I've always wanted an ultra low profile gaming keyboard. I'd convinced myself it would give me a speed advantage, and on paper the Corsair K100 Air seems to promise that, as well as covering all the bases a great gaming keyboard should. With its ultra low profile Cherry MX keyswitches, miniscule actuation, and extreme 8k polling, it dangles the hyperfast esports highlife in your face, teasing you with an unfathomable price tag.
Corsair has pulled out all the stops with the Corsair K100 Air gaming keyboard. The thing screams quality, and I was enamoured with the suave charm of its svelte design the second I got it out of the box. It took a day or so to break in the exclusive Cherry MX key switches, but since then typing has been heavenly. These are Cherry's lowest profile offering, requiring just 65g of force and actuating at 0.8mm. Coupled with 1.8mm full travel distance and some incredible tactile feedback, I feel like a maestro plunking away on a wafer thin piano in my daily work.
My only issue with all this ultra-low profile goodness is that my longer nails tend to accidentally activate the wrong keys, with F12 being the bane of my existence right now. Shorten the nails, however, and man do these babies sing—that's both in-game and when rushing to get a month-overdue review done. Pair that with 8,000Hz polling and I could never blame my keyboard for tardiness in work or play ever again.
Bashing out a review on the K100 Air has been met with the rock solid quality of a gorgeous CNC-milled piece of kit. There's no bend when you push the middle, or try to twist it, and the brushed aluminium finish absolutely screams quality. In-line media controls are always a plus on a keyboard, but should be expected for the price Corsair is charging—more on that later.
Switch: Cherry MX ultra low profile tactile
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2 x3. Wi-Fi, USB 3.1 Type-A
Battery life: 50–200 hrs
Size: Full size
Polling rate: 8,000Hz
Actuation: 0.8 mm
Features: NKRO, anti ghosting, 4x macros, 8MB onboard memory (50 profiles), dongle holder, 1ms response, Up to 33ft (10m)
Media controls: Pause/play, skip forward/back, mute, horizontal volume wheel
Macro keys: 4
Wrist rest: No
Weight: 0.78kg (1.71lbs)
RRP: $280 (opens in new tab) / £280 (opens in new tab)
On top of a slim and durable body that makes even this full-size keyboard supremely portable, Corsair has doubled down on versatility with incredible connectivity, too. Not only can the K100 Air connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth, and one device via the wireless dongle—both with fantastic range and a consistent connection going for them—you can also switch between connection types easily using the Gkeys. I found this a novelty, but for someone constantly switching between different devices, it's going to be a godsend.
The Gkeys double as macro keys as well as another of the K100 Air's tricks: Elgato Stream Deck (opens in new tab) integration. Now Elgato has been assimilated into the Corsair ecosystem this is the kind of thing we get. And while it's nothing new hardware wise—your average macro already offers this functionality—Corsair can at least say the process of setting it up is a little easier with everything rolled into one.
Corsair's iCue software is easy enough to use, too, and pretty unintrusive which can't be said for some—Razer Synapse, I'm looking at you. The per-key lighting options are multifarious, and maybe a little unnecessary with the option to go 20-layers deep with the lighting effects. I have to say I had fun playing around with it, though.
The main wireless contender for the K100 Air is the low profile Logitech G915 (opens in new tab), coming in at $230 it currently sits at the top of our best wireless gaming keyboard (opens in new tab) guide, though our main issue has always been its price. Compare this $50 cheaper board and you really have to ask yourself what you're getting for the extra cost.
Both offer 40+ hours of battery life with RGB on, superb actuation, and dedicated media controls, but other than impeccable style theres not much in it. The K100 Air's 8,000Hz polling rate is its main bragging point over the Logitech board, but even that ends up being superfluous in most situations—you have to be basically superhuman to detect it anyway.
Sure, the Logitech may not be a full sized board, nor does it come with multi-device connectivity, or fancy Stream Deck integration, but are any of those features really worth the extra $50 over the keyboard that currently tops our pick for the best wireless gaming keyboard?
Similarly the Corsair K100 Air's wireless capability, dedicated media controls, and ultra low profile Cherry MX Switches seem to give it the upper hand against the Wooting Two HE (opens in new tab)—our current best gaming keyboard. And while those are all great features, the Wooting offers hot swappable analogue switches, with adjustable actuation, for a not-unsignificant $85 less.
Speed and versatility are evidently at the top of Corsair's priorities for the K100 Air, and exclusive switches from a world-leading manufacturer will put it firmly on the radar for keyboard red-switch likers. But that exclusivity comes at a price. In the end, cost is king. While the K100's smashing spec grants an exceptional experience, bringing it very close to perfection, I would have expected something truly ground-breaking for the $280 price tag. I didn't even get a wrist rest.