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Razer Ornata V3 – Review

distinguished, honored well equipped

The Razer Ornata V3, as the name suggests, is the third iteration of Razer’s more budget-friendly range of keyboards. By dropping mechanical, and in later models, optical, switches and replacing them with mecha membrane switches. Razer is able to cut the price on this keyboard tremendously.

We have done reviews on previous versions of the Ornata and I have owned a similar spec’d keyboard from another brand. So spending time with the third version of this keyboard is going to be fun. Let’s jump right in.

Design

The Razer Ornata V3 is a full-sized wired keyboard that comes with a few select media keys, a detachable armrest, albeit not padded like before, and low-profile keycaps. The Ornata V3 has low-profile keys, but the whole keyboard itself is rather thin. measuring in at only 3.1cm high, and weighing a mere 0.78kg, Razer has certainly put this keyboard on a diet.

Razer has gone for a rather plain design with the Ornata with a plain black plastic body the only embellishment is the small subtle Razer name at the bottom. Media keys are situated at the top right corner and even they are very low-key and minimal, something I really love. The Ornata comes with a magnetic armrest which is nearly 2/3 the size of the actual keyboard. This armrest makes the Ornata footprint really big. Sadly the armrest is not as nice as previous versions where the armrest is padded. This one is plastic all around although it has a slight soft-touch texture on top where it also sports a very subtle Razer logo.

Turning the Razer Ornata V3 over, you are met with 6″ and 9″ feet as well as cable routing for either the left or right orientation of the braided USB cable.

As expected with a keyboard aimed at the budget user, the base and overall build are good, albeit plastic, so there is some flex compared to more high-end and expensive keyboards. The keycaps of the Ornata V3 have been UV treated to protect them from fading after extensive use. We obviously could not test this as the review unit is still brand new. The keycaps however do feel nice when being used. There is a slight wobble on the keys but nothing too bad or that will bother you too much when typing.

The RGB on the Ornata is naturally great as this is something that Razer prides itself on. Sadly the V3 does not have individually backlit keys like the V2 did but it only has a 10-zone RGB setup. This is not the end of the world, but it feels like a step backward from a previous version of the same keyboard.

One of the main features of the Razer Ornata V3 is the mecha membrane keys. This is a membrane keyboard but it still has the noise of a clicky blue mechanical switch. For someone looking to bridge the gap from a normal office keyboard, but can’t afford to jump into the more expensive mechanical keyboards, this mecha membrane setup is wonderful.

Software and Features

The Razer Ornata V3 bridges the gap between the mechanical/optical range of keyboards and the membrane range. The Ornata V3 does come in an X version which is a budget version of the Ornata, featuring full membrane switches as well as fewer features.

Looking at something that Razer prides itself on, and that is RGB. Using the infamous Razer Synapse, which has nearly as many add-ons as breakdowns at Eskom, but fortunately, unlike Eskom, Synapse works, and it works WELL! If you want to customize the 10 RGB light zones on the Ornata V3 you will need to do it in Synapse. With a plethora of options and your creativity being the limit, you can really customize your Ornata V3 to how you want, sadly no individual key RGB customization but that’s not the end of the world.

The mecha mechanical keys, which are the main attraction of the Ornata V3 will leave the crowd divided. If you are a hardcore gamer who has had mechanical keyboards before you are most likely not going to enjoy the mushy feel of the mecha membrane. But for those who have only ever felt the squashy sadness of office keyboards, the Ornata V3 will make you feel like a typing/gaming god. Add the low-profile keycaps and the Ornata V3 certainly feels snappy when typing.

Moving on to the features of the Razer Ornata V3, it is a full-sized keyboard with numpad and dedicated media keys to the right top. Thanks to Synapse, all keys are macro-programmable. The media keys are the usual volume up, volume down, mute, and the last one, which annoyingly enough the circle printed on the key is not in the middle, purposely or by mistake. I don’t know but it’s killing my OCD. This button, by default, serves as a play/pause or skip depending on how many times you tap it. The Ornata also comes with a few modes for macro programming as well as a games mode where the Windows keys are disabled as well as the Alt-Tab and Alt-F4 commands

Verdict

The Razer Ornata V3 is aimed at those who are looking for a keyboard on a budget and are not caught up in the hype of mechanical or optical switches. The mecha mechanical switches do a fairly good job of tricking you into thinking you are using a low-profile, soft mechanical switch, which means Razer has done a good job of mimicking mechanical switches.

Razer always delivers a good product at a respectable price point. There will always be a cheaper keyboard that can do the same, but as we have all experienced, sometimes you pay a little more for a better brand and in a few years you will be grateful you did. The Ornata V3 feels like that keyboard. You will most likely replace it one day because you have upgraded, rather than the Ornata V3 dying on you.

The media keys are a nice touch, I find myself, coming from a different brand’s premium TKL keyboard without dedicated media keys, really enjoying the easy-to-access media buttons. They are one of the features you don’t know you want or need until you actually have them.

special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content