If you are looking for a solid gaming keyboard, then the Razer BlackWidow range has to be a contender. We got our twitchy fingers on the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate to find out if it delivers or not.
Two things are immediately apparent when you first lay eyes on the BlackWidow – the angular design and the signature Razer green. The design is typical Razer with that stealth fighter look to it. The keys are blocky, the palm rest has a beautiful angled slope and the matt look brings it all together. The font continues the futuristic look while providing very clear labels for all the various functions.
The backlighting features a bright green glow and each key is individually lit. The brightness can be adjusted using Razer’s included software and even turned off if the green is not your thing. The cable is housed in a nice braided casing that feels premium and should reduce any wear and tear. Overall I really liked the design of the keyboard, the perfect blend of modern styling and functional design. The only downside is that the keyboard does show some smudges from fingers (you can just make it out in the photos I took), which can be a little annoying for those of us who are slightly OCD. These do wipe off really easily though, so no real need to worry.
The main feature of the BlackWidow Ultimate is the mechanical keys. While mechanical keys are not for everyone I really like the old school retro sound they make. Razer have their own custom built mechanisms that deliver enhanced durability (up to 60,000,000 keystrokes – no idea how long that is but it sounds impressive), improved speed and performance.
While I am no guru on the fine art of mechanical key engineering, I can tell you that they do deliver a great gaming experience. I found the keys to be very responsive and extremely fast. The extra height of the keys and their spacing provide increased accuracy during the heat of battle with much fewer erroneous keystrokes. If you are interested in the engineering then check out this page on the Razer site that details the technology behind each key.
When it comes to typing the keyboard will take some getting used to. Having to lift your fingers that bit higher can be a bit annoying at first, especially if you are used a low profile keyboard. In my opinion its not the keyboard that you would want to use to write regular essays on (even though typing fast makes you feel like a badass 80’s secretary).
The BlackWidow also features five macro buttons that are fully programmable through the Razer Synapse software. These are really handy, although MMO players would more than likely look for a keyboard that features more macros, for non-MMO gaming the Widow works well. The Synapse software really is impressive, allowing you to set up specific profiles for different games and storing custom macro commands for pretty much every key. There are also dedicated media buttons and build in audio and USB ports, which are always useful.
I have been using the Razer keyboard for over two weeks now and I can safely say that it delivers on what it promises. If you are looking for a mechanical keyboard for gaming then you have to consider the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate. While it’s price is quite steep (around R1,800) the quality is excellent.