Coming from a console gaming background, I could never understand what the fuss was about when it came to gaming keyboards and mice(?) over ordinary ones. With the recent venture into PC gaming as well as the happy coincidence of the Razer Blackwidow elite arriving at my desk for review, I was eager to put the Blackwidow through some gaming-related tests.
I am happy to proclaim that I will NEVER be able to go back to a normal type of keyboard EVER again!
Razer has been known to be arguably the best gaming peripheral maker around, setting benchmarks with each top-tier creation that they make, forcing their opponents to try and keep up. The Razer Blackwidow Elite is no different. Although similar in design to the Huntsman-range, it removes some of the annoyances associated with the huntsman range. You will find more discrete media controls found at the top-right of the keyboard with a ridged knob that can control either volume of lighting. An elegant wrist rest that sticks to the bottom of the keyboard via magnets. USB 3.0 and 3.5mm passthrough ports situated on the left shoulder of the keyboard. No more macro keys that usually bump up the size of the keyboard and no more deeply recessed keycaps that could possibly hamper the ability to see the spectacular backlighting that the Blackwidow Elite has to offer. It is not easy to fault the Blackwidow at all apart from slightly below average cable management and, at-times, wonky software. But generally, this is arguably as close to the perfect keyboard you could possibly come.
Razer, as one of the leading creators of peripheral equipment, has created their own type of key switches. You will have an option between three different styles of keys: loud, tactile Greens, quiet, tactile Oranges, and quiet linear Yellows. In theory, these new options make for a more comfortable and responsive key but in all honesty ( with no prior Razer key reference) they feel extremely solid and very durable and the clicky noises are nice and not too overbearing.
As you would expect from premium keyboards there are nice features. Most noticeably are the media controls in the top right corner. Some of these features are built right into the design of the blackwidow. USB pass-through has become somewhat of a standard feature in this class of keyboard but the 3.5mm audio pass through is a really nice touch, and the audio quality is pristine. No matter how much I go into about how glorious the Chroma lighting on the Blackwidow is, can describe what it is to see it for real. Using the software that you will need to download when you first plug the keyboard in, you will have the ability to not only link other chroma devices together but also set the lighting to pretty much anything your heart and mind can desire. Razer has taken its colour profiles one step further with custom profiles for certain games! When playing with different characters in Overwatch, your blackwidow will automatically change to character specific colour patterns. Chroma is synonymous with the Razer brand and with the latest version of it the possibilities are literally endless with what you can achieve, the only downfall is with such power comes great complexity. Setting up Chroma across multiple Razer products can be extremely time consuming as well as immensely challenging, yes the results can be astounding so don’t simply give up.
The rest of the Razer Synapse software package is rather straight forward. Allowing you to reprogram certain keys, create custom macros, link games with profiles which are easily toggled between, as well as toggle between various game modes which disable certain buttons, such as the windows key.
The Razer BlackWidow Elite was subjected to a variety of work ranging from everyday office typing and browsing to CS:GO, Apex Legends and R6 Siege. It was fantastic throughout the many gunfights as well as a barrage of keystrokes it had to endure during the writing of reviews. During CS:GO and Siege I did, however, find that some macros would have been nice, but it only took a few minutes to program my function keys into macros.
The Razer BlackWidow Elite has not only impressed me, but it has made itself invaluable to me… I cannot go back to anything else. The couple of weeks I used it as my everyday keyboard for everyday productivity as well as gaming and it is simply spectacular. Not only does it do the core features, typing, amazingly well. It blends functionality with great and worthwhile functions and packages it in a stylish well-made unit. I am 100% sure that Razer will keep improving on what is already close to flawless, and in that way keep shaping and defining their market! If you are a PC gamer, and in the market for a new keyboard, then the Razer BlackWidow Elite is for you, if you are a Razer fan the steep price tag shouldn’t bother you too much and running all your Razer Chroma items together is a sight to behold.
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review item.