RAZER BlackWidow Chroma v2
£165 From www.amazon.co.uk
With excellent switches and heaps of extras, this is the king of high-end keyboards
RAZER’S BLACKWIDOW SERIES is one of the most ubiquitous mechanical keyboard lines in the business, and for good reason: they’re almost always great performers, with high standards of build quality and bonus features, such as the Chroma subseries’ RGB lighting.
As Razer’s current flagship, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 therefore has a lot to live up to, and it gets off to a good start with its choice of keyswitches. Our review sample came with the linear, quiet-ish Razer Yellow switches, though you can also pick from Razer Green or Orange switches: the former is clicky, for the typist crowd, while the latter has a Cherry MX Brown-style bump. All three are made by Kailh, to Razer’s specifications.
We were perfectly happy with Yellows. Because it’s a linear design, there’s no tactile bump or click, but for the kind of rapid WASD-tapping you’ll be doing in games, the consistent, smooth action feels superb. Even the spacebar, which thanks to stabilisation wires can often have a nasty metallic rattle
even on fully mechanical keyboards, is as satisfying to bottom out as any other key.
In terms of comparison, these Yellow switches are a tiny bit heavier than those of the SteelSeries Apex M750 and the Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent, but this doesn’t slow things down, whether in-game or typing text.
Key quality alone wouldn’t be enough to justify the BlackWidow Chroma V2’s high cost, but there are plenty of other attractions. The bundled, detachable wrist rest is outright luxurious, being properly padded and clad in faux leather. It’s miles ahead of the simple soft-touch plastic rests most other manufacturers go for, and allowed us to take flatter, more ergonomically friendly hand positions even when we used the fold-out legs to raise the keyboard.
Even this comfort is outweighed by practicality. There are no dedicated multimedia keys, nor a Windows key disabling button, but you do get a set of five programmable macro keys, positioned in a vertical strip along the left edge – good for easy access while playing. The F9 key also has a neat on-the-fly macro recording feature, with which you can create a keypress macro without having to open any software. Speaking of which, Razer’s Synapse utility could have a slightly clearer UI, but is still a useful piece of software, offering all the usual key customisation and RGB lighting configuration options.
The BlackWidow Chroma V2 also goes a step further than most USB-equipped keyboards by accompanying its own port with a 3.5mm audio connector; so as long as your headset has a combined audio out/mic in jack, you can plug it into the keyboard instead of having to reach to your PC’s I/O panel.
We wouldn’t normally suggest blowing £165 on a keyboard, but the BlackWidow Chroma V2 is stuffed with desirable features that cheaper models might only have one or two of. Besides, it’s only £15 more than our next-favourite option, the Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent, and this has extra connectivity and nicer-feeling keys. It’s a Best Buy.