|Razer BlackWidow Gaming Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Austin Downing|
|Monday, 06 December 2010|
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Closer Look: Razer BlackWidow
For some the looks of a keyboard may be a selling point, for others they care about its usability. Razer attempt to cater to both areas with a classic but refined look, while at the same time adding some uniqueness to their design that helps set it apart from many other mechanical keyboards on the market. In additions to making a visually appealing keyboard Razer has provided a wonderful typing experience for its users with a curved keyboard, mechanical switches, and a very well setup keyboard.
In typical Razer fashion the BlackWidows box is as much about transporting the product as it showing off they product. Razer went to great lengths to show that the BlackWidow is the premier gaming mechanical keyboard on the market, and as such has included some of their marketing hype on all sides of the box. A nice feature of this container is the window which lets you use a couple of the keys on the board so that you can feel and hear the tactile and auditory feedback that the BlackWidow provides.
Razer includes four things with every product they sell: a quick start guide which will give you the basics of the product you have bought, a master guide which gives a detailed look at a products features, a product guide detailing some of the other competitive products that Razer produces, and finally you have the Certificate of Authenticity. Razer uses the Certificate of Authenticity for two things, it wants you to know you are using a genuine Razer product but more importantly much like Apple they want their users to feel like a special select group of people. They do this in many different ways including telling the customer that they are part of the "Cult of Razer" and describing how special the product they have built and you have bought is. Even if you don't like their products you have to admire their marketing strategy.
On the left side Razer has included have five customizable keys that can be used for anything that a user may deem necessary. For my purposes I have them rebound as unused keys from other portions of the keyboard allowing me to easily set actions to them in game and keep my hand from moving as far. Outside of gaming I found use for them them in Photoshop making it so some repetitive actions are bound directly to my keyboard.
From the top down you can see that Razer has included everything you would expect from your typical keyboard with a full size key layout and traditional formatting. Rather then making a dedicated control scheme for media controls Razer has opted to use a functions key that switches between normal F1-F12 and the secondary controls they have. The function key when used with the numbers 1-10 switch between your pre-programed profiles. Along with media controls you can control the Light up Razer logo, put your computer to sleep, setup a quick macro, and turn on game mode. The on-the-fly macro is of particular interest, it allows you to quickly set a macro to any key on the keyboard without the use of the drivers.
From the side it becomes clear that the Razer BlackWidow is by no means a small keyboard. Razer has used this space efficiently though, making for a very enjoyable keyboard to use. To start Razer uses full height keys instead of the half-height slim keys that have become popular. Some may question this practice as the BlackWidow is marketed as a gaming keyboard but because Razer is using a mechanical switch system your keys actually are activated at 2mm which is half of the full travel length. This means that a gamer can have a very light touch and still actuate the keys, therefore decreasing their response times. Razer has also designed the BlackWidow with a small amount of curvature which lends to a very comfortable experience when using the BlackWidow something any gamer will appreciate.