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Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Review - Armchair Empire

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Review

razer blackwidow ultimate mechanical keyboard

  • 9/10
    Look - 9/10
  • 9.5/10
    Feel - 9.5/10
  • 9/10
    Durability - 9/10
  • 7.5/10
    Value For The Price - 7.5/10
8.8/10

Our Rating

We Recommend The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Keyboard For

There are keyboards that do well with games and then keyboards that are designed exclusively for gaming. The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is a gaming keyboard with the DNA of gaming within. This keyboard looks, feels, operates like a true professional gaming board and every single specification of it speaks towards its gaming DNA. Backlit keys, mechanical keys with that sweet actuation sound and press feel, wide layout with the NUMPAD plus the overall design are the basics of gaming inherent in this keyboard.

For those who want a gaming keyboard that they never have to look beyond, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is what you should look for. Casual gamers, professional e-athletes and hardcore gamers of all genres will love this keyboard and all its subtle variations.

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Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2016 - Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Fully Programmable - Tactile & Clicky Razer Green Switches
  • Designed specifically for gaming, the Razer Mechanical Switch actuates at an optimal distance, giving you speed and responsiveness like never before
  • The all-new Razer BlackWidow Ultimate features individually programmable backlit keys along with dynamic lighting effects all set easily through Razer Synapse
  • No matter how intense your gaming marathons get, each Razer Mechanical Switch is engineered to withstand up to 60 million keystrokes, so you'll enjoy the Razer advantage for years

Introduction

A brand name synonymous with game domination, Razer BlackWidow mechanical gaming keyboards are the most sought after gaming keyboards in the market. Released back in 2010, these keyboards have managed to capture the imagination of the audience with their regular updates, new and improved models plus subtle variations to satisfy all kinds of gamers. The BlackWidow Ultimate though is its latest attempt at upping the stakes in gaming keyboard experience. With Razer patented mechanical switches you know you are getting the best key experience. Choose between the silent or the clicky versions. The only difference between the two being the noise level on each keystroke. All keys are backlit individually and this allows for dynamic lighting that should suffice the most ardent of gamers in the dark. By the way, the new generation BlackWidow keyboards sport a metallic outer body for longevity.

All Razer products have access to a common set of features such as the Razer Synapse software, which controls the programming of the keys if in case you wish to assign certain macros to specific keys. Yes, the entire keyboard can be remapped as per your liking and this is where it edges past rest of the competition. Please note though that this model does not have RGB lighting so you get only the green LED backlit with variable brightness control using the keyboard only.

Design

A Razer keyboard is instantly recognizable even from afar thanks to the Razer insignia and the overall design of the keyboard. The latest model has a slightly raised base that covers more of the keys now so you can’t really see the base. This does eat a bit from the brightness of the backlighting but what it now adds is a more individualistic glow around each key. Plus, with the keys having see-through lettering, the light shines brighter through the letters. This together with the placement and separation of each key makes this keyboard ideal for gaming. Of course, the extended bottom surface with the Razer insignia is what sets all BlackWidow models apart and this serves as a makeshift wrist support, not that I particularly appreciate its presence but it does not detract from my gaming experience. Speaking of experience, the backlighting isn’t super bright and in your face though if you sleep with your gaming computer in the room, you better put your keyboard to sleep too because in pitch darkness the brightness can stand out.

Specifications

Mechanical keys but not the Cherry MX keys. Razer uses its own proprietary design but it measures the clicking and actuation force on a similar color scale as Cherry. So, the tactile keys are like Cherry MX Blues while the Silent edition of the BlackWidow is more on the Cherry Brown side. Both, however, are supposed to have the same key force and it is only the travel and noise that differs. Personally, I prefer having my keyboard click at every keystroke so I am aware of what keys I am pressing without having to look down but for those who game among friends or a girlfriend, in particular, being silent may pay off. Do keep that in mind when getting the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate gaming keyboard.

This edition of the Razer BlackWidow though needs no Synapse control for the backlighting as it is accessible through the brightness button on the keyboard in tandem with the FN key. Synapse software though lets you configure and reroute keys should the need ever arise. And finally, like all Razer products, the BlackWidow Ultimate edition comes with 2 years of extended warranty.

Performance and Feel

There are two editions to the latest BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard from Razer. One is called the Stealth edition with its silent mechanical keys and matte black finish while the other is the Tactile & Silent that isn’t so silent with a more conventional finish. Nevertheless, the feel of both the keyboards is superb. We actually got this from our local vendor for testing since he had both the versions on the show. The real difference between the two models lies only in the noise that the keys make. The stealth probably makes about half the ruckus before actuating the key switch but the force required feels the same with both editions. Hence, it boils down to whether you prefer a loud click or not so much.

We stuck with the standard version that meets Cherry MX Blue standards. However, the switches on these Razer products are Chinese versions from a company called, “KaiHua”. While Razer promises the keys last for at least 60 million keystrokes, we aren’t so optimistic and would be happy if they lasted even half the number of keystrokes. In fact, gaming does not require that many keystrokes and at 30 million keystrokes even the most addicted of gamers should get a decent two years’ service from the BlackWidow Ultimate.

Coming to the performance of the keyboard, it feels sturdy and lightweight. In fact, playing games on this keyboard is a breeze with the green LED backlight. That is one area where we would have appreciated a bit more options like at least three different color options along with more brightness levels. As it stands though the green LED backlit keys are sufficient to game in pitch darkness. Playing games feels satisfying with this keyboard and finger fatigue is not an issue at all.

As for the Synapse software, the only purpose that thing has with the BlackWidow Ultimate is to reprogram keys and set any of the macros. Otherwise, you don’t really need that software. One major aspect of this keyboards success is the 2-year warranty. Razer is known to replace its products if it has a complete mechanical failure within its warranty period. This means that if the entire keyboard just stops functioning, Razer will happily send you a replacement and that’s what really sets this brand apart from the likes of Logitech who spend days trying to troubleshoot a dead keyboard.

Pros

  • The keys have a tactile feel with a proper depression of the keys. Once you get used to mechanical keys like these, there is no going back to membrane type keyboards.
  • The green LED isn’t too bright and is just right for gaming in the dark.
  • The option of silent versus clicky keyboards is a nice touch. Those who prefer a silent keyboard can opt for the same while those in favor of the clicky keyboard can take the Ultimate tactile version.
  • Synapse software from Razer is easy to use and intuitively designed. Besides, with this software, you can reprogram any key on your keyboard and if you plan on getting more Razer products in the future then this single program will take care of them all.
  • Inexpensive considering the full mechanical anti-ghosting setup and the near-competition grade design.
  • 2-year warranty period with protection for complete keyboard failure is a good thing for all those who hate changing their keyboard within a year.
  • The slightly raised base does offer more rigidity to the design though it eats away from the brightness of the backlit individual keys.

Cons

  • The standard edition of this keyboard can cause a huge ruckus. In fact, because of its design, the keyboard can keep your neighbors awake through the night as you pound away on the keyboard. To be on the safe side you could opt for the Stealth edition.
  • The metallic outer body will rust if you do not clean it regularly. This is probably the only big con of the keyboard considering the brand name is Razer.

Conclusion

To be honest, there really isn’t any reason why you should not get the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard unless RGB backlit keys are what you are interested in. In that case, there’s the BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma gaming keyboard with all the features found on this spectacular gaming keyboard plus RGB lighting completely controlled using the Razer Synapse software. We love all products Razer and while we believe they are slightly higher up in the pricing structure, they are also reliable gaming products that will satisfy even the most diehard of gamers. Have no qualms purchasing the BlackWidow Ultimate if gaming is what you are interested in.