Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The Corsair Raptor K40 Gaming Keyboard might best be thought of as a “starter” or “minimalist” gaming keyboard. You don’t get mechanical key switches, per-key lighting, USB pass-through, a wrist rest, or a lot of programmable keys. You do get a very well-built, basic macro keyboard that supports enough macros to be a good addition to most games, or even productivity programs like Photoshop.
Although high-end mechanical gaming keyboards get most of the press, there’s a lot of competition at the lower end of the market, too, with companies like SteelSeries, Microsoft, Razer, Thermaltake, and others offering keyboards with features and capabilities very similar to the K40…and many of them sell for $10-$20 less. Admittedly this is the only keyboard in this price range with RGB LED lighting, and that might be worth something to you. Still, at $79.99 (Newegg/Amazon), this is a fairly expensive non-mechanical keyboard.
Overall, I was more impressed with this keyboard than I thought I’d be. I still prefer mechanical switches, to the point where my day-to-day keyboard is an old IBM Model M, but the Raptor K40 is one of the nicest rubber dome keyboards I’ve used.
Gaming Keyboard Conclusion
The Corsair Raptor K40 Gaming Keyboard does a good job of holding up the lower end of Corsair’s gaming keyboard line. While not equipped with the expensive mechanical switches Corsair uses in their Vengeance keyboards, the K40 nonetheless impresses with its features and solid, non-flexible construction. The RGB LED backlighting is unique in this class of keyboard, but you’ll pay $10-$20 more than most competitive keyboards for this feature.
The performance of the K40 was quite good: the rigid design of the keyboard helps compensate for the feel of the rubber dome keys. My one complaint is that the keyboard is so light that vigorous typing or gaming can sometimes cause the keyboard to move, depending on the surface it’s on.
Corsair mimics the appearance of their more expensive aluminum keyboards with clever material and design details on the K40. Some other gaming keyboards strive to distinguish themselves with strangely-shaped wrist rests and other appurtenances. The K40 manages to look interesting and purposeful without going overboard.
The quality of construction is what one would expect from Corsair. At the end of the day, it’s an all-plastic, rubber-dome keyboard, but I don’t really see how you could make a better all-plastic, rubber-dome keyboard. The shape of the parts and the plethora of screws clamping them together result in a rigid, quality-feeling keyboard.
With only 6 programmable keys, the Raptor K40 is at a disadvantage compared to higher-end keyboards. Of course each game profile can contain three sets of these keys (18 total), and switching between the sets takes a single button press. Better yet, you can assign keyboard colors to go with each profile’s set, so you can identify your current configuration at a glance. It’s also nice to be able to choose between executing macros at the driver level, for fast configuration and updating, or downloading and executing the macros directly from the keyboard, which enables you to take the keyboard to other computers with a pre-defined set of commands. Associating specific backlight colors (and behaviors, if you’re running in “driver mode”) with individual profiles is a real plus.
Value is perhaps the one weak point of this keyboard. Available online for $79.99 (Amazon | Newegg), it’s priced $10-$20 above its competitors. You’ll have to decide if the fancy backlighting is worth it.
+ Very solid, non-flexible feel for an all-plastic keyboard
+ Versatile backlighting
+ Ability to load macros directly into keyboard, or execute from driver
- Can’t edit existing macros
– Backlighting not as bright as LED-per-key designs
– Must download software; very sparse included documentation makes learning all of the keyboard’s features a matter of trial and error
– Sacrifices many useful features (USB pass through, etc.) to keep cost down