A keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard. Right ? That is what I thought. So when I received a call from Razer offering me to test the new Razer Blackwidow Ultimate keyboard, I was expecting the review to be : I plugged it in, I typed, it worked. What else could I possibly add to a keyboard which essentially has been the input device since the days of the typewriter.
I was wrong. This is no ordinary keyboard.
The clue is in the company that makes this device: Razer. They are THE gaming peripheral company so when they bring out a device, you know it has a gamer in mind.
Before plugging in the keyboard, you notice that it is a sturdy keyboard that doesn’t slip and slide all over the desktop at the slightest bumps. There is a natural incline without little “legs” to stand on however for those who do want more of an angle, the legs are still there for you to unfold.
On the right of the keyboard is a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microphone jack as well as USB port. This is meant specifically for the headset so that the cord doesn’t have to stretch to some awkward port on the back of the computer leaving you with a short rope and a strained neck.
The first obvious difference about this keyboard compared to the regular keyboard are the additional row of “M-keys” on the left. These are Macro keys which gamers use to record specific keystrokes and sequences in games. Initially I kept on hitting the M5 key as that is naturally where my finger went to thinking its the CTRL key. Irritating at first but get used to it quickly.
The “F-keys’ also doubles up as the media control keys with the ability to increase/ decrease/ mute the volume as well as Play/ Pause/ Rewind/ fast Forward. There is also a a Macro record key and a sleep key. Its all about having quick access to critical keys when you need them.
When you plug in the keyboard, you immediately notice that every key has a green backlit which makes the keyboard come to life alien-style. Of course you can control just how bright this light is so that it doesn’t strain your eyes when playing games late into the night.
The “big deal” about this keyboard is what lies just under the keys. Razer has recognised that gamers demand a different type of reaction from the keyboard and are often frustrated when hitting a key which doesn’t respond quickly enough. Trivial as this sound, it could be the difference between winning and loosing a million dollar tournament when not being able to reload and shoot fast enough. So Razer has redesigned the way the key react to being tapped. Not only will the key instantly react but it will reset itself just as quickly ready for the next tap.
Traditional keyboards require 2.2 mm to register a reaction but this keyboard only requires 1.9mm and that’s the difference between a win and lose.
One negative is that the keys make a very loud tick tick tap tap noise so this is not a keyboard to be used in a cubical/ small office type of environment.
Unlike a regular keyboard, the Razer comes with its own Synapse 2.0 software which is where you you set up your individual profile for the Razer products. You can customise your headset settings, and record your macros and even control how your keyboard behaves. The idea is that you can log into someone else’s computer using your account and your personal preferences will be set and used on that computer.
So in Summary
If you are gamer, then you absolutely have to give this keyboard a go. Reaction times and game strategy are in your mind, but you can fail to execute the game play if the tools you have are not up to the job. The Razer Blackwidow Ultimate keyboard is ready for battle and a must have in your arsenal.
If you are NOT a gamer , you will find that your typing speed improves with this keyboard due to the reaction time of the keys. It also looks cool compared to the regular mundane looking keyboards laying around the office thereby instantly granting you the “office cool” status.