We're frequently told that we can’t have it all, but just as frequently, that’s a lie. You can’t work hard enough to attain a reasonable standard of living and still have a fulfilling life outside. You can’t have jelly on your spaghetti. You have to choose. Corsair seems to disagree, as the K95 Platinum does, indeed, have it all. As long as you’re prepared to stump up a frankly eye-watering amount of green.
Yes, for the price of a Radeon RX 480, you can get a mechanical keyboard with all the trimmings. Macro keys, Cherry MX Speed switches, RGB lighting inserted into places you never thought possible. Aircraft-grade brushed anodized aluminum. Eight whole megabytes of storage for swappable profiles. A detachable, double-sided wrist rest. An honest-to-goodness, proper USB 2.0 port, instead of a mere “charging” socket. A USB cable as thick as your finger, and a metal rolling volume control. All this makes it one of the best gaming keyboards you can buy.
Visually, there’s a hint of the HyperX Alloy FPS we liked so much back in the February issue about the K95 Platinum, its edgeless design meaning the keys stand out proudly from the baseplate, and you can inspect their undersides like an over-friendly drill sergeant. The drawback to this kind of design is that it mercilessly exposes any flaws in your keyboard hygiene routine: Blackened grot, bits of old fingernail, and the crumbs of too many hastily eaten burritos will work themselves into the mechanism, or just lie between the keys. The caps are easily removed for cleaning, exposing the gray stems of the MX Speed switches. These are clickless, like the more common Red variant, but activate after a mere 1.2mm of travel. The ubiquity of Cherry switches means the Platinum feels remarkably similar to other keyboards that use the same ones, but the light touch needed on the MX Speeds, mixed with the weightiness of the keyboard base, mean it’s a board that lends itself to quick use, and would make a fine first mechanical keyboard for the novice or upgrader.
Every key is programmable, but the dedicated macro keys, separated on the left, are distinguished by a different color on top, and a textured and cambered surface—it is possible you might hit G3 while reaching for Tab, but you’ll know what you’ve done the second your fingertip hits the top of the key. The rest of the alphabet has a smooth, concave top, the letter cutouts reassuringly large and letting through plenty of that RGB light. Not content with every key (except for the macro keys) having RGB LEDs underneath, Corsair has taken inspiration from its absurd MM800 RGB Polaris mouse mat, and run a strip of lighting round the back and top edges of the keyboard, too.
All of this requires programing, of course, and duties are held by the usual Corsair Utility Engine software. It’s a nicely made bit of code that happily sits in the background, and can tie all your Corsair products together into one ungodly coruscating whole.
So, having it all is possible, as long as you’re prepared to pay for it. There’s not much to criticize about the Platinum—apart from the lack of actual platinum in its frame—except maybe that mandible- slackening price. At this level of outlay, you have to really want the Platinum. The original K95, with the same switches, goes for around $50 less; the K70 Rapidfire knocks even more off; and the HyperX Alloy, with glorious clicky MX Blue switches, is half the price. The siren call of the lighting and that useful USB port will have to be strong, therefore, to prevent passing corsairs lashing themselves to the masts of their ships, and sailing on past to less expensive waters.