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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  • bigboxes - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Agree. How you can put together this keyboard and decide that a select set of keys should be membrane is beyond me. It's not just the reliability of mechanical keys that make them desirable. It's the ergonomics of that make them special. Less fatigue and more precise keystrokes are important properties when choosing a mechanical switch keyboard. Exactly how much did Corsair save by using membrane switches on 12 keys? Reply
  • mongo lloyd - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    22 keys, actually. Reply
  • Sttm - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    The design is stupid because the 18 extra keys are useless when you cannot hit them quickly and comfortably while maintaining your left hand on top of WASD for proper movement. Removing your hand from the movement keys during the high level of play that would necessitate a $100+ keyboard is a big no no.

    Unless maybe you bind the movement keys over there, but then how do you gain anything from that? You'd have less keys in a more awkward placement; and a much harder time hitting the modifier keys.

    The designers should stop adding extra keys that cannot be hit without moving your hand far to the left and start adding extra keys where you can hit them, the area below the space bar comes to mind, put 4 keys down there, have them be able to be set up as modifiers, that then opens up another 40 or 50 key binds for in game; while maintaining proper hand placement. Or possibly making the F Keys thin, and a row of thin G keys below that, but angle them so they are easy to tell apart by feel.

    Every time I see that left hand side bulk placement of G Keys the only thing I can think is how stupid it is. C'mon manufacturers innovate!
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I get what you are saying, but I don't have a problem with it. I use the G-keys extensively on my G15, and also use the WASD keys on occasion. That being said, I'm weaning myself off using them for movement, and more and more use the mouse. Certainly turning is best done with a mouse, and with programmable buttons on them, you can use them to go forward, backward, and strafe, as well.

    One thing I do that is different than a lot of people - I don't use keys that change the function of a key in a fight (shift, alt, ctrl). Every action that requires a key press is done with one stroke. Extra programmable keys work great for that - and I don't need to use 2 hands for an action (one to press the function key and one the action key). Basically, in a fight I have one hand free to perform any action, and one free to perform any movement. It takes re-training yourself, especially if you are a keyboard turner, but it makes for better play in the end. (No put-down to keyboard turners here, I was one for years, and those who know how to do it right can do pretty well.)

    ;)
    Reply
  • bunnyfubbles - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    whats with all these full size keyboards anymore, who really uses the numpad outside of some sort of accounting job?

    I can understand it on the K90 as MMOs can utilize a ton of keys, but still, I'd love to see at least another model, say the K30, that was tenkeyless or perhaps even smaller. That little bit of space saved is just so much more ergonomically comfortable
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I use my computer for math. Excel, budgeting, etc. I use the hell out of the ten-key.

    One of the things Anand and Jarred have been breeding out of my as a writer is an assumption that my usage model represents everyone.
    Reply
  • Omega215D - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Maybe a detachable option like what's available on the MS Sidewinder X6 would be nice. Attach when needed and detach and stow away when it's not. Since there are no mechanical keyboards like that then I would also have to get a full sized keyboard. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I've got an X6, and I actually hate the detachable 10-key. It's a nice idea, but in practice you might as well just skip the 10-key entirely. Every time I move the keyboard around, it seems the 10-key gets left behind. Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    To be honest I just realized I stowed my num pad in the drawer for the past 4 months.

    It does become convenient when I need to use the calculator or typing lists that includes numbers but I just reach for my smartphone for calculator purposes.

    The X4 doesn't take up that much more space despite having a full layout. Yeah, even though I don't use it much, having the num pad is nice for those just in case moments.
    Reply
  • hechacker1 - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Here's my question, as I'm coming from a basic membrane based keyboard, and looking to purchase a new Cherry MX based keyboard.

    What would you say is the best switch for FPS based games? Reds? Blacks? Browns?

    What about something like Starcraft 2, where you can get frantic with APM (hitting peaks of 200 actions per minute?)

    I was initially intrigued with the idea of MX brown because they provide feedback in the actuation. That would let me know for certain that I've clicked a certain key. I think that would be advantageous for typing and RTS type games.

    But for an FPS, I'm thinking I often smash buttons down and hold them, and the actuation may not be a good idea. Somebody in a forum called the browns "floaty" because of it.

    I'm just curious of what people would recommend. FPS would be my first concern. This K60 looks pretty good for that, but of course it seems all subjective.

    But coming from cheapo, spongy, membrane based keyboards, I'm betting anything will be better.
    Reply

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