Switches: Cherry Viola
Onboard memory: None
Software: Corsair iCue
Keycaps: ABS plastic
Materials: Aluminum (top plate), plastic
Size: 17.4 x 5.4 x 1.7 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Corsair is widely considered one of the most successful gaming keyboard brands; the company's products regularly rank as the best on the market. But those trophy winners can get expensive, like in the case of the $229 K100 RGB. With the Corsair K60 RGB Pro, the company is giving gamers a less expensive option without sacrificing quality.
At this price, you might expect a cheap, bulky plastic design, but the K60 RGB Pro is a surprisingly sleek and durable keyboard with a handsome brushed-aluminum surface. You also get full per-key RGB lighting and useful iCue software for tinkering with the lighting or macros.
Now, about the keys. They are fully mechanical, being among the first to use the new Cherry Viola switches. These aren't full-blown MX keys, nor do they provide the same satisfying typing experience, but they act similarly to MX Reds. Unfortunately, I had some problems with the keys, and I wish the K60 RGB Pro had onboard memory for switching between profiles.
Looking at the entire package, the K60 RGB is a compelling option for those wanting a true mechanical keyboard for less than $100.
Corsair K60 RGB Pro: Price and versions
Corsair sent us the standard version of the K60 RGB Pro, which retails for $89.99 but is currently on sale at Amazon for $75.
There are two other models of this same keyboard. The recommended K60 RGB Pro SE adds a nice soft-touch detachable wrist rest for an extra $10. And for $109.99, you can get the K60 RGB Pro LP (low-profile), an even slimmer version of the one we tested.
Corsair K60 RGB Pro: Design
It's back to the basics with the Corsair K60 RGB, a keyboard with a minimalist design. There are no macros keys, buttons or a volume knob bordering the keyboard. It is a simple rectangular base with a few LED indicators in the top-right corner and a row of shortcut keys.
The K60 has a slim profile but is long enough for a full numpad. The sleek keyboard easily slipped into the laptop sleeve of my backpack, but I'd still opt for a tenkeyless option when I'm out traveling.
Before you notice any of these things, your attention will be drawn to the RGB lighting illuminating each key from below. Per-key RGB lighting is a significant selling point for such an inexpensive keyboard and, as you'd expect from Corsair, the execution is excellent. Rainbow hues shone brightly from below the numerals and digits as I tested this keyboard.
However, this might not be the RGB look you were expecting. Because the sockets housing the keycaps are white, the light is diffused through an opaque material, which makes the keys look like mini glowsticks. I actually favor the effect as it gives the illuminated sockets an almost vintage, pastel-like color.
Adding to the premium feel of the K60 RGB Pro is a black brushed aluminum top plate. It gives the K60 a stealthy appearance, one that suggests the keyboard costs much more than it actually does. A few other small design elements grace the peripheral including the Corsair ship logo in the top-right corner and a modern //K60 stenciled in white on the bottom-left edge.
The keyboard feels sturdy and has a nice heft without being bulky. Measuring 17.4 x 5.4 x 1.7 inches, the Corsair K60 RGB Pro is wider and thicker than the VictSing PC259A (14.7 x 4.9 x 1.4 inches) but gives users isolated, easy-to-find arrow keys.
Corsair K60 RGB Pro: Connectivity and support
The K60 is a wired keyboard that connects to devices via a USB 3.0 Type-A cable. The peripheral supports Windows 10 and macOS and console gamers can connect it to the Xbox One (though you'll lose iCue support).
Corsair K60 RGB Pro keys: Cherry Viola
Want genuine Cherry switches on an inexpensive keyboard? Voilà!
Er, rather, Cherry Viola — the brand new switches employed by the K60 RGB Pro. Designed for budget-conscious shoppers who want the benefits of a mechanical switch, Viola uses less expensive materials than its counterparts and reduces the number of parts from seven to four to keep the cost down.
How do they feel? Good, not great. The keys, which use PBT double-shot keycaps, lack the same tactile click you expect from a mechanical keyboard and the low actuation force will take some getting used to, especially if you're a heavy typer like myself. There is a nice springiness to each key even without the satisfying audible "clank" you get typing on Cherry Blue keys.
Most users will enjoy typing on the K60 RGB Pro. Each key press has a nice long travel distance with a very short actuation point followed by extra room for support. I rarely bottomed out while typing on the K60, but keep in mind that heavy-fingered typists will likely hit the deck.
I did, however, run into one major issue: the low actuation distance. The two-stage linear Viola switches share the same 45-gram actuation force and 2-millimeter actuation distance as the classic MX Red switches. For most people, that won't be a problem, however, I found myself inadvertently double-pressing letters as I typed news or made edits to articles.
My speedy fingers would accidentally depress a key just the slightest distance after a full press, and because the actuate distance is so low, that key would activate. The result? Lots of typos. I got better the more I used the keyboard, but I still find a stray letter popping up in my copy every now and then. The keys also feel a bit weightier and sluggish than what I'm used to typing on, and I'm not a fan of the slippery high-glossy keycaps.
Now, you can remove the Viola keys, but doing so voids the warranty and other Cherry MX keys won't fit on the K60.
I typed at 109 words per minute with a 94% accurate rate on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which ties my 109-wpm average but with slightly more typos than my usual 5% error rate.
Because it uses a linear switch, the K60 RGB Pro isn't as loud as keyboards that use Cherry MX Blue or Brown switches. That said, it is noisier than your standard membrane keyboard or the one on your laptop. My wife joked about all the noise I was making when I started using the K60 RGB Pro, but the complaint was more about the hollow thud it makes than the actual noise level. The K60 RGB Pro doesn't come with a wrist rest, but we recommend one so consider saving another $10 or so to get the K60 RGB Pro SE.
Corsair K60 RGB Pro: Gaming
The K60 did much better during my gaming session. I played through a few rooms in the original Portal without issue. My fingers felt at ease as I switched from the orange and blue portal guns and picked up those strange cubes while being subjected to some of the most savage dialogue in video game history.
I put the K60 to a tougher test by firing up Starcraft II and playing a round against the AI. This was the first time I'd played in about a year, yet I destroyed my Medium-difficulty opponent in part because of the responsive, easy-to-actuate keys. I mentioned making typos above due to the keyboard's low actuation distance — I didn't run into any such problems while building up my Terran force of Marines, Marauders and Siege Tanks.
It ticks the specs boxes too, with supports for full N-key rollover and 100 anti-ghosting, meaning it will register each keystroke, no matter how many are simultaneously pressed.
Corsair K60 RGB Pro software: iCue
Adding utility to the keyboard is Corsair's iCue program, available on Windows 10 or macOS. In this program, you change the RGB lighting using presets (spiral rainbow, rainbow wave, visor, rain, etc.) or by assigning lighting effects to individual keys. There is a bounty of lighting effects, many of which produced pleasing results. If you find the colorful flow to be distracting, you can always turn down the brightness or disable the lighting altogether.
You can create macros within iCue but there is no onboard memory so you can't store customized profiles or macros and switch to them with a simple click of a button. To get around this, you can set different macro profiles to launch with different programs. So you can set your custom keys to active when gaming or whenever you launch a photo or video editing app, for example.
Other controls granted by the iCue program include the ability to lock certain keys, like the Windows key, Shift + Tab, Alt + F4, and others.
The Corsair K60 RGB Pro is a great gaming keyboard that punches above its weight. At $80, the K60 RGB Pro sits firmly in the budget category for gaming keyboards, yet it offers a slim design, solid build quality, per-key RGB lighting and useful software for personalizing it to your liking.
As for the typing experience, it's more hit-or-miss. For me, it was a miss as the short actuation distance led to frequent typos. I also prefer a clicker, more tactile switch like MX Blue or MX Brown, however, I can't be too critical of these Viola keys given the price.
If you like the idea of the Viola switches as a cheaper alternative to Cherry MX Red keys, and you don't need any fancy features like a scroll wheel or dedicated macros keys, then the K60 RGB Pro is a solid choice and a fantastic value — but consider saving your wrists by spending an extra $10 on the K60 RGB Pro SE.