First announced back at CES 2013, Corsair's flagship Vengeance K95 was designed to be the company's most advanced Vengeance mechanical gaming keyboard, touting a brushed black anodized aluminium chassis, luminous white LED lighting inside each key and Cherry MX Red switches across the board (including function and macro keys).
Unconvinced that the K95 RGB was the best keyboard it could produce, Corsair has upgraded its flagship again with a 'Platinum' version that purportedly takes performance to another level. In the company's own words:
"It's a premium, best-in-class mechanical gaming keyboard for the hardcore gamer who doesn't settle for anything less than the best of the best in gaming peripherals, demands premium material finishes, the highest durability, functionality and unreal performance. We listened to customer feedback and responded with the keyboard that will even perfectly their style and demands. Every detail of this keyboard is thought out to fulfill the requirements of the most demanding gamer…"
That sounds great -- and we hope it is, frankly, considering Corsair's $200 MSRP, which is nearly a 20% premium over its previous flagship keyboard.
The K95 RGB Platinum's aircraft-grade aluminum frame remains one of the series' key features. Corsair says it's highly durable and will allow the board to survive the most intense gaming sessions.
Meanwhile, the independently controlled 19-zone light bar running along the top edge of the keyboard (hence the name 'LightEdge') might be the most eye-catching part of this package.
This lighting accent can be programmed with effects that run independently from the effects being executed on the main keyboard matrix. So, for example, while the main keys might show a dazzling 'spiral rainbow' animation, the top light bar can separately display a 'visor' animation.
Corsair also notes the board's 8MB profile storage with hardware macro and lighting playback. The K95 RGB Platinum utilizes a low-power but capable 32-bit ARM Cortex processor which when combined with 8MB of onboard flash storage is capable of driving immersive dynamic LED backlighting effects and complex macros.
Called 'hardware macro and lighting playback', this technology lets you save any backlighting effects and multilevel in-game macros to onboard memory and then play them back without the need for any external software. All calculations are done in real-time on the hardware.
Corsair has also upgraded the keycaps to help take advantage of the new lighting. An updated, modern-looking font allows for additional light to shine through, making for an even more powerful lighting show and experience.
Although the board is technically outfitted with Cherry MX switches, Corsair used its own patented MX Speed switches, which trigger 40% faster than standard Cherry MX Reds by reducing the actuation point from 2.0mm to 1.2mm. These switches require 45 grams of actuation force and typically take 4ms to actuate.
While this isn't a light keyboard at 1.32kg, it's also not shockingly heavy given its size and features.
Down the left side of the keyboard Corsair has placed half a dozen programmable G-keys keys for in-game macros. These keys feature contoured and textured keycaps which look and feel quite nice.
Around the back you will find a single USB pass-through port which I feel is an essential feature of any high-end keyboard. This provides a convenient way to plug in a mouse or USB headset and other devices such as USB flash drives and cell phones.
Thankfully, Corsair also supplies the K95 RGB Platinum with a detachable wrist rest, and it even comes with a bit of a twist. The wrist rest features a double sided rubber insert offering a soft and hard side depending on your preference. Impressively, the insert is also magnetized, which allows for it to quickly align itself and fall into place.
All the essential dedicated multimedia controls are present and this includes an awesome volume scroll wheel. Compared to the previous model, the volume scroll wheel is now larger and smoother in operation. The four media control buttons are now also raised higher for better access and visibility.
Like previous models, Corsair has also included a set of textured and contoured keycaps for FPS and MOBA gamers.
Finally, around back we find some useful cable management features along with four large rubber pads and a pair of legs to tilt the keyboard upwards.
Software-wise the K95 RGB Platinum is supported by Corsair's excellent CUE (Corsair Utility Engine) which is both powerful and easy to use.
Having used the K70 RGB Rapidfire model for around eight months now I can comfortably say this is the perfect keyboard for not just gaming but also work. Moving over to the K95 RGB Platinum (which uses the same switches) felt very familiar while its added features and improved lighting certainly upped the wow factor.
The design, features and build quality of the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum are first rate and there is certainly nothing better available, at least not for this price, which is admittedly steep.
Considering its MSRP, I'm once again surprised to find Corsair only backing their premium keyboards with a two-year warranty. This is particularly puzzling when cheap clones using knock-off MX switches come with three to five-year warranties.
That issue aside, this really is as good as it gets for a mechanical gaming keyboard. For the last eight months I have been using the K70 RGB Rapidfire and as much as I've enjoyed that keyboard, I'm keen to set it aside in favor of the new K95 RGB Platinum.
Pros: Improved lighting and media controls over K95 RGB, detachable/reversible/magnetic wrist rest, strong aluminum frame, USB pass-through, 1.2mm switch actuation, 8MB storage+ARM Cortex inside.
Cons: Expensive at $200, but not unreasonably so for its features. Relatively short two-year warranty when off-brand boards offer three to five years.