Updated with Video - Corsair K95 RGB Platinum review - 200$ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard If you came to this article, then you know what this is. It’s the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum- a high-end mechanical gaming keyboard with 16.8 million colors RGB lighting system, Cherry MX Speed (or Brown) switches, aluminum construction, dedicated macro keys and an ARM processor coupled with 8MB of onboard storage. It’s their new flagship, placed just above the K70 RGB Rapidfire. I want to let you know about the price beforehand. This is not an ordinary keyboard and definitely not an ordinary price. You will have to appreciate the art of making good keyboards or must be a keyboard enthusiast, or a freakin’ rich dude to consider this board. So with this out of the line, let’s start the show. The board is available in two colors – full black and the gorgeous gunmetal gray. For the switches, you have two options- Cherry MX Speed and Cherry MX Brown. It comes with Two years of warranty – a time period that it will easily cover. We have the black and MX Speed version for the review today. Before I go on and blabber too much, let’s start the review right away. Packaging and Accessories The K95 RGB Platinum comes in a cardboard box with the usual Corsair black and yellow color scheme. The box contains all the necessary images and gives a nice look at the board’s lighting capabilities and various features. There are also small details about the Cherry MX Speed switches. It’s a big box and sturdy enough that the keyboard will reach you in good condition. Inside the main packaging, you will get a classy looking black box. It’s their flagship, so a premier packaging is worth it. Inside this, we have the keyboard and the other accessories neatly packed in. You get a couple of warranty guides and manuals, textured keycaps (for FPS and MOBA), a plastic key puller and the dual side wrist rest. More on that later. Design, Build Quality and Comfort The design of the board has the right amount of flashiness and subtlety. It’s a gaming board but without the “gaming” looks. And the simple color scheme with RGB will match any system that you’ll ever build. The moment you pick up the board, you realize how heavy this thing is (1.32KG but still not heavy as an IBM Model M). I don’t know about performance but I can see someone using this as a weapon during a gaming rage session. It is a full-size 104-keys keyboard with additional macro and multimedia keys. The top plate is a thick piece of aluminum and the rest of the body is made of a very high-quality plastic. The keys are made of ABS plastic and there is a metal volume slider. Let’s examine the details one by one. The Top The brushed aluminum plate has been the signature of the mechanical boards from Corsair. It not only looks good, it also provides rigidity to the keyboard frame. The brushed texture on this board is smoother and thinner than the one used on some previous boards. And you notice it right away. But because of this finer texture, handling marks and dust particles are easily visible on the surface. Regular cleaning will be required with the board. The brushed aluminum plate has been the signature of the mechanical boards from Corsair. It not only looks good, it also provides rigidity to the keyboard frame. The brushed texture on this board is smoother and thinner than the one used on some previous boards. And you notice it right away. But because of this finer texture, handling marks and dust particles are easily visible on the surface. Regular cleaning will be required with the board. The Corsair logo is now at the center, unlike earlier boards. It’s also RGB “LIT” yo!. The front edge of the board has the “LightEdge” – an acrylic RGB LED strip that is software customizable. It looks amazing and we will talk about it in detail in the lighting section. There is no shroud for the keys and the switches are mounted directly to the aluminum plate. It makes it easier to clean the board. This also gives the keys Corsair’s signature floating appearance which looks really appealing and also allows the light from the RGB LEDs to reflect off the base plate. Front At the front of the keyboard, there is a USB pass-through port. The USB port is great for connecting other peripherals like mouse and headsets and if you fancy, a daisy chain of keyboards. Though, you will not get the best speed for USB 3.1 drives as the port is USB 2.0 only. Unlike the previous boards like the K70 or the K95, there’s no physical report rate switch. This allowed the board to be used with some legacy BIOSs. It’s controlled via the CUE software now. Good riddance as the audience of this board will most likely have a modern high-end system. Bottom Corsair redesigned the bottom to include an interesting new addition in the form of an X-shaped groove for cable management. Other than this, the other parts here are fairly standard. There are four rubber pads and two adjustable feet. Nothing special here. I really wished they added the extra pair of feet just like they did it with the K70 RapidFire. But this simple design still works. The weight of the board paired with the large anti-slip pads prevent it from sliding across your desk. The idea of the groove for cable management is great but its implementation is not the best. The depth of the groove is right but the small tabs that hold the cable are too small to catch the cables properly. This is especially true for the cables with less than stellar flexibility like their own Scimitar RGB. Small movements made the cable to come out of place. Small redesign to the tabs will completely solve the problem. Otherwise, it’s a great idea. Wrist Rest The wrist rest on this K95 RGB Platinum is the best that I have ever seen on a keyboard. It’s not only great in terms of build quality, it’s also more comfortable now. I am not kidding, I have seen keyboards that are actually lighter than this wrist rest. The wrist rests used on previous K boards were tiny, had slippery surfaces and the angle on them was not comfortable at all. The company took user’s feedback and it has been completely redesigned now. It is bigger, flatter, softer and the angle, at least for me, is now perfect. It easily snaps into place and is pretty easy to remove too. Though, the bigger size makes the already big board even larger. Get a big desk, easy! The best features of the wrist rest are the choice of surface texture. The main rubber area where you rest your wrist is magnetic and it has two different textures on both sides. There’s no flimsiness and it sticks with a nice “tick”. The first one is hard and has a grippy texture. The other side is softer and smoother. It has a smooth polka dot-like texture which is my favorite of the two. It’s just not a gimmick, the feature actually works. The difference between the textures is quite noticeable. There are even small cable grooves so that you don’t lose out on the X-groove featured on the bottom. One thing I noticed was how easily this thing picked dust. Dust just clings to it and it starts to look dirty very soon if you are not very careful. I would love to see future revisions of the K70 and K65 lineup to ship with such a wrist rest. Cable The 1.8m cable is thicker than most monitor and power cables and is non-flexible. The braiding is tough and the cable is actually built to last. Best of luck to you if you try to hide this thing around your clean desk setup. The cable splits into two connectors. One for the pass-through port and the other for the keyboard itself. The strain reliefs are good and will easily take some abuse. Ergonomics The board is comfortable to use and long gaming and typing sessions are an easy thing on it. The primary keys feel good under the fingertips because of the slight curve of the keys. The other keys like the volume sliders, media keys, and the profile keys are easy to access. Nothing comes in the way. The wrist rest adds some extra comfort points to the board. The cable is also centered now. It gives it a clean and symmetrical look. The Keys Let’s talk about the keys now. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a full sized keyboard with additional media and macro keys. The board is smaller than the previous K95 because the 18 G-keys have been reduced to just 6. Most people would not be affected too much except for the hardcore video-editing and 3D-modeling users. G-keys The G-keys themselves are now textured and slightly contoured to make them easier to find during heavy use. I wish they came in black or some other darker color because these off-white keys stand out from the all black board. The Macro keys can be very handy for games that require too many buttons and actions all at the same time. They are also useful for applications that depend too much on shortcuts like Video Editing and 2D/3D visualization software. The previous K95 had 18 macro buttons but this one only has 6. I wouldn’t say it is a downgrade as many of those keys can be replicated by using software control. Now you may feel that the macro keys are placed too close to the main keys and you will accidently hit them. But take my word, even during gaming sessions or just simple typing, I haven’t hit them once. If you use normal typing position, then your fingers actually don’t stray that far. And if you are so afraid of hitting of extra keys during gameplay, then you can create profiles with all extra keys disabled. It’s just a matter of some clicks. At the top right, we have the metal volume slider along with the media keys. The volume slider is thinner and smoother than before but maybe a tactile one would be a great update. The media keys are taller now so good to see that. At the top left, we have the profile switch, brightness, and windows-button lock keys. The Profile switch option is a new addition here. Because the board has an ARM processor with 8MB of memory, you can store up to three Profiles onboard with complete Macro, Lighting, and Performance settings. There are four levels of brightness including off. The widows-button lock key does everything that the name suggests – prevents accidental start-menu activations or presses. The space-bar has textured surface and everything else is in places where you’d expect. Nothing out of ordinary, just like it should be. Apart from the usual keys, you also get some extra keycaps for FPS and MOBA games. They are textured and countered with the same off-white color like the G-keys. They are good for gaming but not comfortable for typing. There’s a small problem! The underside of the keys uses a translucent white plastic to let the light shine through. And the One complaint that I had with the K70 Rapidfire has not been resolved. The font…. Man, this font is big. Some people like it but I am personally not a big fan of this design. The 50$ K55 RGB has a better font than this. I can understand the bigger font allows more light to pass but I guess this can be achieved with some other way too. Then there’s a problem that is not singular to just Corsair keyboards, it’s a problem of every board with Cherry MX RGB switches. Can you see how the top portion of the key is brighter than the bottom portion? This is because the LED module on the Cherry switches is at the top. Logitech is way better in this regard as their switches has the LED right in the middle of the switch. It’s not a disaster but I hope Cherry comes with a better way to light up their switch. MX Speed – The New Gaming Switch The K95 RGB Platinum uses exclusive short actuation Cherry MX Speed switches. These are exclusive because currently only Corsair has the license to use these for some time and are co-developed by Corsair. There’s also an option for the Cherry MX Brown switches. The switches are linear so there is no hump in between the keystroke. The actuation distance is just 1.2mm – around 0.8mm shorter than its counterparts. Also, the activation force for the keyboard is around 45g. If you want a direct comparison then these are the faster versions of the Cherry Red MX switches. The activation force is same but the travel to activate the switch is 0.8mm shorter. According to Corsair, this short distance and low activation force make this switch excellent for gaming. But how do all these marketing words translates into real world performance? Performance Typing I used these switches for the first time with the K70 RapidFire. And if I remember correctly, these switches gave me a bad time for the first few days. But after using that board for more than 2 months as my daily driver, I can say with ease that it is a good switch. The light touch of the keys definitely takes some time to get used to. But when you get a hang of it, you appreciate the light nature and short presses. It is less tiring during long typing sessions and you don’t have to slam the secondary keys, a slight nudge is enough. A fast typist with good practice can easily pick up speed with the key. If you get this keyboard, you will have to give some time to get yourself acquainted with the board. Gaming The advantage of the light switches shines through during the games. The sensitive presses are really useful when you have to hit key multiple time. This is mainly due to the shorter spring back distance after a key press. It’s hard to explain the slight improvement that you get with this switch. Let me explain with this example- you have a better chance of winning a race in Rally or NFS with this switch than compared to something like a membrane or MX Green. In adventure and shooting games, the major benefit comes when you need some extremely fast movements. In slow paced games, there won’t be any difference compared to other mechanical switches or even a membrane keyboard. Don’t be fooled, though. The faster keys won’t make you a faster gamer. But if you are a person who is already quick with his reflexes then these keys can help in certain situations. Lighting This is the part that many of you were waiting for. The lighting options on the K95 Platinum are extensive and taken up a notch by that LightEdge at the front. It is a piece of clear acrylic behind which are 19 individual LED zones. All of which can be controlled separately. I really liked the way in which the light bar has been integrated with the aluminum and plastic frame. It looks clean and does not look like an afterthought. It is bright and so bright that it can actually light up the desk. This can be a problem if you have a monitor with a glossy coating that is mounted closer to the desk. I really liked this feature and it’s obviously gimmicky and flashy but the execution is damn near perfect. The font looks ugly but it does let a good amount of light to show through. The material used for the diffusion is good and the lights actually “glow” instead of “shining”, a common problem with cheaper solutions. The animations are pretty smooth and to be honest, the lighting options or settings can get a bit overwhelming. Each key is individually addressable with up to 16.8 million color combinations, which, as most of you know, is a number that only looks good on paper. This is because human eyes can only see up to 30 colors, just like 30FPS (JK). There are many options for you to play with and all of them look good. You can also create custom ones with the help of CUE. CUE Corsair Utility Engine or CUE is the software that controls all kinds lighting and macros for the Corsair peripherals like keyboards, mouse, headsets, mousepads. It’s a comprehensive piece of kit and can take more than a day to discover it properly. Covering all the details here will take too much time so I will only cover the basics. To get info I would suggest you to check out my blog review as posting all images here is not possible. - Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Review - 200$ RGB and Aluminum Goodness! • Page 2 of 2 • DesktopRigs.i Wrap Up The K95 RGB Platinum holds true to its lineage. Solid aluminum construction, multi-media keys, macros, extensive lighting options, USB passthrough and much more. Added to all these are the Cherry MX Speed switches and the 200$ price tag. And in short, it is a complete overkill and balls to the wall product. But that’s why I like it. I think it makes sense. You see when Nvidia or Intel comes up with a ridiculously priced flagship (Titan XpXPXPXPxp anyone?), everyone loses their ****. People want it just because of the price tag and its top position in the hierarchy. The same case is going on here. If you look logically, there’s no reason to buy this board over a K70 RapidFire or even the old K95. It’s still RGB, same aluminum frame, Cherry Speed switch and there are actually fewer macro keys now. But deep down you’ll still feel that the K70 RapidFire is not the flagship anymore. The inner feeling needs to be satisfied somehow and this is where the K95 Platinum comes in. There are even products which perform just as expected while still costing less. The MasterKeys offerings from Cooler Master and the Logitech G-range is a nice example. If you want a Corsair mechanical keyboard and want to make a rational decision, then go for the K70 RGB RapidFire. If you think that the comfortable wrist rest, the light bar, and the 6 macro keys are worth the extra price then K95 RGB Platinum is for you. It performs just as good as those boards, feels solid, provides extensive customization options and added to that are the extras in the form of the LightEdge strip, comfortable wrist rest, macro keys and the cable groove. And yes, you get that feeling of owning the cream of the crop. But being totally honest, there are some obvious flaws here. The cable groove can be improved, the font needs a redesign, and Cherry should think about getting their game together about the lighting. Final Note “If you own some extremely high-end flagship components, then the 200$ K95 RGB Platinum is hand picked for you. It’s a complete package and is an expensive toy that will last you for many years to come. Maybe the only one that you’ll ever need….” So this concludes my Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Review. I think I tried to cover everything about this board. If I missed something then please let me know in the comments. Thanks.