Korona Kore II Compact Keyboard
Even though the Korona Kore II Compact Keyboard isn't my ideal style of peripheral, it does a good job of meeting the expectations set by its description. The price is very competitive and it comes with a matching gaming mouse. I rated it a little lower for ease of use because I think it should have macOS functionality as well to be versatile for those users.
- EASE OF USE
Compact keyboard doesn’t quite measure up to user’s standards.
I have a pretty extensive collection of keyboards laying around my office. A few years back, I was really taken with a mechanical keyboard that was designed for gaming and it quickly became my primary work peripheral. The only issue I really had with that keyboard was that it was very large. I love that it had a numeric keypad and navigation keys along with the typing keyboard layout, but I wanted that package in a smaller format. That’s why the Korona Kore II from IOGEAR caught my eye.
The Korona Kore II is a compact keyboard designed for gaming. It features an 89-key layout (including 26 anti-ghosting keys) that is perfect for smaller desk setups. It has RGB multi-zone backlighting with multiple lighting modes. A unique 10-key layout is built into the compact design and a rotary control knob is included for easy audio and lighting adjustments.
A gaming mouse is part of this keyboard’s package. It features an updated 6,200 dpi gaming-grade sensor for high-performance when playing. The mouse also has RGB lighting built-in. The mouse buttons are programmable when using the Kaliber Gaming software (Windows only).
- Function: GKM601
- Number of Keys: 89
- Numeric Keypad: Yes
- Anti-Ghosting Keys: 26
- Backlighting: RGB Multi-Zone LED
- Keyboard Technology: Dome switch
- Key Switch Type: Plunger
- Keycap Type: ABS; Laser-cut markings
- Hot Keys Function: Multimedia
- Windows Key Lock: Yes
- Keyboard Color: Black
- Keycaps Color: Black
- Max Resolution: 6200 dpi
- Sensor: PMW-3327
- Number of Buttons: 7
- Programming Software: Yes; Windows only
- Lighting: RGB LED
- Onboard Memory: 32K
- Weight: 97 grams (without cord)
- Report Rate: 125/500/1000 rps
- Frame Rate: 5000 fps
- Max Speed: 100 ips
- Button Life: 20M clicks
- Switches: Huano
- Cable Length: 1.75m (5.7ft)
- Dimensions: 131mm (L) x 72mm (W) x 39mm (H)
- Max Acceleration: 20G
I’ve been searching for a compact style mechanical keyboard for quite some time. There are certain features I really want and at first glance, I really thought the Korona Kore II might be a good fit. Alas, it’s not my personal preference. Here are the features I was looking for and how this keyboard measured up.
Obviously, I knew this keyboard was not wireless. The keyboard along with its matching mouse are both wired with USB-A cable connections. While USB-A might be a ‘standard’ for peripherals, it feels somewhat outdated to me. In addition to that, there was no USB port on the keyboard itself, which meant that the keyboard and mouse were taking up two of my USB-A ports on my hub.
This can be a big negative if you plan on having these devices installed for the long term. In my case, my main computer is a MacBook Air so I have to use a docking station to connect to other devices. Two of the six USB-A ports – 33% of them – are currently taken up by this keyboard and mouse combo.
Mechanical Switches – Preferably Linear Style
My primary keyboard is the Nuphy Air75, which uses Gateron Low-Profile Red switches. They provide a smooth movement and are a bit quieter than more tactile switches. The Korona Kore II uses dome switches, which is kind of a hybrid between membrane and mechanical switches.
Therefore, it feels much different than a mechanical keyboard does. Honestly, this compact keyboard feels a lot closer to a membrane keyboard than a mechanical one. Each keystroke has a noticeable punch to it that feels like a rubber plunger.
Even though my main purpose for my keyboard is productivity-driven tasks, I want something that is going to last for a long time. That’s why I prefer mechanical keyboards over membrane ones (mechanical keyboards last between 30-70 million keypresses and membrane keyboards are only about 5 million presses).
While this is more of an aesthetic feature than a functional one, I still really like having an RGB backlight incorporated into my keyboards. It’s a nice touch and it makes the entire desk setup feel more alive. The keyboard and mouse both have RGB lighting and both are very colorful and bright. Users can control the lighting modes and brightness from the keyboard. As a Mac user, this was very helpful because a lot of gaming keyboards are Windows-centric and the lighting modes are sometimes unavailable if you aren’t using that operating system.
Compact Layout with Tenkey Functionality
For those who aren’t aware, ‘ten-key’ refers to the numeric keypad portion of a full-size keyboard. This traditionally includes the numbered keys 0-9, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division symbols as well as a decimal point, NUM lock, and Enter keys. Tenykey functions are used frequently in data entry, which I do on a regular basis.
Therefore, having ten-key on my keyboard is helpful. A lot of compact keyboards, however, do not include these keys. The Korona Kore II Includes a modified ten-key number pad that does not include the mathematic functions, but it does include standard navigation keys. The Korona Kore II hits this feature on the mark. I love the size of the keyboard and how the numeric keys are incorporated.
Finally and probably most importantly, I want to make sure any keyboard I use allows be to be fast and efficient when I type. Working with the Korona Kore II for a while made me feel as though I wasn’t getting tasks done as fast as I was with my Nuphy keyboard. One way I test this is to complete a 1-minute speed typing test online. Typingtest.com has a benchmark test, which I use to judge my personal best between keyboards.
In this case, I used the Nuphy and the Korona Kore II. As I suspected, I was faster and more accurate with the Nuphy keyboard. The image included shows the difference in the two benchmark tests. I was able to have a higher average on both keyboards, but I averaged 9 words more per minute with the Nuphy.
As far as the mouse goes, It’s has a fairly standard design as a mouse. I like the grips on the sides, and once I set the tracking speed, the mouse seemed to be as responsive as I like it to be. There are several buttons on it but unfortunately because I’m using a Mac I don’t have the opportunity to use those buttons. This is something I think IOGEAR should look into – macOS support. I would have liked the mouse a lot more if I could have programmed the buttons.
Keyboards are a fairly personal decision and one keyboard experience may not be the same from one person to the next. If I were to rate the Korona Kore II keyboard based on my personal matrix, it would only rank a 2 out of 5. It’s really not my cup of tea and not what I’m looking for in a keyboard. That said, in general, it is well constructed, and based on its description, I feel as though it does meet its own standards well. If you are in the market for a gaming keyboard that is non-mechanical, this is a budget-friendly option (retails for around $50) that might suit your needs just fine.