When it comes to mechanical keyboards, we have experienced everything from the boutique to the basic. We’ve seen monstrous, desktop-filling behemoths and the teensy-tiny. We have even seen single-hand solutions as well as a few mechanical marvels. And with every one new board, a trend appears, gathering a handful of followers along the way. The current trends? 60%-sized keyboards. These are not new by any stretch of the imagination, but we are seeing more and more mainstream offerings. Today’s offering is not a mainstream example, but it is one that might, in its divinity, challenge the mold. This is our review of the Durgod Venus 60%
- MSRP: $99.99 - $129.99 USD (Amazon)
- Switch Types: Available in Cherry MX Red/Brown/Black/Speed Silver/Silent Red, Gateron Red/Yellow/Blue/Brown/Silent Brown, Kailh Box Jade/Red/White/Brown
- Caps: Doubleshot PBT, shine-through keycaps
- Chasis: Aluminum
- RGB: 16.8 Million available color combinations
- Polling: 1000Hz
- N-Key Rollover
- Tap Mode: Arrow keys accessible via Shift, Fn1, Fn2, and Control keys
- Software: Durgod Hera Compiler Software
- Connection Type: USB-C (USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C cables included)
Established in 2016, Durgod’s goal has been to provide high quality peripherals, using in-house research and development design along with creating the software to drive their devices. With that in mind, it is Durgod’s goal to create an eco system of devices, giving gamers synergy across connected devices.
While we have not had hands-on experience with any of their other peripherals, the Durgod Hades left a pretty big impression on our team a few months back for both build quality and value. The Venus 60% is no exception.
The first thing I noticed as I removed the Venus from its box is that it is one heavy keyboard! That isn’t to say that it’s bulky - it has similar outline size to my Apple wireless keyboard. Its heft comes from a solid aluminum chassis. Now, you will hear manufactures brag about their “aluminum-reinforced” keyboards, which usually consist of a solid top plating over a plastic body. Not so with the Venus. When they say aluminum body, they mean it!
The level of quality does not stop there for the Venus. The keycaps are a doubleshot PBT, providing a quality feel to each keystroke. These caps have transparencies for their associated designation, allowing the addressable RGB to shine through. And in between these features lies the heart of every mechanical keyboard experience: the switches. Which switches does the Venus 60% bare? Well, what kind of switches do you want?
For our review sample, we received a Venus with the Kailh BOX White switches. These are a “linear clicky” switch, much like the Cherry MX Blue. They have a lower actuation point, meaning they require less force to press and activate than their Cherry MX Blue counterparts. This makes them a very fast reacting switch for gaming. But, if that isn’t you style, that’s no problem; chances are, the Venus can deliver what you’re looking for. This keyboard is available with fourteen different switch styles from the Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh BOX line-ups.
The Venus 60% is power by USB 3.0 via a USB Type-C connection. Durgod does include both a USB-C to USB-C cable as well as a USB-C to USB-A plug. The connection on the keyboard is recessed, which has been the subject of some disagreement amongst our team. To me, the fit feels thoughtful and clean to the design of the keyboard while another review thought the connection was too narrow. This may just be an issue of personal taste.
On the software end, the Venus can be modified through Durgod’s Hera Complier software. This software experience is okay, but I would not expect Corsair iCUE or Razer Synapse level ease of use out of it. It can get the job done. There are also some option labels that are either mistranslated or still in Chinese. Neither of those things makes the software unusable, but they are worth mentioning.
The final feature the Venus prides itself on is its Tap Mode. The Tap Mode exists to give users the option to turn the right-hand shift, Control, Function 1 (Fn1), and Function 2 (Fn2) keys into an arrow pad - which is absent from some of the more diminutive keyboards like the Venus. To activate this, a user need only press the Fn2 key and Caps Lock. Alternately, if you are typing, you can hold down the left Shift key and use these replacement directional keys to highlight text in whatever direction you choose.
In theory, this is a great option for those who are used to having arrow keys to work with. In practice, it takes a bit to get used to and with such a small Caps indicator on the top of the keyboard, your likelihood of typing in all caps is very high. The other thing that I noticed is that the right-hand Shift key has a delay on it when it is not being used as an arrow key. The left Shift, however, worked without a delay. As someone who habitually uses that the right Shift for typing, it will take far more time for me to get used to!
As more and more manufacturers of mechanical keyboards include formerly high dollar features within lower priced gear, we are seeing the bar for quality elevated for what consumers can expect from gear at a certain price point. As a result we are receiving offerings like the Venus 60%. Durgod pushes this trend by delivering a solid bodied keyboard with high class features like an aluminum chassis, doubleshot PBT caps, and the option to purchase this model of keyboard in a number of sought-after switches without crossing the $140 mark.
The Venus 60% is not without its concessions though. On the software support end, Durgod’s Hera Compiler is okay, but is not as intuitive as some of the more mainstream engines. The positioning of the Caps Lock indicator makes using the Tap Mode a bit inconvenient if you are trying to type anything while using it. This may be solved over time and with more use, but it is worth knowing before diving into the Venus 60% being your daily driver.
While it falls just short of divinity, the Venus 60% is certainly an inspired piece worthy of some praise. If you are considering a small form factor mechanical keyboard and want a plethora of options for switch choice, the Durgod Venus 60% will give you that without breaking the bank. This just may be the new budget-priced entry point into the wide world of mechanical keyboards.The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.