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Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE Mechanical Keyboard - Review 2020

Every keyboard manufacturer is looking for ways to make the mechanical gaming keyboard experience cheaper. Some companies, like Razer and Steelseries, do it with part-mechanical, part-membrane hybrid switches. Others, like HyperX and Aukey, do it by making their own switches. Corsair’s new line of budget mechanical keyboards, the K60 RGB Pro, is the first we’ve seen using Cherry’s streamlined Viola budget switches, which let Corsair build a quality mechanical keyboard for a lower-than-average price. The $99.99 K60 RGB Pro SE, the most expensive of three K60s equipped with Viola switches, features PBT keycaps and a wrist rest. Though the Viola switches don’t provide exact parity with Cherry’s world-class MX switches, they get close enough to make the K60 RGB Pro SE an appealing option for people looking to make an affordable jump to mechanical keyboards.

Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE side profile

Press To “Viola”

The Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE is a boiler-plate mechanical gaming keyboard with a couple small flourishes that are primarily impressive because of the keyboard’s price. The standard full-size measures 1.44 by 17.31 by 5.31 inches (HWD), or 1.44 by 17.31 by 8.44 inches when you factor in its slim, but well-padded, wrist rest. Corsair recently overhauled its design language a bit, and some of the attractive design flourishes of its uber-flagship, the K100 RGB, have filtered down to the K60 Pro line. The top plate has a sleek brushed aluminum finish that makes the keyboard look and feel like a premium product.

The wrist rest, one of the two upgraded components that make the K60 RGB Pro SE $99.99 instead of $89.99, connects to the keyboard using magnetic tabs rather than breakable plastic fasteners. It’s slim, but plush, and has a nicely textured rubberized coating. The other “fancy” component of the keyboard is a set of PBT double-shot keycaps that ensure durability and clean legends.

Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE wrist rest

The K60 RGB Pro’s most intriguing aspect lies under its caps. The Cherry Viola switches feature a new feel or “characteristic” called the “Cross-Linear” design. Its basic specs largely mirror the Cherry MX Red: It actuates at 2mm and bottoms out at 4mm, and doesn’t create a clicky noise when you press it. In its official switch description, Cherry notes that the switch’s actuation force is 45cN prior to actuation, which is just slightly higher than the MX Red’s actuation force. The force then increases to 74cN in the back half of the press.

Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE keys

It’s comfortable to type on the Cherry Violas. As someone who uses a keyboard for a lot of gaming and writing, the switches offer a nice balance between quick actuation and long, supportive travel on a full press. That increased, post-actuation resistance feels a bit bouncy when you bottom out, similar to hybrid mechanical switches. Still, that makes it easier to type without fully leaning on every key.

The keyboard also comes with one small, but annoying, trait you won’t get from Cherry’s standard MX switches. The keys create a tinny, unpleasant ringing noise when you press them down hard. I found that I didn’t get it on every press, but the keyboard chimes frequently when I’m writing, especially when I slam the space bar or period keys.

Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE macro settings

iCue To The Rescue

The K60 RGB Pro SE gets another leg up over most other budget mechanical keyboards, thanks to Corsair’s configuration software. iCue is a polished program that lets you remap keys, create macros, and change your RGB lighting. Many companies competing in the low end of the gaming keyboard market—mechanical or otherwise—tend to cut corners on software, offering confusing and/or janky apps, or sometimes skipping them altogether. iCue is reliable and makes it possible to quickly make changes.

That said, the K60 RGB Pro SE does feel slightly underpowered in that it cannot store any custom keyboard mapping profiles in its onboard storage. Even at this price point, many gaming keyboards offer some ability to save profiles in the keyboard, in case you use your keyboard with a secondary PC. Since iCue can locally store an unlimited number of profiles, this only becomes an issue when you move away from your home PC or need to perform a clean install of the software, so most players will not notice this often. Still, it’s a feature that other keyboards in this price range have and the K60 RGB Pro SE lacks.

Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE

A High Bar For Low-Cost

The K60 RGB Pro SE delivers a solid mechanical typing experience near the bottom end of the category’s price range. Perhaps more importantly, due to its polished look, premium software, and luxury features like PBT double-shot keys and a wrist rest, the K60 RGB Pro SE doesn’t feel like a budget keyboard. As a cheaper mechanical keyboard, some qualitative concessions are to be expected: The ringing keys will definitely bug some players, as many mechanical keyboard fans care as much about how the keys sound as how they feel. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor compromise. The K60 RGB Pro SE rides neck-and-neck with the HyperX Alloy Origins, the Editors’ Choice award winner for mid-range mechanical keyboards. It’s a fine way to dip your toe into the mechanical keyboards pool without spending much money.

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