Couch not included.
When IGN reviewed the Logitech G613 wireless keyboard, it was dubbed the “world’s first mechanical wireless keyboard,” and it’s pretty great. There was just one little problem; it wasn’t backlit. Logitech argues that for a wireless device, a backlight is simply too taxing on the battery. Corsair obviously isn’t buying that logic though, as it’s new K63 keyboard (See it on Amazon) / (See it on Amazon UK) is both mechanical, wireless, and backlit, making it truly one-of-a-kind – at least for now.
The company is offering it alongside a custom lapboard built for the K63 in an attempt to provide couch-bound gamers with a comfy platform for living room PC gaming. Let me sit down on my couch (or my chair, as you will see later) and I’ll tell you all about it.
The keyboard itself is a tenkeyless model that’s somewhat similar in design to the excellent Corsair K65, which is our current pick for best gaming keyboard without a numberpad. There are a few small differences though, most notably the addition of media control buttons along the top bar, which are absent on the K65. Since the K63 is designed to operate in your living room as opposed to on your desk, this is a handy addition. The K63 comes with Cherry MX Red switches only, but these switches are made for gaming and don’t have a tactile “bump” upon actuation, but instead provide a linear key press. There’s 100% Anti-Ghosting With Full-Key Rollover, and the keys have 4mm of travel, but actuate at 2mm.
The “Ice “Blue” LED backlight can be cycled from off to dimmer to maximum brightness via a button on top of the keyboard above the F9 key, and there is also a handy-dandy button right next to it that locks the windows button so you can’t accidentally press it during gaming. The space bar has a little bit of texture to it, but felt flimsier than the other keys for some reason, and seemed to require less force to activate.
The K63’s ultra-fast 2.4GHz wireless technology worked ridiculously easy right out of the box, just tap FN-F9 and it starts right up. Alternatively, the included Bluetooth 4.2 adapter was also flawless, and I noticed that the range was a lot farther than my living room’s cheap-o Logitech mouse. I could not detect even the slightest delay compared to a wired keyboard, and was extremely impressed with the ease of connection using either method. The connection between your keyboard is protected via 128 bit AES encryption, which provides a layer of security without sacrificing speed.
Its numpad-less design might annoy some that moonlight as accountants or data entry personnel between gaming sessions, but I certainly didn’t miss it. Without the lapboard, the keyboard is tiny enough to fit in a backpack for easy travel.
As I mentioned previously, the top of the keyboard features dedicated media controls and volume buttons. They are fairly unremarkable, but functional. Unfortunately they are not backlit like the rest of the keyboard for some reason, which makes controlling movies and music in a darkened room more of a hassle than it should be. There’s also no USB passthrough, so you can’t connect your mouse to it on the lapboard. I am assuming the reason for its omission is that it result in a drastic decrease in battery life. So you’ll need a wireless gaming mouse if you plan on using it on the couch.
The lapboard costs $59.99 and is made explicitly for the K63, so it’s no surprise the keyboard easily slides into the lapboard. Once inserted it’s held in place by two tabs, which seems stout enough but I feel like if you’re constantly removing and replacing the keyboard, the tabs could snap over time. However, I suspect if you purchase the lapboard you’ll probably just put the keyboard in it and leave it there.
The whole lapboard is plastic, with about an inch of memory foam on the bottom so that it’s comfortable on your lap. There’s also a built-in wrist rest as well, but I didn’t find it to be comfortable. The problem is when using a keyboard on a desk, your wrists are more or less straight while your hands extend over the relatively flat keys. On my lap, however, the keyboard is below where it normally would be, so my wrists were always at an angle. The added height of the lapboard’s memory foam cushion does help mitigate this a bit, but I found my wrists hurt after a long gaming session, and felt like a softer wrist support may have alleviated some of the discomfort.
Speaking of wrist support, the Corsair website claims that the lapboard has a “built-in wrist rest to provide hours of comfort.” I actually looked in the box, thinking that maybe there was some sort of gel-based wrist support included, but not “built-in.” There wasn’t. Corsair is referring to the two inch rubberized area just underneath the space bar on the lapboard. Not only does the flatness of the area not relieve any wrist pressure, but my wrist or hand never touched this area when typing or gaming. I do not have monstrous, deformed hands. They are fairly normal-sized. However, Corsair decided not to extend the rubberized area all the way to the edge, and the rubber exists only in the space between where my palm rests (on the non-rubberized area) and the keyboard. It is impossible for my hand to touch both the WASD and the rubber matting at the same time.
The solution I came up with for using the K63 lapboard for long gaming sessions was to sit not on the couch, but a large easy chair. The lapboard fits almost exactly in my lap between the arms of the chair, and I was able to rest my elbows and forearms on the arms, which alleviates much of the strain. I actually found that this is my new favorite way to play PC games. I spent eight hours straight playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance from this position, refusing to get up to feed myself or help my wife take care of the children.
The velvety-smooth mouse area is slightly too small for my tastes, but it is the size of your average mousepad. If it were any bigger horizontally, the lapboard would be in danger of becoming unwieldy. The memory foam cushion on the bottom of the lapboard is fairly thick and was comfortable sitting on my lap for extended gameplay. Overall, besides my obsession with the bizarrely placed rubber matting, I enjoyed using the lapboard, especially in my comfy easy chair.
Battery life is excellent. I played Titanfall 2 for 7.5 hours of intense gameplay before the battery warning light came on. Corsair advertises 75 hours of battery life with no backlighting, 25 hours with low backlighting, and eight with full backlighting enabled. I found that to be slightly optimistic, but close. I am sure there is a great deal of variability in battery use for different games, due to the mount of keyboard and mouse-only use (i.e. spawn campers and snipers probably use their keyboard less than their mouse.) It is fairly easy to charge, and uses a standard (included) 1.8m microUSB cable that plugs into your PC to charge it. You can also just connect it like a normal keyboard in a pinch.
The Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Lapboard are available for purchase separately or as a bundle on Amazon. It generally holds steady at close to $110: