Conclusion: Strong Out of the Gate

I'll come right out and say that I've been looking for a new keyboard to replace my aging and decrepit Microsoft Reclusa for a long time, and for me, the Corsair Vengeance K90 is it. The backlighting, the wrist rest, the mechanical switches, the recessed configurable keys, the USB 2.0 port built into the top using a passthrough...the K90 is definitely an excellent piece of kit, and it feels like it was designed by people who used other gaming keyboards and felt like those products just weren't cutting the mustard. With all that in mind, I think there are still some reservations.

I have concerns about the paint and treatment used for the keycaps on the K90 being able to hold up over time, and I feel like the software definitely does need a little bit more work and fine tuning. The USB passthrough is appreciated, but with a dedicated connection wouldn't it have been just as easy to offer more than one USB port on the keyboard itself? Right now I'm using the single port for the Vengeance mice I'm testing, but it would be nice to have a second port: one for the mouse, and one for flash drive and other USB peripherals.

The price difference between the K90 and K60 is also a little too small; in my opinion the K90 is just more preferable to the K60 and absolutely worth the extra $20 for the substantially improved functionality, comfort, and aesthetics. If anything the K60 just seems to exist to make the K90 look like a better deal, which is impressive when you're talking about keyboards that cost north of $100.

With all that in mind, it's pretty clear that despite these nitpicks Corsair has once again entered a brand new market with some very strong products. For first attempts, the Vengeance K60 and K90 both get an awful lot right, and the typing and user experiences on both of these keyboards are definitely a step above what you'll get from a garden variety membrane keyboard.

It's up to you to decide if they're worth the investment; I think the $109 and $129 price tags are both a little too steep and the keyboards would both be more compelling at $89 and $119 respectively, if not $79 and $109. If you're willing to shell out for one, the K90 is pretty much directly superior to its less expensive sibling and worth the extra $20. But really, I wouldn't fault anyone for buying either one despite the prices: these are excellent keyboards and, in my opinion, a cut above any gaming keyboards anyone else is producing.

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

    I think you hit the key on the head. It seems that this is a nice keyboard but $129 is simply not justifiable for most people. I mean, what does this have that the dated G15 does not? This is 10 year old technology found elsewhere for less. I like the backplate to keep it clean, but it is not worth $50. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    You miss the complete point of it having mechanical keys. Reply
  • azguy90 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    The G15 was a good keyboard, but it was not mechanical... there is a world of difference between a mechanical and dome switch keyboard, and a good mechanical board is expensive. The two keyboards aren't even comparable. Reply
  • mattlach - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    YUCK!

    That is absolutely disgusting!

    No one gets anywhere near my desk with food, and they don't get to touch my keyboard unless their hands are clean and grease free.

    If I leave my desk to eat, my hands get washed before returning to my keyboard.

    The very thought of using a keyboard that has been eaten at or touched with dirty hands is disgusting.
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Oh god, don't get me started on the guy I used to share a computer with when I worked in a research lab in grad school. Every time I sat down at the computer, the mouse was coated with greasy *something*. I mean it was literally crusty. I don't know if it was fried chicken grease, potato chips, or what, and I don't want to know. I don't consider myself a huge neat freak, but I used to leave a big bottle of Windex in the desk just to clean up after this slob. Reply
  • coolkev99 - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Don't work in deskside IT support. You'll see and.. :shudder:. touch keyboards so nasty, so dirty, so gross w/stuck on grimy gunk that you'll want to call in a CDC quarantine. Reply
  • realneil - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - link

    I cannot afford one of these Keyboards, but I read the article anyways. Guess I'm a troll. I found it an interesting read,....the K60 looks like a winner to me.

    I'd love to have it, but it's more than I can spend right now.
    Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I started using mechanical keyboards when I took over a Data Processing department in 1977. Most of my professional career was spent using IBM mechanical keyboards.

    Think in terms of millions of lines of code.

    I am currently using a IBM Model M Space Saver (no numerical keypad), Part No. 1391472, manufactured on November 19, 1987. The savings in desk space are appreciated.

    I have used keyboards with Cherry Blue switches and they are perfectly satisfactory.

    I have also used conventional dome-type keyboards that are also satisfactory. In fact, the PS/2 keyboard at my workbench is a Micro Innovations model that came from a case of 10 keyboards I purchased on ebay for about $25.

    The long and the short of it is, keyboard type is a matter of personal preference.

    All can be good.

    Since I don't do much involving numbers, I find the "Tenkeyless" models to be more convenient than the full size keyboards with numeric keypads.

    In any case, the best selection of mechanical keyboards I am aware of is:

    http://www.elitekeyboards.com

    Forums on mechanical keyboards can be found at

    http://geekhack.org/
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I agree it's possible to make a decent dome keyboard (e.g. Apple, Lenovo, probably some other scissor-type laptop keyboards), it's just that hardly anyone bothers. If you're making a dome keyboard, you are probably focused on absolute lowest cost with almost no allowance for ergonomics or durability. As long as it can withstand average use for a typical 3 year life cycle, you're good to go.

    On the other hand, if your market cares enough about keyboard feel to want mechanical switches, they are probably also not going to mind paying extra for all the other things that go into a quality keyboard, like good keycaps and a solid baseplate. These could improve dome keyboards too, but it's probably not worth it, since most people who care enough about keyboard feel to spend the extra money are probably going to want mechanical switches anyway.
    Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I agree, the MS Sidewinder X6 and X4 have a nice quality feel to them and just recently some of the keys are showing signs of failure in the X6 and glad I got the X4 during black friday for $25. I like the red backlighting and the keys are solid and clicky compared to other rubber domes.

    Still, I would rather have a mechanical keyboard as it lasts longer and, to me, better key feel. I just need one that has red backlighting.
    Reply

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