ReviewsPeripheralsCorsair K65 Plus Wireless Review: Hot-Swappable & Premium

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless Review: Hot-Swappable & Premium

In this review, I'll be sharing my thoughts on the Corsair K65 Plus Wireless keyboard after using it for a couple of weeks.

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A High-End Option!

Review Summary

The Corsair K65 Plus Wireless keyboard represents Corsair’s first step into expanding its domain to enthusiast keyboards, offering a compact 75% layout that blends gaming performance with productivity features. It caters to gamers and typists alike with responsive MLX Red linear switches, customizable controls, and low-latency wireless connectivity. Despite some limitations, such as the absence of dedicated media keys and limited switch options, its solid construction, competitive pricing, and integration with Corsair’s ecosystem make it a versatile and compelling choice for those seeking a premium wireless keyboard experience.

Hours Tested: 2.5 weeks
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.8/10
8.8/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Switches - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Software - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Excellent Gaming experience
  • Customization options
  • Durable keycaps

Cons

  • Absence of backlighting on keycaps
  • Limited switch options
  • Lack of dedicated control keys

There has been a recent rush among gaming keyboard manufacturers to release their hot-swappable 75% keyboards. Finally, the alliance between gaming and custom keyboards is solidified. As a result, the K65 Plus Wireless is Corsair’s initial venture into enthusiast keyboards. Notably, the product attempts to unite the worlds of professional gaming and dedicated custom keyboards.

While it may not be as aggressive as some of its competition, it provides Corsair with one of the best typing experiences and top-notch gaming performance. Reducing the size of a traditional TKL gaming keyboard even further, the Corsair K65 Plus Wireless eliminates all but the most essential navigation keys while keeping the height adequate to provide full-function lined up and media controls.

Having said that, with a price tag of $159.99, it maliciously undercuts most of its competitors and is ready to wreak havoc. I tested it to determine whether the newest switch-swapping deck deserves a permanent place on my gaming desk. Continue reading to find out!


Key Takeaways

  • The Corsair K65 Plus Wireless keyboard offers a compelling blend of gaming performance and productivity features in a compact 75% layout. It boasts responsive MLX Red linear switches and caters to gamers, typists, and space-conscious users. 
  • What I liked about the K65 Plus Wireless is the inclusion of two layers of sound-dampening foam, which enhances the typing experience and reduces noise.
  • What I didn’t like about the K65 Plus Wireless is the absence of backlighting on keycaps, which makes typing in low-light conditions challenging.
  • The K65 Plus Wireless is perfect for gamers who prioritize responsiveness and quick keystrokes. The linear switches and low-latency wireless connectivity make it ideal for gaming sessions.

Here are the specifications:

Software Supported in iCUE
Media and Volume Controls Yes
Size Compact
Report Rate 1000Hz
Warranty 2 Year
Layout NA (North America)
Key Rollover Full Key (NKRO) with 100% Anti-Ghosting
WIN Lock Yes
Cable Material Braided
Wired Connectivity USB 3.0 or 3.1 Type-A
Wireless Range Up to 33ft (10m)
Battery Life Up to 266 hours with LEDs off
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Charging USB to Computer
Adjustable Height Yes
Weight 1.224

Box Contents

Box Contents (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Box Contents (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  1. 75% Wireless Portable Mechanical Keyboard  
  2. USB wireless receiver  
  3. USB charging/data cable  
  4. Warranty card 
  5. 2-in-1 Key Switch/Keycap puller

Design

Design (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Design (Image By Tech4Gamers)

One of a kind among Corsair’s offerings, the K65 Plus perfectly balances gaming and productivity with its compact 75% arrangement. With the same level of functionality, this design takes up less space than a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, such as the Razer Huntsman TE. It does this by consolidating the navigation cluster into a single column using the most utilized keys along the right side of the layout.

It includes Home, Page Down, and Page Up, except for Delete, located next to the function section. Moreover, all other keys are extended to secondary commands that can be accessed by pressing the Fn button. The appearance of the Corsair K65 Plus Wireless will be familiar to enthusiasts of custom keyboards. Everything about the K65 Plus is taken out of the high-end design handbook.

To give an idea, it has a boxy, minimalist form factor, a delicate navy blue and dark grey keycap design, and many more. The main consideration here is visual, much like the metal escape key. Instead of a classic custom deck’s all-metal construction, this one uses a plastic chassis that houses steel and metal plates. Regardless, the extra weight makes this a sturdy keyboard on your desk. During the entire testing, it remained perfectly still.

New standard for compact excellence in the enthusiast keyboard domain

Layout

Portability (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Portability (Image By Tech4Gamers)

In the last two years, this layout has grown in popularity. It’s also a shout-out to the mechanical keyboard enthusiast subculture that helped bring this design to a wider audience. Yes, there is some me-tooism here, but it serves its purpose. When you need more room for your mouse movements when gaming or submitting your university assignments and getting work done, the arrow buttons, function row, and navigation keys are all you need. As a matter of fact, you won’t want to limit your usage of this keyboard to gaming alone since it’s so comfortable to type on.

No Dedicated Control Keys

Nevertheless, several elements are left out due to the way they are arranged. You won’t find any buttons or controls specifically for media that allow you to quickly switch profiles, create macros, or adjust the RGB backlighting’s brightness. The Fn keys still access all the options, making the learning curve steeper than other gaming keyboards. On the plus side, the keycaps include little legends that explain what each key does, and when you press and hold the Fn button, a white light shows you which keys have several purposes.

WARNING: Be mindful of the absence of dedicated media control keys, which may require some adjustment to using Fn shortcuts for media functions.

Multifunction Control Dial

Multifunction Control Dial (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Multifunction Control Dial (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The metal volume knob or, more accurately, the multi-function control dial is a particular part that remained untouched. Unlike other Corsair keyboards, this one doesn’t have a roller but rather a real knob that’s about the size of a single key. The knurled edges make it easy to grip, and it performs well. In addition to controlling volume, it can shift between brightness, zoom, and page scrolling, with the arrow keys serving as shortcuts for each.

I was more inclined to use the various modes after realizing its functionality can be accessed using shortcuts rather than software. As someone who spends a lot of time writing, the ability to utilize the knob to navigate through lengthy texts kept my hands firmly set on the keyboard, separated from the mouse. Sure, it was a little tweak, but it gave me a little boost in productivity.

PRO TIP: Take advantage of the multifunction control dial for seamless navigation through tasks and applications, enhancing productivity and workflow efficiency.

Keycaps

Keycaps (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Keycaps (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Here is where this Corsair keyboard starts to differentiate itself from the others. For instance, there is no backlighting on the keycaps. Instead, they are constructed from colored PBT plastic and have dye-sublimated legends. Even though there is a greater likelihood of fading here, these caps are still rather durable. That might provide an issue, considering the wide range of double functions associated with every key.

After using several sets of keycaps, I can only conclude that they are one of the best doubleshot keycaps ever or the most consistent dye-sub keys I’ve ever seen since this PBT material is denser than ABS, which is used in most gaming keyboards. I hope it will retain its glossy appearance and not show signs of wear and tear, making it a long-lasting option.

RGB Lighting

Following the footsteps of mechanical keyboard aficionados, Corsair abandoned glossy lighting in favor of a specific color as a means to express its style. From a distance, the modifiers seem almost black, but they’re really a rich dark navy. With white legends, the alphas have a silver appearance. It maintains Corsair’s aesthetic while standing apart from the manufacturer’s sense of style because of the absence of glowing legends.

Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult to type in low light, which may be inconvenient for those who aren’t touch typing professionals. Another thing you may have noticed is that this keyboard is unusual among Corsair models in that it does not include a floating keycap style to highlight the RGB switchtops. Astonishingly, there is a polycarbonate top casing after years of Corsair keyboards not having one. It’s a recognition that this keyboard has different aims, even if it still features rather vibrant RGB.

Switches

It relies on the superior, pre-lubed MLX Red linear switches made by Corsair, which are really remarkable compared to Cherry MX. They’re quiet, have a 70 million click rating, and are smooth. Because it supports hot-swapping switches, the provided tool makes it easy to remove them for replacement or repair, even if they’ve malfunctioned due to unforeseen circumstances. As per actual usage, with their silky linear switches, gentle landing position, and ideal sensitivity, you can stay responsive without accidentally pressing the wrong key.

Sound Dampening Foam

Sound Dampening Foam (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Sound Dampening Foam (Image By Tech4Gamers)

There are two distinct layers of sound-dampening foam within the keyboard. As a result, the keyboard will sound less harsh and more rounded since the casing will no longer be hollow. To make the spacebar blend in with the rest of the keyboard, Corsair even inserted pieces of foam under it. There is less wobbling and no rattling, thanks to the bigger stabilized pre-lubed keys.

It is a considerable improvement over anything Corsair has ever made, and its sound is more typical of an enthusiast keyboard than of a gaming one. Even while it’s evident that Corsair prioritized sound and feel, the company isn’t as dedicated to the enthusiast level as its competition.

To illustrate, it’s not completely dedicated to modifications, which include a comprehensive kit for lubing the switches and covering the PCB’s back with masking tape to enhance its sound. Nevertheless, it does what is most important: providing a satisfactory user experience.

Connectivity

Connectivity (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Connectivity (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Additionally, it maintains the excellent quality that Corsair has been known for in their wireless gaming keyboards. With the dongle that comes with it, you can connect wirelessly through Slipstream and Bluetooth. Furthermore, you can pair up to three Bluetooth devices and quickly switch between them using a key combination. With a polling rate similar to that of a wired connection, compatibility with current and last-generation Xboxes and PlayStations.

Moreover, with the ability to switch between Windows and Mac through a rear switch, Slipstream is much quicker. The battery life is decent, if not outstanding. In the absence of backlighting, Corsair claims 266 hours of usage time. There will still be a fair amount of plugging in required. Since then, I have had to recharge it around twice a week with RGB on, which I would guess to be around 30 to 35 hours.

Software

YouTube video

Regarding customizing, the K65 Plus Wireless relies on Corsair’s iCUE software. If you’re familiar with other keyboards from the same manufacturer, you won’t notice many differences in the software. You can modify settings like polling rate and remap keys using the tabs on the left side of the screen. In addition to this, you can even assign different lighting effects to each key.

Furthermore, you can record macros, create shortcuts, or start applications with just one key press. Here, the possibilities are endless. Even better, you can assign shortcuts to any of four onboard memory profiles, which you can quickly swap between to suit different applications and games.

Unfortunately, although it has been the case with previous keyboards, the K65 Plus Wireless does not seem to allow remapping the Fn button. Last but not least, the software also lets you customize the multifunction dial, although it’s quite limited in what it can do. You can toggle the preset modes on and off, but it’s kind of pointless since you have to use a different key combination for each mode.

Performance

Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

It is not surprising that the K65 Plus Wireless is an excellent everyday driver, given that it offers one of the greatest user experiences among Corsair gaming keyboards. I liked it above my usual gaming keyboards, such as the Corsair K65 Pro Mini and K70 Pro Mini Wireless, and used it for gaming, productivity, and everything in between. The most contributing factors to this are its outstanding customizability and the freedom of its wireless connection.

YouTube video

Gaming Experience

From my experience as a keyboard enthusiast, I can say that other custom keyboards surpass it in terms of sound and feel. However, this one finds a happy medium by outperforming most gaming keyboards in terms of sound while providing a pleasant tactile experience and the quick wireless connectivity gamers crave.

Another thing that helps while playing games is how fluid the switches are. Their linearity and quick bounce-back provide FPS games, like CS2 and Valorant, a very responsive feel. Notably, both the wired and wireless keyboard versions work well for gaming. There is no discernible delay in the transmission of keystrokes. If you’re looking for a gaming keyboard that will make you want to use it repeatedly, look no further.

Productivity Experience

Linears make errors more likely. Therefore, they’re not great for writing. However, this is something that gets better with experience. I really would like it if it had tactile switches. Considering that many users would be left out due to a single switch type. However, whether you’re playing games or going about your professional day, the K65 Plus is a joy to use, thanks to its high-quality design. Performance is the main focus instead. Still, it has one of the finest typing experiences among Corsair keyboards in terms of both sound and feel.

Should You Buy It?

Buy It If

✅You prioritize compactness: The K65 Plus Wireless’s 75% layout offers a balance of functionality and space-saving design, ideal for users with limited desk space or those who prefer a minimalist setup.

✅You seek versatility in performance: With responsive MLX Red linear switches, customizable controls, and seamless wireless connectivity, the K65 Plus Wireless caters to gaming enthusiasts and productivity-oriented users, offering a versatile experience.

✅You value Corsair’s ecosystem: If you’re already invested in Corsair’s ecosystem of products and software, the K65 Plus Wireless seamlessly integrates with other Corsair peripherals, enhancing your overall gaming or productivity setup.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You require dedicated media controls: Users accustomed to dedicated media keys may find the absence of such controls on the K65 Plus Wireless inconvenient, requiring adjustment to using Fn shortcuts for media functions.

❌You prefer tactile switch options: If you prefer tactile feedback in your typing experience, the K65 Plus Wireless’s sole availability with MLX Red linear switches may not align with your preferences, as it lacks options for other switch types.

❌You have strict budget constraints: The K65 Plus Wireless may exceed the budget of users seeking more affordable options, prompting consideration of alternatives at lower price points. For that, you can check my hands-on reviews of the Corsair K55 Core and the K70 Core RGB

Final Verdict

You can get the Corsair K65 Plus Wireless from their official website for $159.99. As of this writing, the default style and switch type are limited to only one. When compared to the competition, things get somewhat more complicated. Although it falls short of providing the optimum experience, the K65 Plus Wireless strikes a great balance between price and quality, making it an attractive choice. The Corsair K65 Plus Wireless is hard to beat regarding gaming keyboards and overall quality.

It provides the most comfortable and responsive typing experience of any Corsair gaming keyboard without sacrificing performance. It’s customizable, quick, and sensitive, and it has a rounder, less noisy sound and a smooth feel that makes typing enjoyable. If you’re not concerned about illuminated legends, the bargain price makes it an excellent purchase, even if rivals may sometimes surpass it in terms of functionality.

Coming Next: Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 CHERRY MX Low Profile Speed Review

 
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