Aww, just look at that. It's perfectly normal to find a keyboard cute, right? Corsair's entry-level Vengeance K65 mechanical board might lose some functionality by dropping the numpad, but it gains more than just novelty value in the process.
All the essentials are covered within the K65's 436mm-long chassis, and a number of extra features have been added to make this a portable unit. Every key (apart from the volume buttons and Windows lock at the very top) has a Cherry MX Red mechanical switch beneath it, and that's something not even its pricier K90 sibling can claim.
The macro and function keys on the latter are membrane-operated, creating a jarring sensation when switching between the QWERTY layout and the macro bay.The K65 does away with macros altogether, but as a result there's no disparity between keystrokes on the board.
It's clear that Corsair's pricier K60 and K90 - along with its more recent K70 and K95 revisions - are the design genus for this board. Once again, it's built on a chassis that combines a plastic base with anodised aluminium plating. Like the FPS-focused K70 board, the [W][S][A][D] and directional arrow keys are highlighted in grey, and the space bar is finished with a grippier texture. There's no wrist rest for this model, but we found it comfortable to use all the same.
The braided cable is detachable, so you can pack it away more efficiently for travel and avoid the cable knotting that befalls us all when two wired devices get within, ooh, a mile of each other. There's also a moulded feed that keeps the connection snug and flush with the base of the board.
We can live without the macro keys of its bigger brothers, and although its lack of numpad keys means you won't see it on many bank tellers' desks, it's a smart jettison for gamers, who seldom venture that far to the right.
The only real downside of its pared-down approach is that the K65 isn't backlit. But for that one feature, we'd be typing up this review on this splendid little keyboard rather than our ol' faithful, the K90.
If this is your price bracket, that drawback should be your only concern. In all other aspects, the K65 is top of the class. Since we mention pricing, why the craze for fully mechanical boards in the first place? Do they really make so much difference in a gaming scenario that they're worth the extra outlay?
The brutally honest answer is no. Clicky mechanical switches won't make you a better gamer unless your Starcraft II shortcut game is so impossibly fast your key presses aren't registering because they're overlapping. The benefit of mechanical switches is that they boast almost no ghosting and full keyboard rollover. You could mash the keys like a cat taking a stroll over your desk, and every hit would register in order.
But let's face the truth: we really prefer mechanical keyboards because they convey a superior build quality. In that regard, the K65 is as good as any.