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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Connects wirelessly to three devices
Fast device switching
128-bit AES encryption
No spot for the nano-USB
Not good for gaming
Fragile form factor
Extra steps required for some device connectivity
The Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard is an attractive and functional living room media controller, but it’s not as capable for gaming and lacks compatibility with all smart TVs and streaming devices.
We purchased the Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’re tired of toggling slowly with your remote control to navigate onscreen keyboards on your favorite streaming platforms, the Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard offers a quicker solution. This wireless media/gaming/computer keyboard offers fast connectivity and access to up to three different devices, whether that’s a PC, laptop, smart TV, or smartphone. It also comes with a joystick, media controls, and LED lighting for visibility even with the lights down. While it certainly packs a lot of convenience in a relatively small and lightweight package, the Corsair K83’s potential is plagued by flawed execution.
The Corsair K83 is a brushed aluminum membrane-style keyboard much like you’d find on a laptop. This finishing gives the device a slightly refined look, as does the adjustable LED key backlighting—that also serves the practical purpose of providing visibility in a dimly lit room while watching movies or TV.
The Corsair K83 is a brushed aluminum membrane-style keyboard much like you’d find on a laptop.
The K83 also offers several different options for gaming and navigation via the joystick, trackpad, and the F Lock button that changes the keyboard to gaming mode or provides quick media control and function key shortcuts. The aluminum scroll wheel also offers visual interest and easy volume control. There’s actually a lot going on and many potential ways to interact with the keyboard, but it’s all presented in a streamlined visual manner.
At just a little over an inch thick and 15 inches wide and just slightly over a pound, the K83 is quite portable. And while it feels substantial, just hours out of the box, it fell off a table from about four feet off the ground. This tumble severely dented the bottom left-hand corner so that the edges failed to meet flush and the control keycap completely fell off. This didn’t seem to have any impact over 20 hours of use. While no keyboard is necessarily meant to be ultra-rugged, I’d use extra caution with this device.
As a keyboard for word processing and general keyboard functions, the K83 is responsive and offers a nice, bright clicking noise. There’s decent spring for a membrane keyboard, and I never felt like I had to press heavily on the keys in order to see the results of keystrokes. Outside general computing, the K83 performs well as a general media navigation tool for searching for, selecting, and playing content. But the trackpad was difficult and unpleasant to use in general, whether on a laptop or streaming device. The directional buttons and the joystick offered more control for navigation.
The K83 performs well as a general media navigation tool.
As for gaming, the K83 is lackluster. While I liked the idea of the joystick that allowed me to use the keyboard and not switch to a dedicated gaming controller, the task of coordinating the joystick and the L and R with buttons with one hand was awkward. There’s also no anti-ghosting key protection with this keyboard. I consistently noticed a delay with key combinations and what I saw on-screen. I suspect this was also a connectivity issue in many instances. Even though this happened when using the 2.4GHz wireless dongle, Bluetooth connections created even more latency issues. Long story short, I wouldn’t reach for this keyboard over dedicated gaming peripherals.
I wouldn’t reach for this keyboard over dedicated gaming peripherals.
Despite the slight build, the Corsair K83 isn’t very comfortable to use. It’s angled up slightly at the base, which had the opposite effect of what I imagine it was supposed to do—offer some wrist comfort. Because of the mostly flat orientation of the keyboard, even a few minutes of typing left my hands feeling cramped. It was also difficult to avoid accidentally hitting the R button on the bottom when using the keyboard for gaming. There is an option to deactivate it, but then that took away from the convenience of using it to quickly access game menus.
The primary convenience of the K83 is that it’s wireless. If the battery does drain, you can use it in wired USB mode via the provided micro USB to USB cord. Corsair says that with the lights on this keyboard should last up to 18 hours and closer to 40 hours with the LED lights off. I left the lights on at all times and found that the battery started to drain after about 13 hours of use and became critically low just around the 17-hour mark. This isn’t very long by any means, but the device is set up to fall asleep automatically after 90 minutes to conserve battery power.
I charged the keyboard twice and recorded an average charge time of around 4.5 hours. Unfortunately, the software doesn’t provide more detail about the battery other than stating generally that it’s low or charged.
There are two options for wireless device pairing: via the provided 2.4GHz dongle or Bluetooth. The nano USB offered the most immediate and consistent wireless signal, but there’s no place for it anywhere on the keyboard. Pairing Bluetooth devices was also relatively seamless and fast with just a slight delay between input switches. Corsair says the K83 has a 33-foot wireless range. While the furthest I tested this was 10 feet away, I experienced inconsistent connectivity over Bluetooth from a shorter distance of just 5 feet away from the source.
Pairing devices is easy, but depending on the type of device you’re trying to connect, you may need to follow additional steps to get more functionality. As of now, Roku doesn’t support HID (Human Interface Device) keyboards, so this is not the keyboard to buy if that’s your streaming device of choice. Other platforms like NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV are supported, as are MacBooks and Samsung and LG smart TVs, but the level of functionality is dependent on the device and OS.
The K83 is compatible with Corsair’s iCUE software, which is good for extra customization and basics like checking the battery level, updating the firmware and software, adjusting lighting intensity, and making key assignments. Macros were easy to program and assign and there’s easy access to other decisions with regard to the F Lock gaming mode button and enabling gesture controls on the touchpad.
There are several downsides with the software, though. It’s only compatible with Windows 10 and is only accessible when the device is connected via the wireless dongle. Beyond ensuring the firmware is up to date, which you’d want to do since this is an encrypted keyboard, and keybind editing, the software does little to enhance the look of the keyboard beyond changing the intensity/brightness of the LED backlighting.
Macros were easy to program and assign and there’s easy access to other decisions with regard to the F Lock gaming mode button and enabling gesture controls on the touchpad.
The Corsair K83 retails for about $100, which is quite expensive when you consider the many potential barriers to full functionality and ease of use. Even if you have the right devices for full functionality, the trackpad leaves much to be desired and is far less appealing or useful than a mouse. The joystick is a nice touch for added control when navigating smart TVs and streaming device menus, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag when using it for gaming.
And considering the K83 developed a near-instant structural defect with an inadvertent drop, the claim that this is made of a durable aluminum build is not one that holds up. There is a two-year warranty, but it’s unclear from the terms if this sort of incident would be covered. Even if a replacement is supported, there are definitely other media-savvy wireless keyboards that offer a bit more comfort and less of a strain on your wallet.
Even if a replacement is supported, there are definitely other media-savvy wireless keyboards that offer a bit more comfort and less of a strain on your wallet.
For about $30 less, the Logitech K600 (see on Amazon) plays better with multiple operating systems and devices than the Corsair K83. Logitech is known for offering more versatile Mac- and Windows-friendly peripherals and the K600 is no exception. While it’s not at all built for gaming, it’s made exclusively for media consumption through smart TVs or laptops. It even makes web browsing on a TV faster and it’s optimized for inputting passwords and searching for content just like the K83.
Switching from a PC or Mac to a TV—and keeping track of connected devices—is also easy with button inputs and there’s flexibility between wireless and Bluetooth connection via the signature unifying technology. In addition to Windows and macOS support, Chrome OS, Web OS, Android, and Tizen operating systems are supported. And while this is a battery-operated device, you’ll get up to one year on just two AAA batteries versus a week at best with the Corsair K83. There’s only a one-year warranty, but the wireless coverage extends an additional 16 feet.
A stylish wireless media keyboard for Windows users who don’t mind the steep price and inconsistencies.
The Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard offers a pleasant typing experience and serves as an alternative to slow, tedious clicking and smart TV navigation via remote, but its ability to serve as a universal remote/gamepad is ambitious at best. Windows users will get the most out of this peripheral—if the high price point despite the lack of well-rounded features doesn't deter you.