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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  • kyuu - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    What? There's a Cherry keyboard there with 8 ratings with a combined score of *5* eggs. The one on top is the only one I see with a poor rating, and *that* is by *one* user whose complaint had nothing to do with the switches (it seems it rattled, a reasonable complaint, and also the keys were small, not a reasonable complaint when you've purchased an ultraslim keyboard).

    Also, user ratings on Newegg are not a reasonable foundation for making any kind of objective evaluation of a product or company.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    The good rated Cherry mobos are a MEMBRANE style, not a mechanical key, except for the one person I mentioned who liked one model.

    People's opinions are their opinions. Who are you to say if their opinion is not valid?????
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    People do complain about the build quality of Cherry OEM boards, but it's the quality of the case, PCB, caps, etc. Put the same MX switches in a Rosewill board and everything is roses.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Sub...
    Reply
  • Conficio - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    Does anyone know of a mechanical keyboard that is more in the $100 range with a split keyboard design like the Microsoft Natural Keybaord Elite?

    I love those and would trade it in for a mechanical, but all I can find is $250+ and that is too steep a price.
    Reply
  • adamantinepiggy - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    When I am busy doing work on the PC, not one damn person ever comes up and asks me stupid questions lie whether I'm busy at the moment. People KNOW when I'm busy working from the auditory carnage!!! Reply
  • Zds - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    Interesting review!

    Being a person who likes his UI devices respond perfectly, I have long been fan of switch keyboards, and it's nice to get reviews of then. My habit of having drinks at desk also goes through membrane keyboards at rate of one per 1.5 years..

    Anyway, the keyboard that I've relied upon for past 5 years is Raptor Gaming keyboard, based on gold-plated cross-point switches. It does not have macros or leds, but the *keyboard* in it is very, very good. So I am skeptical on Corsair being on different level.
    Reply
  • Cygus - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    i have seen in a long time! Yuck! Corsair, you need a new design team! Reply
  • Vepsa - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I would love it if a company made an ergonomic keyboard with mechanical switches. I cannot really type on a standard keyboard w/o pain (not from carpal tunnel, from arthritis in my fingers) so it would be a godsend to be able to get a solidly built mechanical switch ergonomic keyboard. Reply
  • methudman6 - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    When I was 5 years old my dad gave me a computer with a mechanical keyboard. The keyboard lasted me for 10 years before it broke. I was then 15 and very disappointed to find out that stores did not sell mechanical keyboards anymore. As others have mentioned here, once you get used to a mechanical keyboard you just can't go back. Not only does it feel much better but it also significantly improves your typing accuracy and speed.

    Anyways I'm really happy to see that more companies are starting to make mechanical keyboards. I would like to see one that is designed for professional use in the office - maybe one that is a little bit softer so as not to be extremely loud and I don't need any of those extra gaming keys and flashy LED lights.
    Reply
  • ddecker902 - Friday, March 23, 2012 - link

    Bought a K90 keyboard around the end of February. Had a stuck key, I'd hit backspace and it'd keep backspacing. This was consistent.
    Returned it and got another one about two weeks ago. Same behavior, only more keys were affected.

    Can't recommend it. Seems to me to be badly made.
    Reply

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