Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review

Corsair’s flagship K95 is a gaming keyboard classic, arriving for the first time in 2013 with the RGB model arriving a year later. The company updated the Platinum RGB model of the K95 in 2017 with an RGB light bar at the top, and Cherry MX speed switches in addition to the MX blue and brown options. In its latest iteration, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT adds first-class Double Shot keycaps, inbuilt Elgato Stream Deck software support for the macro keys (six) on the left and a prized padded wrist rest. This is our Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review: Design

Last updated on May 26, 2020 10:45 pm

If you’ve used any of the Corsair’s high-end mechanical keyboards in recent years, you almost certainly know what to anticipate in terms of physical design. The deck is made of a single curved piece of brushed aluminum. Unique media controls and a beautiful metal volume wheel sit above the numerical block, with light controls and a Windows key lock on the top right. Six special macro keys (which can now be used with the popular Elgato Stream Deck software) run on the left.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review

There are two significant physical changes compared to the 2017 (non-XT) model. Much durable, premium-feeling Double Shot keycaps are now all standard. They are made with two separate layers of plastic – translucent white at the bottom to let the RGB lighting shine through over the top – which, apart from feeling more premium and durable, should help them withstand stains and wear and tear.

Corsair also includes S-key caps to replace the pre-installed G-key caps, should you feel the need to state more directly that your extra buttons are there to do Stream Deck duty. Textured keys for WASD and QWERDF caps are also included, to help your fingers find their place in FPS or MOBA titles.

Secondly, the reversible rubber wrist support from the previous iteration has now been replaced by a padded leather palm rest. The wrist support doesn’t feel as comfortable as the loose HyperX wrist support, but it’s a significant improvement over the rubber, or stiff soft-touch plastic of most bundled wrist rests. My chief complaint is that instead of strong magnets, it’s stuck through long plastic clips underneath the keyboard, which feel like they can break off after years of use if you’re not careful. Given the high price tag of this keyboard, that’s not a good feeling.

As for many years, Corsair uses a thick, permanently attached braided wire, which makes the K95 RGB Platinum XT a bit clumsy and a lot less travel-friendly than models with removable USB-C cables, such as the HyperX Alloy Origins. However, you do get a USB 2.0 pass-through port on the back, with the main cable mounted in the middle, and cable guide wells on the bottom. This makes the K95 RGB Platinum a better option for those who do all their gaming and typing on a single combat drive.

Software

There are two software programs you want to install to make the most of Corsair RGB. The company’s iCue software is a robust program that allows you to do everything from controlling the lighting, coordinating your lighting with other compatible Corsair devices, creating macros, and managing onboard storage.

Although iCue isn’t the most intuitive piece of software, you can do a lot with it, and the company has a forum where users post hundreds of downloadable light profiles. No matter how much fun they are to play with, the most commonly used feature in iCUE is the Instant Lighting setting, which allows you to choose a single light color for all your devices easily. Convenient, black is one of the colors you can choose, turning off all the lights so you can watch a movie or take a break from the flashing RGB rainbow.

The other software the keyboard works with is Elgato Stream Deck. Corsair repurchased Elgato in mid-2018, and its hardware and software are popular with game streamers and YouTubers. It makes sense that Corsair would add support for Stream Deck into its gaming hardware.

Utilizing Stream Deck software, you can easily program the six special macro keys on the left side of the K95 RGB Platinum XT to perform any task. From starting standard programs and recording clips to performing various chat tasks, changing your in-game voice, and much more. Once again, Elgato’s hardware and software are trendy among gamers, with a robust community that is creating plugins that allow you to do just about anything at the touch of a button.

In short, while there is room for improvement, the software that the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT is designed to perform with is second to none. While you may have to fiddle around a bit to figure out how to perform certain specific tasks (especially with iCUE), the re’s a lot of functionality here that lets you do a lot with your keyboard. My only real objection is that it’s a bit awkward to have two separate pieces of software for your keyboard control. Hopefully, in the coming time, Corsair will combine the functions of both in one software package for the sake of simplicity.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review: Performance

While other keyboard companies have collaborated with switch makers to design their mechanical switches or experiment with optical and analog control technology, Corsair has adhered to tried and tested Cherry MX switches. Two of the three options – MX Speed and MX Brown – have been upgraded for even greater reliability, with the promise of up to 100 million keystrokes. But Corsair delivered us the keyboard with clicky MX Blue switches, which can “only” handle 50 million keystrokes. The difference probably isn’t something to worry about unless you’re a young, productive gamer who plans to hold his keyboard for decades.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review

I prefer Blue switches for typing, which makes the K95 RGB Platinum excellent for my daily typing and working tasks. And with a classic design, the Corsair K95 felt familiar during gaming. But clicky Blue keys aren’t the best for gaming, and I missed the linear feel of red switches or the shorter-acting MX Speed switches when shooting and plundering my way through Borderlands 3. If gaming is your number one priority, I will steer clear of the MX Blue switches as much as I want them for typing tasks. Those interested in switches other than the three Cherry options offered here will have to look elsewhere.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Review: Conclusion

I’ve tested several mechanical keyboards over the years, and tend to go back to Corsair’s models when I’m not looking at something else. I love their looks, and I love the media control and that luxurious volume scroll wheel. The inclusion of Double Shot keycaps and a wrist rest make the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT easily the best version yet. And that’s before you see that Elgato software support may keep you from spending more than $100 on a dedicated Stream Deck.

But unless this keyboard will save you from making that purchase, $200 is a terrible amount to ask for a mechanical keyboard today, even though this is one of the best. If you don’t need all of these features, consider one of the many more affordable models from Corsair. For more options, check our list of Best Gaming Keyboard

9.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT is a subtle but worthwhile remake of Corsair's excellent K95 model.

PROS
  • Authentic Cherry MX switches
  • Gorgeous RGB lighting
  • Elgato streaming functionality
  • Comfortable wrist rest
CONS
  • Complicated software

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