Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Battlefield 4 Collectors Edition Keyboard Review

Hassan Mujtaba
Posted Oct 2, 2013
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Introduction

Razer is the world’s leading gaming gear and peripheral maker with a focus on three fundamental aspects – technology, ergonomics, and validation. In 2010, Razer introduced the BlackWidow Ultimate as their first Mechanical Keyboard and since then, it has won the hearts of many gamers including myself.

Over the past few years, Razer has been offering collectors edition of their gaming gear to gamers with the launch of each hit title. This year, Razer has launched the Battlefield 4 collectors edition series which features Battlefield 4 as its design theme.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate ‘Battlefield 4’ 2013 Keyboard

Come 2013, Razer has a brand new revision of their BlackWidow Ultimate Keyboard featuring Battlefield 4 as the theme design. Razer used Battlefield 3 as the theme design last year while 2013’s design scheme would be DICE’s Battlefield 4 which arrives next month. The Razer BlackWidow is virtually the same keyboard as it has been since its launch but boasts some nifty design updates such as the Battlefield 4 theme embedded across the keyboard, a new orange lightning scheme and ofcourse, superior response and ease of use with the Razer Synapse 2.0 utility.

Over the past few years, i have got to use some of the latest mechanical keyboards from Steelseries, Roccat, Rosewill and Ducky. There’s no doubt that every that every keyboard had its pros and cons but the quality and design of Razer products always has been a plus point and the BlackWidow Ultimate shines in terms of design  and mechanism. So without further ado, let’s take a brief look at the design scheme and technical specifications of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Keyboard.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate ‘Battlefield 4’ Technical Specifications

In total, there are 6 key aspects of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate. These include the individually back-lit keys, Easy Access Media Keys, Fully Programmable Keys along with 5 additional gaming (Macro) keys which can be configured through the Razer Synapse 2.0 software, Mechanical Key nature of the board, 10 Key Rollover for Anti-Ghosting and Audio/Microphone plus USB ports on the sides. But before detailing each bit, have a look at  the technical specifications of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Battlfield 4′ Edition keyboard:

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Battlefield 4 Edition – Technical Specifications:

  • Full mechanical keys with 50g actuation force
  • Individually backlit keys
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling
  • Programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option for deactivation of the Windows key
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • Unlimited customizable profiles
  • 5 additional dedicated macro keys
  • Gaming optimized key matrix for minimized ghosting
  • Multi-Media Controls
  • Braided fiber cable
  • Audio-Out / Mic-In Jacks
  • USB Pass-through
  • Approximate Size : 475 mm / 18.70” (Width) x 171 mm / 6.73” (Height) x 30 mm / 1.18” (Depth)
  • Approximate Weight: 1500 g / 3.31 lbs

Hardware Requirements

  • PC with USB port
  • Windows 8/ Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP (32-bit) / Mac OS X (v10.6 to 10.8)
  • Internet connection (for driver installation)
  • At least 200MB of hard disk space
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 registration (requiring a valid e-mail), software download, license acceptance, and internet connection needed to activate full features of product and for software updates. After activation, full features are available in optional offline mode.

I will start off with the mechanical architecture which the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate boasts. The keyboard comes with blue switches with a actuation force of 50g which requires little to no effort to address a tap. The actuation force is said to be fairly lower than what other mechanical keyboards have to offer which is slightly  true for most ones i tested and feature a lifespan of 50 million key strokes, so even if you are a pro StarCraft II player doing a couple of hundred APM’s then no need to worry since the keyboard will easily survive the task. When actuated, the keys give a tactile ‘tap’ feedback which is loud enough for your roommates to hear that a stroke has been addressed. This is common for most mechanical keyboards and could become a problem when typing at night but its something you would want to get used to when using a mechanical keyboard.

Of course there is a risk of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) when using keyboards of the standard layouts but I can rest assure you that risk is very unlikely when one is using such keys that have just a 2 mm gap in between the keys and the actuator itself so your keystrokes won’t be much of a problem.

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 edition comes with a 1000 Hz polling rate and 1ms response time which means responsive and lag free gaming. When upgrading from a non-mechanical to a mechanical keyboard with such ratings to play games, you would indulge into an all new experience. The impact of the switch is similar to the experience you get by upgrading to an SSD from an HDD, you will probably get the idea now.

Each key on the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is back-lit which is perfect for low lightning conditions. Razer opted to choose an orange LED color for the keys since it matches the Battlefield 4 design theme engraved on the key-board. With the technical aspects covered, let’s dive into the unboxing of the keyboard.

Unboxing The Package

Razer ships the BlackWidow Ultimate Battlefield 4 Collectors edition in a standard Razer styled packaging which hasn’t changed since the introduction of the first BlackWidow revision. Though there have been some adjustment which include a new Battlefield 4 theme design across the package.

Being a Battlefield 4 collectors edition peripheral, the front side of the package shows that a code to unlock an Razer exclusive dog tag in Battlefield 4 is bundled with the package. The front also has a cut-out for those who want to feel the mechanical keys before making their purchase.

The back of the box has a large picture of the BlackWidow Ultimate itself detailing key aspects and features along with listing down the technical specifications in several different languages.

The keyboard itself is self-contained behind a large plastic cover while its cords are placed inside a separate box. Beneath the keyboard lies a small package containing the bundle documents, stickers and the key-code for the Battlefield 4 dog tag.

A Closer Look at the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Edition

Out of the box, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate looks amazing, its a class apart from any standard keyboard and its astonishing how Razer achieved this with such a sleek yet simplistic design approach. The keys feature a matte black finish while the keyboard surface itself has a glossy touch.

The lighting on the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard is first of all of an illuminant fire orange color with the brightness being adjustable by pressing two keys (FN + F11 for lowering or F12 for increasing brightness) whereas as opposed to other Razer keyboards, this one in particular does not have interchangeable lighting colors. I don’t find this being much of an issue though since the orange lightning scheme looks good with the overall Battlefield 4 theme design.

One of the things i found out most interesting regarding the board was the illuminated Razer logo embedded at the bottom of the keyboard. At first, i thought if it was a switch to trigger Lightning On/Off but it wasn’t. I would have to suggest Razer to add or do something more innovative with the logo since it would be more fun that way.

Aside from the alphanumeric, function keys, the Razer BlackWidow also comes with 5 separate gaming keys which can be configured through the Razer Synapse 2.0 software. These Macro keys allow users to add any command and save upto 10 profiles which are entirely configurable by the users.

The keyboard has a notably two of each foot long braided USB (gold plated) and 3.5 mm jack wires all of which are for powering the keyboard, the lighting, mic and headphone jack and as well as a USB socket on the right side of the keyboard.

The font on the keys is laser engraved making it clearly visible to the naked eye, the mechanical touch is however an unforgettable experience and you might want to say no to any non-mechanical keyboard you would use after a day or two with the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate.

Razer Synapse 2.0 Software

Razer Synapse is a useful utility developed specifically for Razer’s gaming peripherals. The Razer Synapse 2.0 software automatically stores your gaming profiles on the Cloud server and can be loaded automatically from anywhere at anytime. You can download the utility from Razer’s official webpage at:

http://www.razerzone.com/software-support

Let’s have a look at what the Razer Synaspe 2.0 has to offer with the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 Keyboard.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Synapse 2.0_Main

 

 

 

 

 

 

When recognized by the Synapse 2.0 software after an update, the main page shows the keyboard in detail. You can rollover the keys with your mouse which can be configured as seen in the screenshots below. The other page allows you to adjust brightness or turn off the backlight scheme entirely off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you can see the Macro adjustment panel along with the Gaming mode panel. You can adjust which keys to disable/enable while gaming as some can become annoying while playing especially Alt+F4. You can record any Macro of an infinite length and save them in upto 10 individual profiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last up, you can see the adjustment panel which allows you to set hot-keys for each individual key.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Edition Gaming Performance

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate ‘Battlefield 4’ edition keyboard is specifically targeted towards gamers. As a matter of fact, its specifically targeted towards gamers who are gearing up for DICE’s Battlefield 4 which is an absolute action-packed FPS experience one can get his hands on this year. It has almost been a week since i am testing this keyboard and when this review goes live, so would the BETA for Battlefield 4. I would really want to add in my experience in Battlefield 4 with the BlackWidow Ultimate since my BETA has already been pre-loaded but for now, i think Battlefield 3 and a few other games would have to do.

I have been using the Razer Lycosa since some time now and while it has been an great experience using it, the BlackWidow Ultimate outshines it in every single way. I will start with Battlefield 3, the switches were responsive and so was the gaming mode which allowed me to actuate a 10 key roll allowing me to register the keys more accurately and quickly during gaming.

To test up the Macro keys, i used StarCraft II to mess around with the macro keys and a few rounds of the game with custom made hot-keys was quite a delight for me including the Macros which did gave me an unfair advantage over the other players but it was good winning the rounds for a few times until i revealed my secret to them. Playing racing games was quite good since i noticed some unresponsiveness with my older keyboard when driving in Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012) but was not an issue with the Razer BlackWidow. Its fairly easy to say that the Macro keys are aimed more towards players who are intrested in MOBA/MMO/RPG/RTS titles. The gaming mode roll over keys are a splendid addition for gamers playing fightning games such as Mortal Kombat which recently came on the PC.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Edition General Feel and Performance

When it comes to general feel, i would personally recommend mechanical keyboards as a good office solution for typing those lengthy documents but there are more cheaper alternatives as compared to Razer BlackWidow which is strictly built for the gaming community.

I wouldn’t recommend the BlackWidow Ultimate for general household usage due to the noise it generates with each single tick. It can become unbearable for your roommates since it can be heard from quite a distance. Fortunately for me, there’s no one except me in my room hence i used it with ease.

There was a slight bit of an issue with the CTRL key since generally, the CTRL key is located at the left edge of any standard keyboard however Razer BlackWidow Ultimate came with 5 Macro keys in its place instead and i usually pressed the M5 key though i got used to the layout and its easy for me to differentiate between the CTRL and M5 keys.

Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate is heavier than the standard full length keyboards weighing in around 2 KG but isn’t a problem since it would be laying on top of a surface anyways and comes along with rubber pads on the bottom which help it keep in place which is actually a good thing.

Conclusion

Over the past few years of testing various gaming peripherals, i have come to the conclusion that they will help any gamer improve upon his skills. Most people would say otherwise, that a player is determined by his skills not his gear but the combination of both helps become a great player in any gaming title.

I am not saying that you need to spend over $100 just to earn a few extra kills but gaming is all about the fun factor and experience earned through it. Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate enhances the fun factor by improving your skills with its fully mechanical design approach.

For $149.99, the Battlefield 4 collectors edition model of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is a great deal for gamers. For me, it was a game changer featuring an impressive and sleek design and the fully programmable options available through the Razer Synapse 2.0 software. Its going to be a great week playing Battlefield 4 with this beauty!

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