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You know it’s kind of funny to see Corsair’s first ever 60% keyboard not be called the K60 – because they already have that model – so it doesn’t seem like they thought far ahead into the naming scheme. Instead this model is called the K65…despite not being a 65% keyboard.
The 60% direction with Corsair is really important because it’s competing with Ducky, with Razer, with Fnatic, and even though it’s not my perfect size keyboard – I prefer 65% and above – they are doing something new here, so let’s check it out.
Price & Competition
To get the basics out of the way, the K65 RGB Mini is going to cost $110 USD, which is right in-line with the Ducky offerings for the One 2 Mini, and that is pretty awesome for Corsair to be competing with Ducky. Usually if you are wanting to find a Ducky keyboard you have to go through specific channels, but Corsair has much wider reach in terms of mainstream distribution, so I’m excited for people to actually get a hang and start to use these 60% keyboards more. Also, price wise it is slightly cheaper than the Razer Huntsman mini, which is $119 USD, so that gives Corsair another advantage here.
Now in terms of design, Corsair has nailed a lot of aspects here. First of all, double shot PBT keycaps, the texture and keycaps are fantastic, and they feel incredible in terms of their strength and durability. I’m not a huge fan of the font in terms of the numbers, they are a little too ugly for me, but the actual font for the letters is perfectly fine with minimal imperfections, which is impressive because usually with double shot PBT keycaps, you are going to encounter those little black sections on the illuminated parts, but here everything just shines right through without anything popping out. We have this really awesome design on the spacebar, and because of that it is an ABS keycap, so slightly different feeling and texture versus everything else.
Design wise I love the cohesion because it carries over from the ventilation pattern on their cases. Also because it’s illuminated by a single switch you can see that light just kind of fades away from the center. We also have a Corsair branded keycap that is also ABS, you can use it if you want to replace an Escape key or something. And if you want all double shot PBT keycaps there is an extra spacebar included that you can swap out, which is appreciated.
Because of the 60% layout all the secondary functions are built-in around the keyboard, but I have noticed that the arrow keys for example are slightly offset, they are not identical to the layout, but it’s really cool to see your media controls, your mouse navigation, your macros, your Page Up/Page Down, and of course your F keys at the top. They are all activated with the Function and the Function2 keys, which are right beside each other, and after a while it becomes second nature. You know exactly where to go for your arrow keys, for your Page Up/Page Down, and your F keys as well. It is all nice and straightforward. Now if you are skeptical or hesitant about a 60% keyboard, let’s say a TKL keyboard is too big for you, then a 60% form factor is probably the right choice. You do lose out on the dedicated arrow keys, your Page Up/Page Down, Delete keys/ and the dedicated F keys, but it’s a fantastic compliment to notebook users and Eber who apparently who loves 60% keyboards.
Eber: To be honest with you, I think at the end of the day what I really love about the 60% form factor is because it’s so compact that it gives you so much room around your desk to place other things on, because as you can see right now it’s clean, but typically it’s not because I have so much stuff on it.
I would love to hear what Randomfrankp has to say about the 60% form factor, especially coming from Corsair.
Randomfrankp: So 60% gaming keyboards have been the trend recently as you can see here with the K65 Mini RGB. That is really because when Ducky launched their One 2 Mini that keyboard exploded on the scene. A lot of gamers and a lot of streamers use that form factor because it’s nice and compact on their desktop, and it has just have the keys they need for gaming all right there, but they can still access those secondary functions with the Function keys. You are not really missing out on those keys – unless you are someone like me who does a lot of video editing and stuff on the side, which is the reason I’m more of a TKL fan myself – but that is why these compact keyboards have just exploded recently.
My main gripe is that while Corsair have finally caught up and put up this smaller form factor, just like a ton of other companies have over the past 12 months, they are not really doing anything special that kind of separates them from the pack. I don’t see what would make the regular consumer pick this over other 60% keyboards out there. I just think they need to do something more, and this is a classic example of too little too late, pun 100% intended. Thanks to Dmitri for having me on I’m Randomfrankp have a good day.
Design wise I’m very surprised they didn’t try to pull a Corsair and try to mimic a K70, but in a 60% form factor. Instead it’s a very new almost unfamiliar territory in terms of keyboard designs to Corsair, but it does fit into the whole 60% category. It has a Type-C connection at the center at the back with an USB-C cable included. I don’t particularly like this cable because it’s braided and kinks way too easily. I am surprised at how little branding there is, there is Corsair logo in the top that is facing away from the user, so you will never see it, and it also has a very tiny font that has the K65 on the left side. I’m also surprised it doesn’t have any height angle adjustments at the bottom, because the actual body of the keyboard is slightly chunkier than normal, and that helps to angle it in a very comfortable manner. Nevertheless, you do not have any angle adjustments, only those rubber feet that help to secure the keyboard to the surface.
My two complaints however when it comes to the physical exam are the edges of the keyboard right below the keycap. They are not smooth, they have very sharp unrefined edges to them, and because I like to rest my thumb right below the space bar it’s just uncomfortable. You can feel it and you can hear like plastic grinding against your fingertips, which is just not pleasant. My second complaint is more visual, the white plate underneath the keycaps is great because it helps to spread that illumination from the switches, but it’s not as vibrant and full as we see with the Corsair packaging. When you turn off the lights you can see that the edges of the keyboard and the switches don’t get that even spill illumination, there are some dead zones when it comes to colour spill around the edges. The rest of the illumination is gorgeous by the way, absolutely no complaints here with the brightness and the colour vibrancy and all the effects that are built into the iCue. There are also hardware lighting effects that you can switch with Fn + C on the keyboard itself if you don’t have iCue loaded, and I appreciate all that customization.
Now let’s talk about the switches, they are not hot swappable but they are available in three variants: MX Silent, MX Reds, and I have the MX Speed variant. I remember that MX Speeds used to be my favorite switch of all time when I had the K70 RGB, the original one was super fast, super smooth, super linear, but here they feel different. While sure they have fast actuation because of the actuation point is very high at 1.2mm, but they are not as smooth as I remember them. They have certain grindyness to them that I did not expect, especially after using keyboards like the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro that have optical red switches that feel so much smoother. Even using MX Brown switches on a Ducky keyboard just feels smoother in terms of that travel then MX Speeds do, and that is kind of an issue.
Also they are fairly loud regardless of if you bottom out or not. The stabilizers feel good, much better than what Corsair has been delivering over the past few years, but there is a certain pinging happening throughout the keyboard, especially when you bottom out hard and it’s not pleasant. Like I wouldn’t have any issues gaming with this, but it wasn’t what I was expecting when it comes to a linear fast gaming switch, especially because it’s a bit too loud.
8000Hz Polling Rate
Next let’s talk about the big elephant room, and that is the AXON processor that is capable of 8000Hz polling on the keyboard. We have the Viper 8K mouse from Razer already, and that I can see because mouse movement is very important, the fact that it updates 8 times faster than your traditional 1000Hz mouse is great for professional FPS gamers who really want that precision and confidence in their aim. But when it comes to keyboards that’s when I’m not convinced, I don’t know if 8000Hz matters, especially when the keyboard switch is not optical and where the actuation isn’t instantaneous and when you are dealing with some form of debounce delay after the switch registration. I understood why it’s important on the high-end K100 keyboard that has OpX optical switches, the 4000Hz polling rate gives you the confidence of knowing that your keystrokes are being registered at all times, but pushing that boundary even further to 8000Hz seems exaggerated. I mean what’s next?
As for performance penalties when using 8000Hz, CPU usage in my testing remains basically identical when I’m hammering on the keyboard as you can see between 1000Hz and 8000Hz. As for actual in-game testing, yes I did experience a slight FPS drop when we were running at 8000Hz versus 1000Hz. It is interesting that it’s a consistent 3 FPS reduction both for the average and for the 99th percentile. This may vary depending on your system configuration, and Corsair does give you a warning when you switch into the 8000Hz that you might end up using more resources for it.
As for iCue software, it’s been completely overhauled, the UI is now simplified for the better in terms of all your components being visible top here. In Key Assignments, this is pretty straightforward, you can select a key, you can remap it, you can create a macro launcher program, do a bunch of stuff, and it’s all pretty straightforward. I love that we also have Hardware Key Assignments, which means you can create all your macros and different profiles, and those will be running regardless of if iCue is installed on your computer. It’s great if you are traveling with this keyboard and the same thing can be applied to the hardware lighting setting.
In the Lighting Effects, everything is layered, so you can create different things for you WASD area, create a different profile for the top, and we have these quick lighting zones. For example, if you just WASD in red and everything else underneath in spiral rainbow. It is a very cool way to customize lighting. I prefer this approach with layers instead of trying to select different keys individually. In the Performance tab you can select what is disabled when the Windows lock is on, and also a change the actual indicator colour, so when you enable Windows lock the Windows key goes into that specific colour, which is awesome. For example, it’s by default in the white space, so if you want everything else to be white you can change the lock indicator so you know exactly when it is active. That is cool because you can actually save these different profiles and in custom colours if you select one that you love the most you can add them to the list and use them later.
And finally, we have Device Settings in which we change probably the most important aspect of this keyboard: The polling rate. It goes from 1000Hz to 8000Hz and the keyboard will restart whenever you make a change. Plus here you can change the brightness of the illumination. This is also where your onboard memory is, so you can select all your profiles and add more.
To conclude, I’m really excited to see Corsair on track to release a proper 60% keyboard and enter in that whole space because with that nice price point they are going to competing with Ducky and out-competing Razer. Again, in terms of the basic features for a 60% keywords, everything is absolutely covered, and even though I wouldn’t consider the 8000Hz polling rate to be beneficial it does out-compete everything else that’s available in the market, you just have to ask yourself if that’s worth it. Another thing is how many people actually game with a 60% keyboard and is 8000Hz relevant in this form factor? Let me know your thoughts!