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Razer Blackwidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard Review

By David Holmes on October 11, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Razer Blackwidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard Review

Razer has served up another reimaging of one of their most popular products, this time with the Razer Blackwidow Elite. Of the many improvements on offer, you can expect the usual flashy RGB that Razer is known for, but also Hypershift key rebinding for unlimited macros, and so much more. The model we were sent features patented Razer Green switches that are rich with clicky goodness, but is it truly Elite?

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $169.99
  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches designed for gaming
  • 80 million keystroke lifespan
  • Razer Chroma™ customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options
  • Ergonomic wrist rest
  • Multi-function Digital Dial
  • Dedicated Media Controls
  • USB 2.0 and audio pass through
  • Hybrid On-Board Memory and Cloud Storage – up to 5 profiles
  • Razer Synapse 3 enabled
  • Cable routing
  • 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling
  • Military grade metal top construction
  • Instant Trigger Technology

The first thing I noticed while pulling the Razer Blackwidow Elite out of its box was just how heavy it was. The top part was made of a quality metal that not only gave it a solid weight to not move around easily on my desk, but was used in an ingenious way to connect the wrist rest to it through magnets. The ergonomic rest itself was plush and comfortable, and the material used seemed that it would last under normal wear and tear. I appreciated the long cord that was easy to loop through my desk to my computer and was an easy plug and play as expected of modern hardware.

As I mentioned in the introduction, Blackwidow Elite we received came with green switches but at retail will offer Razer’s full selection of key choices. The color scheme is different from your usual Cherry, but you have: Green (tactile and clicky), Orange (tactile and silent) and Yellow (linear, silent, and fast). While the noise level on the greens is something to be aware of (especially if you want to stream or do anything with that requires a silent room), they feel and, in my opinion, sound great. It reminds me of the sound of a typewriter, which I actually find soothing, believe it or not. The switches helped to give lightning response as I used the keyboard for games and work.

Expanding on the switches and keys used, I put them through the test as I used the Blackwidow Elite not only for several different genres of games, but also for typing up reviews and a short story or two. It felt good to use the keyboard during gaming moments, the heavy base ensured it stayed in place. The wrist rest was easily stayed attached but was easy to remove when I needed a little extra space.

The actuation of the keys felt fast and fluid as I pressed deep into enemy territory, requiring only 50g of pressure. They felt smooth, clean, and light in a way membrane keyboards just don’t, which made gaming more fun. Ten key rollover ensured I could use multiple different macros in MMOs without worrying about issues and ghosting was never a problem. If you’re not familiar with the term, “rollover” represents a keyboard’s ability to register multiple key presses at one time. So, having 10-key rollover means a ton of different button macro capabilities are at your fingertips with the Blackwidow Elite.

When it comes to macros, the Blackwidow Elite comes ready to play. It features onboard memory storage for up to 5 different profiles and cloud slots for an additional 5 to download anywhere you might game. Macros are easy to setup in Razer Synapse, requiring just a couple of button presses to begin recording and remove input delays. Assigning them to a key is equally easy. Once Synapse is installed, you’re also able to program and assign macros on the fly, without ever opening the software if you choose.

Razer also has a number of preset functions you can apply to any key. Lighting and media controls are your basics, but you’re also able to assign Windows functions or launch applications. The interface is intuitive and easy, which makes unlocking the potential of this keyboard easy for vets and brand newcomers alike.

The other side of Synapse allows you to control the lighting for the Blackwidow Elite. It has all of the preset options you would expect from Razer - static, breathing, rotating - and some rather fun options as well. Fire is particularly neat, making your keys light up like the embers in a hearth and adds a nice touch to any late-night gaming session. One of my favorites was the Ripple effect which causes water-like luminous ripples to circle out from each key you press.  Many of the presets allow you to customize the colors, timing and length. It was also easy enough to figure out custom build making for interesting self-made Chroma effects.

Synapse is really something special. You can dig in and layer effects to create really intricate animations. If you’re more of the “set it and forget it” type of gamer, Razer also has a dedicated community of gamers creating and uploading profiles that you can easily download from inside the Synapse suite.

Included with all the above features there was also a multi-function digital dial with forward, back and play/pause buttons. While these could just be used for listening to music or watching something, these are also programmable as well in Razer Synapse. It was fairly easy to change the dial to help me scrub through video files I was editing or use it on a weapon wheel in a game. Combined with Razer’s HyperShift, this is a really neat addition with applications well outside of normal gaming.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Razer Blackwidow Elite felt solid and was up to the challenge for any gaming or work scenario I threw at it. Synapse made taking advantage of its advanced functions easy which helped me get up and running fast and to establish a better workflow for my writing or software use. The ability to customize the lighting meant I could have a normal profile in one game and a second in another and then the Stars preset while I kicked back to rest. The Blackwidow Elite is a worthy weapon  for any gamer’s arsenal.

Pros

  • Easy Customizable Macros
  • Sturdy high quality construction
  • Lots of lighting options, including presets and downloadable profiles
  • Green Switches feel great (but are loud)
  • 10 key roll-over anti ghosting is perfect MMOs and MOBAs
  • Comfortable wrist rest and easily moveable thanks to magnets
  • Digital dial can be programmed for a multitude of uses

Cons

  • Price tag of $169.99 USD may not be for everyone

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.