Razer BlackWiddow Tournament Edition Gaming Keyboard
Razer is a massive brand among the PC gaming scene. Recently they have a growing reputation over selling over-marketed, under performing products. The Blackwiddow tournament edition was the first mechanical keyboard I purchased (before I knew better). Lets take a closer look at this keyboard and see if its worthy of your cash.
Good Value For Money?
This keyboard comes in at a fairly high price point (updated prices on amazon.com) for what it is, a basic mechanical keyboard with a razer logo on it. There are a bunch of budget mechanical keyboards that I think are far better value. As it was my first mechanical keyboard, initially I enjoyed the experience. Coming from an old Microsoft sidewinder, this keyboard felt great to type and game on.
Razer relies heavily on marketing and branding to sustain its sales. Part of their sales pitch are their “Clicky” mechanical switches. Its disappointing that razer dont offer other switch options for most of their keyboard line-up. Everyone prefers different characteristics in their switches, and therefore there should be options to suit these needs. Razers switches remind me of a cherry MX brown switch with a little more actuation pressure. To me, the movement doesn’t feel as precise or the mechanism as smooth as other offerings. As with most mechanical keys, these are far from silent, however still quieter than blue keys.
This keyboard is also available in a “stealth” edition. The stealth keys are even worse. While they do dampen most of the sound, they feel very mushy and don’t provide the tactile click of the “clicky” counterpart. They are more akin to a cherry MX red switch (if it were to be bred with a membrane keyboard).
Some will love the look of this keyboard. While the frame looks ok, I think its let down by the font on the key-caps. I find the font to be ugly and even difficult to read. In future models, I would like less font weight with a small type face. In general, the key-caps feel comfortable under the fingers. They do feel slightly larger than traditional key-caps and may take time to adjust to.
The general build quality for this keyboard feels sturdy. However there are some complaints. The feet that elevate the back of the keyboard feel cheap, and one of mine broke within the first week of use. This effectively meant I would have to type on a flat keyboard, as there was no way to repair it. I have also heard there are some longevity issues regarding the switches, while Razer claim up to 80 million cycles per switch, the amazon.com reviews suggest otherwise. Razer back their switches with a 2 year warranty, however it is debatable how reliable their customer service is.
Like most gaming keyboard, the tournament edition features a gaming mode. This effectively blocks the windows key and enables custom key bindings that can be set in razer synapse (the driver program). This is nice to have, but I didnt find any features I would realistically use, with the exception of customer key-mapping.
This keyboard does feature on the fly macro recording, however razer synapse must be running for this to work. Be realistic if you are buying a keyboard for its macro functionality. 95% of you reading this right now will seldom use any macros. Besides there are no dedicated macro keys anyway.
No other switch options.
Keycaps feel a little large.
Build quality issues.
There are better value options available.
Most features require software.