Razer has essentially been synonymous with gaming peripherals since PC gaming really went mainstream. Sure, I remember back in the day playing Mech Warrior on DOS with a joystick when Razer wasn’t even a thought but when PC gaming really started to push into more and more households Razer was right there with their green alien glow, impressing gamers everywhere. What started with a few mice and keyboards has exploded into a plethora of peripherals named after all sorts of creepy crawlies, each of which has their own subsets of versions it seems.
One of the things I love about Razer is that they don’t seem to ever really say to themselves “Well that was a win, time to move on and never pay attention to this line again” and to prove that point I”m typing this review on yet another Razer Blackwidow refresh, complete with clicky keys, crazy RGB lighting, and a heft that rivals a cinderblock. If you’re a Razer fan, new to PC gaming and/or peripherals, or just love reading about new stuff - read on for our look at the latest Razer Blackwidow Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
- MSRP: $119.99 USD
- All the essentials from the BlackWidow Elite ($169) for less money
- Features Razer Green Switches (tactile and clicky)
- Up to 80-million keystrokes per key
- Razer Hypershift Compatible
- Built-in cable routing options
- On-Board Memory and Cloud Storage for personal settings
- N-Key Rollover w/ anti-ghosting
- Dimensions: 17.6 x 6.7 x 1.53 in // 448 x 177 x 38.8 mm
- Weight: 2.75 lbs /1248 g
Build, Switches, and Typing
The first thing I want to cover is the overall build quality and, in that regard, Razer does not fail to impress. The Blackwidow has a serious amount of heft to it a keyboard that’s plastic covered - it in no way feels hollow (or even partially empty) on the inside. Weighing in at over two pounds it’s one of the heaviest keyboards that’s sat on my desk and it’s not something I necessarily view as a bad thing. I’ve had problems in the past with keyboards that move around as I typed on them, despite rubber feet, simply because they’re so light and a two-pound keyboard does give a solid sense of security when it comes to staying right where you put it.
Currently, this iteration of the Blackwidow will only be offered with Razer Green switches, which are essentially like MX Cherry Blues, which means if you aren’t a fan of clicky keys and tactile bumps this isn’t going to be a keyboard that fits your style. What's more, if you ARE into those things but have a family that is wholeheartedly not (I may or may not be referring to the love of my life shooting daggers at me as I type right now) it doesn’t leave you a lot of options if you do want this particular Blackwidow but also don’t want to be murdered in your sleep. I hope to see Razer offer their pure tactile and silent linear switches in the future but those are even hard to track down for the keyboards that offer them so I wouldn’t hold out, personally.
Typing on the Blackwidow, however, is a joy. The actuation of the keys is incredibly comfortable for a tactile/clicky switch with just enough pressure to prevent accidental key presses but not so much that it feels like a finger workout to type for any length of time. You do end up with the characteristic super-loud spacebar that comes with Razer Green (or Cherry Blue) switches, however, which you can clearly hear in the following sound sample.
If you’re someone that has used a Razer product you’re likely familiar with Razer’s Synapse software. The new Blackwidow comes ready and will prompt you to install Synapse when you plug it into your rig. From the Synapse software, you are able to customize all your Razer peripherals including their lighting. The new Blackwidow comes equipped with per-key RGB so I was eager to see what Synapse had to offer in the way of RGB customization.
Out of the gate you are given some “Quick Effects” that are really quite impressive and for those that don’t want to muck around with layering effects and selecting certain keys in the Chroma Studio. Quick Effects include a Wave (Spectrum), Breathing, Fire, Reactive, Ripple, Spectrum Cycle, Starlight, and Static. Each of these quick effects shows off Razer’s RGB capabilities admirably, though the features really shine when using Chroma Studio.
The Chroma Studio is for advanced users and RGB nuts that want to dial in their keyboard (or other Razer products) exactly how they want. Using the Studio you can select which keys get what effects, as well as layer effects on top of each other, select which colors they use, the direction they flow, the speed, etc. In the example above you’re seeing primarily a fire effect being displayed that’s been adjusted to be yellow and blue (I’m a little obsessed with Fallout) with a reactive top layer that turns keys white for second or so after they’re struck. I find Razer’s Chroma Studio significantly easier to use than Corsair’s iCUE, though it’s not quite as extensive.
If you’re a Razer fan and love the sound of a furiously clicking keyboard as you gleefully slaughter your foes, this Razer Blackwidow refresh deserves a hard look. The price isn’t terrible for the Blackwidow line and we’ve reached the point where the base Blackwidow model will feature per key RGB lighting so we can say goodbye to that static green glow (you can always bring it back if you want, ah the beauty of RGB)!. The Blackwidow will be my daily driver until my wife kills me because it’s honestly one of the more comfortable keyboards I’ve used and its ability to double as a blunt weapon to deter home intruders is a significant bonus.
- Switches feel nice with good actuation pressure
- Synapse is easy to use and offer good customization
- Lighting is vibrant without being overpowering
- Limited switch offering, only clicky-tactile Razer Greens
- Some may not like how heavy keyboard is
- Still on the expensive side for a mechanical keyboard
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.