Historically, I have always been a confirmed user of cheap keyboards. I had never really thought that premium keyboards were all that great. But then again, what makes a keyboard... well... good? Until now, it wasn't the looks — the looks only justified our need to spend excessive cash on a simple input device. Even for more than $100.00 USD, most all keyboards are still plastic with rubber dome keys and shiny, fingerprint-prone gloss. So what actually makes a good keyboard? The feel of the keys, the weight of the keyboard, the functionality and responsiveness — these are features that you can't see — you have to experience them.
Designed specifically for FPS gaming, the Vengeance® K60 FPS mechanical gaming keyboard combines looks with critical function. What you see is what you get, and what you get is actually useful. The keys look nice, because they ARE nice — the chassis looks like metal, because it IS metal. In fact, the chassis of the K60 is made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum, while the keys utilize Cherry® MX Red mechanical key switches, considered to be the best keyboard key switches available today. What do all these feature mean, though? To put everything into perspective, I got a K60 for the first time and played Counter-Strike for several hours. Here is what I found:
The K60 comes with two sets of WASD and 1 through 6 numerical keys. Out of the box, the K60 has the default black keys installed. The other set is rubber-like texture and are colored red with a more distict curvature to the keys. They can be found encased in the provided left hand palm rest. These textured red keys can be easily swapped with the standard black keys by using the provided key tool found attached to the underside of the palm rest cover. These keys provide your hand with a means of guidance back to the "home" WASD gaming position without requiring users to take their eyes off the screen.
Beneath the keys, the K60 features the aforementioned Cherry MX Red mechanical key switches. These switches provide the most responsive action while requiring the least amount of force and producing the least amount of noise. While some find that the "click" of the Cherry Blue key switches, or the increased required force of the other Cherry key switches add a reassuring aspect to the typing experience, most will eventually find the redundant "click, click, click..." sound to be immensely annoying and the added force will promote hand fatigue or carpal tunnel syndrome if you are a serious key spammer.
With the combination of these features, I found that I could buy guns, ammo and equipment at the beginning of a match much more quickly and confidently than I normally could. Previously, I would have to look at the screen, making sure that I clicked the right number for the right gun, the right armor and right grenades, but with the texture and curves of the red keys, I knew where my fingers were and which number(s) I was hitting. I also knew exactly how many times I hit those keys, based upon the improved feel of the mechanical keys. In fact, I found the keys to have such a satisfying and addicting feel and click to them that I spent an erroneous hour doing typing tests online — funny enough, I was typing much faster, with more accuracy, than I could do previously with a dome-switch keyboard.
So what? What about the aiming, shooting and killing? I am, after all, using Counter-Strike as my testing FPS game... Well seeing as how the three most important aspects of FPS gaming all rely upon the user's input to the mouse, I've written up a separate blog dedicated to the new Vengeance M60 FPS Laser Gaming Mouse, and it will be published very soon.