ReviewsPeripheralsCorsair K55 Core Review: Budget-Friendly Keyboard For Work And Play

Corsair K55 Core Review: Budget-Friendly Keyboard For Work And Play

I have tested the Corsair K55 Core to bring you its hands-on review going over the Design, Build Quality, Features, Performance, RGB Lighting & iCUE Compatibility.

Good Budget Choice!

Review Summary

The Corsair K55 Core RGB Gaming Keyboard stands out as a commendable choice for entry-level and budget-conscious gamers. Priced at an affordable $39.99 USD, it delivers essential features, including a spill-resistant design, customizable RGB lighting, and dedicated media controls. While the membrane switches may not match the tactile feel of mechanical alternatives, the K55 Core excels in providing a quiet typing experience. Its compact design and Corsair iCUE software for extensive customization make it a suitable companion for those entering the gaming world or seeking an affordable, reliable option without compromising on functionality.

Hours Tested: 2 Weeks

Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.2/10
8.2/10
  • Design - 8/10
    8/10
  • Typing Experience - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Build Quality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 9.5/10
    9.5/10

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Spill-Resistant Design
  • Media Controls
  • Corsair iCUE Customization

Cons

  • Limited Gaming Features
  • Not Ideal for Competitive Gaming
  • No Individual RGB Key Customization

Thanks to the rise of high-end, feature-packed keyboards in recent years, we’ve become a little spoiled. Even while it may seem like beginner and entry-level gaming keyboards are becoming outdated, the Corsair K55 Core RGB Gaming Keyboard is here to save the day. You won’t have to empty your savings account to get this keyboard because of its low pricing. Its target audience consists entirely of those just starting out. In this review, we will be looking at the latest entry-level gaming keyboard by Corsair, which retails for just $39.99 USD.

Thankfully, Corsair sent their sleek new K55 Core Keyboard to me for this review. It’s an RGB gaming keyboard with a USB Membrane design. I’ve always had high hopes for Corsair products, and I’m hopeful that my love for the company will continue. Notably, this full-size keyboard is equipped with a spill-resistant design, 10-zone RGB lighting, handy multimedia controls, silent membrane switches, and complete customization in Corsair iCUE.

So, don’t worry if you happen to splash any water on it; the keyboard will still function properly. Because I’ve become used to mechanical switches and feature-packed keyboards over the course of a long time, I’m afraid that returning to a membrane design might be less enjoyable. Thus, let us dive in and determine whether this board is worthwhile to purchase.


Key Takeaways

  • The Corsair K55 Core RGB Gaming Keyboard offers an enticing entry into gaming with its budget-friendly $39.99 USD price tag. Boasting a spill-resistant design, customizable 10-zone RGB lighting, and dedicated media controls, it caters to the basic needs of casual gamers. 
  • The things I liked about the Corsair K55 Core are its affordable price, spill-resistant design, media controls, Corsair iCUE customization, quiet typing, RGB lighting, and full-size layout. 
  • The things I did not like about the Corsair K55 Core are its limited gaming features and lack of individual per-key RGB customization. 
  • The Corsair K55 Core is a perfect fit for entry-level gamers new to gaming and looking for an affordable keyboard with essential features to get started.

Let’s start with the Specifications

CUE Software Supported in iCUE
Media and Volume Controls Yes
Size Extended
Report Rate 1000Hz
Color RGB
Compatibility PC with a USB 2.0 Type-A port
Layout NA (North America)
Key Switches Rubber Dome
Macro Keys 6
Matrix 110 Keys
Key Rollover 12-Key Selective (12KRO)
On Board Memory Yes
Media Keys Dedicated Hotkeys
WIN Lock Dedicated Hotkey
Cable Material Tangle-free rubber
Connectivity Wired
Wired Connectivity USB 2.0 Type-A
Adjustable Height Yes
Type Size K55
Keyboard Product Family K55
Weight 1.035

Box Contents

  1. K55 CORE RGB Gaming Keyboard
  2. Safety Leaflet
  3. Warranty Card

Design

Design (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Design (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Since this is a membrane/rubber dome design keyboard, it has to make certain sacrifices in comparison to Corsair’s higher-end keyboards in order to achieve its aggressive $39.99 price point. As a cheaper substitute for Corsair’s mechanical keyboards, it serves an essential purpose. First impressions matter, and this keyboard is ideal for casual PC gaming thanks to its full-size layout, which means you’ll have all the keys you need, plus a complete numeric keypad in a modern and stylish design.

As a full-sized keyboard, it requires a decent amount of room on your desk. Sadly, the wrist rest is not included in the package. The keyboard is available in two color options: black and gray. This essentially just affects the keycaps; the black keycaps on the black variant and the grey keycaps on the grey variant will be different. Here we have the gray variant, as you can see. The gray is a deeper shade of grey, which is something I really like.

Media Keys

Media Keys (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Media Keys (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Furthermore, it has a row of media-specific buttons in the top right corner. The media keys include a play/pause button, mute, volume up/down, and volume control. Holding down the FN key and pressing keys 1–5 on the keyboard will cycle you through five RGB settings. The opportunity to change lighting rapidly is excellent. Additionally, you can change the RGB brightness using a button that is located near the media controls. 

Underside

Underside (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Underside (Image by Tech4Gamers)

When you turn the keyboard upside down, you’ll see four big rubber feet that will hold it to your desk. Additionally, the pop-out feet include soles made of rubber. The inclusion of four feet allows for a more comfortable typing posture, so this keyboard meets acceptable ergonomic standards. When seen from the side, the keyboard seems to rest at a small angle by default.

Ergonomics (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Ergonomics (Image by Tech4Gamers)

However, if you like a more pronounced angle, you may use the pop-out feet on the underside of the keyboard. In addition, Corsair claims that it can withstand spills of up to 300 ml. The base of the keyboard has four little holes. If something were to spill on the keyboard, the liquid could easily drain out of it, thanks to them.

Build Quality

Build Quality (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Build Quality (Image by Tech4Gamers)

The benefit of being all plastic is that the keyboard is very light compared to mechanical alternatives. Thankfully, it is also quite rigid, so it doesn’t bend that much or feel spongy in the middle. Given the budget, it’s not surprising that the keyboard’s chassis is plastic. However, the build quality is satisfactory. It feels solid, and there are no visible downsides, even after the plastic construction allows for some degree of flex. Its weight and the addition of rubber foot pads make it stable enough to use on a desk without sliding over. Moreover, there shouldn’t be any problem getting the USB cable to your computer since it is lengthy and made from simple rubber.

Keycaps & Switches

Keycaps & Switches (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Keycaps & Switches (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Even if they are a little squishy while typing, the ABS keycaps with laser-etched legends are really sturdy. Upon closer inspection, the keycaps reveal a slightly convex shape with pass-through legends that allow the RGB lights to spread. Once the keycaps are removed, we can see membrane switches, that are most commonly used in keyboards that are water-resistant. The responsiveness and tactile nature of a mechanical keyboard are unparalleled. However, it is unreasonable to expect keys on a cheap gaming keyboard like the Corsair K55 CORE to have a high-quality linear switch.

Even though it foregoes mechanical switches in favor of a membrane/rubber dome design, the new Corsair K55 CORE RGB Gaming Keyboard is a steal at $39.99 USD, thanks to Corsair’s top-notch physical design and software support. With an opaque top plate covering them, these switches and the keyboard are protected from any accidental spillage. This keyboard’s RGB lighting looks more amazing thanks to the opaque top-plate construction.

RGB Lighting

RGB Lighting (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
RGB Lighting (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Of course, there’s RGB lighting with ten zones, fully customizable in the iCUE app, with a dedicated key for adjusting the brightness or turning them off. The lighting qualities of this keyboard are quite remarkable. Right on the keyboard, you’ll find the brightness controls for Off, Low, Medium, and High. Regrettably, the RGB lighting on individual keys cannot be customized. Regardless, the keyboard’s lighting is excellent.

The lighting seems quite consistent, and the keycap legends have superb shine-through thanks to the diffuser at the top plate. In addition, there is hardware lighting. If you connect the keyboard to a device that isn’t running the iCUE software, this lighting effect will activate. Last but not least, the row of LEDs down the bottom edge, which casts a gentle light over the desktop, was an unexpected but welcome addition.

Performance

Modern Style (Image Credits to Tech4Gamers)
Modern Style (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Some of the non-mechanical keyboards I’ve tried were as good as mechanical switches, while others were very unpleasant and felt like mushy rubber. Which way did the K55 Core go? It’s quite satisfactory. While the keycaps’ movement through the structures gives the impression of tactile feedback, pressing keys won’t fool you into thinking they’re mechanical switches. Instead, you’ll experience the familiar rubber dome sensation when you hit the bottom.

Their significant operating force makes them seem mushy, and there’s a perceptible tactile bump prior to the actuation point that you have to overcome. The Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard’s rubber dome switches are very silent, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing anybody around. The noise level is comparable to that of rubber dome keyboards I’ve used before.

YouTube video

Typing Experience

The typing experience on the Corsair K55 is average, and the keys are rather mushy. Furthermore, you could get tired from typing for extended periods of time since they need a lot of force to operate. Having said that, the keys are sturdy, and there’s enough room between them, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble avoiding typos.

When I compared it to my mechanical keyboard, I did not see a consistent decline in any of the typing tests I took. One noticeable change is the relative silence in my room. I had forgotten how much better it is to type in almost complete silence since I grew accustomed to the constant clickety-clack of my prior keyboard.

Gaming Experience

Perhaps you’re more concerned about how it performs when it comes to, uh, playing PC games. The K55 Core has been an excellent casual gaming companion for me recently. The keys are sensitive. Additionally, I have no trouble typing in chat. Managing music while gaming is a breeze with the keyboard’s dedicated media keys for loudness and playback control.

The K55 Core handles all of my games with ease and keeps up with the pace of play. You’ll have a good time gaming with this dependable keyboard. One useful feature of the K55 CORE is the Win Lock, which stops you from pressing the Windows key by mistake when you’re playing a game. In addition to this model’s non-mechanical design, the K55 CORE has a 12-key rollover, which is another functional distinction.

It goes without saying that if you require N-key rollover, you should go up the product hierarchy. Still, even during casual gaming sessions in Valorant, the keyboard’s 12-key rollover and 1,000 Hz polling rate keep my movements constantly registered. While it should satisfy casual players, dedicated or competitive players could be left disappointed.

iCUE

YouTube video

Even though the K55 Core RGB is fully functional right out of the box, you’ll need to download Corsair’s iCUE program in order to make any customizations. When connected, you can find the K55 Core RGB in the iCUE app. There are a lot of ways to personalize this keyboard using the Corsair iCue software. Let’s start with the key assignments, which is the first customizable element. This keyboard allows full reprogramming of all keys, including multimedia keys.

Furthermore, a complete macro editor is available, and you can launch programs and open up a set of different things with the press of another key. Afterward, you’ll find lighting effects. Here you have the option of setting up several lighting layers. Every layer has its own set of controls for effects, including zone selection, speed, and direction. There isn’t RGB lighting for each key since the keyboard has ten distinct lighting zones.

The performance menu is where you can configure which keys aren’t going to be activated when you hit the Windows Lock button. Lastly, you can access the device’s settings to enable PlayStation mode, change the layout, brightness, and polling rate, as well as to display instructional tooltips.

Using the top-notch iCue software package and the company’s user-friendly design, the Corsair K55 Core gaming keyboard makes you feel like you’re getting double the value for your money. This keyboard has the sense of a high-end device thanks to its powerful software that includes useful features like dedicated media buttons and brilliant lighting.

Should You Buy the Corsair K55 Core or Not?

Buy It If

✅Affordable Entry-Level Gaming: Priced at just $39.99 USD, the Corsair K55 Core RGB Gaming Keyboard offers a budget-friendly option for those starting out in gaming, providing essential features without a hefty price tag.

✅Spill-Resistant Design: The keyboard’s spill-resistant design ensures functionality even in the face of accidental liquid exposure, adding a practical layer of durability for everyday use.

✅Media Controls Convenience: The inclusion of dedicated media keys, including play/pause, mute, volume control, and quick access to RGB settings, provides convenient control for multimedia and lighting adjustments during gaming sessions.

Don’t Buy It If

❌Mechanical Switch Enthusiast: If you’re accustomed to the tactile feel of mechanical switches and prioritize that experience, the membrane/rubber dome design of the K55 Core may not match your preferences.

❌Advanced Gaming Features: Dedicated or competitive gamers seeking advanced features like N-key rollover might find the K55 Core’s 12-key rollover to be limiting. For a more extensive feature set, considering higher-tier models could be worthwhile.

Final Verdict

For a keyboard that costs just $39.99 USD, I was very pleased by its quality and functionality. The essential feature of any cheap keyboard should be its responsiveness to the user’s inputs, with aesthetically pleasant designs being an added plus. Crafted with diligence, the K55 Core from Corsair is an attractive and user-friendly keyboard. Although it does not come with a wrist rest, it still retains all of the features I liked in earlier K55 versions at the lowest price point I have seen from Corsair.

When compared to more expensive mechanical gaming keyboards, the Corsair K55 falls short. However, if you’re just a casual player, it can be a decent pick since it matches up well with its competition. The more costly membranes and mechanical alternatives may feel better and provide more functionality. However, this one is hard to beat for $40. For the price, it offers great value because of its elegant, lightweight feel and lower noise level compared to mechanical alternatives.

Regarding its spill resistance, I will provide a follow-up after my first glass topples over, which is bound to happen sometime. Going all the way back to when PC gamers were using non-mechanical keyboards to fire up Quake, a Corsair K55 CORE or similar would have been the standard. Having said that, if you’re on a budget and want to connect to your Xbox or PlayStation console, or if this is your first PC gaming keyboard, it can be a fantastic purchase. This keyboard is worth considering, for sure. 

Especially, I would like to thank Corsair for sending us their K55 Core RGB Gaming Keyboard so that I could write this review.

Coming Up: Corsair K70 Core RGB Keyboard Review

 
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