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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

Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

As with any peripheral, the testing of the BlackWidow is unique to the individual using it, what I like or dislike in my review may not reflect your personal feelings about a product. In order to most adequately test the Razer BlackWidow I look at a variety of games and activities to help evaluate its performance in many different settings. For quick paced gameplay I look at Team Fortress 2 and Call of Duty: Black-Ops, for strategy games I used Civilization V, and for RPG's I used Mass Effect 2 and Fallout New Vegas.

Software Tested

  • Team Fortress 2
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Fallout New Vegas
  • Civilization V
  • Call Of Duty: Black-Ops

Results

When it came time to game, I found the BlackWidow to be very responsive although no more so then my Razer Lycosa that I used before the BlackWidow was sent to me. For Team Fortress and Call of Duty: Black-Ops I found that the low level of key travel needed to actuate the keys led to me having a very good reaction time even against the low profile Razer Lycosa. For some the auditory response of the BlackWidow's mechanical switches may annoy them when playing intense games especially when the keys are being actuated very quickly over and over again. Personally I found this to be a non-issue but you may want to test out the BlackWidow before you purchase to make sure that you can deal with the noise. For Civilization I found that the keys were very easy to use when it came to shortcuts and that after the initial learning curve of going to a new keyboard it all felt very natural. For Fallout New Vegas, and Mass Effect 2 I found that the lightness of touch let you have very long gaming sessions without any fatigue in your movement hand, something that other full height keyboard have given me problems with before.

Although my gaming experience with the BlackWidow was enjoyable it did not comes close to what it is like to do actually work on the BlackWidow. As a college student I spend a large amount of my time typing up papers and the BlackWidow has sold me, just from the experience of typing on it. But first let me do some explaining, this is my first mechanical keyboard I have ever used but two of my roomates have spent the best part of a semester talking up how good mechanical keyboard are to type on. This was something I did not understand until this review. Since I received the BlackWidow my typing speed has increased roughly 15-20% conservatively. The are a couple reasons for this, number one is the beautiful clicking noise that each key makes as it actuates meaning that you can get a natural rhythm going as you type just by listening. Secondly the feedback you receive from each key helps you more quickly move on to the next key as you don't actuate the key as far to actually activate it. Lastly it provides a much more comfortable experience with the slightly curved surface being very comfortable and helping my wrists to stay comfortable even after pulling a all nighter to cram out a ten page paper.



 

Comments 

 
# 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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