Corsair PBT Double-Shot Keycaps Review
The holy and durable grail of keycaps?
In this quick test, we look at the new PBT Double-Shot Keycaps from Corsair, compatible with their pretty much all of the K95, K70, K65, K66, K63 and STRAFE keyboard models in their product line. Let’s face it, Corsair is present in anything gaming related, mice, keyboards, coolers, power supplies, chassis, headsets and on and on. Seriously, you can build an entire eco-system that is Corsair branded and somewhere somehow on the Corsair forums a user wondered and requested PBT Double-Shot Keycaps for their keyboard. PBT is short for Polybutylene terephthalate. Basically, this is a thermoplastic polymer, actually mainly used as an insulator in the electrical and electronics industries, a type of polyester. PBT is resistant to solvents, shrinks very little during forming, is mechanically strong, heat-resistant up to 150 °C (or 200 °C with glass-fiber reinforcement) and can be treated with flame retardants to make it noncombustible. And yeah, somewhere somehow somebody figured, how cool would it be to make keycaps out of that. Well, somebody did and yeah, it works out extremely well.
Corsair figured if gamers want such keycaps as an optional feature, and they’re really good .. why not? Surely the target demographic and user-base is small, but as stated, Corsair caters PC gamers at any intricate level. Ergo, last month Corsair started selling two new kits, you may purchase a set with white keycaps and alternatively, you can purchase a black set of keycaps.
I should immediately note that these are backlit compatible keycaps. PBT Double-Shot Keycaps, do you actually know what these are? What makes a quality keycap, you ask? Oh, I am so glad you asked my man. First is material, ABS or PBT plastic, then, how thick it is, up to 1.5mm thick for generous PBT keycaps. The difference there is that PBT is a very durable plastic that resists polishing and your finger gunk very well, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is is an opaque thermoplastic, softer and will ‘shine up’ much faster than PBT. Most keycaps are ABS, shiny, so, meh.
Here’s where we land at PBT double-shot, here the keycap is made from two pieces of plastic, one of which forms the lettering, or legends. Most keycaps in the world are simple pad printed that will rub off within a year. You’ll never wear off a double-shot keycap legend. Coming from regular pad printed keycaps, the PBT double-Shot keycaps are considered to be the holy grail and as such PBT keycaps are very desired by, well let’s call them keyboard aficionados, keycaps that will never show wear. Corsair fabbed these ultra-durable PBT with double walls and a double-shot molding process. We used our Corsair K70 RGB Rapid Fire Mechanical Gaming Keyboard that we used for a review, and swap out the original ABS keycaps with the new PBT Double-Shot keycaps.
Inside the PBT Double-shot Keycaps kit, you’ll spot a full 104/105-Keyset for full US/EU/UK key layouts, also included is a key puller and sure, small manual. So everything needed is included and since this is a Corsair specific kit, you’ll have the right sizes for say your enter and shift keys.
Swapping out keys is very simple, just pull them out using the key puller. Pop it into the right place, pull it out and repeat that 104/105 times, it should be a technology you are familiar with. Reserve some time though as it’s over a hundred keys being swapped out, so this is not a 60 seconds thing, you’re good to go for at least 15 minutes.
Ironically, I had no idea how good white keys on a black colored keyboard actually look. It’s a little weird and even funky looking, I like that. You’ll also notice that the keys are now easier to read somehow. Albeit the photo is a little overexposed. On the next page, I’ll have some better photos to share with you.