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Razer BlackWidow Gaming Keyboard E-mail
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Written by Austin Downing   
Monday, 06 December 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Razer BlackWidow Gaming Keyboard
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Razer BlackWidow
Razer BlackWidow Detailed Features
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

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.



# FKeys!!!Bob 2010-12-06 19:54
Why don't they leave well enough alone with the fkeys? I use a MS Sidewinder keyboard at home, and the FKeys are wider than default, causing the F1 key to be in the Escape keys spot on normal keyboards. On this keyboard, they are narrower, and squished to the right, leaving a gap.

At work, I do a lot of editing in vim, so I use the escape key a lot. The MS keyboard moves the escape key to the left causing me to hit F1 instead of Escape. At least this keyboard leaves the Escape key in the default place.

When playing games like Battlefield games, where you switch positions in vehicles with fkey 1/2/3, muscle memory is very important to getting F1 to drive a tank, for example.

These kinds of changes to make it "different" are *just* *plain* *stupid*. Please, leave the basic key layout alone!
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# RE: FKeysAustin Downing 2010-12-07 01:08
I found the placement to be of no concern whatsoever, and actually they lined up better then many other keyboards I have used.

If everyone went with tried and true though how would we have any innovation?
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# Contradictions?Joe 2010-12-11 23:29
OK this is confusing.

You love the keypress click, but list it as both a pro and a con?

You may also want to proof read your reviews in future.
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# RE: Contradictions?DG 2011-01-08 11:31
Refer to getting acknowledge of keypress, as a pro. Ie. you hear a click you know your keystroke registered. It is a con because it can be loud and annoying for those that aren't used to it.

As for the pricing, if you're comparing it to other mechanical keyboards it is a good price point and cheaper than other models.

If you're looking at it amongst all keyboards it is expensive for something that offers few of the extra features commonly found on cheaper non mechancial boards. But obviously if you're looking for a mechanical keyboard, the fact that is mechanical is the most important part rather than having dedicated media keys.
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# Proof readASchmugge 2010-12-12 11:49
Love most of your reviews Austin, but dang my boy, need to start proof reading your articles, or have someone else do it with a keen eye for mistakes.

A bit confused also in relation to what Joe said. In Pros you list the key clicks and also the price, then again in the Cons, you list the key clicks, and the price. So are they both a Pro, or a Con?

Keyboard does look intriguing though, especially since I am in the market for a new gaming keyboard. But I have seen a LOT of reviewers having complaints about Razer Quality Control and build quality issues. Specifically key issues, and also software issues. Any input from this and other past experiences?
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# RE: Razer BlackWidow Gaming KeyboardAustin Downing 2010-12-12 12:08
Honestly it depends if you compare the price to many other keyboards its is very expensive based on what you get but compared to other mechanical keyboards it is very well priced. Just look at the recently reviewed SteelSeries 7G.

In regards to quality control I have had no problems with any Razer products I have had not had any quality control and I own a Razer mouse, two keyboards, speakers, headset, and mouse pad. They have taken the abuse I give them and just kept on going.
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# Possibility of feature lossTiago 2011-01-14 18:35
With this keyboard having a USB plug, have you tried using the PS/2 adaptor/convertor? Do you know if it will loose the the anti-ghosting feature? I fear it having some sort of a delay when plugged into a computer with a few other USB devices...
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# No good.victory 2011-06-09 07:23
The Blackwidow is useless for my purposes since some three-key combinations I actually use will not work. It's ridiculous they sell a keyboard without N-key rollover at this price. Adding the diodes necessary to make it NKRO would cost what, a few bucks at most?
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# N-key rolloverxR2 2012-06-29 12:04
Thank you victory! By your comment, I google more and found other reviews mentioning the same aspect, lack of N-key rollover.
I was about to buy this keyboard, but thanks to YOU, now I wont! :D
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