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 only inconspicuous switches that Cherry debuted in 2018 which were 11.9mm thick (compared to 18.5mm for a standard MX switch); this one ultra low profile switches are only 3.5mm high, giving them a similar appearance to the scissor switches found on most laptop keyboards.
So far, Cherry has offered its latest super-slim switches on a handful of Alienware laptops, but until Corsair’s K100 Air, we’ve yet to see them pop up on a standalone mass-market keyboard. (Although at least one company has tried to crowdfund something similar.) Corsair uses the tactile version of Cherry’s ultra low-profile switch, rather than the clicky model, so expect a typing experience more akin to a Cherry MX Brown than an MX Blue.
Aside from its switches, Corsair’s K100 Air offers a familiar-sounding array of features. It’s a full-sized keyboard, meaning it includes a numpad, and there’s also an extra set of media keys, a volume roller, and extra hotkeys. Of course, they all have RGB backlighting, and the keyboard integrates with Corsair’s iCue software to control the lighting.
Via a USB cable, the K100 Air offers a polling rate of up to 8,000 Hz, while opting for Corsair’s Slipstream Wireless dongle reduces this to 2,000 Hz. It can also be connected via Bluetooth and can switch between a total of three connected devices with a hotkey. When used wirelessly, Corsair promises up to 50 hours of battery life when the keyboard’s RGB lighting is on, or up to 200 hours when it’s 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 stealthy mechanical keyboards. I like 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 popping up.