[Review] Budget-Friendly Mechanical Cherry Viola Debut: The Corsair K60 RGB Pro
Corsair K60 RGB Pro
Always wanted to own a Corsair mechanical keyboard but found their prices way out of your league? With the new budget-friendly Corsair K60 RGB Pro, you can enjoy mechanical switches, per-key RGB lighting, and sturdy build quality for just US$89.90.
Sounds too good to be true? Let's dive in and find out!
Great build without all the bells and whistles
The first thing you'll notice when you lift the K60 out of the box is that it's pretty small compared to the flagship K100 or even the mainstream K70. This is because it has done away with all the flashy stuff, like dedicated media buttons and the light strip at the top.
Instead, you'll get a very minimalist device with an anodised aluminium faceplate, which is honestly a great deal at this price point. It lends a lot of rigidity to the board and the brushed metal finish also contributes to a more premium overall impression. As for branding, you'll find the Corsair Sails logo subtly imprinted on the top right and the model name inscribed in miniscule font on the bottom left, lending to its simple and clean design.
In the box you'll also find that there are no spare keycaps or wrist rest, which is not surprising at this price point.
The non-detachable cable is made of rubber, and on the bottom you'll find flip-out feet to set your keyboard at a comfortable incline.
The debut of Cherry Viola switches
One of the most interesting things about this keyboard however, are its Cherry MX Viola switches. This brand-new budget mechanical switch promises significantly higher quality than rubber dome and hybrid solutions at this price point.
My first impression of the Violas is that they are exceptionally bouncy. Considering that they have two-stage linear actuation, this isn't surprising. According to their website, "an actuation force of 45 cN is required for the pretravel of two millimetres. After that, the actuation force ramps up to 75 cN at the end of the travel distance (four millimetres)."
In simple terms, the further down you push the switch, the more resistance you'll feel; this also results in a super-fast reset time, which makes it extremely enjoyable to spam spells with. However, if you're an aggressive typist who usually bottoms out the keys (I am), the actuation force at the end of the travel distance will quickly become tiring.
The typing sound was alright, though it did suffer from some metallic pinging on some of the keys if you listen closely enough. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable typing experience overall.
One thing that I personally disliked about the Viola switches was the glaringly white base. It's extremely visible from regular sitting positions, and makes the keyboard look slightly cheap (even though it is cheap). However, if you're a fan of pudding-style keycaps, you'll be delighted to find that this allows Corsair's stellar RGB lighting to shine through extremely evenly and effectively; this is made even more prominent by the keycaps' low-profile build, which exposed more of the base.
In a pleasant twist, the Viola switches are more stable than their Cherry MX counterparts, most likely thanks to their Kaihl-esque box frame, which provided a broader contact point than the MX's single cross-shaped stem.
Cherry's website states that the Viola switches are built to be hot-swappable, but unfortunately it would be inadvisable to pluck yours out of the K60, as it will void Corsair's warranty.
Built-in RGB customisable with iCue
Being part of the Corsair family, the K60 enjoys all the benefits the brand's iCue software offers, from RGB customisation to macro programming, although it should be noted that the keyboard itself has no onboard memory, so iCue has to be kept on all times if you want your macros to work, or if you want a particular lighting setup.
If you don't want to install iCue at all, you can still play around with the keyboard's built-in lighting presets. To do so, you'll have to press the Function key + any number key to activate the different lighting modes.
As for media controls, they're built into the keyboard's function row and clearly labeled, so you'll still have full control over your music even without dedicated media keys. Strangely enough, F2 and F6 seem to be unassigned, but every other key in the row has been well utilised.
Buy or no buy?
At this price point, the K60 RGB Pro offers a great amount of bang for your buck. From beautiful RGB lighting to mechanical switches and decent build quality, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option within this price range.
If you want to add on a wrist rest and swap out the ABS keycaps for double-shot PBT ones, you can top up an additional US$10 for the SE variant, which is excellent value in my opinion, considering how Corsair's PBT upgrade kit already costs US$49.99 (though the kit doesn't feature standard bottom row keys like the newer Corsair keyboards do).
If you're a gamer on a restricted budget who wants a mechanical keyboard that ticks all the basic boxes, the K60 RGB Pro is definitely one to top your list.