The Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 mechanical keyboard is the most expensive gaming keyboard that I have tested fully. Razer also claims that this is the “world’s best mechanical gaming keyboard”. At the time of writing this review, Razer currently has a sale on their website that will allow you to purchase the keyboard for £135.99, however its RRP is £169.99. For that money, you can buy yourself a games console! With that in mind, the Blackwidow Chroma V2 is targeted for a very elite group of gaming enthusiasts. If you want to step up your game and compete against the very best in the eSports world, this is the sort of keyboard Razer claims you need.
One can argue that the high price tag is justified. Firstly, the Blackwidow Chroma V2 contains proprietary keyswitches. Razer has spent a long time perfecting the keyswitch technology and it shows on this keyboard. However, it’s not just about the keys (after all, many other manufacturers also have excellent keyswitch technologies). With a Razer product, you’re also paying for the complete Razer experience. You’re paying for the company that pioneered the customization for LED lighting, perfected the macro keys and released its own software that is perhaps the best in class for customizing all of your Razer products.
As far as looks go, I absolutely love the Blackwidow Chroma V2. There’s a huge amount to like here. It contains an LED screen on the top right. It has a row dedicated to macro keys. It even has a complete number pad. Unlike other keyboards that I have also recently tested, this is the only one that contains a cushioned wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard. All of this makes the Blackwidow Chroma V2 quite a large keyboard. It measures at 47.5cm (width) x 17.1cm (height) x 3.9cm (depth). Weight-wise, it’s quite chunky too at 1.5kg. This isn’t necessarily a keyboard you want to be taking with you whenever you go visit a friend. Instead, if you want a keyboard to replace your current one for your gaming rig, this is absolutely perfect.
Razer has its own proprietary software called Synapse, which is used to customize all of your Razer devices. The Blackwidow Chroma V2 is part of this. The customization goes to the extent that you can set each key to a specific colour, and you have a choice of 16.8 million colours. You can even make separate profiles and activate them depending on what game you’re playing. There are however, other manufacturers that also let you do this. What sets Synapse apart is that it exposes its SDK for colour lighting. This means that developers can actually create custom lighting profiles for their specific games. The lighting effects are also the best out of any keyboard I have tested. There is a particular setting that lets lights flicker outwards from every key you press, simulating a firework going off. It is gorgeous to look at. The keyboard also comes with a braided cable so it won’t be getting tangled up. If you do end up taking the keyboard to a friend’s house, you can upload all of your keyboard’s settings to Razer’s cloud. That way, all of your keyboard settings will be available for you to use no matter where you are – again, a feature that is lacking in other competitor products.
Unfortunately, the Blackwidow Chroma V2 does only have one USB passthrough. Whilst this is still one more than a lot of the competition, there are a handful of keyboards that provide you with two. Having two USB passthroughs would have meant that I could connect a mouse and perhaps charge my phone. Nonetheless, this wasn’t a personal issue, since I only needed the one port. The keyboard does at least contain a 3.5mm audio jack. I didn’t find myself using it, but it’s a neat feature.
Since this truly is a professional gamer’s keyboard, what truly matters is how it performs. Are there enough macro keys? Are they positioned well enough? Are the Razer keyswitches really worth raving about? Razer hasn’t actually given the keyswitches any buzzwords. They are simply referred to as green, orange or yellow switches. The switches I got were the green ones. The green ones are the best for accuracy since they require you to press them with more force. The other switches have lesser travel lengths and therefore are best for games where you’ll be tapping a lot. If you’re a fan of FPS titles, stick with the greens. Due to the nature of the green switches, they also provide a very tactile feeling and have a clicky sound. If noise is going to be a concern, you won’t want to use the green switches. The orange switches will give you a similar tactile experience but will be silent. The yellow ones have the shortest travel distance and will also be silent.
I have used a lot of gaming keyboards, but the Blackwidow Chroma V2 is definitely the most comfortable to use. For my big hands, a large keyboard with more spacing between the keys is my preferred option, and the Blackwidow Chroma V2 provides this. Although it took me a few attempts, I was able to beat my words-per-minute record using the keyboard. Typing with the green switches is thoroughly satisfying and playing Warzone for 5 hours nonstop didn’t leave me with any cramps.
It also helps that the macro keys are located on the left side of the keyboard in a column. There are five macro keys that can be fully programmed. For MMO gamers, this will be a major plus point. I didn’t find myself needing the macro keys too much in Warzone or Siege, but I did try them a few times just to test the efficiency.
It’s criminal for any gaming keyboard to lack an option to disable the Windows key. There are many keyboards in the market that do not let you do this. The Blackwidow Chroma V2 however has its own gaming mode that will disable the Windows key to ensure you don’t accidentally leave your game if you press it.
Whilst there are keyboards that also provide this, the Blackwidow Chroma V2 is the first gaming keyboard that I have tested, which comes with a cushioned wrist rest. Now that I have used one of these, I simply cannot go back to a standard flat rest. Initially, I thought that a cushioned wrist rest may wear out over time. Although I have only used the keyboard for approximately a month, I don’t see any signs of wear and tear. I’d be happy if this lasts for a couple of years and then pay for a replacement. It’s a small price to pay to maximize my comfort levels when playing or working for extended hours.
There is certainly some room for improvement. Other keyboards have dedicated multimedia and/or volume dials. You can control multimedia using the keyboard too, however they are part of the function keys. In addition, I would like Razer to consider that second USB passthrough for V3 (should it ever be released).
The Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 mechanical keyboard is truly the best gaming keyboard that I have tested to date. Despite the keyboard lacking one or two features that I prefer on other keyboards, overall it beats any other keyboard in terms of comfort and performance. I have to assume that anyone looking to spend this amount of money on a keyboard will primarily care about these two factors over features like volume dials and dedicated multimedia buttons. It is for this reason why this is the very first gaming keyboard in this price range that gets a perfect 10 from EGL.