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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  • Metaluna - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Huh? CPU and GPU advancements over the past 5+ years have so vastly outpaced the needs of "the majority of general computers users" that ergonomics is *all that's left* in many usage scenarios these days. Unless you think the majority the hundreds of millions of PC users are playing high-end games.

    Heck, I'm an electrical engineer, and pretty much all I use my work laptop for these days is MS Office, text editing, and VNC. Most real work is done by submitting jobs to a compute server farm where a load balancing engine selects an available machine to run on based on memory and CPU requirements.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I disagree with you emphatically, and the amount of response this review and the Rosewill RK-9000 review have gotten is proof these things are important to many users. Reply
  • Omega215D - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Maybe it's time to start kicking trolls and banning them. Probably the type of people to poo poo PSU articles as well. Reply
  • Beenthere - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    Let's not assume that someone who doesn't find keyboards too exciting is a troll.

    I doubt 99% of PC users would ever consider paying $100 for a keyboard. By Dustin's own comments the prices are excessive on these two keyboards.
    Reply
  • nickersonm - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    We spend most of our time on computers using input and output devices (KB, mouse, monitor). Thus, if the internals of the PC are relatively adequate, which does it make more sense to spend money on: good quality for something you'll be using for literally thousands of hours (or tens of thousands), or a 20% upgrade to the speed of your processor which you'll only notice under heavy load? A realistic cost-benefit analysis will generally point towards spending money on parts you interact with most. Reply
  • Azethoth - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    Yeah its "just" a keyboard. Guess what the most frequent computer use injury is? That's right, repetitive stress. Maybe you want to reconsider the money you are "saving" by buying a $15 keyboard or mouse in that light?

    Here is a link:
    http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/OccHealth/Re...

    The bottom line is after 7 years you have lost $52,326 compared to someone who just broke their arm. Those cherry switches look real cheap suddenly right?
    Reply
  • Conficio - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    @modsci
    Look at it this way. Many computers have squeezed all quality out of the product in order to advertise a low price.
    Look at laptops with crappy screens that especially when used on your lap wash out if you are not looking at them straight on. But then you can't as the hinge doesn't even permit to open appropriately for environments like an airplane or a train commute.
    The same is true for keyboards. People that use the computer many hours of the day, typing more than a few URL's and then browsing and clicking, do realize that they do not need to update their computer every three years any more. Because for writing documents, much of programming and a lot of games the older machine is just fine. However, some quality upgrades can make a huge difference, keyboards, monitors, SSDs come to mind.
    And last give the authors here some credit, they write about what they are interested in. And by the nature of their job (being an author), they type a lot. So they have a personal and natural interest in the subject matter. And believe me that is a good thing, that is what makes Anandtech so much better over many other review sites, where being first out or lacing things with "cool" words and "excitement" is the main theme. Here you get thorough reviews. And feel free to skip an article if you are not interested.
    Reply
  • Kegetys - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I got myself a K90 some time ago and the first one was bricked by the firmware updater (others seem to have had similar fate). It said the update succeeded but still the keyboard stopped working completely. Experience with Corsair support after this was pretty bad, I wouldn't want to deal with them again. They ask you to not return the keyboard in the install sheet and use their support instead, which is pretty strange considering their support and RMA procedure... After returning the keyboard to the retailer and getting a new one, I do like the feel of it for both typing and gaming so I am quite happy with it as that is the most important thing. I find the wrist rest to be too small though, and the macro keys as they are implemented now are almost useless. The software is just bad to use, buggy, lacks features and feels very much like some kind of pre-alpha version.

    If I were to choose now I would probably get the K60 instead and some separate wrist rest for it, though the software will hopefully be improved in the future.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    As with Corsair SSDs they probably rushed these keyboards to market without proper validation of the software. If that's the case expect lots of headaches and RMAs if you use the updates. All marketing and no engineering it appears? Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    It's interesting that only one mechanical Cherry keyboard has a decent rating by (1) user on NewEgg. While Cherry switches may be liked by some not too many people seem to like Cherry keyboards on NE except for a couple Cherry membrane boards that got good reviews.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Sub...
    Reply

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