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This review is from: Corsair Raptor K40 CH-9000051-NA USB Wired Gaming Keyboard
Pros: One of the many great things about playing games on a PC as opposed to a console is that the PC is still a PC when you need it to be. That means you can easily browse the web, write emails, or do something productive (like write this review) on the same device that you do your gaming on. As this review might suggest, a gaming keyboard is a keyboard made for gaming. But since PCs also have other non gaming responsibilities, I think a gaming keyboard must also function well as a productivity keyboard. I am writing this review based on the needs of a casual gamer and everyday PC user.
Installation was a snap. The keyboard was immediately recognized by Windows upon insertion to one of the USB ports on the back of my case. Please note that the instructions specify that this keyboard must be plugged into a full power USB port capable of 500mA. This means that some USB ports on USB hubs might not be able to support this keyboard due to lack of power.
The keyboard will work with the stock Windows drivers, but in order to access the additional features of this keyboard such as changing the color of the backlit keys or to program the programmable buttons, you must install Corsair’s dedicated software.
When downloading the Corsair software, there I also a utility to update the firmware of the keyboard. To my surprise, the stock firmware was v1.0, and the latest version was v1.4, so I let the flashing process begin. I’ve flashed many different devices with new firmware in my life, but this is the first time I have ever done it on a keyboard!
As an everyday keyboard, this thing is great. The “action” on the keys feels very nice. Definitely better than your regular run-of-the-mill keyboard. The keys are relatively quiet, have a smooth motion, and are neither too loose or too tight. Corsair calls these keys “rubber dome” keys, which I assume is something underneath the keys. Whatever the case, I like the feel of this keyboard while typing.
The quality of the keyboard seems pretty good too. The entire keyboard is plastic, but it doesn’t creak or groan when you lift it, and while I would never describe this keyboard as heavy, it has enough weight to not slide around on your desk while using it. This would definitely be a big plus during rigorous gaming sessions to not have a keyboard sliding around your desk.
The keyboard can be angled upwards like pretty much every other keyboard out there, but this is the only ergonomic feature of this keyboard. If you are at risk of carpal tunnel, you would not want to use a keyboard like this for long typing sessions.
Along the left side of the keyboard are 6 extra buttons labeled G1 – G6 that are programmable using Corsair’s dedicated software. You can map key presses, or some system functions like “Run”, “Explorer” or even launch an app (like the calc.exe). This makes these buttons useful not only in games, but during normal every day functions too.
Other Thoughts: Although there are 6 “G” buttons on the side, there are three different “groups” of buttons that can be switched using the M1, M2, and M3 buttons at the top of the keyboard, giving you a total of 18 total programmable buttons.
Next to the M1, M2, and M3 buttons is a “Windows Lock” button. I actually had to read about this feature on Corsairs site because its not immediately obvious what it does, but when this button is pressed, the two “Windows symbol” keys on either side of the spacebar become disabled. This is extremely useful in full screen games where accidentally pressing this game takes you back to Windows. With this feature, these buttons are disabled, thus eliminating the possibility of accidentally jumping back to the desktop. In the upper right corner of the keyboard above the numeric keypad are media buttons for mute, volume up, and down. These work as expected like on any other keyboard. No surprises here. To the left of the media buttons is a brightness button that changes the backlit key brightness from off, low, media, and high. This can also be changed through software, but it’s a nice touch to be able to quickly turn off the backlight from the keyboard itself.
Probably my favorite feature of this keyboard are the backlit keys. This is actually a nicer feature than you might realize, especially if you use your computer at night, or even in a poorly lit room. By default, the keys light up white, but the colors can be changed using Corsair’s dedicated software. The software has several presets for colors like red, blue, green, orange, purple, etc, but there are sliders that you can use to adjust the color and brightness up to 16.8 million different colors. If you really want to impress your friends, theres even a setting to cycle between multiple colors or cause the colors to “pulsate” while the keyboard is idle. This is a completely frivolous feature, but it does look cool and does provide a level of functionality during night time typing.
One last design detail of the keyboard is that on this keyboard, the keys are “elevated” above a plastic panel beneath the keys. This is hard to describe, you’ll just have to see a picture to know what I mean, but this design allows you to see underneath the keys, unlike a typical keyboard in which the keys are recessed beneath an upper plastic bezel. This means that cleaning this keyboard would be extremely easy if you are in the habit of eating in front of your computer and you need to occasionally clean out some crumbs (or eyelashes) from inside the keyboard.
This is a pretty nice keyboard. Like I mentioned before, I am not a hard core gamer, so I don’t know what additional features a gamer might need, but based on the casual needs that I would have, this keyboard fits the bill well, but more importantly it has a nice design and it works just as well as an everyday keyboard as it does for gaming.
Pros: This router was a snap to setup out of the box. The web UI was pretty and offered a lot of customization. I believe that anyone, with any range of technical knowledge from high to none, would be able to get this router up and running without any difficulty.
This router boasts all the right specs for a high end router. It has all Gigabit ports, supports the newest 802.11ac wireless protocol along with backwards compatibility with b/g/n devices. It has a single USB 3.0 port for connecting a printer or to use an external hard drive as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive.
I also was happy with the design. These days, too many companies are trying to 'reinvent the wheel' with crazy router designs (I'm looking at you D-Link) that are top heavy, or don't sit well on a desk when you have several cables connecting out of the back. This router lays flat on the desk and has a decent amount of heft to it which allows it to sit in place without 'popping a wheelie' like some lighter weight cheaper routers.
Linksys has been promoting their cloud features for a while and this router has them all. It has easy to use guest access (only on the 2.4GHz band - which I dont consider a pro or a con).
In terms of speed, I compared this router to an older Linksys E2000 Wireless-N router and speeds are definitely faster when doing large file transfers within my 20 foot living room. I transferred several gigabytes worth of MKVs and averaged between 120-130 Mb/s in 2.4GHz mode. The speed crept up to around 140 Mb/s in 5 GHz mode. Comparatively, I was able to get around 65 Mb/sec on the same PC using Wireless N on my old router. Speeds dropped off pretty quickly as I left my living room, however. Going into the bedroom, which is next to the living room, the wireless signal travels through 2 interior walls (there is a closet between the two rooms), speeds dropped quickly to around 25 Mb/sec.
Cons: In terms of cons, there isnt any one single bad thing I could say about this router, other than to comment on its value. With an MSRP of $189.99 and a for sale price only $20 cheaper, I expected more. In terms of range, I feel as though my old E2000 was pretty comparable. This is my first router I have ever tried in my home greater than $100, and I honestly feel like I could have gotten similar performance for half the price.
There is only one USB 3.0 port, which means you can only use a NAS or a printer. Maybe including a second USB port would have increased its value.
Doing some research on the technical specs of this router, I learned that the internal antenna in this router is a 2x2 antenna, as opposed to the previous model EA6500 which was a 3x3 antenna. This sounds like a cost cutting measure to me, but yet where is the savings? This lack of value is the sole reason for my 1 egg deduction.
Other Thoughts: This is a good router. It does everything it should. It has a great UI, its easy to setup, and the 802.11ac performance is a noticeable upgrade to the older 802.11n standard. Range suffers due to a downscaled antenna from Linksys's previous model. I also appreciate the USB 3.0 port and all gigabit ports which means that it can handle wired transfers with the highest level of speed (something that is very important to me).
Curiously, this is Linksys's first router released since they merged with Belkin, yet it still has Cicsco branding on the box and on the router itself. I wonder if this router was rushed out the door before it was really ready.
Sadly, I can't really recommend this router to many people because of the price. I think that for a router over $150, it should have features that impress me. 802.11ac is pretty new, but there are cheaper alternatives out there, and if you really dont need the newest network standard, you can get a comparable router, with all Gigabit ports, a USB 3.0 port, good UI, and easy to setup for MUCH cheaper. But if state of the art wireless is what you crave, then you're gonna pay for it. If this router was maybe $50, and nothing else was any different, it would easily be a 5/5 router.
Pros: Wireless AC upgrade for your computer for under $40 is a pretty good deal, assuming you have the need for it.
Its small and won't get in the way when mounted to a laptop or a desktop PC.
Worked right out of the box. I installed this on Windows 8 without any issues. There is an included CD in the box, but I did not need it.
Cons: I find it curious that D-Link sells this device saying it is capable of 433 Mb/sec speeds yet it only has a USB 2.0 interface. USB 2.0 has a usable limit of less than 300 Mb/sec, so you will never get anywhere near as close as the Wireless-AC standard would allow. I guess for an entry level device, you dont need top of the line speed, but if thats the case, why are you upgrading to 802.11AC in the first place? All AC routers are capable of backwards compatibility to B, G, and N, so you might as well save some money and get a Wireless-N dongle.
Other Thoughts: This dongle was reviewed in combination of the D-Link DIR-810L and it performed adequately. I was able to transfer a 1 GB MKV file wirelessly in my living room about 10 feet away from the router and averaged about 150 Mb/sec speeds. This dropped to around 25 Mb/sec when I moved into a bedroom about 20 feet away (passing through 2 interior walls). This was on par with the dropoff my laptop achieved using its built in Wireless-N adapter using my old Linksys E2000 router.
This dongle gets the job done in terms of upgrading to 802.11AC if you have a router that supports it, but I really think that a device like this would be better served if it supported USB 3.0 since you physically can never achieve AC speeds under the USB 2.0 spec.
As I said in my D-Link DIR-810L router review, I struggle to understand the target market for this device. Its clearly marketed at entry level customers, but at this price point, you could save some money by sticking with Wireless-N which almost all devices out there support right out of the box anyway.