Corsair K60 Review

15 Feb, 2012

The K60 is one of the first keyboards released by Corsair, at under a £100, it takes aim at a very competitive market, read our review to see how it performed.

The corsair K60 comes with a large amount of accessories for its price point, but they aren’t just bells and whistles, they play an important role in making the K60 an FPS keyboard..

What’s in the Box?
The K60 comes with 9 replacement key caps for the WASD and 1-5 keys.  These keys are a 2 piece design, the bottom half using a standard key design, but the top half a red, textured coated key.  This means that you fingers will feel the differences between the keys around them, allowing you to quickly know if you are on the right key.  The WASD keys also come with an extra special contoured design.  The plastic has been moulded so that the A and D keys have raised outer edges, the same is seen on the W key.  We found this to be a great feature when gaming as you could use the edges of the keys or the whole top of the surface.  To remove the keys, Corsair has included a key puller, a simple tool that makes removing keys a synch.

The K60 also comes with a small, one wrist rest.  This rest is designed to place your hand over the WASD keys and make it perfect for gaming.  Initially, we found this a great feature, though when it came to typing, it meant more work for the right arm.  For cost reasons, you can see why Corsair didn’t include a full wrist rest, and if you want one, there is such a rest on the K90.    One extra little nugget thrown into the rest is that it separates into 2 pieces, housing the replaceable key caps and the key puller.

The Corsair K60

Switch Type Cherry MX Red Mechanical
Actuation Travel Distance 2mm
Total Travel 4mm
Switch Weight 45 Grams
Polling Rate 1.0 ms
Text on Keys Laser Etched
USB Ports 1
Windows Lock Key Yes
Software Panel No
Warranty 2 Years

The Corsair K60

The K60 features 1 USB port on the back, this is something quite special for a mechanical keyboard at this price point, we have already seen accessories and the more premium red switches included on the K60, but the inclusion of a USB port is actually a key selling point, it makes the Corsair K60 as functional as it is high performance.  One thing was surprising about the USB port though, it requires its own cable, so it is an extension from an existing USB on your computer rather than a hub.

The K60 has a great selection of hardware media keys, made of the same great quality aluminium the keyboard is made of it.  All the buttons feel very solid and raise the overall quality of the keyboard.  The buttons that are included on the keyboard are play, pause, stop, forward and back.  There is also a volume roller, Corsair usually do something with their products that gives them the edge on the competition, some simple as a volume roller can often be enough for some to sway them from the others in the market.

The Windows key, the ever annoying button that usually causes panic and anger when pressed during a game, in most cases causing you to return to the desktop.  Corsair have used a simple lock button at the top right of the keyboard that turns blue when activated.  This solution is actually one we prefer,  rather than removing the key entirely, giving you the option to turn it off and on at will, this will be important for upcoming Windows 8 which relies on the Windows key a lot.

Video Review

The construction of the K60 is something that is instantly noticeable, solid aluminium, making the K60 strong and durable.  While you might think this adds weight, it doesn’t.  This K60 is actually one of the lighter keyboards in the market, making it good for LAN transports or if you are going to be moving around a lot.  The other interesting point about the build is the fact that the keys are actually exposed where normally they would be covered in plastic.  What this means is that you can exactly see where the key bottoms out, something that we have not seen on a gaming keyboard before.  While this probably wont affect your gaming, it is a unique feature of the Corsair K series.

The Red Army

The Corsair K60 uses the Cherry MX Red switches; these are a popular choice at the moment, with Corsair being one of the first companies to bring these switches to the masses.  What the reds offer over the similar MX Black is lightness, requiring only 45g of force to activate.  The Blacks require 55 g to active, this often has frustrated gamers looking to do a lot of Facebook or typing.  This problem arises because there is no feedback on the Red switch, this means in most cases you are going to bottom out the key.  In gaming, you will bottom out most times anyway, but in typing, all you need to do is actuate the switch, something that is harder to do on the blacks without bottoming out.  The Red switch makes gaming and typing easier as the force is much low, meaning an easier stroke and faster return.  While Red switches are no the most optimal switch for typing, the combination of a linear switch with a light weight actuation point make the Reds one of the best choices for a gaming keyboard.

There is a BUT to this review, the K60 also features rubber dome switches as well.  It was a surprise that Corsair made this choice, firstly, they are know for going the extra mile, so why not here?  Secondly, every other keyboard that touts itself as mechanical is using a full mechanical layout, so why be different?  Corsair believe that these keys are not used as much in FPS gaming, combined with the bigger brother keyboard, the K90, that has dedicated hardware macro buttons, Corsair believe they have made their case.  I dont agree that this was the right choice, if it meant an extra £5, people would have paid it.  It think it is enough to sway people to other brands, so i think given the price, it should have been fully mechanical.  The keys that are membrane start at the Esc key and run along to the Pause/Break key, also the Del, Ins, Home, End, Page up and down keys.

More information about some of the jargon used in this review can be found here http://www.gamersedge.co.uk/2011/09/mechanical-switch-guide/

Testing

So we normally break down into 3 gaming categories, FPS, RTS, MMO, RPG or MOBA, that way we can give an insight into different gaming areas.  Needless to say, this keyboard is very skewed towards FPS gamers, but we still decided to see how the K60 faired.

FPS gaming was, as you would expect, a great experience.  The key caps really work, they arent just there for show.  The rest was very good in terms of comfort, but also the right height and felt good against skin.  I like Red switches, but i think most FPS gamers will too, so the question is, were the membrane switches up to the challenge as well.  If you have used a membrane keyboard before, it will feel as normal, plus they feel like a solid key, not just a cheap membrane switch.  The one dissapointing thing for those people who bind scripts in CSS for example, is that using F keys can be a little annoying getting a different feel when pushing keys.  However, given how little i pushed them, it was an experience that you get used to quickly.  If you never used any of the keys that are membrane, you have nothing to worry about.

MMO gaming was a little lacking compared to other keyboards.  I would have liked to have the option to use software to bind keys to macros with different gaming profiles.  Seeing as the K60 uses no software at all, this wont be something you can do.  All in all it was a good experience, but i think there was nothing to make it stand out from other keyboards.  I would advise looking at the K90 for MMO, it is about £25 more and features lots of macro buttons for customisation.

RTS gaming for some will always be about high APM you can get, as we found in our review of the QPAD MK-85, the red switches are one of the better switches for gaming, so i would recommend them an the K60 for RTS gaming.

Who is it for and Conclusion

The K60 is very much an FPS gamers keyboard. Corsair started off by using a great switch, combined it with a comfortable wrist rest and finished off by the key caps, add to that the great build quality makes the K60 one of the best gaming keyboards available.

We award the Corsair K60 the Silver Award and the FPS Award.

 

Thanks to Corsair for providing the sample for this review, more information on the Corsair website www.corsair.com

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