That premium price could have something to do with the keyboard’s mechanical switches, which are Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile tactile switches. Forget the merely low-profile switches that Cherry debuted in 2018 that were 11.9mm thick (compared to 18.5mm for a standard MX switch); these ultra low-profile switches are just 3.5mm tall, giving them a similar appearance to the scissor switches you find on most laptop keyboards.
So far, Cherry has offered its latest super slim switches on a handful of laptops from Alienware, but until Corsair’s K100 Air, we’ve yet to see them crop up on a standalone mass market keyboard. (Though at least one company has attempted to crowdfund something similar.) Corsair is using the tactile version of Cherry’s ultra low-profile switch, rather than the clicky model, so expect a typing experience that’s closer to a Cherry MX Brown than an MX Blue.
Away from its switches, Corsair’s K100 Air offers a familiar-sounding set of features. It’s a full-size keyboard, meaning it includes a numpad, and there’s also an additional set of media keys, a volume roller, and extra shortcut buttons included. Naturally, they’re all RGB backlit, and the keyboard integrates with Corsair’s iCue software to control its lighting.
Over a USB cable, the K100 Air offers a polling rate of up to 8,000Hz, while opting for Corsair’s Slipstream Wireless dongle drops this to 2,000Hz. It can also be connected via Bluetooth and can switch between a total of three connected devices with a keyboard shortcut. If you’re using it wirelessly, Corsair promises up to 50 hours of battery life with the keyboard’s RGB lighting turned on or up to 200 with it turned off.
Between Logitech’s MX Mechanical keyboards, Razer’s DeathStalker V2 Pro, and now, Corsair’s K100 Air, it feels like 2022 has been the year of increasingly low-profile mechanical keyboards. I’m still happy to stick with my traditional Cherry MX switches, but if you’re more comfortable with a low-profile laptop-style keyboard, it’s great to see more high-quality alternatives emerging.