Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT Keyboard Review
Is the Corsair RGB K55 Pro XT the new budget king?
As many will know, Corsair is no stranger to the peripheral market, producing some of the best gaming keyboards available for a number of years now. An in-house budget favorite was the original K55, a keyboard that ticked all the boxes, came with near-silent operation, and all for a very affordable price. Today we are looking at a bit of a refresh on that board – The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT.
If you already own the older Corsair K55, then an upgrade to the newer version may not be entirely worth it just yet but for those looking to pick up a new budget keyboard or fancy a quieter switch, the K55 RGB Pro XT is a fine way to go. While the K55 RGB Pro XT keyboard comes out at a higher price than the previous K55, the non-XT variant looks to be a direct replacement, costing around that magic $50. The XT model comes with per-key RGB backlighting as opposed to the 5-zone lighting and features more lighting effects/customizations, which includes game integrations, meaning the additional cost is purely for aesthetics.
- Per-key RGB
- Detachable wrist rest inluded
- Quiet switches
- ABS plastic keycaps
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 481 x 167 x 36mm
- Type: 100% Full-size
- Switch: Dome / Membrane
- RGB: Yes, per-key
- USB Report Rate: 1000Hz
- Media Keys: Seven dedicated hotkeys
- Macros: Six dedicated macro keys
- Cable length: 1.82m (rubber)
- Weight: 940 grams
What’s In The Box?
The keyboard arrived in your classic black and yellow Corsair box, only this time around everything looks a bit more exuberant than before. The K55 comes with a protective sleeve and the packaging was minimalist, something that I’m a fan of.
Inside we have:
- K55 RGB Pro XT Keyboard
- Detachable wrist rest
- User Guide
The K55 RGB Pro XT is a 100% wired keyboard with a floating keycap design. With this switched off you would be hard-stretched to find differences between this and its older brother but we can clearly see off the bat that the logo has been updated and the lighting has been improved. The overall dimensions have this slightly longer than Corsair’s K70 keyboard at 481mm, with the G-keys (macros) located on the left side. The width was, again, more or less identical to the previous iteration at 167mm, with the depth measuring in at 36mm.
While Corsair probably won’t be winning any awards for this keyboard, the all-black, simplistic design is one many will favor, with the only bit of flare coming from the RGB backlighting. The top of the keyboard, where we see the volume and lighting controls, is a glossy material and adds to the overall aesthetics but it is probably best not to touch as it’s a real fingerprint magnet. The other dedicated media controls can be found just above the number pad, with the same low profile design. It would have been nice to see a volume bar featured on this face-lift but for the price, the media controls are great and feel responsive rather than squishy. The rest of the board is made of matte black plastic and while there isn’t much to say on this, it remains lightweight at 940 grams with minimal flex.
Considering how affordable this keyboard is, it looks fantastic with my current setup (black mouse & mouse pad) and the RGB illumination really ties everything together.
The keycaps are made from ABS plastic and while there will be some concerns over longevity, this is quite common for keyboards in this price range. The oversized font is the same we always see from Corsair, with that slight boldness and capitalization that really makes everything stand out.
So, in terms of looks, the K55 is rather simplistic but we know there are many of you that would rather go for the unobtrusive style and the K55 certainly fits into that bracket.
Looking at the back, everything is pretty standard. This is, of course, a hardwired gaming keyboard, so no detachable USB cable, unfortunately. There is also no passthrough with this but that is to be expected as we see manufacturers moving away from such features. All, there is to report is the two elevation feet that fold out. The keyboard has a natural bit of elevation from front to back, with the feet adding a bit extra in the ergonomics department. There are four rubber pads on the underside to keep the board steady and after some testing, I can reassure you this won’t really move around at all unless you knock it.
Despite being a budget-focused gaming keyboard, there is still a long list of useful features. You get one of Corsair’s detachable wrist rests with this board and while it is just simply textured plastic, it works well and supported my wrists during extended typing and gaming sessions. The wrist rest comes off easily but not so easily that you are constantly having to readjust your setup. Due to the K55 being a dome switch keyboard, it is spill and dust resistant, which essentially means you can get away with the odd spill and it will be quite easy to clean but we would recommend you don’t try this at home. Anti-ghosting, selective key rollover, and a windows key lock button are nice to have but quite common on gaming keyboards.
Features at a glance:
- Dynamic Per-Key RGB BacklightingSix Dedicated Macro Keys
- Dust and Spill-Resistant Design
- Detachable Palm Rest
- Dedicated Volume and Media Keys
- iCUE Software
- iCUE Game Integrations
- Anti-Ghosting with Selective Key Rollover
- Dedicated Windows Key Lock Button
The first major noticeable difference and feature we will discuss is the dynamic per-key RGB lighting, which can all be controlled with Corsair’s iCUE software. The RGB on the older K55 was neither vibrant nor per-key, so this is a great aesthetical change that really enhances the way this board looks on the desk.
The combination of the white defused switch layer and matte black casing ensures this backlighting really stands out. You can tweak the lighting to how you like it or turn it off entirely but for me, the board looks its best when the vibrance is maxed out. An area where the RGB falls is when it is trying to shine through the keycaps, with it being slightly dim compared to a lot of RGB keyboards.
The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT is a membrane keyboard. Oh no! You may be thinking? Well, don’t jump on the wagon just yet, membrane keyboards are still many people’s favorite and for good reason too. Sure, the responsiveness may miss out to mechanical and they certainly have longevity issues but the dome switches on the K55 RGB Pro XT here feel excellent and mecha-like.
I say these are mecha-like simply because they have a tactile bump but the main selling point behind this type of switch is its quietness. These are near-silent and perfect for those that hate the key chatter that can come from mechanical boards. If I had to compare them to a mechanical switch, I’d go with Cherry’s MX Black, as the bump makes these feel heavier than a standard linear switch rather than tactile.
Corsair’s iCUE Software
It is worth noting that this keyboard can be plugged in and played with immediately, with lighting controls featuring near the top of the keyboard. For those that like to customize everything, don’t worry, this board works with Corsairs iCUE software.
You could obviously tweak the lighting on the older version, however, now you can also take advantage of iCUE game integration. From my past experiences with this on a number of different products, it is a little gimmicky. You can basically set the lighting to react to in-game actions, which on paper sounds good and I’m not judging but who’s looking at the keyboard when an action takes place mid-game?
It is worth mentioning the six macro keys we see to the left of the board at this stage. While these were featured on the older K55 and work as they usually would, they can now also be programmed for instant streaming commands using Elgato Stream Deck software.
I always enjoy testing Corsair keyboards as they never dip below a certain level of quality and no matter if it’s a budget-focused model or one of their flagship keyboards, I can always put them to good use.
The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT keyboard, on the surface, is just a refreshed version, with improved lighting and effects. The K55 is a bit of a stalwart, so it makes sense Corsair has decided to redesign a classic, without taking anything the keyboard does well away. This keyboard is now more vibrant than ever, with a long list of gaming features, and an affordable price tag, so is it worth buying? Absolutely.
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