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Iconic PC brand Corsair is back on the market with their latest keyboard offering, the surprisingly robust but back-to-basics K55 RGB Pro XT.

The latest keyboard offering from manufacturer Corsair, the K55 RGB Pro XT, looks unassuming on the surface. It’s a slightly beefier version of its sister build, the K55 RGB Pro. Functionally, the two keyboards are identical, but the XT has a few minor differences.

Corsair sent CBR a K55 RGB Pro XT to test drive, and we found a workhorse of a keyboard. There is some flash and pizzazz to it, but at the end of the day, the Pro XT is what you want it to be: a durable keyboard that works well and includes valuable extra features that will lure in hardcore gamers and aspiring streamers alike.

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Between writing for CBR, editing weekly videos like The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Aftershow and gaming, I’ve beaten up my share of keyboards. I made the switch to mechanical keyboards years ago, but the Pro XT looked too cool not to give it a shot. So, I swapped out my cherished mechanical keyboard for Corsair’s budget-friendly offering. At a mid-tier price of $69.99, you won’t have to break the bank too much for a quality gaming keyboard, but you’re getting exactly what you expect.

The keyboard itself is designed to withstand some damage, sporting the same IP42 dust and spill resistance you’ve come to expect, but there are some concessions to get it down to a budget-friendly cost. The included wrist rest is a nice touch for comfort and ergonomics, but it’s not much more than rubberized plastic that clips onto the keyboard. The keyboard’s body itself is a plastic housing that’s got a very plain look, but it comes across more like a clean, back-to-basics look rather than something cheap. On the surface, Corsair made a by-the-numbers gaming keyboard.

When you start getting into the features, though, the Pro XT shines. Dedicated multimedia buttons and a Windows key lockout mode are nice, but the six macro keys down the side are the bread and butter. They’re completely customizable and, most impressively, sync up with Elgato‘s Stream Deck Software. This means the same robust features you use in Stream Deck, like starting and stopping your stream or toggling scenes and audio sources, can be hotkeyed to your keyboard for even faster access in-game. More importantly, it means streamers don’t have to pick between a new keyboard or a Stream Deck if their budget is stretched thin, as the Pro XT will do both.

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Beyond hotkeys, the Pro XT’s most prominent feature is how it handles lighting. Whereas the basic Pro features three lighting zones, the Pro XT boasts per-key lighting, allowing you to fully customize your keyboards look for a variety of situations. The iCue software offers users a host of options, some of which can even link up with what you’re doing – I found myself fond of a cool blue backlight and a red type lighting, but you can go crazy with rainbow spirals and visor animations. iCue will even sync up to your computer’s sensors, so your keyboard’s lighting can change based on the temperature of your components.

Overall, the Pro XT is pretty much what you expect from Corsair in a mid-tier budget release. Membrane domes keep the cost down over much more desirable mechanical switches, but I found the adjustment period was very brief. The keys are fast and responsive and, while they may be softer than mechanical switches, I never felt like I was missing a keystroke or as if the keys impeded my typing speed.

After a week or so of writing and some sweaty Apex Legends gameplay, it’s safe to say that the Pro XT is a great choice if you’re looking for a reliable gaming keyboard. The most dedicated of pro gamers are most likely already looking at more expensive options, but if your budget is tight or you want something with some color to it that can handle Stream Deck functions, Corsair’s RGB Pro XT is a great budget-friendly option that offers users a premium experience.

The Corsair K55 RBG Pro XT Gaming Keyboard is available now for $69.99. A review unit was sent to CBR by the manufacturer for review purposes.

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