Corsair’s new 60-percent keyboard is a rare and overpriced misstep

Unless you like your typing to sound like a Tibetan singing bowl, that is.

Kris Naudus / Engadget

A few weeks ago I noted that 60 percent mechanical keyboards appeared to be having a moment, so to speak, given recent releases from major manufacturers like Razer and HyperX. Today that trend continues with Corsair’s unveiling of its new K65 RGB Mini. I’ve always been a big fan of Corsair’s mechanical keyboards, thanks to their solid construction and excellent typing, and have used several as my daily drivers over the past few years. However, this is a $110 keyboard I’m probably going to put right back in the box as soon as I finish typing this post on it.

The K65 RGB Mini isn’t bad, per sé. When I took it out of the packaging, it still gave off an impression of quality. It doesn’t feel completely cheap thanks to a chunky build, red Cherry MX switches and individual key backlighting. But it does feel lesser when compared to other Corsair decks, and not because of the omission of a number pad or media keys. I have a K70 here on my desk beside it, as well as the K60 models I tested last year, and they all just feel more solid, while the K65 feels a bit hollow in comparison.

Corsair's 60 percent mechanical keyboard
Kris Naudus / Engadget

Part of that might be the design rather than the materials: The keys on the K65 are recessed slightly on the top of the keyboard, with a quarter-inch border along all of its edges. The keys themselves are high enough that the border isn’t an issue while typing, though it does make cleaning between the switches a lot harder, as any dirt blasted free with a can of air will just get caught up against this plastic wall.

But in some cases, it is the materials, as the K65’s keys are set on a white plastic deck while other Corsair keyboards mount their buttons on a brushed aluminum plate. I can even see the nine silver screws holding it in place; not a major sin, but other decks usually do a better job of obscuring their construction. And it’s definitely less solid than the metal plate of HyperX’s Alloy Origins 60.

Corsair's new 60 percent keyboard
Kris Naudus / Engadget

As the K65 lacks dedicated function and media keys, all of those additional features have been delegated out to the FN key in the bottom right of the deck. However, there is no standardized layout, so the arrangement is different than that of the Origins 60 or Razer’s Huntsman Mini. The arrow keys are arranged along the 'U,' 'H,' 'J' and 'K' keys — just one space over from where they live on the Huntsman Mini (and two rows from where the Origins 60 placed them). 'Print Screen' lives under the 'N,' which I guess isn’t too egregious given that it’s a button many of us rarely use. But it’s just so far from where we expect that key to be.

Of course, I can get used to different key placements. What I haven’t quite adjusted to is the sound of the K65 RGB Mini, which is not good. As someone who, until last year, used to work in an office with people who were sensitive to noise, I always try to be aware of how annoying the keyboards I test sound. Things are obviously a little different now that I work at home. But for the past few minutes I’ve wondered where that weird ringing has been coming from only to realize, oh wait, it stops when I cease typing: It’s the keyboard. The mechanisms inside not only have a metallic boing when you press them, but it echoes after and overlaps into a constant chime. It’s a little bit like one of those Tibetan singing bowls but not relaxing at all.

There is one thing I really like about the Corsair K65 Mini, and that is that it uses a detachable USB-C cable to connect. So once I’m done here I can easily unplug it and put it to the side, restoring the slightly cheaper $100 Origins 60 to its place of honor on my desk.

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