Joshua GoldmanOct. 15, 2020 4:00 a.m. PT
This article was first published at www.cnet.com
Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE review: A higher-quality entry-level gaming keyboard Using Cherry’s Viola mechanical switches, the K60 Pro offers up a better gaming experience at a lower cost.
Corsair’s K60 RGB Pro delivers what few if any other gaming keyboards can: a full-size mechanical gaming keyboard experience complete with per-key RGB lighting for less than $100. When you dip below this price, you’ll typically find flat- and dome-membrane gaming keyboards. Or you’ll find keyboards with mechanical switches but you’ll get a single-color backlight or build quality that might not hold up over time.
But because Corsair used a new lower-cost Cherry Viola mechanical switch, it was able to go a little higher-end on the rest. And really, you want mechanical switches because they’re faster, last longer and have N-key rollover with 100% anti-ghosting so your individual keypresses register no matter how fast your fingers are moving.
The Viola switch is a two-stage linear switch that Cherry calls CrossLinear. It has a 45-gram actuation force and 2-millimeter actuation distance and a total travel distance of 4mm. This is essentially the same as the company’s classic MX Red linear switches. However, the force required to go from 2mm to 4mm increases to 75g.
If you’re a fast-fingered gamer and typist with a light touch, you’re getting approximately the same feel as the MX Reds but without the cost. I typically bottom out when I’m typing, though, so they feel stiff compared with a traditional linear switch. In general, they’re quiet but there is a soft plastic-on-plastic sound to them as well as an echoing spring sound, most noticeably from the spacebar.
Below $100, my personal preference for a mechanical keyboard would be the loud, clicky Outemu Blue switches in Aukey’s KM-G12 keyboard or the tactile Romer-G switches on Logitech’s G413 Carbon. Then again, neither of these lives up to the rest of what the Corsair K60 RGB Pro offers and, again, those with a light touch should like these switches.
There are four versions of the K60 Pro, starting at $80 with ABS low-profile keycaps and per-key red backlighting. For another $10 you can get it with per-key RGB lighting. Then there’s the $100 model (£77, or about AU$140) I tested, the K60 RGB Pro SE, which adds wear- and shine-resistant PBT double-shot, full-height keycaps and a cushy wrist rest that attaches magnetically. Lastly, for $110, you can get the K60 RGB Pro Low Profile, which has ABS low-profile keycaps but underneath them are Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Speed switches.
The build quality is solid here, with a plastic base topped with black brushed aluminum. There’s no flex to the keyboard and there’s no wobble to the keys. Plus, the switch design lets the LED lights below really shine through and there are 10 levels of brightness. The switches are hot-swappable, too, so they’re easily replaceable should one break or if Cherry makes another type of switch with the Viola’s design.
There are no media control labels on the function row keys, but the controls are there. You’ll just have to do a bit of memorization. Otherwise, the key legends are legible — not always the case with gaming keyboards — and the secondary functions light up with the primary ones, so you won’t be struggling to see them in the dark.
It’s also worth mentioning that the K60 Pro is completely compatible with Corsair’s iCue software. It’s available for Windows and Mac and gives you control over programming its lights and remapping keys and setting up macros. When you go lower in price, you don’t always get this level of control or a polished app to go with it.
Basically, the Corsair K60 RGB Pro lets you save some money on a mechanical gaming keyboard without sacrificing things like per-key RGB lighting, build quality, good control software and a cushy wrist rest. However, it would be easier to recommend if it were $10 to $20 less expensive, just because there are more and potentially better options for your needs for just over $100.