Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Review – Deluxe Keyboard

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Apr 1, 2017
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It didn’t take long for me to figure out why Razer call this keyboard the Blackwidow. We tested with Razer’s Orange Switches in place – the ‘Tactile and Silent’ variety – and they prove the Blackwidow Chroma V2 is a shockingly pleasing keyboard for typing and gaming alike (you can buy the keyboard with Razer’s Clicky Green or Silent Yellow switches too, so don’t be disappointed if you wanted something more audible). This silent but deadly killer comes with the full Chroma V2 RGB experience complete with the 16.8 million color options you would expect, and of course the Razer Synapse suite to customize your experience.

But is the Blackwidow Chroma V2 worth the money, or should you go elsewhere with your mechanical keyboard cash?

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Specifications

  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 45g actuation force
  • 80 million keystroke life span
  • Chroma backlighting with 16.8 million customizable color options
  • Razer Synapse enabled
  • 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • 5 additional dedicated macro keys
  • Gaming mode option
  • Audio-out/mic-in jacks
  • USB pass-through
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling
  • Braided fiber cable
  • Approximate size: 475mm/18.72 in (Width) x 171mm/6.74 in (Height) x 39mm/1.54 in (Depth)
  • Approximate weight: 1500g/3.31lbs

Impressions

The first thing I noticed about the Blackwidow Chroma V2 was actually a mild negative – I didn’t like the Macro keys on the left side of the keyboard. A tiny, insignificant complaint, right? I usually judge the position on my hands on a keyboard by how far my pinky has to stretch to find the edge, and this caused me to assume that the Shift key was well out of the way for whatever reason – something that infuriated me on day one. By day three, I forgot it was ever even an issue for me.

The second thing I noticed? How wonderfully ergonomic it is. At first I just wasn’t used to it, the keys felt like they were raised too high, and the keyboard itself seemed thicker than it should be – in addition to the added weight (which, admittedly, is only a problem if you have the keyboard on your lap instead of at a desk). But then I attached the soft and comfortable wrist rest, and that solved almost all of my complaints.

Related Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Review – Deluxe Keyboard

It seems like a small addition, after all, it’s a wrist rest. But this wrist rest has clearly been put in the box deliberately. This elevates your wrists just enough to hover over all of the keys with ease, making my complaints about the keyboard feeling oddly thick or the keys placed seemingly higher than most completely immaterial. You could complain that this adds a couple of inches more to the keyboard – which some consumers with small desks might want to avoid, but for most people? A wonderful bonus that really assists in making this a wonderfully comfortable keyboard.

Build Quality

It’s solid, too. The fiber braided cable is thick and has a decent length to it – on the other end you’ll find two standard USBs and an aux – yes, that’s right, TWO USBs. But fear not, that’s not a testament to how difficult it is to power the keyboard or anything like that, instead, one USB port is routed to the keyboard itself, allowing you to easily plug and play USB devices from the port to the right side of the keyboard. This is nice, though I question the wisdom of putting the port on the keyboard’s right side, where one would usually be using their mouse.

The aux is for pretty much the same use, it can be plugged into your PC to be used as a Speaker/Microphone dual passthrough, the other side of which is next to the USB port on the keyboard itself. Again, the position of these ports is questionable, but the convenience is undeniable.

Ultimately, it’s just an incredibly well built and quality piece of kit, the kind that I would expect to be 100% fully working after I drop it on the floor, purely based on how solid the exterior is. I haven’t tested this, and I don’t recommend it either, but my point is that the build quality looks and feels very, very solid. How it’d do under a drop test, I’m not sure, but if it were dropped from lap-height onto a carpet or rug? I’d imagine it would be fine, due simply down to the solid, pleasing construction.

User Experience

So how is the typing experience on the Blackwidow? Well, great, actually. Without the familiar mechanical click of each key, I was afraid that the Blackwidow’s Orange switches would disappoint me, leave me feeling wanting. And, to be clear, this is true, to an extent. I can imagine certain gamers and PC enthusiasts hating the lack of a clearly audible click to accompany each keystroke, but for myself, the feel of each key giving way under your finger as you press them was more than satisfying enough – it’s the kind of keyboard that you feel right at home with, even when typing out long articles to meet deadlines. Could it be improved, for some, with that audible, tactile click? Absolutely. Is it a deal breaker? Absolutely not. This is a case of preference through and through – those used to their mechanical keyboard might not want to lose their familiar sound effects, though anyone picking this up as their first will be delighted.

Then, what about gaming? It’s about what you’d expect based on the above – it’s great. The five Macro keys on the left are fully customisable, making RPGs and online games much easier, and using Razer Synapse it’s easy to change the backlights of certain keys, making it simple to highlight, say, just WASD, or the keys you bind actions to, such as your number row or the keys immediately surrounding WASD. Just as above, each keystroke is recognizable and satisfying, meaning you won’t be accidentally pressing the keys you don’t want to, and with the backlighting, you’ll be able to know which key is what at a single glance. Nice.

But of course, we can’t talk about the Blackwidow Chroma V2 without talking about the colors. The RGB spectrum is a pretty one indeed,  and as a result, I find myself just staring at Razer Synapse’s Wave option – just cycling all of the colors in a vivid wave over and over again – at times I found myself just looking into my keyboard, entranced by all 16.8 million colors. Of course, as we’ve said, there are other default settings, and customizing backlights to suit your rig and sync with other RGB devices is easy enough – by why mess with any of those when you have the Wave? On a serious note, I loved the Ripple effect, very satisfying, especially when typing quickly, but it doesn’t illuminate the keys enough for my taste, especially since I’m often looking at my keyboard in the dark.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, there are cheaper RGB keyboards out there. There are also more expensive ones – but if you want guaranteed quality, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2. It has everything you want from a mechanical RGB keyboard – erm, except for those tactile, clicky keystrokes, that is. But if you’re a hardcore gamer who’s looking for low amounts of noise, or an avid writer who just wants something flashy to accompany your rig, then again, the Blackwidow Chroma V2 is a fantastic option. Not the cheapest nor the most expensive keyboard on the market, but an incredibly solid option that’ll please plenty of PC gamers and typists. Also, it strobes rainbows. Wonderful.

Review unit provided by Razer. You can buy the product in three flavors (Orange, Green and Yellow) via Amazon.

8.5

A great RGB silent-mechanical keyboard that'll please most users - though some will miss those clicky key switches. It's pricey, but well worth the money. Razer's made a great keyboard, one well suited to gamers and typists, with an understated design that's not overly gamer-y.

Performance9
Value7
Design & Aesthetics8
Features8

Pros

  • Great, satisfying build quality
  • Orange Keyswitches are wonderfully quiet but satisfying
  • Hypnotic and customisable RGB settings
  • A wrist rest!

Cons

  • Plastic build instead of another material
  • Bad placement of USB/aux passthrough
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