A solid update to an already good keyboard
Despite having no impact on PC performance, a keyboard is still a key component. You interact with it constantly – every email, YouTube comment and online form will be hammered out on it, plus you’ll also want it to perform well in games. It isn’t easy to blend everyday usability with killer gaming features, however, which is what makes the beautifully balanced K95 all the more remarkable.
It starts with the styling, which sees the K95 flaunting its exposed aluminium chassis in much the same way as the K90 model it replaces. This has the effect of making the keys appear to be floating, and it’s a look that we still find striking.
In addition, Corsair has also anodised the K95’s aluminium chassis with black, rather than leaving it bare, as with the K90.
This gives the K95 a dark, foreboding look, which contrasts beautifully with the white backlit keys. The backlight can be switched between four intensity levels too (super-bright, dazzling, bright and normal), and it also has a ‘selective’ setting, where you can select which keys are lit; this is useful if you just want to light the WASD keys. Ultimately, the K95 looks glorious, displaying plenty of gaming attitude without resorting to strobing LEDs or tacky illuminated logos.
The updates are also more than just skin-deep, as all the K95’s keys are now backed by Cherry MX Red switches, rather than the K90’s part mechanical, part membrane approach. This makes the keyboard feel much more coherent and consistent, with all key presses feeling pleasingly direct and quick across the board. Another update is the BIOS switch at the rear, which disables features that can cause compatibility issues with some BIOS and EFI systems.
One area that Corsair hasn’t updated, though, is the feet. They’re still quite small, and while the board feels firmly planted when it’s flat and on all four of its feet, raising the rear using the snap-out legs means that only the front two feet grip your desk. Annoyingly this meant it moved around sometimes when in use.
This is just one negative in a long list of positives, however, as the K95 retains many of the excellent features of the K90. N-key rollover is still present, as are the swish, aluminium media keys and a full bank of 18 dedicated macro keys. These keys can be programmed using the simple downloadable software, or on the fly, and the three profiles mean you can have up to 52 different macros or shortcuts programmed – enough to test the memory of even the most seasoned MMO player.
The K95 is a worthy successor to the K90; it looks more attractive and feels better in use too. Making it a fully mechanical board has affected the price, though, and £129 is a lot of cash. If you’ll use the macro keys, it’s a price worth paying, but otherwise the £100 Gigabyte Osmium feels similarly excellent, even if it can’t match the K95’s gorgeous appearance.