Corsair K60 RGB Pro Review
Corsair is a company that's perhaps best known for their state of the art full size keyboards, complete with awesome RGB lighting and a whole number of extra dials, switches, and features. Those types of keyboard come at a price though (click here to see our review of the K100) and it's for that reason that Corsair has launched the K60 RGB Pro.
This is Corsair's attempt to give budget conscious gamers a reasonably priced entry into their world of gaming keyboards. You get that signature Corsair brushed aluminum look, along with their famed RGB and control software in a relatively compact package. It's also one of the first mainstream keyboards to house the new Cherry Viola switches, making it even more interesting. Is this board worth it, or should you look towards other options if you're on a budget? Read our full review to find out!
"It's designed specifically for the value market and its needs. Thanks to a simple design, a unique switching characteristic, and a new contact system, VIOLA replaces entry-level technologies such as rubber domes and hybrid solutions."Cherry, on the Viola switches
Corsair K60 RGB Pro - First Impressions
For a full sized Corsair keyboard this is a rather subtle and compact product. It has that typical brushed aluminum top plate but aside from a very subtle, almost blacked out Corsair logo on the top right you'd have trouble knowing this is a Corsair board if you looked at it from a distance. There are no dials, knobs, or indeed any media controls to be found: what you get here is a very basic full sized keyboard with no frivolities.
Whether you like this more stripped down look or not will obviously depend on your personal preferences, but as someone who's not a fan of huge spaceship-style boards I rather dig this approach that they've taken here. Of course I am aware of the fact that the absence of any extra features probably has more to do with Corsair cutting costs as opposed to being an intentional design decision, but that's neither here nor there.
As is tradition with Corsair keyboards the K60 RGB Pro feels very well built and reliable. Thanks to the aluminum top plate (the housing is made out of plastic) it's hard to get it to flex or bend: the only movement I noticed is when I pressed down with a decent amount of force on the empty area surrounding the arrow keys but of course you have no reason to do that while using it normally, so as far as I'm concerned the build quality is very much up to par here.
With this being a budget board it's no surprise that you don't find a a lot of extras in the box. In fact you don't find anything. There are no additional WASD keys, nor is there a wrist rest or even a keycap puller. That last one's a bit of a shame if you're asking me, doubly so because Corsair actually emphasizes the fact that the K60 RGB Pro has a standard bottom row 'for keycap customization.' A regular keycap puller doesn't cost anything, I know, but perhaps that's why I always like to see one included with keyboards.
Size & Dimensions
Features and build
As I've already established the K60 RGB Pro doesn't have a lot of extra meat on the bone. The only 'extras', if you can call them that, are the indicator LEDs on the top right side, but aside from that this is a very compact full sized board. I don't think Corsair specifically focused on having a small footprint: there's still a reasonable amount of extra space above and below where the keys end, but for me personally it's a nice extra.
The USB cable is not detachable. I don't mind that on full sized boards but the lack of anything like a USB passthrough port or media controls makes this fall somewhere in between a 'compact competitive gamer board' and the battlestation-type boards Corsair usually puts out. That's not a knock or anything: it's just an observation.
Speaking of observing: I feel like I should mention the RGB lighting here. I usually don't spend more than a few sentences on this kind of stuff but I think that people who are considering this particular board will, at least partially, be considering it because of Corsair's pedigree when it comes to RGB (otherwise there are many other RGB-less boards to consider in the budget range) so I'll just say that it's very impressive.
The Cherry Viola switches (more on those later) have a translucent housing, and that combined with the thin low profile keycaps gives the board a very unique look since the stems are exposed from pretty much all angles. That's something that you need to like but if you do, the K60 RGB Pro won't disappoint on the RGB front. The aluminum top plate is a bit reflective too, meaning that you see faint reflections of the lights on the plate itself. It reminds me of walking through a rainy cityscape at night, with reflections of the neon signs being faintly visible on the wet pavement and in small puddles. Before I completely bury you in writing clichés I'll quickly summarize: the RGB is, as we've come to expect from Corsair, impressive.
What's not impressive are they keycaps. That's a problem with a lot of budget boards from these big brands but here I feel like they're particularly egregious. I'll preface this by saying that I'm in general not a fan of low profile caps so that might have something to do with it, but I just don't like these caps. The coating is alright at first even though it feels a bit chalky to me, but it get sticky awfully quickly and it does a bad job at handling sweat and finger oils. That combined with how thin the caps are makes them feel cheap and, for me, not pleasant to use.
You can swap these out with no worries thanks to the standard layout of the board, so I can kind of understand why they didn't want to go for more premium caps. After all those do drive up the price, and the reality is that most people don't really care about caps so business-wise it's a smart decision to go for the cheaper ones, but I am personally not a fan.
On the bottom of the board there are five rubber strips to hold the K60 in place during intense gaming sessions, and they do a good job at that. If you prefer to play at an angle there are also two flip up feet to do just that.
Performance and every day use
Inside the K60 RGB Pro are the all new Cherry Viola switches. Those are made for 'the value' market and are 'CrossLinear'. What this means is that the switch basically travels in two phases: pre actuation you need a force of 45G to press the switch, and once you've passed the actuation point at two millimeters the required force shoots up to 75G for the remaining two millimeters, making the total travel distance 4 millimeters. This CrossLinear characteristic allows for a quick switch reset, according to Cherry.
What's also interesting about these new switches is that, technically, the Violas are made to be hot-swappable. Corsair doesn't advertise that in their marketing though, so I'm pretty sure that you'll void the warranty if you decide to pull the switches out. All things considered it's best to consider this K60 RGB Pro as a board that isn't hot-swappable but just to be sure I pulled one of those switches out, and everything worked perfectly after I put it back, so if you've got one of these boards and your warranty expires you can just replace a faulty switch.
Enough with the theory: how do the switches feel? In all honesty I'm not a fan. These switches are linear and are relatively smooth (unless you press them at a sharp angle, in which case some feel a bit gritty) but I really don't like the CrossLinear aspect. I'm a heavy typist so I pretty much always go far past the actuation point and the fact that the resistance goes up so drastically after reaching that point gives me the feeling as if there's a rubber sheet right underneath the actuation point or something.
I have no doubt that some people will really love the way these Violas feel (switches are subjective, after all) but I don't. The whole thing makes me think of trying to wade through a shallow river or a field of deep snow: you can put quite a bit of force and speed in your initial movements but your momentum quickly gets stopped. I do like a bit of an outdoor adventure every now and again but that almost struggling feeling isn't something that I personally like in a gaming keyboard.
It's also a rather loud board and if you're a heavy typist you're definitely gonna get some 'dink' sounds so that's not ideal either. I will say that the stabilizers on my copy feel pretty good and that there's not a lot of wobbling on the keys but that doesn't prevent me from actively disliking the whole typing experience.
When it comes to controlling the RGB you're all set: Corsair's iCUE software is very reliable and the options to customize your board are nearly endless. There's no doubt that you'll be able to create (or find) a profile that's 100% to your liking. You can also record macros but you cannot use those macros unless you've got iCUE active somewhere in the background, so you might want to take note of that if you're a person who relies on all kinds of macros.
To sort of wrap this up: if it sounds like I'm being incredibly harsh on this board it's because I don't like the switches, and those are of course one of the most important aspects of a keyboard. I do know that this is subjective, so there will no doubt be people who love these Violas. If you feel like regular linear switches are too 'loose' and you would like to be pushed back a bit after you've actuated a key this could very well be the one for you, but otherwise I would recommend trying a more conventional switch.
Conclusion & Recommendation
This isn't an easy one to conclude. On the one hand I strongly dislike the Viola switches, but that's personal. On the other hand there's also the fact that the keycaps feel subpar, but that could perhaps be expected from a budget keyboard.
If you feel like you would like this type of switch that offers more resistance once you've hit the actuation point and you don't mind the caps or were planning on switching them out anyway this could definitely be an interesting keyboard. I can't help but feel like there are better budget options out there, though. I don't usually comment on price since that can vary wildly between regions and even the time of the year (sales and so on) but the MSRP of this board isn't that low, all things considered, and unless these Viola switches sound like a dream to you it doesn't really offer anything new or interesting aside from that signature Corsair RGB and look.
In short: it's a barebones Corsair board with very different feeling switches. If you absolutely want to get into the Corsair lineup and you're on a budget this could be one to consider (do read up on the switches before you do though) but otherwise I wouldn't recommend this. Corsair has made way more interesting products.