Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
The K60 RGB PRO SE is a classic Corsair keyboard with a clean, practically reference layout -- meaning no crazy designs -- with RGB LED backlighting and a detachable wrist rest. Corsair's logo can be found at the top right corner next to four status indicator LEDs. The model name, K60, can be found on the backplate next to the left control key in very small font. Meanwhile, the exposed black colored brushed aluminum backplate is great to look at. It even hides fingerprints well. The sides and bottom are all made out of quality plastic. Overall, I am a big fan of the looks and the aluminum backplate is rock solid. There is no perceivable flex in the keyboard and feels substantial in everyday use.
The K60 RGB PRO SE's wrist rest is new compared to Corsair keyboards I have used in the past. This wrist rest has layer of soft foam wrapped in textured leatherette with the company's logo in the middle, making it very comfortable to use. The leatherette is much thicker than the K95 RGB Platinum XT i reviewed last year, making the K60 RGB PRO SE feel a lot better than the more expensive model. The foam is also noticeably thicker in the new wrist rest, but what is inside still feels like packing foam, which is not very high quality. Denser foam would be better in my opinion. That aside, the wrist rest protrudes comfortably for my average sized hands. The rest of it is made out of plastic and is fully detachable from the main unit.
The Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE measures in at 441mm width, 136mm depth, and 38mm height. Adding the wrist rest increases the depth to about 210mm by my measurements. These are pretty much standard dimensions for a QWERTY keyboard. To go along with its medium footprint and medium profile, the keyboard weighs about 950g according to the box, but 920g according to the website. I am not sure which one is correct, but either one is very reasonable for a mechanical keyboard as it packs a lot of hardware inside.
Once you turn off the lights and activate the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE's RGB backlit keys, the keyboard really shines -- no pun intended. The font is large and bold. My only complaint is the Fn-modifier secondary functions are completely not labeled. For example, pressing Fn+F1 will engage Win Lock. However, you can never tell just by looking at the keyboard; I only know this because I looked at the manual. Other unlabeled keyboard shortcuts include Fn and 0 through 9 for different lighting effects when iCUE is not running, Fn and F5 through F12 for various multimedia functions, and effect modifications with Fn and ~, -, ==, [, or ]. This is a lot of shortcuts -- 25 to be exact -- and unless you want to print out a table of shortcuts next to your computer like the MS-DOS days, these secondary functions are basically useless in my opinion.
The K60 RGB PRO SE features full independent key RGB backlighting. A dedicated ARM Cortex M3 is inside to run all the effects. Backlight intensity can be adjusted on the fly by pressing Fn+F3 to decrease and Fn+F4 to increase. The backlight can be turned off completely or activated in ten different brightness levels. I am a big fan of fully backlit keyboards, and it is expected in 2021. The Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE's key illumination distribution is even, thanks to the Cherry Viola's transparent upper housing. The area between the keys are also backlit thanks to the reflection of the LEDs, and I like it.
One strange thing about the K60 RGB PRO SE's backlight white balance is way off. Past RGB Corsair keyboards I have used had no issues producing a pure white illumination. However, when set to pure white, the K60 RGB PRO SE is actually a light blue. The light coming through the top keycap labels is approximately #C8E6FF, while the color coming through the side of the keycaps is close to #A0C8FF.
Almost everything here is pretty standard in terms of layout with a few additions. I am a big fan of the single row Enter key layout as present on our US QWERTY Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE. Keyboards with a double row Enter key usually means the "\" button is moved to the left side of the right "Shift" key, reducing the size of the latter. I am more used to having a full width Shift on the right and a half height Enter. Obviously, this is more or less personal preference, but having a half height Enter key makes a lot more sense to me.
For those who are unfamiliar with different types of keycaps, the most common one found are made out of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, plastic. The Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE uses polybutylene terephthalate, or PBT, double-shot keycaps that are 1.5mm thick, which are stiffer, harder, and has better color retention compared to ABS plastic keycaps used in many keyboards. The ones found on the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE are textured and feels nice on the fingers. if you like other keycaps, Cherry Viola switches uses the industry-standard cross stem.
If you do not know what a mechanical keyboard is, there are three main types of keyboards in the market today. The cheapest is the membrane keyboard, which is the easiest to make, but also has poor typing feel and response due to squishy keys. A scissor switch keyboard has its own independent keyswitch mechanism for each key, which delivers improved tactile response and typing experience. Modern scissor switch keyboards can be very good for everyday office use. Mechanical keyboards such as the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE costs the most because each keyswitch is an independent part.
The K60 RGB PRO SE features the new Cherry Viola switches. Cherry Viola is marketed as a budget gaming-type switch aimed to compete with membrane keyboards, but in my opinion, probably closer competition with keyboards based on budget non-Cherry switches. Cost savings can be attributed to the reduction from up to seven parts with Cherry MX switches to four in the Viola. The keyboard manufacturing process is also simplified, as the switch features a frame-mounted, solder-free design that makes direct contact with the keyboard's printed circuit board. To accommodate RGB LEDs, in addition to the clear upper housing, surface mount LEDs can be placed directly on the keyboard's PCB for a lower cost manufacturing process. However, Cherry still promises high quality. The main housing is a precision-designed part with eight guide rails and manufacturing tolerance of less than 0.01mm to make it wobble-free and scratch-free. From my experience, the switches are smooth and not wobbly as promised.
The Cherry Viola's maximum key travel distance is 4mm with actuation at 2mm. The V-shaped contact system is self-cleaning and creates a distinct travel characteristic the company calls CrossLinear, which has an actuation force of 45cN during pre-travel and a linear ramp-up from 45cN to 75cN between 2mm and 4mm for a distinct feel and fast reset. Generally speaking, the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE will feel very different if you are used to non-mechanical keyboards. It will feel different than mechanical keyboards based on Cherry MX switches as well. This keyswitch is desirable for gaming because you will be bottoming out all the keys anyway, but the lack of the "bump" in the Cherry Viola may not appeal to everyone. The company did not publish keystroke lifespan guarantees like Cherry MX switches.
The base is rock solid as aforementioned, so you will not get any keyboard flex, which is excellent. During operation, it makes a little less noise than the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT, but more than the K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile. Similarly, the K60 RGB PRO SE has a lower pitched tone than the K95 RGB Platinum XT, but higher than the K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile. The K95 RGB Platinum XT was pretty good in quietness and tone compared to other keyboards in my opinion, making the K60 RGB PRO SE very good for a mechanical keyboard, even if it was not as quiet as the K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile.
The Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE is a full NKRO keyboard. NKRO stands for N-key rollover. If you have used keyboards with limited NKRO capabilities, you may have experienced ghosting issues in the past. When too many keys are pressed at the same time, your system unable to register any more strokes. A full NKRO keyboard like the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE overcomes this by independently polling each key, making all inputs detectable by the hardware regardless of how many other keys are activated at the same time. This mean in the event you have every other key on your keyboard depressed, it will still register the last stroke. While this is a highly unlikely scenario since you have only ten fingers, this is as good as it can get.
At the back of the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE is the USB cable lead out. It comes out in the center and is not detachable. This rubber-coated cable is of average thickness and extends 1.8m in length to connect to your computer via a standard, non-gold-plated USB connector. When we bring about the question of whether gold plated connectors are actually useful or not, let us just say if it was the actual pins, then there is a possibility since gold offers better conductivity than other metals. This theoretically establishes a better connection with your computer, but on a digital signal level, we must understand it is a discrete one or zero; if anyone tells you they can tell the difference, you can definitely defeat their theory with a double blinded test. Additionally, if you are referring to the gold part of the connector you see on the plug, I would like to point out it is only used as ground. In other words, it is nice to have and it is pretty to look at, but it is not anything significant on a practical level. The lack of a gold-plated USB connector will not have any performance impact on the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE.
At the bottom are four rubber strips to help the K60 RGB PRO SE stay in place during intense gaming sessions. The wrist rest adds six rubber strips. The two rubber lined flip-out risers at the front tilts the keyboard up for those who prefer it. What you will not find are keyboard drain holes, so it is advisable to keep your Mountain Dew at a distance.
The wrist rest is designed to be connected to the keyboard via a new magnetic attachment shown in our photo above. The magnetic tabs are made out of rubber and looks like they are durable and will work well in the long run. In my opinion, the new magnetic attachment is much better than the plastic clip mechanism used in past Corsair keyboards. When placed on the table, the wrist rest does not move from side to side and has a limited slip rotation angle when lifted off the table. Since it is magnetically attached, it will fall off if you lift up your keyboard high enough.
The Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE works with the latest version of Intelligent Corsair Utility Engine, or iCUE, at press time, which is a 470MB download. This program unifies all your Corsair peripherals and components into one application. After selecting the Corsair peripheral you want to configure from the main screen or top bar, the graphical user interface is basically separated into two sections; the left side allows you to select the configuration category, while the right side displays all options. All settings are stored on your computer, as the K60 RGB PRO SE has no internal memory. In our screenshot above, you can see there are two keyboards connected, where the other one is the K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile.
The Actions tab is where you can control the function of the buttons on your keyboard. Options include macro, text, media, launch application, timer, disable, or profile switching for each button on the K60 RGB PRO SE. The macro recording system in Corsair iCUE is one of the most comprehensive I have ever seen, while timer will activate a countdown timer that plays a sound, enable an action, and/or initiate a lighting pattern upon completion. You can also remap the keys into other keys from A to Z, number or symbol keys, function keys, enhanced keys, numeric keypad, modifiers and lock keys, language keys, mouse button, or keystroke.
The Lighting Effects tab is where you can play around with the lighting effects of each of the Corsair K60 RGB PRO SE keys, as shown in our screenshot above. If you have multiple Corsair products, it supports synchronized lighting effects across your devices. Every key can be independently controlled as well. Corsair's iCUE is designed to configure the backlight by layer, where each layer can have a different configuration. With regards to the lighting effects, there are ten pre-defined effects, including Spiral Rainbow, Rainbow Wave, Color Shift, Color Pulse, Color Wave, Visor, Rain, Type Lighting, Void Visualizer, and Water Color. For custom effects, we have five options. These include static, solid, gradient, ripple, and wave. Although all of these options should be self-explanatory, the difference between static and solid is that static is just a constant illumination, whereas solid is like gradient without the fading effects. You can individually configure the timing and intensity of the LEDs in everything other than static color. If you do not want to bother with all the advanced options, "Instant Lighting" at the top takes all the complexity out.
The Hardware Lighting section is where you can configure a lighting effect for your device when iCUE is not running, such as when your computer is locked. The Performance screen is where the Windows Lock options are configured. These include disable Alt+Tab, Alt+F4, Shift+Tab, and Windows key if the Windows Lock is on.
Overall, I found iCUE to be powerful, straightforward, and reasonably easy to use. The overall experience was very positive to me as it had been in the last few years.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software