As you may have determined already, the K68 has a rubber cover to keep liquid from reaching the parts of the keyboard susceptible to damage. The cover is sealed at the edges of the keyboard, but loosely surrounds the switches and LEDs. Without the keycaps, any liquid spilled directly onto the keyboard would have no problem getting down into the switches. It's important to note that the K68 is only rated for IP32 dust and water resistance, so it won't survive full submersion or high-pressure blasts of water. You probably shouldn't attempt to clean the keyboard by hosing it off. Ironically, while the rubber stops dust from getting down inside the keyboard, it allows particulates to more easily stick down between the keycaps.
I tested the K68's water resistance twice with increasing intensity. I first simply sprayed water on the keyboard (as pictured above), let it sit for a little while, and then wiped it off. The keyboard worked perfectly fine afterward, so I ramped things up.
Even though it pained me to purposely do so, I took a cup of water and poured it directly onto the keyboard. All the water resting down between the keycaps made it much more difficult to dry than when I just misted the keyboard. I ended up taking all the keycaps off and as far as I could tell, no water had made it into the switches, so I mopped it up and set the keyboard outside to finish drying. I plugged the keyboard back in with much suspense, but lo and behold, the K68 immediately lit up and functioned without a single issue. I don't recommend regularly dumping water on the K68 as it isn't completely waterproof, but it'll certainly allow gamers with a drink nearby to rest easy.
I have the same thoughts now about the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) as I did when I reviewed the K95 Platinum. CUE doesn't have as clean and straightforward of an interface as it used to, but it's still one of the better pieces of gaming peripheral software out there. It can sometimes run a bit slow and require the occasional bit of digging to set things up exactly how you want. Otherwise, it's a powerful utility that doesn't assault your eyes with an ugly color pallette and too many unnecessary gimimcks. You can set up complex macros and LED configurations, keep things simple, or simply not install CUE at all. It's entirely up to you. The K68 functions fine without it.
I wrote in my K95 Platinum review that every time I set out to write a Corsair keyboard review, I know I'm going to be working with a high-quality product, and that quality usually comes with quite the hefty price tag attached. The K68 is a bit of a unicorn in this respect. It doesn't come with a particularly high price tag, because Corsair scaled back on a number of the heavy-duty features present on some of its other keyboards.
Corsair's usual metal body plate was removed in favor of a full plastic body on the K68. Two plastic volume buttons take the place of the usual metal volume wheel. The wrist rest and flip-up stands are thinner and lighter. Lastly, a slight lip has been added in, detracting from the usual "floating keys" style, not that it would have the same look anyway given the rubber cover.
However, even with as many things as you can point to that cut down on the price, Corsair certainly didn't cut corners with the K68. It is still a well-built, high-quality keyboard. The features that were revised are still perfectly functional. What's more, IP32 dust and water resistance, which have never been seen in a Corsair keyboard before, come standard. Our testing shows that they can protect the board from expensive mistakes with nearby liquids, and that protection could pay for itself with just one spill.
For its $100 list price tag, or for the $80 you'll pay on sale at Newegg right now, the K68 is an excellent keyboard. Despite its reduced feature set, it gives the Strafe RGB a run for its money. If you like Cherry MX Red switches, the only things you lose by picking the K68 over the Strafe RGB are the lights, a few texured keycaps, and a USB pass-through port. You actually gain separate media controls and water resistance by going with the K68.
The K68 also has more features than other keyboards at the same price, such as the SteelSeries Apex M500. If Corsair would make the K68 available with all of Cherry's typical switch types, that'd be fantastic. For now though, if Cherry MX Reds are your preferred switch type, the K68 is a great value for the price. It definitely deserves a TR Recommended award.
24 comments — Last by just brew it! at 10:30 PM on 09/02/17
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