The Corsair Vengeance K60 and K90

We recently re-entered the world of peripheral reviews, specifically mechanical keyboards with our brief rundown of Rosewill's RK-9000 mechanical keyboard (complete with Cherry MX Blue switches). Rosewill's design was as basic as it gets, but the keyboard felt solid and for many of us there's just no substitute for a mechanical switch when it comes to having a comfortable typing experience. But our visit with Rosewill was just a warm up.

Today we have Corsair's Vengeance K60 and K90 gaming keyboards in house. Corsair opts to use Cherry MX Red switches in an effort to find a more suitable balance between typing and gaming needs, and they bring a little more style and class than we're used to seeing in gaming peripherals.

Out of the gate, Corsair is offering two different keyboards targeting two different types of user, but it's worth noting that these two keyboards are very, very similar. The "base model" K60 is targeted towards FPS players. Corsair starts with an aluminum backplate behind the keyboard, with all of the keys raised off of it--there's no tray for crumbs/hair/general-filth to get stuck in! Corsairs uses Cherry MX Red switches for the bulk of the keyboard (the document navigation and F1-F12 use traditional membrane-style switches), and there are dedicated media keys and a "Windows Lock" button above the number pad.

There's also a dedicated wrist rest just for your left hand, and the inside of it holds replacement keycaps for number keys 1-6 plus the WASD cluster along with a keycap remover. These replacement keycaps have rubberized surfaces and incline slightly towards the left hand, the theory being that this will be ideal for gaming use. Finally, the keyboard actually uses two USB ports: one for the keyboard proper, and one used as a dedicated passthrough for a USB port above the F12 key. Corsair offers the K60 for a recommended $109.

Meanwhile, the fancier K90 is geared towards RTS and MMO players. The K90 takes the aluminum base, switch layout, and connectivity of the K60 and adds individual LED backlighting behind each of the keys with four levels of illumination (off, low, medium, and high) toggled by a brightness button next to the Windows Lock button.

Beefing things up, Corsair adds eighteen configurable keys to the left of the keyboard as well as an in-hardware macro recording and playback function (configured and toggled by the four macro buttons above the Escape and F1-F3 keys). What I really like about the K90 as opposed to other gaming keyboards with configurable keys is that the G1-G18 cluster is actually substantially lower than the rest of the keyboard. While the keys of the keyboard proper are all raised off of the aluminum surface, the gaming keys are recessed, making it much harder to accidentally hit one when trying to hit the Tab, Shift, or Ctrl keys.

Finally, Corsair adds a full-length removable wrist rest (a convenience that's becoming increasingly rarefied these days) and dashboard software for configuring the keyboard downloadable from their website. Appropriate to the inclusion of fancier features, the K90 will set you back $129.

The Corsair Vengeance K60 and K90 in Action
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  • Guspaz - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    I've used mechanical keyboards. I even owned an IBM model M style keyboard.

    I currently use a $15 Microsoft ComfortCurve 2000. I prefer it to all others, including the IBM style mechanical; I find the extra travel distance on mechanical keyboards annoying. Mechanicals sound nice, but don't feel as nice.
    Reply
  • mattlach - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Agreed.

    If you are happy with your membrane keyboard, and are not willing to spend more on keyboards, then I highly recommend never trying them.

    Once you get used to a mechanical switch keyboard, there is no going back.

    My problem is that I am used to IBM buckling spring type keyboards, and now switching to even mechanical cherry or topre type switches feels not good enough.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I'm thrilled for you. Reply
  • Lemure - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    As are most people, but after using a mechanical keyboard such as the IBM model M or any preference of cherry switch for like a month, they realize that rubber domes actually feel like crap and are uncomfortable.

    $100 is not much if you sit in front of a computer for hours everyday and it's not going to break for 5-10 years which actually makes it a cheap investment. Hell I still have a second hand model M from the 90's that works fine. It's like sitting in a $10 folding chair for 8 hours a day or having a good office chair.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    It's a matter of personal preference, not objective superiority.

    I loathe mechanical keyboards personally, due to the long travel, noise and usually clicky feel.

    If you, like me, prefer minimal key travel, minimal noise and soft touch rather than clickyness you shouldn't use mechanical keyboards.

    I'd say this much though, a good mechanical keyboard lasts a lot longer than conventional dome ones. On the other hand it's not like buying a new doem keyboard every 5 years will kill your budget.
    Reply
  • Mygaffer - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    No, objective superiority belongs to the mechanical! Reply
  • Exodite - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    On longevity, yes.

    On anything else, no.
    Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Also price over time and consistency over time. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Shouldn't use conventional domes if you prefer minimal key travel, minimal noise, and soft touch either. For that you want a scissor switch keyboard which is hardly the convention when it comes to desktop keyboards. Reply
  • malazan - Monday, March 26, 2012 - link

    With my $7 dollar USB keyboard.

    All that means is, is that you're a peasant with no idea what quality is....
    Reply

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