Laptop Mag Verdict
The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT delivers the same premium experience as the company’s higher-end gaming keyboards at a much more affordable price.
Bold and vibrant RBG lighting
Extensive lighting and customization options
Comfortable typing experience
Rubberized cable is cumbersome
Plastic construction flexes easily
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The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT is a wired gaming keyboard with beautiful per-key RGB backlighting and a solid array of media keys and dedicated macro keys. It’s an ideal solution for streamers or casual gamers who want to step up from a more traditional keyboard.
At $69, the K55 RGB Pro XT is a remarkable entry point into gaming keyboards. Although it doesn’t offer mechanical key switches or a metal chassis, it can still hold its own with some of the best gaming keyboards in many regards.
I’ve been using the Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT as my primary keyboard for both gaming and productivity work. There are certainly a few areas where its position as a more affordable option can be felt, but these will easily be forgiven by those that can appreciate everything the K55 RGB Pro XT offers.
Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT price and configuration options
The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT comes in just a single configuration for $69.99. It features rubber dome/membrane key switches with per-key RGB lighting.
If you are looking to save a little money, the K55 RGB Pro is available for just $49.99. It drops from per-key RGB lighting to 5-zone lighting and is limited to six effects plus per-zone static lighting colors versus the ten effects plus static lighting colors of the XT model, but is otherwise identical.
Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT design
The K55 RGB Pro XT gaming keyboard feels more like a command center than a simple keyboard. Beyond the standard full keyboard layout with a number pad, you have seven media keys, six macro keys, a macro record hotkey, a brightness hotkey and a Windows Key lock hotkey.
Despite the considerable collection of extra keys, the keyboard does a solid job with spacing, making it easy to navigate all of its features. While the matte black finish contrasts nicely with the glossy top section of the keyboard, the plastic material is noticeable. The absolutely brilliant RGB lighting also helps contribute to a premium look despite the materials, and at full brightness, it’s a sight to behold.
The included wrist rest continues this trend; it snaps into place firmly which prevents it from separating from the keyboard while you type. It’s a rubberized material with thousands of tiny triangles giving it a textured finish. “Corsair” is printed vertically down the center with a yellow square below it. Like the rest of the keyboard design, it’s a clean look, but doesn’t transcend its affordable pricing.
The USB Type-A cable is six feet long, which should be plenty for most setups. In my case, it was far too long as I only needed it to travel about a foot to the USB-C hub on my desk. I was also sorry to see it wasn’t the same paracord cable as the company’s Katar Pro XT gaming mouse that I recently reviewed. I understand why given that drag isn’t an issue for a keyboard, but the other cord is so malleable and easy to manage that I wish Corsair used it on the K55 keyboard. This is exacerbated by the lack of cable management; the cord simply juts out from the center of the keyboard, which isn't a huge problem though it's far from ideal for all setups. The cable terminates in a USB Type-A 3.0 plug, so if you are all-in on USB Type-C already, you’ll need either a hub or a USB Type-A-to-USB Type-C adapter.
The bottom of the K55 RGB Pro XT features four rubberized pads that hold the keyboard solidly to your desk. Foldable feet near the top of the keyboard give you an angled position that is more comfortable for typing.
The K55 RGB Pro XT is reasonably lightweight at 2.1 pounds despite its slightly larger-than-average 19 x 6.6 x 1.4-inch frame. For a smaller keyboard that drops some of the extra controls, but uses mechanical key switches, you can take a look at the Corsair K60 RGB Pro keyboard (17.4 x 5.4 x 1.7 inches, 2 pounds). If the basic look and RBG lighting appeal to you, but you don’t need a full keyboard, then the new tenkeyless Corsair K65 RGB Mini keyboard (11.6 x 4.1 x 1.7 inches, 1.3 pounds) is a great option at only 60% of the size.
Despite the plastic construction, the keyboard does get durability points for its IP42 dust-and-spill resistance to ensure you don’t have any misfires from an errant spilled beverage.
Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT keys
The Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT uses a traditional rubber dome and membrane design that makes for a much quieter typing or gaming experience than any of the mechanical keyboards I’ve tested recently.
Particularly for those who are streaming or are in a shared space of some kind, the membrane keyboard is probably preferable to even quieter mechanical options. It offers more resistance than a mechanical keyboard and the rebound is still quite good. Plus, I didn’t notice any repeated key presses being missed when typing or gaming.
If you are coming from a laptop keyboard, this will still feel incredibly luxurious as it has more key travel than you will find on any gaming laptop. But it isn’t as transformative an experience as going mechanical. However, that isn’t the right fit for everyone.
Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT performance
While it may not quite offer the same feel as some of those mechanical keyboards like the Razer BlackWidow V3 or Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro, the Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT delivered one of the fastest typing scores I’ve achieved recently. My 10fastfingers.com results came in at 92-wpm, well above my 86-wpm average and it didn’t come at the cost of accuracy.
It is a gaming keyboard after all, so I fired up Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, a game that rewards quick keyboard performance. The K55 RGB Pro Xt was made with this kind of title in mind with anti-ghosting and selective key rollover onboard.
I ran the keyboard through a half dozen rounds of Nuketown ‘84, a personal favorite for when I’m trying to get a handle on the speed and responsiveness of a keyboard. While moving to a membrane design makes the actuation point less decisive, overall, I was happy with the performance of the K55 RGB Pro XT. That membrane design could you in a game that requires extreme precision, but for casual gamers, this will still be a tremendous step up from a laptop or non-gaming keyboard.
Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT software
I’ll address both Corsair’s iCue app as well as software features that can be handled without the app. The K55 RGB represents a welcome change versus some of the other Razer keyboards I have reviewed. You can handle a considerable number of the special features of the K55 RGB Pro XT with key commands.
iCue is available for either Windows 10 or macOS and allows you to set all of the various lighting options down to a per-key level of the K55 RGB Pro XT, lighting synchronization across your entire system, remapping keys and macro programming.
There are 10 distinct lighting effects (Spiral Rainbow, Rain, Rainbow Wave, Visor, etc.) that can be mixed and matched. They’re also available on the keyboard itself by simply using the function key and a number. You can even make small tweaks to the rotation direction and speed from the keyboard.
Macros are a similar story; hold down the dedicated Macro button at the top of the keyboard and the next keypress will begin the macro sequence. When you are done, hit the Macro button again followed by the G1-G6 macro key that you would like to assign it to. This can also be handled in the iCue app for more complex actions.
If you are using the K55 RGB Pro XT for streaming, you may also want to use it in conjunction with Elgato Stream Deck software, which opens up some additional functionality for the macro settings.
The depth of what is possible with iCue is amazing, but it is also quite intuitive if you are just looking to set some basic color options and a collection of simple macros.
At $69.99, the Corsair K55 RGB Pro XT feels like a very powerful and affordable entry point into gaming keyboards. The allure of mechanical key switches may be strong, but that will push up the price point and, depending on your use case, may not be a benefit. After all, there’s something pleasant about the sound dampening effects of the membrane on the K55 RGB Pro XT.
If gaming performance is of the utmost importance to you, then peruse the best gaming keyboards for some higher-end options. But for more casual gamers who also like the idea of that command center for their computer at a reasonable price, the K55 RGB Pro XT is an excellent choice.
Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.