Introduction and Externals
Will you click with the keyboard that doesn’t?
Corsair manufactures a wide variety of components and peripherals for PC enthusiasts. They essentially target the most enthusiastic customers in whatever market they enter – breaking the ice with the coldest and harshest critics who are never above nitpicking faults and flaws. Despite tossing their first generation products to the sharks they perform uncharacteristically well for a new contender almost every time. They look before they leap.
The Corsair K60 and K90 were launched simultaneously and represent Corsair’s first attempt at producing a mechanical keyboard. Corsair has included media keys, a metal volume wheel, and a Windows-key lock on both keyboards if you find yourself yelling, “I HATE THIS KEY!” at your desktop because your game is now minimized and cannot receive your hatred.
Rubberized when down, not when up — but stable either way.
I never said I wasn't one of the nitpickers.
Both keyboards are built around an aluminum chassis with a nonslip coating to each key. Each keycap has a sharply defined edges compared to the more round edges found on a Razer Blackwidow and other similar keyboards. Neither keyboard has rubberized tips on their ergonomic flaps although slipping has not been an issue in my testing.
Both keyboards utilize Cherry MX Red switches for the actual mechanics behind their keys. Inside each switch is a simple ramp that separates its open and closed position. There are no bumps or jumping beans to alert the user of the actuation point. The spring which resists the plunger has less resistance than the Cherry MX Black – the only difference between the two colors – which makes it easier to press and multi-tap but also harsher to bottom out.
Not every key on the keyboard is mechanical. The function keys (F1 and so forth) along with the cluster above the arrow keys (insert, delete, print screen, etc.) are all based on a membrane switch. The K90’s macro keys are also all based on membrane switches. If I were to be generous, I would say that the membrane switches feel quite different especially if you are left-handed gamer who uses delete, insert, end, and so forth for functions such as switch weapons while using the arrow keys to navigate.
This cluster of keys are membrane based, oddly enough.
Surprisingly the number pad and arrow keys are in fact fully mechanical. The attention to those keys is a positive, only draws more attention to the lack of mechanical switches behind the page-up and page down cluster as well as the macro keys on the K90. I can understand the function keys – save cost for the barely used switches – but not the keys above the arrow keys and especially not the macro keys. If your gamer is the type to use macro keys they would probably also be the type to be annoyed if they are considered and feel second rate.
That said I practically never use macro keys on my keyboard; I guess I should digress.
The media keys and functionality are the best that I have seen thus far. While they are not mechanical keys – the volume roller is pretty much genius.
This is the first keyboard that I've seen shipped with a keycap ripper. Every other manufacturer expects you to buy it.
I've only used Western keyboards so it may or may not be commonly in the box for International boards.
Maybe our International viewers can give their perspective in the comments?
(Apparently Matt's CMStorm keyboard has one too. Still wondering how common it is.)
The K60 also comes with shaped keys to replace the default WSAD keys for a shooter. These are possibly the most intelligent innovation I have seen in a keyboard. Being a lefty I enjoy using the arrow keys and hate switching to WSAD in games that require it because it is difficult for me tell where my actually hand is without seeing it. These replacement keycaps solve this problem entirely by allowing you to feel which key you are on. Stay between the edges of the half pipe and you are where you need to be. It is hard to see in the image but very easy to feel in person.
In all, the Corsair K60 and K90 has a surprising amount of build quality and attention to detail. Next, we will test whether the build quality is superficial or whether the electronics match the chrome.