed. Using the configuration software, you can adjust how these switches operate, customizing the pre-travel distance and reset points of individual keys and even programming multiple actuation points for the same key.

Our Verdict

8.7 Gaming

The Corsair K70 MAX is an excellent keyboard for gaming. It has impressive build quality and remarkably good latency performance with a maximum effective update rate of 8000Hz, providing an extremely consistent and responsive-feeling experience for gaming in any genre. This keyboard also has hall-effect switches that allow you to customize the performance of individual keys. Unfortunately, the pre-travel distance settings are inaccurate and don't behave as expected. For more details, see the Keystrokes section below.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Excellent latency performance.
  • 8000Hz effective update rate.
  • Lots of software features to customize gaming performance.
  • Full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys.
Cons
  • Adjustable pre-travel distances are noticeably inaccurate.
6.8 Office

While it isn't designed specifically for this use, the Corsair K70 MAX is adequate for office work. It has impressive build quality and durable PBT keycaps. The CORSAIR MGX switches are quiet and allow you to change the pre-travel distance of individual switches. There are also two layers of sound-dampening foam inside the case. Unfortunately, all keys wobble somewhat, and the spacebar makes a noticeable rattling sound. Furthermore, there are no dedicated macro keys and no Bluetooth connectivity for multi-device setups.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Customizable typing experience.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • Adjustable pre-travel distances are noticeably inaccurate.
0.9 Mobile/Tablet

The Corsair K70 MAX is a wired-only keyboard that isn't suitable for use with mobile devices or tablets.

7.4 Programming

The Corsair K70 MAX is decent for programming use. It has impressive build quality and individually backlit keys with shine-through legends that you can easily read in darker rooms. The overall typing quality is good, but all keys wobble somewhat, and the spacebar makes a noticeable rattling sound. You can program macros to any key, but unfortunately, there aren't any dedicated macro keys. It's also a wired-only model that doesn't support multi-device pairing.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • No dedicated macro keys.
  • Customizable typing experience.
  • Full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
4.0 Entertainment / HTPC

The Corsair K70 MAX isn't well-suited for entertainment or home theatre PC setups. It's fairly large and bulky, and it's a wired-only keyboard, so you need to sit quite close to your PC to use it. It has impressive build quality, full backlighting, and dedicated media controls.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • Heavy and bulky.
8.9 Raw Performance

The Corsair K70 MAX offers amazing raw performance with excellent single-key and multi-key latency. It also has full n-key rollover and an effective update of 8000Hz that isn't bottlenecked by other latency components. Overall, this keyboard provides a consistent and responsive experience suitable for gaming in any genre at any competitive level.

Pros
  • Excellent latency performance.
  • 8000Hz effective update rate.
Cons
  • 8.7 Gaming
  • 6.8 Office
  • 0.9 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.4 Programming
  • 4.0 Entertainment / HTPC
  • 8.9 Raw Performance
  1. Updated Nov 29, 2023: We've concerted this review to Test Bench 1.3.1, which adds a new estimated PCB latency test to the Single-Key Latency section and a new Analog test to the Switches section of this review. You can see the full changelog here.
  2. Updated Oct 17, 2023: Review published.
  3. Updated Sep 13, 2023: Early access published.
  4. Updated Sep 07, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  5. Updated Aug 25, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  6. Updated Aug 16, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Corsair K70 MAX is only available in a Steel Gray color option, and there are no variants at the time of writing. You can see the label for the unit we bought and tested here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Corsair K70 MAX is a full-size gaming keyboard that continues Corsair's K70 lineup. Unlike earlier models in this lineup, which are available with a selection of Cherry MX switches or Corsair's OPX optical switches, the K70 MAX uses new CORSAIR MGX switches. These are analog switches that use magnetic hall-effect sensors to detect keystrokes. This keyboard also makes other minor changes over its predecessor, the Corsair K70 RGB PRO, including a much higher quality wrist rest now made of plush leatherette material rather than plastic. It also sees small case design modifications, including less aggressive beveled edges and a more diffuse, silver-colored aluminum finish.

In terms of performance, this keyboard stands out due to its 8000Hz effective update rate, which helps ensure more consistent low latency performance. It also offers more in the way of extra features, like indicator lights, lock keys, and dedicated media controls, compared to smaller form factor and less expensive gaming models with analog switches, like the DrunkDeer A75. Unfortunately, as was the case with the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog we tested, this keyboard's adjustable pre-travel settings are noticeably inaccurate. For more details, see the Keystrokes section below.

For more options, see our recommendations for the best keyboard, the best mechanical keyboard, and the best gaming keyboard.

Corsair K70 RGB PRO

The Corsair K70 RGB PRO and the Corsair K70 MAX are full-size gaming keyboards in the same product lineup. The K70 RGB PRO is an earlier model available with Cherry MX switches or Cosair's optical OPX switches. It also has better latency performance. On the other hand, the K70 MAX is a newer model that uses Corsair's MGX switches that allow you to customize the pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. It also has a more comfortable wrist rest.

Corsair K100 RGB

The Corsair K100 RGB and the Corsair K70 MAX are full-size gaming keyboards. The K100 RGB is available with Cherry MX Speed switches or Corsair OPX optical switches. It has slightly better latency performance, and while it has a polling rate of 8000hz, it only has an effective update rate of 4000Hz. On the other hand, the Corsair K70 MAX uses Corsair's analog OPX switches, allowing you to adjust pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. Unfortunately, due to the inaccurate implementation of these analog switches, you can't set the actuation point as low as advertised, resulting in worse latency performance compared to the K100 RGB, despite the K70 MAX actually having a higher effective rate of 8000Hz.

SteelSeries Apex Pro

The SteelSeries Apex Pro and the Corsair K70 MAX are full-size gaming keyboards with analog switches that allow you to customize the pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. The SteelSeries provides better latency performance, and its pre-travel adjustment feature is significantly more accurate. It also has a programmable OLED screen, which the Corsair lacks. On the other hand, the Corsair has a higher maximum update rate of 8000Hz.

Wooting 60HE

The Wooting 60HE and the Corsair K70 MAX are gaming keyboards with analog switches that allow you to customize the pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. The Wooting has a smaller Compact (60%) form factor. It also has better build quality and significantly better latency performance despite only having an effective update rate of 1000Hz. Additionally, the Wooting's pre-travel adjustment feature is significantly more precise and has added features such as analog joystick control and continuous rapid trigger that the Corsair lacks. On the other hand, the Corsair is a larger, full-size model with extra features like dedicated media controls and a scroll wheel. It also has a higher maximum polling rate of 8000Hz.

Wooting two HE

The Wooting two HE and the Corsair K70 MAX are full-size gaming keyboards with analog switches that allow you to customize the pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. The Wooting has better build quality, better latency performance, and its pre-travel distances are significantly more accurate. It also has dedicated macro keys, which the Corsair lacks. On the other hand, the Corsair has a higher maximum polling rate of 8000Hz and several extra features the Wooting lacks, including dedicated media keys and a scroll wheel.

Razer Huntsman V2 Analog

The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog and the Corsair K70 MAX are full-size gaming keyboards with analog switches that allow you to customize the pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. Unfortunately, this setting is noticeably inaccurate on both keyboards. The Razer has somewhat better build quality. It also has a programmable control knob and a USB passthrough, which the Corsair lacks. On the other hand, the Corsair has a higher maximum polling rate of 8000Hz. It also has several extra features the Razer lacks, including a tournament switch, programmable scroll wheel, and dedicated profile, brightness, and lock keys.

DrunkDeer A75

The DrunkDeer A75 and the Corsair K70 MAX are gaming keyboards with analog switches that allow you to customize the pre-travel and reset points of individual switches. The DrunkDeer has a smaller Compact (75%) form factor and better latency performance. On the other hand, the Corsair has better build quality and more durable PBT keycaps. It also has a higher maximum polling rate of 8000Hz and many extra features the DrunkDeer lacks, including a scroll wheel and dedicated media keys. Note that the adjustable pre-travel settings on both keyboards aren't totally accurate, but they're noticeably less accurate on the Corsair.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Full-size (100%)
Height
1.5" (3.9 cm)
Width 17.4" (44.3 cm)
Depth
6.5" (16.5 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
9.4" (23.8 cm)
Weight
3.18 lbs (1.442 kg)

The Corsair K70 MAX is a full-size keyboard that takes up considerable desk space. You can remove the wrist rest to reduce the keyboard's overall footprint.

8.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

The Corsair K70 MAX has impressive overall build quality. The bottom case is made of plastic, the faceplate is made of brushed aluminum, and the entire deck exhibits no flexing. The keycaps are made of high-quality doubleshot PBT plastic (except for the included alternate spacebar and Corsair branded 1u keycap, which are both made of thinner ABS plastic).

Four large flip-out feet on the bottom of the keyboard do a good place of keeping the board in place while you type. The included wrist rest also feels quite high quality and is very comfortable.

Additionally, there are two layers of sound-dampening foam inside the case, but the impact this has on the sound and feel of the keyboard is minimal compared to many other keyboards with added foam layers.

6.0
Design
Ergonomics
Curved/Angled
No
Split Keyboard
No
Key Alignment
Staggered
Minimum Incline
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
Home Row Height
33.9 mm (1.3")

This keyboard has acceptable ergonomics. It provides two incline settings with flip-out feet on the bottom of the keyboard. It also has a plush leatherette wristrest that attaches magnetically and is quite comfortable. This wristrest is also a marked improvement over the hard plastic wristrest included with the previous generation Corsair K70 RGB PRO.

8.1
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
Yes
Stabilizer Fixation
Plate-Mounted
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
6.25u
Size Of Right Mod Keys
1.25u
Hot-Swappable Switches
Yes
Switch Stem Shape
Cherry MX Style
Switch PCB Socket
Non-Customizable Design
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
No

The Corsair K70 MAX offers impressive customizability. It has plate-mounted stabilizers and standard-sized right modifier keys. It's also technically hot-swappable, though the PCB sockets are only designed to accept hall-effect switches and don't have traditional pinouts.

Like other keyboards with hall-effect switches, you orient them North or South-facing, but note that the LED is North-facing to provide the best clarity for the shine-through keycaps.

10
Design
Backlight Features
Backlighting Yes
RGB
Yes
Per-Key Backlighting
Yes
Effects
Yes
Software Controllable
Yes

This keyboard has full RGB backlighting with individually backlit keys. You can customize the lighting directly on the keyboard using hotkey combinations or the configuration software.

The above images feature the default PBT plastic spacebar installed out of the box by default. There's an alternate "Radiant Spacebar" included with a more elaborate shine-through pattern. For reference, you can see an image of this exact style of spacebar installed on the very similar Corsair K65 PRO MINI, here.

9.0
Design
Backlight Clarity

This keyboard provides outstanding backlight clarity. The keycap legends are easy to read in darker rooms, and the white-only setting is very clear without any blue or reddish hues.

Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wired
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 6.1 ft (1.9 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

The braided USB-C power cable retains some kinks from its packaging.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

This is a wired-only keyboard that you can't use wirelessly.

5.5
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
Yes
Macro Programming With Software
Yes

This keyboard has no dedicated macro keys, but you can record macros to any key directly on the keyboard or using the configuration software.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
Yes
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

The Corsair K70 MAX has many extra features, including dedicated media keys and a programmable scroll bar. You can also record macros, adjust the backlighting, and change switch actuation points directly on the keyboard.

There's a panel at the top of the keyboard with various lock key indicators.

On the top left, there's a group of buttons that includes a dedicated profile button, a backlighting brightness button, and a Windows Lock Key that you can program to disable other key combinations using the configuration software.

Lastly, there's a tournament switch on the top edge of the keyboard that overrides custom profiles and disables RGB lighting effects, custom actions, and macros.

For a complete list of extra features and key combinations, you can see an online version of this keyboard's user manual on Corsair's website here.

Design
In The Box

  • Corsair K70 MAX
  • USB-A to USB-C braided cable
  • Wrist rest
  • Alternate ABS plastic "Radiant Spacebar" with shine-through pattern
  • Alternate 1u CORSAIR logo ABS keycap
  • Keycap puller
  • User documentation

Typing Experience
7.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality
Key Spacing
19.0 mm (0.748")

This keyboard offers good typing quality. The PBT keycaps are textured and feel nice to the touch, and there are two layers of sound-dampening foam inside the case.

There's standard spacing between keys, and typing feels generally quite smooth with only occasional scratchiness. All keys have a slightly worse-than-average wobble when typing, and the spacebar makes a noticeable rattling sound.

7.8
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
51.2 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

Typing on this keyboard isn't very loud. The switches are linear and don't produce any distracting high-pitched clicking noises.

Typing Experience
Switches
Switch Name
CORSAIR MGX
Switch Type
Hall-effect
Feel
Linear
Analog
Yes

The Corsair K70 MAX uses CORSAIR MGX linear switches, which operate with magnets rather than standard metal contact points used by conventional mechanical switches or infrared light used by optical switches.

These switches allow you to adjust the pre-travel distance. For more information about this feature, see the keystrokes section.

Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Operating Force
49 gf
Actuation Force
46 gf
Pre-Travel
3.2 mm
Total Travel
4.2 mm

The CORSAIR MGX linear switches require light actuation force and offer a responsive, linear feel without any tactile feedback. You can customize the actuation point of individual switches directly on the keyboard using hotkey combinations or using the configuration software.

The actuation test was performed with an actuation point setting of 2.0 mm, which is the default setting out of the box. However, we measured the actual pre-travel distance of this setting at 3.2mm.

All actuation settings are significantly inaccurate and noticeably higher than expected. Below is an example list of actuation settings and the actual measured actuation distances.

  • Setting 0.4 mm: 2.8 mm
  • Setting 1.0 mm: 3.0 mm
  • Setting 1.5 mm: 3.1 mm
  • Setting 2.5 mm: 3.4 mm
  • Setting 3.0 mm: 3.6 mm
  • Setting 3.6 mm: 3.9 mm

It's unclear if Corsair can address the issue of inaccurate actuation distance via future firmware updates. If you have this keyboard and want to share your experience, we encourage you to leave a comment in the Discussion section below.

The configuration software has a 'rapid trigger ' feature that lets you set the release travel distance of individual switches. In this review, we conducted tests with the lowest (most sensitive) rapid trigger setting of 0.2mm. You can see an actuation graph with this setting enabled here. The top line on the graph indicates the pre-travel and marks the actuation point, and the bottom line indicates the return travel and marks the reset point, demonstrating that the rapid trigger is enabled.

Performance
9.0
Performance
Single-Key Latency
Best Connection
4.4 ms
Best Connection Std Dev ±0.3 ms
Wired
4.4 ms
Receiver
N/A
Bluetooth
N/A
PCB (Estimated)
N/A

This keyboard has outstanding single-key latency performance, offering an extremely responsive experience for gaming in any genre at any competitive level.

This keyboard was tested at its maximum polling rate of 8000Hz, with the rapid trigger set to its lowest 0.2mm setting and with the lowest actuation setting of 0.4mm. However, during testing, we confirmed the 0.4 mm setting has an actual actuation point of 2.8mm. The latency results would be slightly lower if the actuation was truly 0.4mm.

For more information about the difference between this keyboard's indicated actuation points and the actuation points we measured, see the Keystrokes section above.

8.5
Performance
Multi-Key Latency
Connection Evaluated Wired
Key Press
6.1 ms
Key Release
8.6 ms

This keyboard delivers excellent multi-key latency performance on both key press and key release.

This test was conducted at a polling rate of 8000Hz, with the lowest rapid trigger setting set to 0.2mm, and with the lowest actuation setting of 0.4mm. However, during testing, we confirmed the 0.4 mm setting has an actual actuation point of 2.8mm. The latency results would be slightly lower if the actuation was truly 0.4mm.

For more information about the difference between this keyboard's indicated actuation points and the actuation points we measured, see the Keystrokes section above.

9.6
Performance
Data Transmission
Connection Evaluated Wired
USB Polling Rate
8,000 Hz
Effective Update Rate
8,000 Hz
N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
Yes
Multiple Keys Per USB Report
Yes

This keyboard has outstanding data transmission performance. It has full n-key rollover and can send multiple keystrokes per USB report. Furthermore, this keyboard has a maximum 8000Hz polling rate and a true 8000Hz effective update rate to match, so performance isn't bottlenecked by scan rate or other latency components.

8.6
Performance
Chord Split
4 Chord Split Delay
4.5 ms
8 Chord Split Delay
6.8 ms

This keyboard has excellent chord split performance with low 4-chord and 8-chord split delay, meaning it can quickly and accurately report many simultaneous key presses.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name iCUE
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
Yes
Onboard Memory
Yes
Profiles
6+

The Corsair K70 MAX uses Corsair's iCUE configuration software. The software is easy to use but not especially intuitive. You can customize a range of expected settings, including key assignments, macros, RGB lighting, polling rate, and switch debounce. You can save your custom settings to the keyboard's onboard memory, so you don't have to have the software running in the background.

The Key Actuations section of the software lets you customize switch behavior, including custom pre-travel distance, custom reset points, and secondary actuation points.

Note: Corsair has recently released a 'Rapid Trigger' feature for this keyboard designed to dynamically eliminate release travel distance. There's more information about this feature and instructions on how to enable it on Corsair's website here. At the time of writing, this feature is configured directly on the keyboard, and iCUE needs to be closed to enable it. Corsair has indicated that they plan to add adjustable rapid trigger settings to the iCUE software at some point in the future.

10
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Fully Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Windows, MacOS & Linux

This keyboard is fully compatible with all major operating systems.

In Windows, the software is available, and all default key functions work as expected.

For macOS, the iCUE software is available, but the Print Screen hotkey acts like an F13 key, the F11 key minimizes the active window, and the "Pause" hotkey increases screen brightness.

For Linux, the software isn't compatible, but all default key functions work as expected.

0
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Not Compatible
iOS
Not Compatible
iPadOS
Not Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Not Compatible

This is a wired-only keyboard that isn't compatible with mobile devices.