February 4, 2023
United Kingdom
Keyboards Reviews

Corsair K100 Air Review – The Ultimate Low-Profile Gaming Keyboard?

Introduction

As the market for gaming keyboards continues to grow, variations in the design and functionality of each product have become much greater. As a result, there is a long list of variables to consider when searching for the perfect gaming keyboard.

One of the variations that has become fairly popular in recent years is the low-profile design. Gaming keyboards with this design are usually a lot thinner and lighter than typical mechanical keyboards thanks to the slimmed down keys and switches. Even though there’s already a fair amount of low-profile gaming keyboards on the market, the latest release from Corsair may have taken the genre to the next level.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the Corsair K100 Air, a premium wireless gaming keyboard we’ve been keen to get our hands on since it was first announced in September.

Buy the Corsair K100 Air on:

Pros & Cons of Low-Profile Keyboards

Before we dive into the details of the K100 Air in particular, it’s important to establish the experience you can expect from a low-profile keyboard, as this will help determine whether this design would suit your gaming and productivity needs. Like any design choice on a mechanical keyboard, a low-profile design will be more appealing to certain types of gamers, and the focus on a slender form factor comes at the expense of some other features.

Starting off with the positives, the thinner keycaps and switches on low-profile designs are usually a lot lighter than traditional gaming keyboards. As a result, these keyboards have an increased portability, especially when they possess a full-sized or TKL layout. In addition, the slimmer design makes them look and feel very sleek while being less susceptible to damage, making it a great option for those wanting to game or type on the go. The feel of these keyboards will likely feel familiar to travellers too, as the typing experience is the closest resemblance to a laptop that you can get from a mechanical keyboard.

But before rushing off to buy a low-profile keyboard like the K100 Air, there are a few factors that you need to consider. First of all, the compact nature of the design leaves little room for customisation, meaning they lack the hot-swapping abilities found in other keyboards at a similar price range. This also has an effect on the longevity of low-profile keyboards, as broken switches cannot be replaced as easily- or at all in most cases. Similarly, the thinner design does drastically change the typing experience for those used to more conventional mechanical keyboards, which could take some time to adjust.

Corsair K100 Air Design & Aesthetics

Now that we’ve settled whether a low-profile keyboard is right for you, it’s time to look at Corsair’s latest addition to their range of mechanical keyboards, the K100 Air. As the name suggests, the K100 Air is a wireless mechanical keyboard with an extremely sleek and premium look that is almost 50% thinner than the wired product of the same name. Despite the thinner frame, the K100 Air maintains a full-size layout, providing you with all the necessary inputs.

The ultra-thin form factor is thanks to the inclusion of ultra Low Profile Cherry Mx switches, which provides a tactile response. These switches combine with the slim metal keycaps for a typing experience that shares a lot more similarities with chunkier mechanical keyboard than you would expect. Each key includes distinct RGB lighting, which can be customised via the iCUE software. The lighting on the K100 Air remains fairly discrete compared to other gaming keyboards, but it does add a bit of flair to an otherwise professional design.

To give the keys some much-needed support, the K100 Air has a sturdy aluminium frame, with a brushed metal surface that contributes to the premium aesthetic. In typical Corsair fashion, there is a range of dedicated media controls on the top of the frame for quick adjustments during intense gaming sessions, as well as general quality-of-life improvements during day-to-day tasks.

The only issue I have noticed so far is with the kickstand. Whilst trying to find the comfortable position for the K100 Air within my office setup, the shorter part of the kickstand snapped off. Whilst this is partially my fault, the pressure applied was minimal and shouldn’t have been enough to cause such damage- in my opinion!

Overall, the design of the K100 Air looks and feels great, offering a typing experience that feels like it belongs on a keyboard at least double the thickness. In addition, the brushed aluminium offers a smart look that won’t look out of place in any workplace environment. Even though the issue with the kickstand is unlikely to have a major impact on most consumers, it is something to be wary of.

Corsair K100 Air Features

As one of Corsair’s more premium gaming keyboards, it is no surprised to see that the K100 Air is packed with features designed to enhance the user experience. Here is a list of some of the features to expect with this keyboard:

Slipstream Wireless Connectivity

One of the main benefits of the K100 Air is its portability despite possessing a 100% layout. Because of this, it makes sense for this keyboard to connect wirelessly. Along with Bluetooth and a traditional wired option, the K100 Air includes Corsair’s very own Slipstream wireless via a USB dongle. This gives the K100 Air a low-latency wireless connectivity option with sub-1ms response times, perfect for gaming. And with the ability to connect to 5 devices at once, this keyboard can switch between devices in seconds.

Dedicated Media Controls

Just like a number of other Corsair gaming keyboards, the K100 Air has dedicated media controls across the top of the frame. To the right of the central LED indicators, you’ll find audio buttons that allow you to skip tracks, play/pause media, mute sound, and a multi-function aluminium volume roller. To the left of the central panel, there are more media buttons that allow you to switch between profiles stored in the onboard K100 Air’s memory, adjust the RGB brightness, and a windows lock button that stops interruptions during intense gaming sessions.

Corsair iCUE Software Compatibility

Like many other Corsair products, the K100 Air is compatible with the iCUE. This software allows users to adjust multiple settings, including options lighting, performance, and custom profiles. When it comes to the K100 Air specifically, iCUE you to adjust the per-key RGB lighting, change the inputs of the dedicated macro ‘G’ keys, and save custom profiles directly onto the device. You can even synchronise the lighting effects with other iCUE compatible, providing some uniformity to your gaming setup.

Integrated Kickstand

As mentioned earlier, the kickstand has been the Achilles heel during my time with the K100 Air. Designed with two levels of adjustment to give this keyboard some additional height for increased ergonomics, the kickstand is a useful feature when it working as intended. For most of my time with the K100 Air, the kickstands were fully extended and I experienced no issues. Problems began when I tried to use the smaller stands, as they would regularly break and were very fiddly. Whilst this is only a minor discrepancy that won’t be an issue for most, it’s worth taking note of if you crave a comfortable typing experience.

Alternatives

If you’ve read through this review and decided that this keyboard simply isn’t going to suit your needs, why not take a look at some of our alternative recommendations for the K100 Air below.

Logitech G915 Lightspeed

Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED Keyboard - 3080 4000D Build

Arguably the biggest competitor to the K100 Air, the Logitech G915 Lightspeed has been considered one of the best low-profile gaming keyboards for a long time. Whilst this design leans more towards the thicker side than Corsair’s impressively thin layout, the G915 is still a lightweight and portable option for gamers that like to travel. The G915 also competes when it comes to performance, thanks to the integration of LIGHTSPEED technology and plenty of multimedia controls.

Buy the Logitech G915 on:

Corsair K70 Mk.2 Low Profile

If you are looking for a low-profile design that doesn’t deal as much damage to your bank account, then the low profile version of Corsair’s K70 Mk.2 could be the perfect solution. Whilst it is a significantly chunkier design with a lack of wireless connectivity, the K70 Mk.2 offers similar features such as iCUE compatibility and multimedia controls for a fraction of the price. If you don’t plan on moving your setup around a lot, this keyboard could be a good way to save some money.

Buy the Corsair K100 Air on:

Corsair K100

Corsair K100 RGB Keyboard - Best Gaming Keyboards 2022

For those looking to grab the best gaming keyboards they can get their hands on, the Corsair’s wired keyboard with the same namesake is a worthy candidate. Unsurprisingly, the K100 shares a lot of similarities with the K100 Air, but is heavier on the features. For example, the K100 includes a couple more macro ‘G’ keys, an integrated wrist rest, and USB passthrough. If you want a more traditional typing experience and don’t mind wired connectivity, the K100 is a solid choice.

Buy the Corsair K100 on:

Conclusion

  • Features
  • Design
  • Versatility
  • Value For Money
4.5

Summary

Overall, the Corsair’s latest keyboard is a breath of fresh air that pushes the boundaries of what a mechanical gaming keyboard can accomplish. The sophisticated and slender low-profile design of the K100 Air creates an extremely portable keyboard that won’t look out of place in any work or home environment. And despite the switches and keycaps being as thin as those found on some laptops, the K100 Air still manages to provide a tactile typing experience comparable to the best mechanical keyboards on the market. In terms of build-quality, the K100 Air’s sturdy aluminium frame ensures that this keyboard can survive any bumps and bashes it may take during transit. While there are some small weak points that won’t satisfy the needs of keyboard enthusiasts, -mainly the kickstand- Corsair’s K100 Air is an exceptional low-profile gaming keyboard that is suitable for any task you throw at it. For anyone that frequently travels, and doesn’t mind splashing the cash on a keyboard, the K100 Air is the perfect choice.   

Pros

✅ Stunning Portable Design

✅ Premium Build-Quality

✅ Versatile Connectivity

Cons

❌ Very Expensive

❌ No USB Passthrough

❌ Not Hot-Swappable

editor
Aled joined the Geeka Media ship in August 2022. He brings a degree in journalism and experience working for publications in the sports and gaming sectors. Aled is our in-house news and gaming writer, with his finger on the pulse of game devs around the world.