The Cherry Viola switches were announced in January 2020 as a replacement to membrane keyboards and a way for Cherry to target the mass keyboard market. Their hope is to take over the budget market and phase out membrane and rubber dome technologies.
Word of warning: If you compare these to Cherry MX switches, you’re in for a disappointment, as this is not the purpose of the Cherry Viola switch.
Corsair is the first to use these budget-oriented Cherry Viola switches in their K60 lineup, affordable gaming mechanical keyboards.
In this review, we are looking at the K60 RGB Pro SE with PBT keycaps.
This is a very different mechanical keyboard than others that we have reviewed here at Switch and Click. The reason is that Cherry Viola switches do not have any history around them other than their initial announcement in January 2020.
After thorough testing, these switches and this keyboard are best for people who want a relatively silent mechanical keyboard compared to other switches such as MX Browns and Reds.
The Corsair K60 RGB is great for people who do want to bring a mechanical keyboard into the office or workplace without annoying their coworkers or a mushy bottom out feel.
However, the K60 is also great for gamers looking to purchase a gaming mechanical keyboard with authentic Cherry switches without spending a premium price.
The Corsair K60 RGB Pro can be purchased here on Amazon for an affordable price.
The SE version can be purchased here (affiliate) on Best Buy because it’s an exclusive.
In The Box
Inside the box, there are not many or any accessories to discuss. You get the keyboard itself and the plush wrist rest that we’ll discuss in-depth down below.
Of course, there is a short manual to describe the RGB key combinations, parts of the board, and where to download the software.
The K60 has a simple no-frills look with its all black appearance. The top plate of the board is made of black brushed and anodized aluminum. It is susceptible to scratches, but these can easily be wiped off with just your fingers.
At the top right of the board is the Corsair logo in a glossy black material. It is subtle and doesn’t stand out. No one would even know that you’re using a gaming keyboard if you were to take it out in public.
We also see the Num Lock, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, and Windows Lock indicators on the top right. When active, the LED will shine white.
The rest of the case is made of plastic. However, it is sturdy and does not creak or flex under manual pressure.
Like all other Corsair mechanical keyboards, there is a nondetachable USB cable. However, this one only requires a singular USB port on your PC because there’s no USB-passthrough on this board.
The cable is thin and rubber coated, coming right out the back of the board. I would’ve liked to see some wire-routing channels on the back of the board, especially since a thin wire like this would easily follow the channels.
There are four rectangular rubber feet to prevent sliding when in use. Also, there are two kick up feet with one angle to make the angle of the board steeper.
On the front, far left bottom side, it says //K60 all stylized, similar to a PC directory. I love it, it’s a unique small detail that shows someone took some care in the design process.
Plush Wrist Rest
The additional wrist rest is the same wrist rest provided on the 2020 flagship, the Corsair K100.
It has Corsair printed in the middle of the rest. However, it’s not too obvious. I would even call it stylish.
The wrist rest is magnetic and attaches to the board via the bottom, snaps right in.
It ditches the old wrist rest style with the plastic outline. Now you can only see the plushness of it. Inside is a cushioned memory foam. On the bottom are 6 rubber feet. Really, no sliding is happening here.
The keycaps of the Pro version are made of doubleshot PBT plastic, which is oil-resistant and feels slightly rougher than ABS plastic. The caps are fairly thick and let RGB shine through quite nicely.
Alongside this, the K60 features a floating keycap-style design, where the switches are visible.
The legends are updated to be smaller and less square-looking. It’s more professional, and it looks much easier to read.
The modifiers such as enter, shift, ctrl, etc are still in all capital letters.
Another upgrade from previous Corsair boards is that there is finally a standard bottom row. This means if you don’t like the keycaps they provide, you are free to swap them out with whatever custom keycap set you may own. If you need any ideas, we have compiled a list of the best keycap sets out there that won’t destroy your wallet.
And yes, the new Cherry VIOLA switches have cross-shaped stems. Do not worry.
A downside of these keycaps is that there are no secondary legends. A close inspection of the manual provided indicates that the Corsair K60 has secondary media functions. However, they are not shown anywhere on the board. Guess I got to memorize them.
The profile of these keycaps are OEM-profile. If you’re currently using a mechanical keyboard, this is most likely the profile that you are used to.
It’s slightly higher than Cherry-profile, but it’s still uniform and vary from row to row, making it easier to determine where the keys are with muscle memory and touch.
Definitely a plus for Corsair boards. Finally, they listen to people and get a standard bottom row and PBT keycaps.
The regular version of the K60 without PBT keycaps costs about $10 less, so it’s up to you if you want to pay the extra price or not. If you plan on changing the caps out anyways, then get the cheaper version.
The stabilizers on the K60 are also improved, even compared to Corsair’s K95 Platinum RGB XT, their previous flagship keyboard.
They have their stabilizer wires lubed, and not just globbed on like some other keyboards.
These are properly lubed with precision and care. This greatly reduces the rattle that was present in their previous models.
All of their stabilizers sound much better, and it’s no longer a glaring issue that possible made their keyboards unusable for some.
Props to Corsair on this one. Despite having custom keyboards on my desk, I’ve been able to use the K60 for several days without feeling the need to switch off.
The reduced stabilizer sounds also support the use of this keyboard in the office, at home with family, friends, significant others, animals, etc.
The Cherry VIOLA switches are very interesting. Cherry covers the basic facts in their specifications page on their website. However, stats don’t say much on how a switch performs and feels.
They have a 45g spring force, total distance of 4.0mm, and an actuation distance of 2.0mm. So, they are similar to Cherry MX Reds. They are linear with no tactile bump.
Their bottom housing is slightly opague with a milky appearance, diffusing any RGB that the keyboard has. The top housing is clear with a cross-shaped step to attach to the keycaps.
So the switch has less parts than typical mechanical switches. Cherry VIOLA switches only have top housing, bottom housing, spring, and a leaf. However, it lacks a covered bottom.
To actuate, there is a leaf that touches a metal contact on the PCB. This means the switch doesn’t need to be soldered into the board even, and it isn’t.
The switches are hot-swappable, so you can fix out broken switches when the time comes. Cherry has not yet announced a rating for these switches, so who knows how long they’ll last.
However, with much discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that these switches should not be lubed due to the fact that there is no bottom coverage. It’s possible for any lube to leak onto the PCB and render it useless.
The feel of the switch is similar to a Red switch, however the spring feels heavier after the initial press.
The bottom out sound and feel is barely there due to the contact area being so small. It can get unsatisfying to use, if you are coming from an MX switch. However, coming from a membrane, it feels much better and more consistent.
The sound is quiet and similar to a silent switch such as Cherry MX Silent Reds, but it doesn’t have the mushy bottom-out feel.
The typing experience on them is very interesting. After using them for a long time, it makes me want to use a switch that actually does bottom out with a thocc.
When I first used the K60, I had moments where I didn’t actuate because the spring progressively gets heavier at its actuation point. However, as I got used to it, the typos went away.
Depending on what keyboard and switch you are coming from, this could take a short adjustment period, maybe an hour or two.
The Corsair K60 is compatible with the iCUE software, which you can use to program RGB effects and macros.
To use your custom lighting effects, the iCUE software must be opened. Without the software open, you are limited to the preset lighting effects that you cycle through on the board.
There are also options to determine what windows lock does and more.
It’s not as full and functional as the flagship K100, but it definitely is programmable to your personal liking with all the macros you may want.
Only downsides are that the software is relatively bulky and can slow your computer down if it’s running in the background all the time.
Although the K60 is a very simple and no-frills mechanical keyboard, it still comes along with some extra features that you may find extremely useful in your day-to-day life.
Secondary Media Functions
The secondary media functions can be accessed via holding FN and specific buttons of the function row.
These are displayed down below:
- F5 Mute
- F7 Decrease volume
- F8 Increase volume
- F9 Stop playback
- F10 Last track
- F11 Pause/Play
- F12 Next Track
These are no indicated on the keycaps, so if you do use them often, be sure to keep the manual close or memorize them.
Onboard Lighting Effects
There are many onboard RGB effects that you can use without needing to access the iCUE software.
The following effects are available:
- Spiral rainbow
- Rainbow wave
- Type lighting
- Type lighting – ripple
- Color shift
- Color pulse
- Color wave
- Static color – which rotates between many different colors
These effects can be accessed through holding FN and then any number from 1 to 0. You can also increase/decrease the effect speed and change the direction.
It’s possible to decrease/increase the backlighting brightness via holding FN and F3 or F4 respectively.
Definitely a unique product with unique switches. Despite Cherry’s purpose of the Cherry VIOLA switches being made to replace mass consumer keyboards, Corsair took this opportunity to make more affordable gaming keyboards with superb features such as PBT keycaps, per-key programmable RGB lighting, lubed stabilizers, a premium plush wrist rest, and a standard layout.
The Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE is perfect for people who want an affordable but authentic mechanical switch. It can be used for gaming or for typing, and the noise level is quiet enough that you won’t disturb anyone in your surroundings.
There are many unknowns regarding the Cherry VIOLA switches. However, we know Cherry switches go through rigorous quality control and standards for them to release their product, which has been in the making for over a year.
The K60 is the first of its kind with these unique switches, and they may be worth trying out if you’re looking for silence without the mushy feel.
You can check out the Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE here on Amazon for an affordable price as well as the other options they have available, the one without PBT keycaps or the low-profile version.
The SE version can be purchased here (affiliate) on Best Buy because it’s an exclusive.