The Razer Blackwidow Elite is one of my all-time favourite gaming keyboards. Razer really stepped up their game with the fantastic custom lighting, design and overall build quality that truly made it stand out from the crowd. Let’s be honest, every PC brand now has a keyboard on the market and it is hard to stand out in an oversaturated industry. The issue I had with the Elite was its price tag of R2,499. Far too high for a keyboard in my opinion.
The brand new, relaunched Razer Blackwidow is now the “baby” of the Elite and Tournament Edition. It claims to feature most of the perks of the high-end models but at R500 cheaper. For R1,999, you get the Blackwidow experience, well most of it, without the price tag.
Razer Blackwidow Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Tech Specs
- Razer Green Mechanical Switches
- Fully customizable keys
- On-board memory and cloud storage features
What does it not have?
The big question is what does the Elite have that the standard model does not? Well, there are a few features that you will find in the Elite, that this new model lacks. Most of them are hardware-based such as the USB and Audio Passthrough that allowed you to plug in the Elite keyboard into your PC’s USB ports and headphone jack so you could just use the ports on the keyboard for ease of access.
Another feature is the lack of dedicated digital media keys which allowed you to change your music, increase the volume and play and pause anything you are busy with on your PC. Lastly, the Elite does not come with the fancy and comfortable leatherette wrist rest which could be a deal-breaker for some.
Even without some of the main features, the Blackwidow mechanical gaming keyboard is quite a show-stopper. It features the iconic Razer Green Mechanical Switches for tactile presses and the usual RGB colour templates that see you modify your keyboard in 16.8 million different colours. It can be fully programmed with on-the-fly macro recording.
From the outside, it looks like any great Razer keyboard and if you never knew the Elite and Tournament Editions had those perks, you would be more than happy with what this model offers.
One thing I loved about it was the new USB cable routing options that let you run the cable out the middle of the back end or you could hide it under the top half and the cable could run out the left or right-hand side of the device. It is a small change but highly effective.
Other than that, the kickstand lets the device stand at an angle for better comfort and there is a green Razer logo that shines brightly at the bottom of the keyboard.
Razer Blackwidow Performance and Features
Compared to the other two models, the Blackwidow seems quite standard when it comes to the design. It also takes a few seconds to set up thanks to the one simple USB cable. Unfortunately, the device still makes use of Razer’s clunky and unreliable Synapse app which I have never been a fan of mainly due to it always signing me out and the inability to use it without an account. Like past devices, it also had issues keeping my lighting presets active and implementing them when I played supported games that featured custom presets.
Typing and gaming was a dream on the device, even if at times it was a loud nightmare. No jokes, the Green Mechanical Switches are very loud when compared to say my Helios 500’s keyboard or the Razer Huntsman I reviewed a while back. Even with the noise, the presses were satisfying and the overall experience was just as high-end as the Elite, even though that model features Orange, Green and Yellow switches.
Razer claims the device has a keystroke life of 80 million which is impressive and chances are you will never get to the end of that.
When it comes to the chroma, it did not disappoint either. While the Elite features a per-key RGB design, this standard model seems to have an RGB rack underneath the keys that further illuminates the per-key design. I enjoyed messing around with the settings and changing things to fit the games I was playing. RGB is pretty much standard these days so just expect this Blackwidow to have the best in class.
We then have the Hypershift feature which is a new-ish feature found on select Razer devices. This lets you assign any key on the keyboard to a macro or secondary function key. Yes, any key. Think of it as completely remapping a controller but on a keyboard. Whatever you change is then saved on the device so you can take it with you to LANs and tournaments.
I do want to say the Blackwidow is the bestest of the best but you have to take the price tag into consideration. For another R400-R500 you can grab a Razer Blackwidow Elite model that has the extra media controls, more options for mechanical switches and of course the wrist rest and USB and audio jack passthrough. It is quite a list of features for a very close price tag. Of course, if you are on a strict budget and R1999 is all you have, the Blackwidow is a superb keyboard. I just can’t warrant the small price gap. If it was an R1000 difference it would be a different story.
This Razer Blackwidow review is based on a device borrowed to us by Razer