Corsair K60/M60: Jumping into Pro Gaming
By Doug Berner
Back in January while at CES, Ed and I had a chance to sit down with the folks from Corsair. Among the cool stuff they had to show us, were the Vengeance K60 keyboard and M60 mouse. I was struck by the style and feel of both of them at the time but did not have a lot of hands on time at the show to put them through their paces. When Ed called a couple of weeks later to let me know we had gotten a set in for review I jumped at the chance.
The K60 and M60 are billed as FPS (first person shooter) gaming items and so one would expect them to be both rugged and reliable.
When I got my hands on the set, the first thing that struck me was the same thing that had leapt out at me when we saw them at CES. Both the K60 and M60 have a one of a kind aggressive design that looks distinctly military. A solid, no-nonsense chassis built from brushed aluminum peeks out from the edges of the M60 mouse. There is a plastic mouse body attached to it but there can be no doubt that the heart of this thing is a solid metal brute. Even the scroll is made out of a solid piece of aluminum, extra wide in appearance with a notched black rubber center. The K60 takes this level of solid and aggressive styling one step higher. Black matt keys rise up from the surface of an upper deck crafted from one solid piece of brushed aluminum. Unlike virtually every other keyboard out there the upper deck does not rise up around the outside edges of the keys. The result is a look and feel that make the K60 and M60 stand out in a crowd.
Plug and play performance for both the K60 and M60 was flawless right out of the box. The K60 is a mechanical keyboard but I noticed right away that it has a very light feel to the keys. This is surprised me since this is a mechanical keyboard. The reason is that Corsair has chosen to use cherry red MX switches in the K60. Compared to the cherry black switches I had been used to in other keyboards the cherry reds in the K60 have a much lighter touch. One of my very few complaints about mechanical keyboards was that if you are not used to them you can experience some finger fatigue with extensive typing. The K60 eliminates this concern because the cherry red switches are both light and crisp. I have always found typing on a mechanical keyboard to be a joy and the K60 takes that joy to the next level. The K60 offers the great solid and responsive feel that I expect from a mechanical keyboard but with no finger fatigue even after hours of constant use.
I’m all about innovation and thinking outside of the box, and Corsair has scored points with me by doing several innovative things in the K60. First, they set the multimedia keys down at a lower level than the other keys on the keyboard. Since they are not used nearly as much as the typing or even the numpad keys this make sense, it keeps them out of the way while still being accessible . Also the volume control is an analog knurled aluminum wheel. At first glance this type of control seems out of place on a modern digital device but in practice it gave me a faster way to ramp my volume up or down than holding a up or down button for the adjustment. It also lends itself to the military styling of the K60.
Corsair knows that a FPS gamer lives on the WASD keys and to accommodate players and make our lives a little easier they include a contoured removable wrist rest just for the left wrist. I found this to be very comfortable helpful while gaming and easily removable while using the K60 for the more mundane hours of my life which require typing. The wrist rest is not just a wrist rest though for it also houses a set of bright red rubberized replacement keys for the WASD and the numbers 1-6 keys, again for the benefit of the gamers. (this is after all a FPS gaming keyboard) also contained in the wrist rest is a key puller to make changing they keys over a snap. After installing the replacement keys I have left them in full time because they do not distract from typing but they have a texture on the top which makes the easily identifiable in the dark. You will need something to find them if you game in the dark as one of the few shortcomings of the K60 is that it does not come with backlighting of any kind. I am fond of back lighting and if I could change one thing about the K60 it would be to add it. However at 109.00 there is just no way you could expect all the things you get in the K60 PLUS backlighting. I am hopeful that the future holds a ”K60 plus” that would offer everything that makes the K6 great and adds backlighting.
Speaking of keys; here is where the K60 had a hiccup and I stress a hiccup because while is has been a problem in early models it is being addressed as we speak. Some of the lettering on the keys wears off prematurely and by prematurely I mean in like a week. Apparently there was a problem at the manufacturer that resulted in poor etching of the letter area and the ink sticks to them only slightly better than an egg to a Teflon skillet. Corsair is aware of the problem and is offering replacement keys to anyone who has the issue and requests a new set. Future versions will not have this problem. In fact they are even moving to a different type of key labeling system.
I mentioned earlier that the K60 deck does not rise up to enclose the keys but leaves them standing starkly above the brushed aluminum deck which gives the whole thing a very aggressive military look. While evaluating the K60 I inadvertently discovered another more practical effect of this design. Spills don’t go down into the body of the K60 the way they would a typical keyboard. Instead they run between the keys and slide down to the bottom of the keyboard where they are easily mopped up without making the keys all stick together in a mess like you get with most other keyboards. I’m not sure if this is a case of form following function or of the result was a fortunate side effect of the design. Either way I am impressed by the fact that for the first time I have a keyboard on my desk that does not eat more chips and soda than I do. Thank you Corsair!
Now on to the M60; as I stated in the introduction I was immediately blown away by the styling of the M60. Seeing that aluminum frame peeking out at me from under the matt back body, with that fat aluminum mouse wheel bedecked with a flat heavily lugged rubber center came near to giving me a physical response that I probably should not have from looking at a computer input device. Add to that a solid heavy feel, some subtle backlighting and this thing looks like it could have been designed by a well know American motorcycle maker.
Performance wise I could not ask for more from a mouse. The M60 takes a beating and does not stop, it looks rugged and it is rugged. The button response is crisp and precise and if you want you can use the downloadable software to customize this performance in about every imaginable way.
The DPI is adjustable from 100 – 5700 through the software, which allows you to set up multiple profiles and adjust the report rate and lift height. Here you can also adjust the DPI of something they call the Sniper Button. Located on the right side under the normal forward and reverse buttons you would expect.
The Sniper button allows you to instantly drop your DPS with a press of your thumb for that micro fine feel you want when you are trying to place that perfect head shot in your favorite FPS. This is another example of a great idea from Corsair, because while many mice let you adjust your DPI on the fly you normally need to use one of your mouse fingers to do it. Problem is that finger is also probably your trigger or your zoom finger. Allowing players to instantly drop that DPI down to say 600 snap off the shot and return to the normal DPI this way means faster response and better accuracy and in a FPS that’s the difference between bringing home the bacon or being the bacon.
Additionally in one of those more mundane hours of my life spent editing text I found that the Sniper Button was useful when I was highlighting text to be copies. With my normal DPI settings I sometimes have to be careful not to highlight way too much text. The Sniper Button let me instantly drop to the lower DPI for the highlight faster than using the normal method of hitting the DPI switch with my index finger, highlighting they switching back. So there you have the justification for buying this great mouse to make you more productive at editing text which just happens to also let you score more precision shots in games!
I have only one small bone to pick with the M60. That Sniper Button that I loved so much comes with a scope crosshair marking on it which I was able to wear off in about 3 weeks. Yeah it’s not noticeable unless you are looking for it but hey I figure if you are going to put it on there, it should be on to stay.
Oh I mentioned above that the M60 has a great beefy feel to it. I love this in a mouse, while I want them to glide effortlessly across any surface I chose I also want to know I am moving something and at 4 5/8 ounces the M60 is the heftiest mouse to come across my desk. The average for a gaming mouse seems to be about 3 7/8 ounces and while that may not sound like a huge difference it makes all the difference in the way it feels when I’m using it. If however you like a lighter touch to a mouse never fear, the M60 allows you to quickly adjust that weight by removal of up to 3 weights from the bottom. You don’t even need a screwdriver to do it as the heads are slotted to accept a coin for easy removal for the “tool challenged” among us. Each of those weights is 1/8 of an ounce and I suppose you could even leave the screws out that hold them in to save another 1/4 ounce overall of you want to get the M60 down to a bantam weight contender.
I could add more information on both the K60 and M60 here but being a combination review this has already gotten pretty lengthy. So lets get down to the part I always jump to when reading other people’s reviews. 8 > )
Conclusion: The K60 gives you the the durability and response you expect from a mechanical keyboard with crisp and lighter key touch than most. It brings to the table an aggressive military styling that any FPS gamer will love and an innovative volume control that is faster and more precise than buttons. The price is very reasonable for a mechanical keyboard and both typing and gaming on the K60 is a dream. Defiantly check this out if you are in the market for a new keyboard even if you are not a gamer. It performs as good as it looks. Lack of backlighting may be a deal breaker for some but not for me.
The M60 is a winner in every aspect. The styling and heft of the thing remind me of a sportster, and its performance and customization make it a top notch choice for hard core gaming or day to day professional use. Remember the Sniper Button has more uses than just awesome headshots! Its solid construction and dead sexy looks make it stand out in a crowded room and the price is spot on, you can spend a lot more money and get a lot less mouse from other companies.
I have been using the same keyboard for over a year and as much as I love it the K60 will now be on my desk for my everyday use and gaming. And the M60 is going to fill a void I have had for a while now, I have gone through at least 6 mice in the last year and while many of them were noteworthy none captured my heart and fill my mouse needs the way the M60 has.
Great work Corsair these two are a match made in geek heaven!
Review of the Corsair K60 and M60 as aired live 31 March 2012