In the growing market of mechanical keyboards, sometimes it’s hard to stand out from the pack. With all new keyboards coming from various manufacturers, bringing new shapes, sizes and features to the PC, uniqueness is hard to come by. Razer’s BlackWidow has been a standout competitor in the market for a while now, releasing high-end keyboards with excellent mechanical keys that give satisfying tactile feedback as well as a superb body that feels great, but with the BlackWidow Chroma, Razer is stepping up their game, bringing colorful backlight illumination and some improvements for a truly spectacular display as you play. But the question is, is Razer’s latest worth a purchase?
Razer BlackWidow Chroma
Developed and manufactured by Razer
Retail Price: $169.99
Available for the PC.
*Review unit provided by Razer
The first thing you’ll notice about the BlackWidow Chroma is the sleek yet bulky size, which looks almost exactly as the original BlackWidow model, down to the same key layout. Being so similar to the one that started it all isn’t bad however, as it still looks pretty. It’s also covered in a soft, elegant matte black finish though, as typical of Razer products, which means that it has issues with fingerprints, and it marks pretty easily with streaks and spots like no one’s business, so you might want to wipe it down every so often. Even so, the keyboard is sturdy and fantastic piece of equipment, with a nice, heavy weight to it so that it doesn’t slip here and there as you type and furiously input commands.
The threaded power USB cables are also a nice touch, providing protection to the keyboard, though two of them are needed to light the thing up, so think about getting extra USB ports beforehand if you’re lacking them. Fortunately, the Blackwidow Chroma also brings an additional USB port on its side to accommodate for the lost one, as well as a jack for a headset and mic if you’d like to plug them in through the keyboard instead of having to reach for the computer.
Now in regards to the keys themselves, they’re made of Razer Mechanical Switches, forgoing popular options for the manufacturers own tech. While some might think this is a bad idea, and that it won’t compare to some of the better known options, the mechanical keys in the Blackwidow Chroma are fantastic! The tactical feel is great and the response of each keystroke is superb, with each input recognized immediately no matter how much force is applied. The clicky sound is also fantastic and very satisfying. The Razer Switches have a quite a bit of tuning to them, so this keyboard is definitively a fantastic option for hardcore gaming.
In addition to the Razer Switches, the Blackwidow Chroma also brings other features, including standard options like fully programmable keys and macro options, media keys for playback and volume, and anti-ghosting, so it’s built for all types of uses.
When you plug in the keyboard and it lights up for the first time however, you’ll forget about everything else. It’s a thing of beauty. The lights in the Blackwidow Chroma are absolutely gorgeous, producing up to 16.8 million colors that are very bright and pretty impressive. The keyboard comes with excellent preset patterns like rainbow waves, color drops, or keys that light up when you touch them, which are excellent options. Additionally, the keyboard comes with the exceptional Razer Synapse software that allows players to completely customize the colors for custom patterns and visuals. The easy to use software does a good job at letting players customize the keyboard as they see fit.
Despite all the good stuff that’s available on Razer’s latest, it does have a few small problems though. In addition to the fingerprint prone finish, dust particles will show up often due to the color, so you’ll have to clean up often. Furthermore, it does have a tendency to collect and get stuck in between the keys, thanks to the ample spacing between them so the spectacular lighting can show, which can lead to them showing up in the backlighting and occasionally causing stuck keys.
When it comes down to it, Razer’s BlackWidow Chroma is a superb product, offering sturdiness and responsiveness with a gorgeous aesthetic. Sure, its frame can get marked up pretty quickly with oily fingers and it’s a dust magnet, but thanks to its excellent mechanical switches and beautiful and colorful backlighting, Razer’s latest is definitively one of the best out there.