Corsair Vengeance K65 Keyboard Review 2016

When it comes to gaming, portability seems to be the name of the game these days (no apologies for that epic play on words), doesn't it? From an increasing amount of developer focus on mobile gaming, to the announcement of the hybrid home-portable Nintendo Switch, to the Summer 2016 phenomenon known as Pokemon Go, gamers seem intent on moving – not sitting still. However, let's not kid ourselves. These portable “gaming” developments do not represent the interests of actual gamers, only a bunch of casuals littering the gaming world with their half-hearted enthusiasm. The real gamers – the true gamers – are the ones sitting still in front of their dual (or tri) monitors, Corsair K70 RGB keyboards, and Razer Naga mice. The real gamers are the PC gamers like you and me, and it's our needs that matter.

5Now, having established the dominance and utter superiority of PC gamers, I must note that PC gamers do in fact need to move around on occasion. Although we prefer the comfort of our comfy desk setups, life sometimes dictates that travel and exposure to sunlight are necessary. Under these unfortunate circumstances, PC gamers need equipment and gaming peripherals that are portable and easy to transport without compromising on quality and performance. Thankfully for us, Corsair has recognized this need and met it with their excellent Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Utilizing a compact 10-keyless design, the K65 is designed to fit into smaller spaces and make for more convenient travel. So whether you're headed to a gaming event, a competition, or just being dragged along to grandma's for the weekend, the K65 can come along, ready to serve you at a moment's notice. PC gamers – the world is your oyster. This is our Corsair Vengeance K65 Keyboard review.

Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard Specs

  • Warranty: Two Years.
  • Weight: 1.90 lbs.
  • Key Switches: Cherry MX Red Mechanical.
  • Keyboard Backlighting: None.
  • Dimensions: 6.5 in. x 14 in. x 1.5 in.
  • Macro Keys: All Keys.
  • Cable Type: Detachable Braided Fiber.
  • WIN Lock: Yes.
  • Chassis: Gunmetal Gray Anodized Aluminum.
  • Wrist Rest: Not Included.
  • Package Contents: Vengeance K65 Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
  • System Requirements:
    • Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows Vista®, or Windows XP.
    • PC with USB Port.

Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard Performance

7The number one concern that any sensible PC gamer might have when considering a compact keyboard is that of performance. It only makes sense, right? Common sense would tell you that less room means less real estate to pack power into, and thus a less powerful machine. I'm here to quell these fears. The Corsair K65 Compact Keyboard packs almost every bit of power as its larger siblings in the Corsair family, and it does so thanks to Corsair's superior build quality. Learning from their successful K60 and K70 keyboards, Corsair built the K65 Compact with a gunmetal gray anodized aluminum base plate, which is a lot of what makes the K65 such an excellent keyboard. Featuring an attractive brushed finish, the K65 keys sit over the base plate as opposed to recessed in the chassis, which makes for a more comfortable experience.

The aluminum also makes for a solid and sturdy keyboard, as well as a highly functional one. Given that travel with the Vengeance K65 is encouraged, this is an excellent feature. Rather than worrying about breaking or damaging your keyboard in transit, Corsair's design is tough enough that you won't be paying it much – if any – mind. The Cherry MX Red switches make for a comfortable and satisfying typing experience, but we'll cover that further in our keys section. Adding to the portability of the compact size is a convenient detachable USB cable, which is braided and sturdy to ensure its safety in addition to that of the keyboards.

6Corsair knows its customers – the K65 comes equipped with 100% anti-ghosting. For the less gaming-lingo inclined, what this means is that any key on the keyboard can be pressed and every keystroke will be recognized by the PC. In other words, regardless of how quickly, sophisticatedly, or impressively you use your keyboard, the K65 will be with you every step of the way and registering the full extent of your skills. Also included on the K65 are four dedicated media keys – mute, volume up, volume down, and gaming mode. What this means is, we don't get a volume wheel with the Corsair Vengeance K65. Now, for some this may not be an issue. Heck, they may even prefer volume up and volume down keys to a wheel. For me personally. however, this is a serious drawback to the keyboard. Still, this is one of those factors that is going to ultimately come down to the personal preference of the user.

Ultimately, the Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard is just a well-made piece of equipment. Some of the finer details you may enjoy or not enjoy based on your own taste, but there is no denying that the keyboard works well and travels even better. You'd be hard pressed to find a more reliable peripheral that is as portable as the Corsair Vengeance K65.

Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard Backlighting

4Deal-breaker alert? Maybe. The Corsair Vengeance K65 is… not… backlit. Look, in this day and age, a large percentage of PC gamers are going to view backlighting and backlit keys as something of a prerequisite for purchasing. While I deem this a bit stringent, you can't tell anyone that their personal tastes are “wrong” – the truth of the matter is that PC gamers have become spoiled! With the overwhelming presence of backlighting on the keyboard market, it's only natural that gamers begin to view the feature as a necessity as opposed to a bonus.

The case I might make for Corsair on behalf of the K65 is that it's important to remember that this is a compact keyboard. You're not supposed to be getting all of the bells and whistles when you're purchasing a keyboard of this size! Just keep things in perspective and remember that fact. If you're looking for a ‘travel' keyboard, or a compact keyboard, you need to be ready to accept that it will not be as powerful as the K70 or keyboards of a similar level. Maybe one day Corsair will find a way to produce a keyboard that is 0.33 inches tall and features impeccable backlighting and keys, but until then, again – try to keep things in perspective.

Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard Keys

3I happen to be a big fan of Cherry MX Red switches, but I know that it's not everyone's number-one choice in keys. Cherry Red switches are linear and non-tactile. This means that the feel of the keys remains the same throughout the up-down key stroke. Featuring actuation force of 45cN (for reference, Cherry MX Blue features 60cN and Cherry MX Brown 55cN), Cherry Red switches require less force to engage which makes for a smoother, faster typing experience – generally the sort of typing that experienced gamers looking to improve performance pursue. Consistent and smooth, Cherry Red switches also feature one of the quietest ‘clicking' effects when typing. Some people are going to prefer this, others find the clacking sound satisfying when typing. With a rated lifespan of 50 million keystrokes per key, the Cherry Red switches are as strong and durable as the build of the Corsair K65. A worthy pairing, in other words.

Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard Software

Truth be told, there isn't a whole lot to say about the software and downloads associated with the Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Keyboard. Looking for help setting up your keyboard? The Corsair product page features a handy quick-start guide for consumer convenience. It's pretty straightforward, though – setting up the keyboard is basically a plug-and-play experience. Don't sweat it.

2Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact vs. Corsair K70 RGB

Corsair K70 RGB Specs

  • Warranty: Two Years.
  • Weight: 2.73 lbs.
  • Key Switches: Cherry MX Red Mechanical.
  • Keyboard Backlighting: RGB LED.
  • Dimensions: 438 mm x 163 mm x 24 mm.
  • Macro Keys: All Keys.
  • Report Rate: Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms, and BIOS Mode.
  • Matrix: 100% Anti-Ghosting and 104 Key Rollover.
  • Keyboard Size: Standard.
  • On-Board Memory: Yes.
  • Media Keys: Six Dedicated Multimedia Keys.
  • Wrist Rest: Full-Length Detachable with Soft Touch Finish.
  • CUE Software: Enabled.
  • Cable Type: Braided Fiber.
  • WIN Lock: Yes.
  • Keyboard Layout: NA.

The Corsair K70 RGB is, quite simply, the heavyweight champion of the world. Boasting elite performance, build quality and backlighting, the K70 is one of the most popular gaming keyboards of all-time. With unprecedented customization possibilities thanks to multi-color, per-key backlighting, the K70 features the same Cherry MX Red switches, 100% ghosting, and brushed aluminum finish as the Corsair K65 but in a bigger, more powerful package. With an included wrist rest and a Panasonic display controller for quick and satisfying lighting changes, the K70 has it all – and thus the comparison is not really valid or fair to the K65. If you're looking for a fully-loaded keyboard that never has to go anywhere, the K70 is the clear choice. If you're looking for form factor and portability, it's the K65.

1Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact vs. Corsair K95

Corsair K95 Specs

  • Warranty: Two Years.
  • Weight: 3.08 lbs.
  • Key Switches: Cherry MX Red Mechanical.
  • Keyboard Backlighting: RGB LED.
  • Dimensions: 502 mm x 163 mm x 24 mm.
  • Macro Keys: 18 Dedicated / All Keys.
  • Report Rate: Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms and BIOS Mode.
  • Matrix: 100% Anti-Ghosting and 122 Key Rollover.
  • Keyboard Size: Extended.
  • On-Board Memory: Yes.
  • Media Keys: Six Dedicated Multimedia Keys.
  • Wrist Rest: Full Length Detachable with Soft Touch Finish.
  • CUE Software: Enabled.
  • Cable Type: Braided Fiber.
  • WIN Lock: Yes.

The Corsair K95 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is not much different than the K70 keyboard we just discussed. They are both excellent, high-end options for gamers, but with one distinctive difference. The K95 features 18 dedicated macro keys for improved gaming performance! What that means is, the keyboard features 18 keys and three banks which give you keystroke access for up to 54 presets and key combinations. This is an excellent feature for gamers who are maxed out in terms of typing speed and looking for even faster, more efficient play. Once again, the choice is between portability in the K60 and performance and features in the K95.

Conclusion

Whew! That's a lot of keyboard information. I hope that in addition to the details and the fine print, you've gleaned the greater overarching message behind these thoughts on the Corsair Vengeance K65. If not, I will gladly reiterate it now (that's kind of the point of the ‘conclusion' – isn't it?). The K65 is a great keyboard, but one that's not going to feature the same power as some of its competitors based on its form factor and portability. If you're looking for the most power possible out of your keyboard, the K65 is not for you. If you're looking for a smaller keyboard and don't mind sacrificing on some superficial features and capabilities in order to have it, the K65 will serve you well.

Looking for more computer accessory reviews? H100i pique your interest? How about the Logitech G502 or G27? It's all here at EduMuch!

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