For PC Gamers, the keyboard plays a huge role in your gaming experience. It doesn't matter what type of gamer or game you like to play - nine times out of ten you'll be using a keyboard for input. Some may argue it's the most important input device on a PC, something I tend to agree with. So its somewhat surprising to see just how cheap some folks will for a peripheral that takes the most abuse. As a gamer, a programmer, and a web addict I need a versatile keyboard that not only performs well and holds up to my abuse - but looks good doing it.
Razer has a solid line of PC and console peripherals, but the cream of the crop in terms of keyboards is no doubt their BlackWidow lineup. For anyone older than thirty, you'll no doubt remember the mechanical action keyboards of the past. These keyboards not only went *click* *click* *click* with every keystroke, the keys instantly popped back into action ready for your next command. This tactile response was something that I immediately connected with when using my PC growing up. Sadly, over time, mechanical keyboards went by the wayside.
Once I got my hands on the BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard, things became familiar again. It was almost alarming how loud the keyboard was, after switching from a squishier Razer Lycosa I wasn't so sure about my decision to switch. It felt great, but getting passed the noise, I thought, would be an issue. The keyboard is also solid, if not heavy. It's not a plasticy feel at all and sits on your desk with authority.
Feature wise the keyboard offers a few bells and whistles. You've got five programmable macro buttons, back lit keys with adjustable brightness, multimedia functions, a USB port, and audio connectors for a headset. Razer also claims the keyboard utilizes faster polling rates and an "optimized matrix for gaming" to minimize ghosting of keys - basically you can press a lot of keys at once and the keyboard won't get confused as you switch. While there are special drivers available, they aren't required, and I had no problem using it without them installed.
A quick overview of the keyboard...and the sweet sound of clicking.
For my gaming use, the keyboard never flinched. I absolutely had no problems with it. I love having the headset ports right within reach, makes it easy to fire up a quick co-op session when I need to use a mic.
Using the keyboard for normal typing while programming and surfing the web (and writing this review) - the results are amazing. My typing speed increased over my previous keyboard and my MacBook Pro. At first I thought it was an illusion, so I hit up a TypingTest.com to measure my typing speed. With the Lycosa I was hitting 75-78WPM on a 1 minute test, on the MacBook Pro I was averaging 70-75WPM. On the BlackWidow? 85WPM.
So what's the downside to the BlackWidow? Probably the price. You're going to have to spend $129.99 ($119.99 at Amazon) for it, which is no tiny investment. Luckily if you don't need the back lighting you can get the "regular" edition of the keyboard for $79.99 ($74.99 at Amazon). That's still not cheap - but it may be more manageable for some.
As someone who spends way too much time in front of his computer for both work and play - I think either keyboard is a worthy investment. The Razer BlackWidow feels like a keyboard that will last me a long...long time. I guess I won't be reminiscing about past keyboards for a while.
Response when typing improves speed
Audio, USB, Macro Recording
- Price is steep
This keyboard was supplied by Razer for review purposes.