Hey everyone, I just picked up my 2nd Mech keyboard, The new Corsair K95 ( the replacement for the now discontinued K90 ) I've not seen much info on OCN about this board, and its fairly new, so I thought I would give a little review, pictures, and answer a few questions that I couldn't find on the internet when I was looking at this board.
Price: $150 US
- Full 105 key keyboard, with an additonal 18 'G' Macro Keys on the right hand side.
- Full backlight keyboard ( white LED's ) with 4 settings. Off and Low/Medium/High brightness settings.
- Can individually light up independent keys of your choice.
- Full Cherry MX Red's ( unlike the K90 which was not fully mechanical ) No other switch type choices at the moment.
- USB pass through for mouse, flash drive, etc.
- Switch for BIOS, so that you can have maximum keyboard compatability while in BIOS
- Media keys, Stop/back/play/next/mute as well as a fully metal volume roller wheel
- 18 'G' Macro keys, with 3 different profiles ( with buttons next to the G keys to change proflies )
- Included wrist rest ( which screws onto the keyboard )
- Built in memory for storing profiles, as well as software to set up the macro keys, backlighting, etc.
And a few other bits
I bought this board after buying a CM Quickfire Rapid in blues, and decided I want to get myself a mechanical keyboard to use at work. Currently I have a office Issued Dell chiclet style keyboard, which compared to a mech board, its quite aweful, and I also use a Razer Nostromo, with custom settings to use for work ( i'm an AutoCad drafter ) and had been thinking of replacing my nostromo with the mechanical razer orbweaver, but at $130, that was an expensive investment, and when I discovered the new K95, with its 18 macro keys, I decided I might as well spend $20 more and get a full mech board and just adapt to that instead of shelling out $130 for the Orbweaver, and another $70 for another quickfire rapid.
- IMPORTANT: there have been many reports of these boards being warped and not sitting flat on desk, and unfortunately the unit I bought was warped, but I just twisted it with my hands and it now fits flat on my desk. It is a manufacture fault for sure, and some people may find that unacceptable, but I didn't want to bother with returning/RMA'ing it to get a flat unit, so if I never told anyone that I twisted it back into shape they would have never known. For me personally, for $150 its something that should have been caught in QC, and fixed before leaving the factory, but it is a new product, and hopefully later batches will not have this issue. ( its reported that the aluminium plate was warped during manufacturing )
- Backlighting: Again, for me personally, I'm not a fan of keyboard backlighting, I don't need to look at my keys when I type, so its mute for me. But since the keys and switches are raised higher than on a normal keyboard ( see pictures ) the LED's reflect off the inside of the keys and back on to the aluminium baseplate, giving the board a very 'ghosty' feel when in a dark room. Some people may like it, I myself don't. But on the plus side, with the way the keys are raised, it seems like it would be very very easy to clean this keyboard. With the design of the switches and the LED's there is quite a bit of uneven backlighting across the board.
- Size: its a full size keyboard, with the additional G keys, its a desk eater. so if you have a tiny desk, this may not be the keyboard for you.
- Build Quality: This is an important area for me. I'm the type of person who would rather spend the little bit extra and get a good quality product ( as I would assume most mechanical keyboard users are, since its a very nich group ) Aside from the mentioned production flaw, overall, its very good. the keyboard is a traditional layout, ( there are options for other layouts ) with a nice and clean layout, nice fonts on the key caps, no crazy L33T fonts, very clean and professional looking. So far, the only complaints I have about the build quality are that the area where the G keys are is not the continued aluminium backplate that covers the rest of the keyboard, and the G keys are also lower than the rest of the board. Also, when bottoming out the keys, you get a different sound with the normal keys hitting the aluminum base vs the G keys on the plastic base. With the size of the board, it stays put on the desk, and is a nice weight and is nice and solid feeling. The keycaps are on the cheaper side, and I will test out putting some custom keycaps on the board to find out if you can get a full keycap replacement for the entire board from keycap resllers. So far, it seems that the standard keys can be replaced, but as far as the spacebar, and other keys, i'm not quite sure. I have read online that this keyboard may have been built and designed by logitech and comissioned for corsair to re-sell. I could very well believe that considering the quality of the product.
- MX Reds: For me personally, I don't think these are the switches for me. Coming from blues, they feel nice, but will take me a bit of getting used to. Unlike the blues, with reds you basically have to bottom out every key to make sure you actuate it properly. But I liked the idea of reds for an office use as they would be much quieter compared to blues. I'm sure with time I'll learn the acutation point and won't need to bottom out every key. I do now see why people say that blues are best for typing though. I have not yet used the reds for gaming yet, but once I do i'll update this post.
So i'll finish off this novel by listing some pro's and con's
Nice build quality
Fully mech backlit keyboard with 18 extra macro keys
Nice clean look, would look great on any gamer or professionals desk
Black Aluminum backplate looks nice
included wrist rest is nice
lots of features
Braided Cable, but very thick
Factory 2 year warranty
Warped plate, hopefully this issue will be fixed soon. May be a deal breaker to some people
Plastic base and lower height of the G keys
Uneven backlighting, with the brightest setting almost being too bright
Overall I rate this keyboard a 9/10 Its not perfect, but its very impressive, and so far, I feel comfortable spending the $150 for what you get.
Questions to be answered, that I will update later on.
- Can you get custom keycaps for it? So far yes, but it does not look like the spacebar will be swappable.
- OSX friendly? Yes! though it seems the G keys may not work ( though as of testing I don't have any of the G keys assigned to anything )
As first impressions go, i'm happy so far, but for me personally, is if the 18 G keys can replace my loved nostromo while still keeping my productivity speed, comfort, and useability. Basically, if this keyboard can't meet that for me, I will return it and pick up an orbweaver, but since this overall is a better bang for the buck, i'll try it out first.
Keyboard next to my QuickFire Rapid. You can obviously see the difference in size.
MX reds, with the anodized black aluminum backplate.
The difference between the standard keys, and the G keys, notice the height difference and the transfer from aluminum to plastic
Here you can see the backlight glow, the uneven backlighting, and the selective key backlighting as well.
Playing around with the selective backlighting, If I go custom keycaps, I'll probably have the 1-4 lit up like this.