Corsair's trademark dedicated media controls live in the top right corner of the keyboard. The four main buttons (stop, play, skip forward, and skip back) have all been given some extra height compared to Corsair's older boards, making them easier to press. They feel fantastic with steady, deep ranges of motion. As someone who listens to music almost nonstop throughout the day, it's always great to have dedicated media buttons, and the K95 Platinum's buttons are especially nice.
The volume wheel has also been changed a bit, but not in a good way. The scrolling action is incredibly smooth, which presents a problem. The wheel is actually too easy to scroll in this iteration, making it difficult to accurately adjust the volume to the desired level. The K70 Rapidfire's volume wheel has light notches in the scrolling action that give a better idea of exactly how much the volume is being adjusted. I wish Corsair had stuck with the Rapidfire's scroll wheel and put it in the K95 Platinum.
Finally, the mute button on my particular keyboard seems to have a defect. Pressing down on it results in a coarse crackling feeling that definitely isn't meant to be there. I've used multiple Corsair keyboards and none of them have had this issue. I also haven't been able to find anyone else making note of the mute button, so it's safe to say it's just a bit of an odd quirk of my particular unit.
Moving across the top of the keyboard now, three other buttons come into view. The first button switches between profiles saved to the keyboard from Corsair's accompanying software, though it does come programmed with three profiles by default. The second button adjusts the brightness of the LEDs. There are four brightness levels in total, one of which completely turns off all the lights. The final button disables the Windows key, which can be useful while gaming.
A single USB pass-through port resides on the back of the keyboard to help with cable management. I had my mouse plugged into this port the entire time I've been using the K95 Platinum, and the mouse seemed just as responsive as usual. I never picked up on any lag or latency, so as far as I can tell, using the pass-through port shouldn't result in any issues.
A thick, braided cable also comes out the back of the keyboard and ends with two USB connectors. The first connector is for the keyboard itself, and the second is for the USB passthrough. The keyboard can function without the passthrough port connected, so those who don't need it don't have to use up an extra USB port on their computer.
Like most Corsair keyboards, the K95 Platinum comes with an attachable wrist rest. This time around, the rubbery pad has two sides, each with its own distinct texture. One of the sides simply has rows of small dimples, while the other has a raised, triangular pattern. I switched between both textures throughout my time with the keyboard, but I never developed a preference for either side. Both textures feel nice and get the job done.
The bottom of the keyboard has two crisscrossed grooves intended for cable management, but it seems a bit odd to have the grooves going from the front of the keyboard to the back. I'm not sure what cables one would want to route out the front of the keyboard. I suppose it can't hurt to have the grooves there, but it would be nice if they exited from the side of the keyboard, as well.
The back of the keyboard also comes equipped with two feet that can be flipped up to give the keyboard a bit more height. The feet are sturdy and keep the keyboard propped up without any wobble. Sadly, Corsair has removed the riser feet common in its older from the front edge of the K95 Platinum. Those feet offered a flatter and more natural typing angle for some typists when they were engaged.
Two sets of textured keys are packaged with the keyboard along with a keycap puller. These keys can actually be quite useful when paired with the G-keys. Gamers in the middle of an intense fight generally want to keep their fingers on the main key cluster. If you move your fingers away from the main keys to activate a G-key, it can be difficult to quickly place your fingers back on the main keys. Textured keys make it much easier to locate the main key cluster.
Given the usefulness of textured keycaps, it'd be nice if Corsair would provide a textured set of one through four keys, as well. Many RPGs use those number keys often. The two textured keycap sets provided are mainly for FPSs and MOBAs. Honestly, the best solution might be to package a set of blank textured keycaps. This would allow gamers to set up any configuration of textured keys they might want.
While the current textured keycaps could technically be used for any configuration, they have slanted edges similar to those on the G-keys that are meant to keep one's fingers centered in the key cluster. I find these slants unnecessary for gaming and annoying when typing. Yes, I could take the textured keycaps off after gaming, but I'd rather not switch out the keycaps every time I switch from work to play.
Last year, I was quite impressed with the Corsair Utility Engine, or CUE for short, but Corsair has unfortunately changed it quite a bit since then. It's now clunky, slow, confusing, and overly complicated. The number of menus, tabs, and selection screens has been increased, which combined with a certain unresponsiveness that now pervades the app, makes programming colors and macros a frustrating experience. It's still better than a lot of gaming peripheral software out there, but it's unfortunate to see CUE regress from its former state. Fortunately, it's just software, so Corsair could improve it in the future.
While CUE's most recent version is a bit disappointing, it still gets the job done. All the standard RGB keyboard features are here, from a large variety of lighting modes and options to highly customizable macros. LED settings and macros can be assigned to profiles and saved to the keyboard. As I noted earlier, the keyboard has a button specifically for switching through profiles, so it's not necessary to have CUE installed on every PC you might want to connect the K95 Platinum to. That's handy in an age of increasingly complex and customizable peripherals.