[Review] Stream Deck and Keyboard in One: The Corsair RGB K95 Platinum XT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Corsair RGB K95 Platinum XT is a refreshed version of the K95 Platinum, which was the brand's flagship gaming keyboard before the updated XT variant came along.
Priced at US$199.99 (~RM858), the keyboard comes with all the bells and whistles a gamer needs - and some extra ones they probably don't. Without further ado, let's check 'em out.
Keyboard Layout: NA
Matrix: 110 Keys
Macro Keys: 6
HID Keyboard Report Rate: 1000Hz
Key Switches: CHERRY® MX Blue (MX Brown and MX Speed available)
USB Pass-through: USB 2.0 Type-A
Keyboard Connectivity: Wired
Keyboard Rollover: Full Key (NKRO) with 100% Anti-Ghosting
On-board Memory: 8MB
Number of On-board Profiles: 5
Same price tag, minor upgrades
The K95 Platinum XT effectively replaces the K95 Platinum in the lineup, coming in at the same price point with a few extra perks.
At its core, it is the exact same keyboard with the usual fittings expected of a premium gaming keyboard: a full suite of dedicated media keys, N-key rollover with 100% anti-ghosting, Cherry MX mechanical switches et cetera.
However, the XT refresh comes with one notable upgrade, which are its double-shot PBT keycaps, which are always nice to have as they are more durable and start to shine less quickly compared to its ABS counterparts.
As the K95 series comes with a non-standard bottom row, before this you'd have to purchase Corsair's own double-shot PBT keycaps which are already priced at US$49.90 (~RM214) per set, so it's certain a very nice value add for the same price tag.
Another change they made was to the wrist rest, which is now plush and provides more comfortable support compared to the previous flat textured wrist rest. It's no longer double-sided, but given the minute difference between the two surface options of the previous version, I didn't miss it all that much.
Anyway, for the sake of those unfamiliar with the original K95, let's revisit some of the core features that make it such a popular product with gamers who have some extra dough to throw.
Solid body, decent typing experience
Like its predecessor, the K95 Platinum XT is a full-sized keyboard with 6 macro keys on the left side. The top shell is made a single piece of aluminium, which looks and feels premium to the touch.
On the top right you'll find a set of dedicated media keys and Corsair's signature volume dial, which are all well-built - the media keys have a nice springy resistance to them while the smooth-rolling volume dial feels well-oiled and has a textured surface for better grip.
At the top of the frame, you'll find the Corsair logo illuminated under a notched forehead made out of acrylic. Next to it are 3 buttons for profile switching, brightness, and windows lock respectively.
Our review unit came with tactile Cherry MX Blue switches, which are one of the more popular mainstream switches. If you prefer more silent switches, you can also opt for the Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Speed switches, which are available for the same price.
Overall, the typing experience was decent. The PBT keycaps are slightly rough on the surface, which was not at all unpleasant and provided a nice grippy texture. One complaint I'd have is that the longer keys are pretty wobbly, with the space bar being especially noticeable.
Underneath you'll find fold-out feet to elevate your typing angle, as well as large rubber feet to prevent slipping.
You'll also find X-shaped grooves for better cable management - if you're using a wired headset, you can channel them through these grooves and plug them into the USB pass-through port on the back. However, there's no 3.5mm pass-through.
Integrated compatibility with Elgato Stream Deck software
The six macro keys on the side aren't just any old ordinary macro keys - they're compatible with Elgato Stream Deck software, allowing you to start and stop streams, record, switch scenes, and more with just a press of a button.
This basically means you now have an entire Elgato Stream Deck Mini built-right into your keyboard, sans the LED displays. All you have to do is download the software, program your macros via its simple drag-drop interface, and you're ready to go!
In case you're worried about forgetting which key corresponds to which macro, there is also an option to keep an overlay on your screen to remind you what goes where. Do note that the overlay is purely for visual purposes - you won't be able to click on the icons to utilise the bound functions.
If you're still using an older version of the K95 Platinum, don't worry as Corsair has made the Elgato integration available across the entire K95 series so you should be able to enjoy the same benefits after updating the firmware via iCue.
To remind yourself that you're a real streamer now, Corsair has also included S1-6 keycaps to replace the G1-6 keycaps. Of course, the usual WASD and QWER keyccaps are also included if you fancy dialing up the gamer aesthetic even more.
"How much RGB do you want on this thing?"
Ah, the cornerstone of modern gaming equipment: RGB lighting.
If you're the type who enjoys having the entire colour spectrum (well, not literally) at your disposal, the K95 Platinum XT certainly delivers. Corsair's iCue software is arguably one of the most powerful customisation software with nearly every imaginable effect at your fingertips, on top of the option to create and customise your own effects.
Coupled with the K95 Platinum XT's per-key RGB lighting and 19-zone light bar at the top, you could put on your very own light show. Some may say question why we need so much RGB in our lives - well, you can set the whole keyboard to static white if minimalism is your thing (no one's going to judge you, I swear.)
One quibble I do have with the keyboard is that light doesn't pass through the double-shot keycaps evenly. The problem doesn't just seem to be the placement of the stems either, as certain keys are darker on one side instead of the near the bottom where the stem lies. Interestingly enough, this doesn't seem to be an issue on the white variants, which not only allow light to pass through more evenly, but are much brighter overall as you can tell from the photo below.
I'm unsure whether this is an issue across the board, or I simply received a lemon. Anyway, it is certainly something to consider before purchasing this keyboard.
And with that, I believe we've covered all key features the K95 Platinum XT has to offer, which brings us to the final question...
Buy or no buy?
Value is what one makes of it - if all the features above appeal to you and you have cash to spare, go for it. It's solidly built with an extensive collection of features to improve your overall user experience. The built-in integration with Elgato's Stream Deck software is a huge plus if you're a streamer, and the RGB lighting is top-notch if that's what turns you on.
The mechanical keyboard community will tell you that mainstream gaming brands could never fight the quality of enthusiast boards, but if you're not a particularly discerning user it's unlikely you'll be able to tell the difference.
If you're looking for something smaller and don't need the extra macro keys on the side, the Corsair K70 will serve you just as well.
The Corsair RGB K95 Platinum XT Gaming Keyboard retails for US$199.99 (~RM858) and comes with Cherry MX Blue, Brown, and Silver switch variants. For more info, you can check out the official product page here.