Our review of the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 keyboard scored a perfect 10. In fact, the only other keyboard that has ever scored a perfect 10 on EGL happens to be the Razer Hunstman, and that is despite having reviewed countless gaming keyboards. It is simply too rare to find a gaming keyboard that is perfect feature-wise. With its predecessor having gained a perfect score, in theory it can’t get better for the newly released Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. However somehow, Razer has managed the impossible. The BlackWidow V3 Pro is now the best mechanical gaming keyboard that I have used to date.
I’ve recently become obsessed with a clean gaming setup. I feel the need to have as few cables running across my desk as possible. The BlackWidow V3 Pro is the first wireless gaming keyboard that I have tested, and after only 30 minutes of use, most of my main worries were alleviated. I initially worried that the keyboard’s battery life wouldn’t be sufficient. I also worried that there was a risk of noticeable latency between keystrokes and screen input that would significantly impact my gaming performance. However, my 30 hour experience with the BlackWidow V3 Pro has been nothing but a delight.
It was only a matter of time before Razer finally went wireless with their gaming keyboard setup. It’s not the first time Razer has developed a wireless keyboard, but I think the others may have focused primarily on productivity, or have been designed with consoles in mind (e.g. the Razer Turret). With that in mind, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is Razer’s first flagship wireless gaming keyboard that takes advantage of the company’s latest technologies to deliver a product that feels like a serious upgrade from its predecessor.
Razer makes zero sacrifices with the BlackWidow V3 Pro, and that’s what makes it best in class. Firstly, the keyboard is full-sized. It has over 100 keys including a complete number pad, a large ENTER key (although I do understand that in some countries, the ENTER key is small), and some dedicated multimedia buttons that includes a very useful dial for volume. In fact, at just under 18 inches wide and under 6.5 inches in depth, the size of the keyboard is very similar to what you’d expect from a typical keyboard. It also has adjustable feet that allows the keyboard to sit at just under 2 inches in height.
The fact that the BlackWidow V3 Pro is a complete keyboard with a number pad is just the beginning. The top is made of a premium aluminium construction. If you’re the type of gamer to occasionally rage and bang your fist onto the keyboard, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is likely to resist most other keyboards in the market (although I am not suggesting that it won’t break!). All of the keys are black doubleshot ABS keycaps. Razer has used this in many keyboards, including ones that we have recently reviewed. They are the most durable keycaps that you can get in the market today. The whole purpose of doubleshot keycaps is to ensure that the labels on the keys never wear off, no matter how much dirt, swear or grime you put them through.
Razer has also given the BlackWidow V3 Pro the complete Razer treatment from a visual perspective. The moment it’s powered on, you’ll be able to enjoy the complete Razer Chroma RGB effect not only with the keys, but even the multimedia buttons including the volume dial! For those who are new to Razer, you can connect the keyboard to Razer’s proprietary software, Synapse (which I believe to be the best), and completely customize the RGB effects. Razer also claims that the keyboard’s chroma effects are programmed to work with over 150 games to dynamically react based on whatever in-game situation you’re facing. I can confirm that this works with Overwatch and CoD Warzone!
A flagship Razer keyboard requires the latest switches, and the BlackWidow V3 Pro gives you two variants to choose from. You can purchase the keyboard with Razer’s green mechanical switches (this is what we opted for), or the yellow mechanical switches. The only difference is that the green switches have a very loud, clicky and tactile design. Every single keystroke will be loud and you’ll instantly know that you’ve pressed it. If your gaming setup is not private, I would strongly suggest to avoid the green switches since they are very loud. I would argue that a lot of the appeal of mechanical switches is being able to enjoy the satisfying clicky sounds of the keys, and if you want that experience, the green switches will provide music to your ears. The yellow switches are linear and considerably more silent. You should find the typing experience smoother and there are dampeners within each key switch to ensure that the loud clicky sound is suppressed.
I’m also a huge sucker for any keyboard that has dedicated media buttons. Sometimes I just like to listen to music whilst I’m playing racing games, or writing reviews. The BlackWidow V3 Pro comes with four dedicated multimedia buttons and one scroll wheel. The buttons allow you to go back to a previous track, skip to the next track, play/pause and finally mute the volume. Surrounding the mute button is also a wheel that lets you control the volume. Unlike some other keyboards that I’ve used in the past where the multimedia buttons don’t always work, the ones on the BlackWidow V3 Pro work exactly the same way as the corresponding buttons on your laptop or regular PC keyboard would work. Essentially, it means that you could be listening to YouTube Premium in the background whilst the browser is minimized, and be playing a game. You can control the tracks, pause/play without having to exit the game. The volume dial also gives you feedback with a subtle click as you scroll round, letting you know that it’s actually modulating the volume. A great feature is that these multimedia buttons are also fully programmable via Synapse should you want to use them for something else.
At a price point of £229.99 on Razer’s official website, I’d expect any keyboard to come with a wrist rest. Thankfully, the BlackWidow V3 Pro comes with one. In addition, it’s not one of those hard-surfaced rests that partially do the job. The one that comes with the BlackWidow V3 Pro is made of a very thick and soft padding that lets you sink your wrists very nicely without any discomfort. The depth and durability of the padding is clearly significant enough that you’d have to put your entire force onto it in order to feel the plastic underneath it. One trick that Razer missed was making the wrist rest magnetic. Unfortunately, the rest cannot be attached to the keyboard. They are separate pieces and you just need to keep them together. It’s not the biggest issue – generally once you have your keyboard sitting on your table, the wrist rest won’t be moved either.
So far, the BlackWidow V3 Pro seems no different to some of the other Razer premium gaming keyboards. However, what sets it apart is its ability to go fully wireless, and this absolutely the selling point. In fact, not only can it go fully wireless, Razer actually lets you choose from three different connectivity options. There are a lot of keyboards in the market (gaming and non-gaming) that are either wired, or wireless. The BlackWidow V3 Pro can be connected via a USB-C to USB-A cable, via Bluetooth or via Razer’s HyperSpeed wireless technology for the lowest latency possible.
The wired connection is such an important option. It’s also fantastic that the keyboard input is USB-C. Many companies still adopt USB-A inputs, and this is acceptable for the laptop/PC end, but less acceptable for the peripheral input. When the keyboard is connected with a cable, it instantly takes priority over the other two modes (assuming you’ve connected the keyboard to your computer).
In case you want to connect the keyboard wirelessly but you want to maximise your battery life, you can connect the keyboard via Bluetooth. It’s an ideal mode also in scenarios where you’re not gaming, but simply using the keyboard for productive tasks. The latency is still not noticeable when browsing the Internet or word processing.
If you want to game wirelessly, you should connect the keyboard using the HyperSpeed wireless mode. The keyboard comes with an included adapter (heads up, the actual dongle for this is hidden in a flap underneath the keyboard itself!). When plugged in, the keyboard will wirelessly connect to the dongle using Razer’s 2.4Ghz HyperSpeed technology, which significantly reduces the latency when gaming to the point that it really is non-existent. In order to switch between the modes, there is a little switch on the left-hand side of the keyboard.
The battery life of the keyboard will entirely depend on whether you’re playing with the RGB chroma lighting on. Without the lighting, the keyboard can last close to 192 hours. However if you use the RGB lighting on full brightness, that drops massively to around 13 hours. You can get anywhere in between if you program the keyboard via Synapse to edit the RGB brightness and lighting effects. This is absolutely normal and is not something unique to Razer products. I would state that 13 hours is still a very large amount of time to be gaming wirelessly. Wireless headsets usually last a similar amount of time before they need a recharge. At least you know that you just need a USB-C charger to refuel the keyboard. Perhaps some gamers will be concerned with the battery life since they won’t want to compromise on the RGB lighting, but at this stage you’re not going to find much better in the market without sacrificing a lot of other features that the BlackWidow V3 Pro has.
If you already own the BlackWidow V2, despite the V3 Pro being a significant upgrade, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you spend another £230 to upgrade. It entirely depends on your use case. If you want to upgrade to a fully wireless gaming keyboard without losing a lot of the functionality that you’re used to on your current gaming keyboard, then you’ll struggle to find anything better than the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. You’ll have to pay a hefty premium, but you’re buying a keyboard that is specifically designed to last an incredible amount of time.