RAZER Black­Wi­dow Chroma v2

Computer Shopper - - GAMING KEYBOARDS -

£165 From www.ama­zon.co.uk

VERDICT

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.

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