The Corsair RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Keyboard Review

Editor rating

5/5 on October 13, 2017

User's rating

1,565 reviews

PROS

  • Blinding speed. The keys will snap back faster than you can type no matter what your WPM is
  • Perfect for gaming, but also pretty good for typing
  • That nice clicky sound. Some mechanical keyboards feel good but have a cheap, tinny sort of sound to them. This board sounds as good as it feels with a snappy little plasticy click accompanying every keystroke. You'll want to write paragraphs that go on for way too long just because you're having too much fun typing on this thing. You know, like this paragraph right here.
  • Beautiful to look at. The backlighting and brushed aluminum give it a futuristic UFO kind of feel that looks very in-character with some of the more slick-looking gaming towers and mice out there
  • Good build quality. The keys don't wobble as you hit them and the casing is nice and solid
  • At under $200, the price point is pretty fair for such a good keyboard. That may sound shocking if you've never spent more than thirty bucks on one, but the keyboard is better than many at double its price point
  • Quality. Supposedly the keys can withstand over one million clicks. Get back to us in a couple years and we'll tell you how it holds up.

CONS

  • Still pricey. Mechanical keyboards are more expensive. You have to really love that clicky sound for this to be a worthwhile purchase
  • It's sort of loud. This isn't a big deal for us, but if you share a room with a dorm mate, a girlfriend, a fussy cat, then you may want to keep a standard board on hand for after-hours play
  • Can get dirty. When hair, dirt and chip crumbs collect under the keys, the backlighting makes the whole thing look kind of gross. Our advice: Make sure to buy a can of air duster to go along with the board
  • Sensitivity. You'll probably have to retrain yourself to manage how sensitive the keys are on this board so that you're not constantly hammering on the space bar every time you exhale
  • Wear down. The paint used to letter the keys will wear down with extended use. This doesn't really matter on any significant level, and you can pop them off and replace them with blank or embossed keys if it's all that big of a deal to you
  • Brushed aluminum. The brushed aluminum looks awesome when it's clean, but you'll probably get into the habit of compulsively wiping it down with a cloth after every single use. Sort of like the Nintendo 3DS where you just can't stand seeing the thumbprints all over it

VERDICT

If this isn't the very best option out there right now for those in the market for a mechanical keyboard, it's at least a top five choice. The response speed from the Cherry switches is incredible, the board looks good, it feels good, and it costs considerably less than you might expect, especially if you can get it on sale.

If you've never tried a mechanical keyboard before, you might want to try out a friend's deck in order to find out if it's worth the money for you. For most PC games, being able to click the WASD keys forty percent faster isn't going to make that big of a difference on the leaderboard. It's more of an aesthetic, personal choice. Some people spend a little extra for the leather sofa or the luxury car. For others, it's keyboards and computer chairs. A mechanical deck is a luxury item, so the question is whether your keyboard is something where you're willing to spend a little extra for the luxury experience.

Think of it like a Porsche for your fingers. If that sounds like it's right up your alley, the RAPIDFIRE is a Porsche 911 Turbo.

Some people don’t like mechanical keyboards. They actually prefer the flat, weak, no-click feel of a laptop keyboard or typing on a touch screen. We will never understand these people. These are people who don’t understand why soggy cereal sucks. Feeling the clicky feedback of a mechanical keyboard, watching the keys pop right back into place, it makes you want to become a programmer just for the fun of hammering on those keys.

The RAPIDFIRE from Corsair is a mechanical keyboard designed especially for use in gaming. The first thing you’ll notice is the look of the keyboard. The brushed aluminum looks slick and feels cool to the touch when you pull it out of the box. The backlighting makes it easy to play with the lights off, but most importantly, it just looks cool. It also makes it very obvious when you haven’t air-dusted the board in awhile.

When you take the board for a spin, you’ll find that the keys pop back just as quickly as you can tap them. This owes to the Gold contact Cherry MX switches, built specifically for gaming and advertised to snap back forty percent faster than a standard Cherry MX Red switch. We didn’t have a stop watch on hand, but that feels about right. Most mechanical keyboards are built for typing, and they’re fast enough to get the job done, but if you’re playing PC games at a competitive level or trying to beat your best time in DOOM, you need something a little more responsive than that.

If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, Corsair’s  Gaming K55 RGB keyboard has a nice backlight feature with fast keys. It’s not mechanical, and once you go to Cherry switches, it’s hard to go back to a standard board. But if you’re just trying to build a gaming PC for cheap, the Corsair K55 isn’t a bad deck.

Some users have noted that the Cherry MX switches used in the board are pretty sensitive. If you rest your hands along the bottom of the keyboard, then you can expect to hit the CTRL and space keys more often than you’d like. If you ask us, it’s worth training yourself to position your hands correctly so that this won’t happen. But, if it really bothers you, a standard Cherry switch mechanical keyboard like the Razer BlackWidow will get the job done. The BlackWidow has a fast response time and a nice tactile feel, but without the hair trigger.

If you’ve never used a mechanical keyboard, it’s hard to see what the fuss is about. You may think it’s like those audiophiles who spend three grand on a pair of headphones and swear they can tell the difference, even though you think they sound just like the fifty dollar pair you have at home. A mechanical keyboard with a good set of Cherry MX switches vs a standard fifteen dollar deck you picked up in the electronics section at Wal-Mart is the difference between a Ferrari and mom’s station wagon. You really don’t know what the big deal is until you give it a try.

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