Soundblaster, a name that PC users and enthusiasts have grown up with for years. Creative, the creator of the Soundblaster series of sound cards have been with us since 1981 and a worldwide leader in audio technologies. In 1989, they bought us the now famous and recognized name of Soundblaster. Since this time Creative have released a swathe of different audio products for the PC market, most notably the dedicated sound card. It was an easy choice back in the day, if you wanted quality sound for both game play and music alike, you purchased a dedicated sound card as it was most of the time far better than your onboard sound hardware. However is this the case now all these years later now that onboard sound hardware has vastly improved ? Today we are looking at the Soundblaster X AE-5 Plus, a dedicated sound card for the PC. Read on to see what we find.
It’s a fair statement that a keyboard and mouse are the most important part of any computer rig! Without them, we would be stuck with a box as good as a paper weight. You could even say keyboard and mice have become an extension of our limbs. So, it’s important that they are reliable, comfortable and responsive. Even consoles manufactures have seen the light and have enabled their consoles to utilize them.
One of those top brands, most of us know well is Corsair. They have been around since the early 1990s and manufacture many components and peripherals for gaming PCs. Nowadays Corsair is also recognized for their use of RBG lighting effects in their products, and those products are not just only stunningly beautiful, but built to win.
Corsair have kindly sent us the K60 RGB Pro Mechanical Keyboard and the KATAR Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse to review.
Before we get started lets, go thought the Key features of the K60 Pro Mechanical keyboard and the KATAR Pro Gaming Mouse.
K60 RGB Pro Mechanical Keyboard
- Anodized Aluminium Frame: Made from brushed aluminium with black anodization for a stylish, modern look and years of battle-tested durability.
- 100% CHERRY VIOLA Mechanical Key switches: Linear travel with fast and precise inputs.
- Dynamic Per-Key RGB Back lighting: Illuminate your desktop with near-limitless colors and effects, enhanced by amplified underglow keycaps with a standard bottom row.
- Powerful CORSAIR iCUE Software: Enables dynamic RGB lighting control, key remaps and custom macro programming, and full-system lighting synchronization across all iCUE-compatible CORSAIR devices.
- iCUE Game Integrations: Experience an unparalleled level of immersion when playing iCUE-integrated games, as your RGB lighting dynamically reacts to in-game actions and events in real-time.
- Full N-Key Rollover (NKRO) with 100% Anti-Ghosting: Ensures that every key press registers, no matter how fast you play.
- Windows Key Lock Mode: Guarantees, you’ll never accidentally interrupt your game at critical moments.
- Convenient Keyboard Shortcuts: Control media playback, volume, and onboard lighting on-the-fly.
KATAR Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse
- Game in the Fast Lane: Play with hyper-fast, sub-1ms SLIPSTREAM CORSAIR WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY, or connect to a wide range of devices with low-latency Bluetooth®.
- Light and Agile: Weighing just 96g, the KATAR PRO WIRELESS is great for hours of fast-paced FPS or MOBA game play.
- Play for Days: Powered by just a single AA battery with up to 135 hours of battery life.
- Compact Symmetric Shape: Great for claw and fingertip grip styles.
- 10,000 DPI Optical Sensor: A PMW3325 sensor from PixArt offers the precision and high-accuracy tracking you need for victory
- Six Fully Programmable Buttons: Create an in-game advantage with button remaps and custom macros.
- Simple Setup: Just connect the wireless adapter to a USB port and switch the mouse on to play right away.
- Powerful CORSAIR iCUE Software: Enables custom macro programming, button remaps, mouse sensitivity adjustments, surface calibration, and more.
- Switch DPI on-the-fly: Switch between three preset DPI settings without having to interrupt your game.
Both the K60 mechanical keyboard and KATAR wireless Gaming Mouse have the same design for their respective packaging. Their branding is simple and sweet however and always tends to be a head turner.
Both products packed securely and wrapped in a clear protective plastic, both came with documents, them being the instructions, warranty information and safety information. The KATAR mouse also came with a USB dongle and a single AA battery. Both the K60 keyboard and the KATAR wireless mouse come with a respectable 2 year warranty.
K60 RGB PRO Mechanical Gaming Overview
The K60 is a mid-range mechanical keyboard which hits the style of a top-range keyboard. The face plate is black anodized aluminium with a brushed finish, while the back of the keyboard is a hard-wearing plastic. This gives the K60 a contemporary look and feel but also durable for when gaming gets intense. The keys are 100% CHERRY VIOLA mechanical key switches with linear travel, which will empower you with fast and precise input at your fingertips. Each key is individually lit with dynamic RGB back lighting. Which will allow your desktop to glow with a near unlimited number of colours and effects. Also, the light on every individual key has an amplified under glow which makes the back lighting bright and vibrant that other top range RGB keyboards struggle to match.
Corsair has paired the K60 with their iCUE software to control the colours and effects. Corsair’s iCUE software not only enables you to control the RGB light, key remaps, and custom macro programming, It can also grant you the power of light syncing every other Corsair product within your setup. The RGB lighting can dynamically react to in-game actions in real-time depending if the games are iCUE compatible. The K60 also has full N-key rollover with anti-ghosting making sure that every key you press registers, no matter how fast and hard you play.
Another useful feature of the K60 has is the Windows lock key, which will prevent in game interruptions when accidentally pressed. Furthermore, the K60 has convenient keyboard shortcuts, such as you media control, volume and backing lighting contrast. As a note to console users the iCUE software is not compatible with the Xbox One or PS4. The K60 has a 1.82m (6ft) tangle free rubber cable and costs of the K60 is £109.99 GBP, $89.99 USD and $129.99 CAD.
KATAR Pro Slipstream Wireless Gaming Mouse Overview
The KATAR Pro Slipstream gaming mouse has two ways to connect. One is with the USB dongle with Corsair’s hyper fast sub 1-ms slipstream wireless technology and the other is with Bluetooth, which can connect to a wide range of devices that support low-latency Bluetooth. The KATAR mouse is also light and agile as it only weights 96g (0.212lbs) including the battery, which is a single AA that lasts up to 135 hours, great for hours of fast-paced FPS or MOBA game play. The body of the mouse is a black plastic and uses a compact symmetric shape, great for claw and fingertip grip styles. Underneath the KATAR has a PMW3325 10,000 DPI optical sensor from PixArt, which offers high-accuracy precision tracking you need for the win.
The KATAR has six fully programmable buttons which can give you an advantage against your opponents allowing for things such as quick weapon switching. The design of mouse allows for simple setup, just by plugging the USB dongle which can be stored within the mouse when on the go. Like the K60 keyboard, the KATAR also uses the iCUE software which is used to change the DPI, macro programming, button remaps and surface calibration. Switching DPI is easy with just a single switch with 3 step and colour identification without interrupting your game. The KATAR wireless mouse slides with minimal friction on a mouse pad and on most surfaces. Corsair has also generously sent me their MM300 Pro mouse pad, which pairs perfectly with KATAR Wireless mouse.
The features of the MM300 Gaming Mouse Pad.
- Spill-proof and Stain-Resistant,
- Mico-Weaved Fabric,
- Extended Size (930mm x 300mm (36.6″ x 11.8″)),
- 3mm-Thick Plush Rubber Construction,
- Durable Stitched Ant-Fray edges,
- Non-Slip Rubber Texture,
- Price £29.99 GBP, $29.99 USD (Exc Tax) and $44.99 CAD (Exc Tax).
Even if you don’t own any Corsair products, I highly recommend the MM300 Pro Gaming Pad. The KATAR and my mouse slide with ease. It feels and looks great. I spilled coffee on it already I didn’t even wipe it up, just hung up to dry and there is no staining. In the UK it retails for £29.99 and is a fine addition to any desk.
iCUE Software with The K60 Keyboard and KATAR Wireless Mouse.
Using the Corsair’s iCUE software for the RGB effects is a smooth experience. The more peripherals and devices you have by Corsair the better it gets. Especially when game titles are iCUE compatible as the lighting throughout your system reacts during in game events which can make make your gaming experiences more immersive. To use Corsair’s RGB products to their full potential, the iCUE software is a must. It’s not only used to program the RGB effects but also allows you to add macros and edit default DPI settings. iCUE is used instead of on-board memory as both the K60 keyboard and the KATAR mouse do not feature on-board memory. To me and most mouse and keyboard wielders, this isn’t a problem. As most of us tend to use our key bindings via in game controls settings. However, if you prefer to add your own macros, this where the iCUE steps in.
The iCUE RGB lighting effect are very immersive as it allows you to synchronize your chosen lighting effects across your owned Corsair peripherals or components. When in action you can have it so that your keyboard,mouse,CPU cooler and even RAM are all in sync showing off your chosen RGB profile. Though we do have to mention that for this to work in harmony, this will only work with Corsair iCUE compatible products.
The KATAR wireless mouse has a lesser extent of RGB capability. The KATAR has useful light indicator depending on what DPI you have selected to use. This light is fully RGB and can be changed to whatever colour you wish using the iCUE software, however there are no RGB effects for the KATAR wireless mouse. For example, the image below, the top section shows the factory default DPI setup and the bottom section is how I have re-configured to my play style. One feature I think is a must for all wireless mice is the battery level indicator, which fortunately the iCUE supports and can put it into the taskbar area for quick reference.
Corsair’s K60 Pro Mechanical Keyboard
|*Looks and Feels Amazing.||*Slight Key Wobble.|
|*RGB Back light is Bright and Vibrant.||*No Onboard Memory.|
|*Good Value for Money.|
|*Durable and Easy to Clean.|
I am a fan of Corsair’s K60 RGB Pro Mechanical Keyboard, with its brushed aluminum face plate, vibrant RGB back lighting and CHERRY VILOA key switches. It just looks and feels amazing. It will be an impressive addition to your gaming gear, regardless if you are a console or PC gamer. However, there are a few drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that there is no onboard memory. I don’t use it, but I know plenty of gamers who do and use it religiously. The other is there slight key wobble and every now and again they will emit a squeak. I did not list the squeak issue in the cons list as feel that it something that will disappear overtime.
That being said, the K60 Mechanical Keyboard performs brilliantly. With the Cherry Viola and Full N-Key Rollover key switches, the keys are responsive, precise and reliable. I have been using they K60 for a week and in that time and I have experienced no ghosting. It’s comfortable to use for those long workdays and hours for gaming. I am a huge fan of the size as it a full-size keyboard is a compact form as there is no space wasted with plastic edging or separate media and volume controls. With the K60 being what I consider a low profile keyboard I find that my hands rest on in well and my fingers naturally find their way to the WASD keys which is essential for any gamer.
The RGB back lighting has out matched other mid-range RGB keyboards that I have used and this down to the fact that every key is individually back lit. I would highly recommend this keyboard to the average PC or console gamer who wants a decent mechanical keyboard without breaking the bank, as K60 Pro has a lot to offer for new and veterans keyboard users alike.
KATAR Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse
|* Fast Response||*No RGB Effects|
|*2 Ways to Connect||*Lack of Side Buttons|
|*Build Quality||*Battery Operated|
The KATAR Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse is an outstanding compact mouse, especially for those who game while on the move as it can connect via Bluetooth which saves you on a used USB slot. Switching the DPI setting is a breeze and placed in a convenient location and easy to find without looking, but also doesn’t get in the way where it can be accidentally pressed. The KATAR is responsive while using the USB dongle and Bluetooth alike. The build quality is extraordinary, considering that it only weighs 96 grams. That’s including the single AA battery within.
There are few features I wouldn’t consider as negative worth noting. While the KATAR does make use of the RGB feature, it is only seen for a brief second when changing the DPI. There are no real RGB effects, However, any mouse which is wireless and has RGB lights consume power and you have outweigh if you want you mouse to look cool or if you want to get more usage out of it, and I personally will always go for the latter. Speaking about power consumption, I would like to have seen a charging port on the KATAR but having charging port does come with is own cons. One of them being that all batteries have a lifespan or limited number of recharges, again this will come down to user preference.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment of gaming with the KATAR Pro Gaming mouse and it’s down to ergonomics of the mouse itself. Most items you use such as a chair are built using the average size of humans. These applies to mice too. I’m a 6’4″ and being this tall means long limbs and hands, so finding the right size can be a nightmare. I got on with while working but my most of time I am only using the keyboard when gaming I didn’t get on with the KATAR Pro Gaming Mouse and wasn’t due to lack of trying. But more, that it’s a little too small for me to use, so it is worth noting that if you are someone with large hands, the KATAR could possibly be a little uncomfortable.
Reviewing both products by Corsair has been and delight and I deeply appreciate Corsair sending us these products to review.
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