Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini review: Small giant with strong features
Sometimes it’s the smallest that are capable of achieving the greatest. Corsair proves this with its new gaming keyboard, which adds a new model to the venerable K70 series. And no, we’re not talking about the recently announced Corsair K70 RGB TKL OPX. We’re talking about a smaller version of the Corsair K70 RGB Pro (our review) that may have shrunk in size, but has noticeably increased in features. More on this in our Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini review.
|Key switch type||Cherry MX Speed RGB Silver|
|Switch types||Linear (red); Linear fast (silver)|
|Switch interchangeable||Yes (hot-swappable); compatible with all Cherry MX switches|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||29.3 cm x 10.9 cm x 4.3 cm|
|Sampling rate||8,000 Hz|
|Onboard memory||8 MB hybrid memory|
|Cable connection||USB Type-C|
|Wireless connection||2.4 GHz (Corsair Slipstream); Bluetooth 4.2|
|Battery Life||Up to 32 hrs (with backlight); up to 200 hrs (without backlight)|
|Rollover technology||N-Key Rollover|
|Key Caps||PBT Double-Shot|
|Operating Modes||Typing; Gaming|
|Scope of delivery||Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini, USB-A to USB-C cable, tools, 2 additional keycaps (ESC and spacebar), manual, warranty card|
|Price||UVP: 189,99 Euro, current: € 179.00 *|
Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini review: the scope of delivery
Already the manufacturer-typical black and yellow cardboard box with a length of only 31 centimeters reveals: here awaits us a pipsqueak. This impression is confirmed after opening the box, because here we already find the compact gaming keyboard Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini.
The mechanical gaming dwarf is accompanied by a 1.82-meter-long, fabric-sheathed USB-C to USB-A cable, as well as a small vacuum-packed bag with additional keycaps and tools.
Manufacturer Corsair has recessed the USB-A wireless dongle into the back of the keyboard, while a manual and warranty information round out the package.
Design and workmanship
So there it is. The Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini. First thought: man, is it small. In fact, the mini model relies on a 60 percent layout, making it the second smallest design possible. But more about that later.
Visually, the mini model has many parallels to the K70 RGP Pro, which was released at the beginning of 2022. It is almost entirely in matte black, while only a narrow RGB light strip separates the top from the light gray bottom.
There is no palm rest due to the size. It gets interesting on the back, which is centrally adorned by the manufacturer’s logo. On the right edge we find a hole where the Slipstream USB dongle can be placed. Very practical if you want to take the keyboard with you on the go.
On the left edge is the USB-C port for charging or wired operation, as well as the power button including the corresponding icon, which has a pleasant ribbing. The keyboard is rounded off by two fold-out feet on the bottom, which provide a secure grip together with the rubber strip on the bottom edge.
Workmanship of the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini
The K70 series from the house of Corsair is considered to be one of the highest quality pre-built gaming keyboards around. The Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini more than lives up to this reputation with its excellent workmanship.
Once again, an extremely robust frame made of matte brushed aluminum is used. This ensures a hefty weight of 640 grams and also has the advantage that fingerprints on the keyboard have no chance of surviving.
The same applies to the excellent PBT double-shot keycaps. We already know them in the same form from the big brother K70 RPB Pro, whose test we already discussed the manufacturing process in detail.
Just this: even on the Mini, they have a pleasantly rough surface that provides a secure grip, and they turn out to be much more durable compared to the commercially available and cheaper ABS keycaps. They simply do not wear out as quickly during daily use and should still look the same after years as on the first day.
Well, we cannot fully confirm that after our 14-day test, but at least they still look as if we had just unpacked the keyboard. Which unfortunately can’t be said of my own Keychron K8 including ABS caps.
New feature: the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini is hot-swappable
What sets the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini apart from all other previous keyboards from the manufacturer is the ability to remove or replace switches via hot swap. Thus, the keyboard marks an excellent entry point into the field of custom keyboards.
For those who are not familiar with the matter: Hot Swap makes it possible to remove the built-in key switches (under the keycaps) and replace them with other compatible switches with just a single movement.
The RGB Pro Mini is offered with mechanical MX switches from Cherry. Here you have the choice between the linear types CHERRY MX Speed Silver and CHERRY MX Red. The Speed Silver model is Cherry’s fastest full-height switch and is aimed primarily at gamers with just 45 cN actuation force, 1.2 mm advance travel and 3.4 mm total travel.
However, thanks to the hot-swap capability, you can also use all other MX-compatible key switches as long as they have three pins. Prefer blue (clicky), brown (tactile) or the even quieter silent red (linear) switches? No problem. Just change them.
To do this, simply use the included puller and run its hook over the top and bottom of the switch, pull it out and you can insert another one. You can see how quickly the whole thing works by looking at the following GIF:
Conceivably simple, but, dear Corsair team: the enclosed tool is unfortunately expandable. Due to the plastic surround, it’s a bit difficult to grip the switches and pull them out. This works much easier with the metal counterpart, which is included with keyboards from the manufacturer Keychron (and also has larger hooks).
But that’s complaining on an extremely high level. The hot-swap capability of the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini is unique in the pre-build keyboard space and, with a little practice, works quickly and easily.
Practice and typing feel
How small is too small? Clearly, tastes differ here. However, what I can say after the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini review: This keyboard is pretty darn small. We’re talking about a length of only 293 mm, which you combine with a width of 109 mm and a height of 40 mm.
For comparison, the full-size Corsair K70 RGB Pro model is 440 mm long, 166 mm wide and just as tall. Here’s a picture showing the size comparison between the Corsair, the Logitech POP Keys (our review) in 65 percent layout, and the Keychron K8 in TKL layout (80 percent).
Of course, the shrunken size also has practical implications, and here it’s up to you whether the “limitations” are worth the extra space on your desk. The RGB Pro Mini not only lacks the Num pad, but also the entire function row including the F keys and the arrow keys.
A total of 62 keys are at your disposal. Apart from a few exceptions, these are double assigned and have an alternative assignment in combination with the FN key. This ranges from the F-keys to the media control to the arrow keys and the adjustment of the illumination.
Yes, you can even move the mouse pointer and perform left and right mouse clicks with the QWER and ASDF key rows. You don’t even need a rodent anymore, at least in theory. This is very practical and works perfectly in the test.
Due to the size, you first have to get used to it and might not always hit the right key right away. I personally miss, especially as a lefty, the arrow keys that I use regularly. I would therefore not want to use the keyboard permanently, but that is simply due to the layout.
You can’t really fault the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini for that, because the manufacturer does its best to offer the most complete range of functions possible with sensible and practical secondary assignments. And that is worthy of recognition.
Typing feel and gaming features of the K70 RGB Pro Mini
Once again, however, the typing feel of the mini keyboard is beyond reproach, and I say that even though I’m personally not a fan of linear switches. But the Speed Silver switches really do trigger extremely quickly and incredibly precisely.
Once I got used to the layout, my fingers just fly over the keys. For example, when typing this review. The features also include full key rollover and anti-ghosting, which is especially advantageous for gaming.
Here, too, the keyboard shines for several reasons. The keyboard has inherited most of the technology from its big brother. Thus, the mini version also offers a particularly high sampling rate (polling rate) of 8,000 Hz thanks to Corsair AXON, making it one of the fastest gaming keyboards on the market. And that with a low latency of under 0.25 milliseconds.
The only drawback: The full 8,000 Hz are only available if you use the keyboard wired. But once again, only professional gamers will probably notice the difference to 1,000 Hertz in practice. Keystrokes are also implemented quickly and precisely wirelessly.
Wireless operation, modes and battery life
Wirelessly, you can use the K70 RGB Pro Mini in two ways. Either with the included USB-A dongle, which you simply connect to your PC, Mac or notebook. Or via Bluetooth, which further increases compatibility.
Corsair’s Slipstream Wireless technology is one of the fastest solutions on the market, delivering a polling rate of 2,000 Hz over a stable 2.4 GHz wireless connection, with a range of around 10 meters and AES 128-bit encryption. And it does so with an extremely low latency of less than one millisecond.
On the other hand, the keyboard also radios via Bluetooth 4.2 if desired and can be paired with three devices at the same time. Here, I achieved a very similar range in the test. The latency is slightly higher, but still excellent.
You can switch between three connected Bluetooth devices via the key combinations FN and T, Z and G and thus quickly switch between notebook and tablet, for example. Extremely useful.
The battery life of the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini is also impressive. With the RGB backlight enabled, the keyboard needs to be recharged after around 32 hours. If you turn off the backlight, it can even last up to 200 hours. However, the charging process takes quite a bit of time with 3-5 hours (depending on the usage, for example).
Software integration: Corsair iCUE
Corsair’s in-house solution iCUE is used as the accompanying software, and hardly any other solution can hold a candle to it in terms of functionality. For example, you can customize the lighting down to the smallest detail and even create your own effects. You can even do this separately for wireless and wired operation.
You can also apply different effects to different areas. So WASD can shine differently than the numbers 1-6 or the light strip at the bottom (called 360 degree LightEdge).
You can also customize the key assignments and even save macros. The options also offer the possibility to deactivate the Windows key and other combinations such as Alt+F4 or to lock the profiles.
Keyword profiles: A whole 8 MB of internal memory is at your disposal. You can save up to 50 onboard profiles and 20 layers of lighting effects here.
In the software’s device settings, you can update the firmware, change the query rate and, for example, change the settings for the sleep mode. By default, the keyboard turns off after 15 minutes of non-use in wireless mode.
There’s also a special PlayStation mode here if you want to use the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini on PS4 or PS5, which is also possible wirelessly in conjunction with USB dongle.
Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini review: conclusion
How do you improve an already near-perfect keyboard? Now if your answer to that question is “replaceable key switches,” you win 100 imaginary points. A hot-swap capability was actually the one thing the K70 RGB Pro was missing at the beginning of the year.
This is exactly what the new Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini now offers, and it’s wireless to boot. These are, in combination, extremely high-end innovations that catapult the mini keyboard to unimagined heights.
If, yes if… the innovation were not offered in the 60 percent layout. I just don’t like that, personally it’s too small. Even though Corsair does its best to reproduce almost the entire functional range of a full-size keyboard thanks to alternative layouts.
But this cannot be blamed on the manufacturer and does not influence the rating. That is just my personal taste. Larger variants with these features will certainly follow in the future.
The only real point of criticism is the once again rather high price of around 190 Euros. High-quality, hot-swappable keyboards are available for considerably less. But then not with the range of functions (wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, 8,000 Hz polling rate) and not with such an excellent workmanship including first-class PBT double-shot keycaps.
In summary, the Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. It hardly gets any better than this – at least I don’t know what could be improved. Please, Corsair, soon then also in the TKL and full-size layout.
Corsair K70 RGB Pro Mini
Value for money
Outstanding and extremely high-quality gaming keyboard in all respects, which gets the last bit more out of it with interchangeable key switches. Only the price is a bit too high.
CORSAIR K70 PRO MINI WIRELESS RGB 60% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Backlit RGB LED, CHERRY MX SPEED, Black, Black PBT Keycaps, (CH-9189014-DE) price comparison
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