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Review | Corsair Gaming K95 RGB Keyboard

by on November 1, 2014
 
We check out the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB mechanical keyboard. Does it live up to the standards set by the K70?

We check out the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB mechanical keyboard. Does it live up to the standards set by the K70?

Corsair Gaming recently released a few new colorful, LED-backlit keyboards for consumers. There are three types of keyboard, the Corsair Gaming K65, K70, and K95 RGB. Today we’ll be looking at the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB keyboard.

Like the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB keyboard I tested out, the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB mechanical keyboard featured Cherry MX switches, with users being able to choose between Brown, Blue, and Red. It also, like the K70, features customizable backlighting, allowing users to customize each key with 16.8 million color options. The Corsair Gaming K95 RGB mechanical keyboard does have a few advantages over the K70, however.

The first of these advantages comes in the form of 18 more macro keys. The K95 also gives you three mode buttons, as well as a macro record key. With these advantages comes an extra $20 on the price tag, however, placing the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB mechanical keyboard at $189.99.

As with the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB mechanical keyboard, I rather liked the volume slider over having two separate volume buttons. This keyboard also has the risers on the front of the keyboard, which I appreciate.

This keyboard contains twin USB cords. Consumers who utilize USB 2.0 will need to plug these in a specific order; The cord with the arrow will need to go in first, and cord with the keyboard needs to go in second. For those who have USB 3.0, however, only the cord with the keyboard will need to be inserted, leaving the other dangling uselessly by your computer.

Keyboard Feel

I immediately put the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB keyboard to the test, with and without the Corsair Utility Engine to see how it works in both situations. Some of the games I tested out are League of Legends, Silent Hill 3, Teleglitch: Die More Edition, and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, as well as a few other MMORPGs that I tested out specifically to determine how useful the G-keys are.

The keyboard was extremely responsive, and like the K70, I had no issues with my fingers slipping off. The sturdy build of the keyboard, as well as the matte finish on the keys make the keyboard feel quite nice. When you combine this with the attachable palm rest, which is firm, yet soft, and you have quite the comfortable keyboard to utilize your gaming sessions.

Corsair Utility Engine

A glance at the Lighting screen in the Corsair Utility Engine.

A glance at the Lighting screen in the Corsair Utility Engine.

Honestly, the CUE hasn’t changed since I tested out the K70. For those who do not want to look at that review, however, I’ll go ahead and reiterate what I said there. Those who have already read my thoughts on the software can go ahead and skip down to the “final thoughts” section below.

After putting the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB keyboard through its paces without the Corsair Utility Engine running, I reopened/re-enabled the software.  I had originally expected it to come with at least a few profiles built in, but I was disappointed. The CUE does not come with any preloaded, although you can download profiles from other users, and Corsair has even set up a dedicated forum for users to share their own, unique profiles. One user by the name of Smsumodude20 (thanks, Smsumodude20, for creating this profile.) recreated the rainbow wave that Corsair showed off when they debuted the K70 RGB keyboard, and you can see a video of this profile below:

I opted to install the firmware update for the keyboard after I messed around in the software for a bit, noting, as I did so, that it is simple to manually download any firmware updates you may wish to.

The software suite features four tabs; Profiles, Actions, Lighting, and Settings. I was eager to start playing around with the lighting settings to see what kind of unique layouts and effects I could create. I was a bit surprised, however, to feel rather lost when it comes down to the backlighting. I felt somewhat relieved and somewhat overwhelmed when I downloaded the Corsair Utility Engine’s 142 page user manual.

This manual is optional for those who don’t wish to delve into the lighting effects, but if you do want to untangle the hierarchal structure of foreground lighting, background lighting, built-in dynamic lighting effects, and their interactions, it is necessary to comb through it. Corsair also has a few videos on their channel to help you make sense of a few things. Once you have figured out how things work, it is shockingly easy to lose track of time as you attempt to completely customize your unit.

In addition to the lighting effects, the CUE allows you to fully program  the keys. This process is much simpler than the lighting, and can be quite handy for several MMORPGs.

Overall, the software is good, but requires a rather steep learning curve. It would have been nice if Corsair had included some profiles in the software automatically to serve both as a reference and as an easier way for those who don’t want to spend so much time tweaking the keyboard, but the forums mentioned above alleviate this somewhat.

Final thoughts

The Corsair Gaming K95 RGB keyboard was as solid and responsive as I expected after having tested out the K70. With the new experience under my belt, I approached this keyboard as an optimist, and I was not disappointed. The Corsair Gaming K95 RGB keyboard is just as responsive as the K70, and the additional macro keys can be quite handy in MMORPGs or other software. Like the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB keyboard, I honestly feel like this is one of the best gaming keyboards currently available.

If you have no desire to customize the lighting or utilize the extra  macro keys, then you may want to pick up the standard K70 keyboard. If you’re one of those users who will honestly utilize the extra keys and play around with the lighting options, then this is the keyboard for you.

Final score: 4.5/5

 

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