Razer Ornata keyboard fuses membrane and mechanical switches

All of the most successful gaming keyboards in the last few years have relied on mechanical keyswitches, usually from German manufacturer Cherry. Cherry switches have a lot of great qualities, but some folks do still prefer the softer feel of a rubber dome keyboard. Razer aims to cater to people on the fence with its new Ornata keyboard, which features what the company calls "mecha-membrane" switches.

Razer says the new keyboard will offer "both a soft, cushioned touch and a crisp, tactile click". That might make the keyboard attractive to people who want the positive feedback for gaming and the softer touch for typing. Tom's Hardware got its hands on the Ornata, and said that the keyboard has a distinctive feel that is indeed somewhere between a typical membrane keyboard and a true mechanical switch. Razer's CEO Min-Liang Tan claims the Ornata came out of the experience the company gained working with Kaihua on its self-branded mechanical switches. The keys on the Ornata also use low-height keycaps, which reduces the thickness of the keyboard overall.

Naturally, as any proper gaming peripheral does these days, the Ornata has optional RGB backlighting. The keyboard supports Razer's Chroma profiles, configurable through the Synapse software. If you don't care about RGB blinkenlichten, there's also a monochrome green version. The Ornatas have ten-key rollover, and include a detachable magnetic wrist-rest, as well. Razer has the keyboards available now for $79.99, or $99.99 for the RGB version.

Comments closed
    • Gippy
    • 3 years ago

    Wouldn’t thick dampening o-rings on mechanical switches do the same thing?

    • Crackhead Johny
    • 3 years ago

    So is this supposed to be a poor man’s Topre?

    I got my mom a Topre a few years ago with the different weighted keys for typing. I couldn’t justify it for myself and she’d never spend that kind of money on a keyboard for herself, even though she types for a living.
    She says the reviews I saw are correct, Topre keys are the keys god uses on his own typing keyboard. I suspect her will will state that that keyboard gets buried with her.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Too bad Razer makes it.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 3 years ago

    I like companies trying new and/or strange things. Hopefully, it leads to improvement. Mechanical keyboard advancement has been relatively stagnant for a while now.

    • CScottG
    • 3 years ago

    (relative) premium keyboard with non-standard key-cap = dead end.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    Those pictures over at Tom’s hardware make it seem distinctly weird.

    Historically high end rubber dome keyboards have always seemed to use the sliders or sensors to make the key register when the dome collapsed instead of at the bottom of it’s travel. Thus presumably making the key feel more connected to it’s effect and providing a nicer typing experience.

    The photos of the Razer make it look like they’ve kept the standard membrane to register at the bottom of the travel but added some hard plastic bits to make it feel more clicky.

    But maybe it’s just me. I never noticed any difference between keyboards for gaming (aside from anti-blocking) and I was always far more focused on the typing experience.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 3 years ago

      What I’m seeing is they’ve kept the electrical contact switch of the classic mechanical key, and are using the dome in place of a spring. That’s fine as long as the rubber domes will last a long timee. They won’t be able to have a true ‘clicky’ key like Cherry Blues with this, but they can make either no feedback like Reds and Blacks or quiet tactile like Browns.

        • BillyBuerger
        • 3 years ago

        From what I’ve seen, they’ve just taken a rubber dome and added a click leaf. The key press is still registered like any other rubber dome. Remove the click leaf and you have just another rubber dome keyboard. And since it is a rubber dome, you could never get a linear feel like a Red/Black switch. Rubber domes collapse which is a tactile point. Springs are linear themselves so the tactile bump is added in the stem.

        So it sounds kind of like a cheap attempt to make a rubber dome sound like a mechanical keyboard so that they can sell it as such along with the price tag. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic about it. We’ll have to see what people say when they get a chance to really test them out and see what they’re like.

          • pranav0091
          • 3 years ago

          ^ This.

          Isn’t one of the biggest USPs of mechanical keys that they don’t need to be bottomed out? I dont see why anyone on the hunt for a mechanical keyboard would care if they still need to bottom out the keys all the way.

          On the other hand I do have small O-rings on my cherry blues between the keycap and the switch to dampen them. This kind-of serves a similar purpose. Of course, without the advantage of the not needing to bottom out.

          Therefore this sits between a true mechanical keyboard and a rubber-dome one. Does the price reflect it?

            • BillyBuerger
            • 3 years ago

            Well, in the end it’s all personal preference. If someone likes the feel of bottoming out rubber domes and also clicky blue switches, then yeah, they might like this keyboard. But usually people who switch to mechanical keyboards do so to get away from the mushy feeling of the cheap domes. And my guess is that this doesn’t feel like a blue with o-rings. But again, hard to say without trying.

            And my thought is that this is not between a rubber dome and mechanical keyboard. It IS a rubber dome. Just a rubber dome that clicks. Topre would be something that is in between a rubber dome and mechanical in that it also uses a rubber dome, but acts very much like a mechanical switch as far as key travel and actuation.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 3 years ago

          You may be right, in which case it seems pointless. There are Topre knockoffs now that are supposed to be good, and they obviously do a rubber dome-type hybrid far better.

    • rika13
    • 3 years ago

    More choices is always better. I have a Cherry Cymotion Master Linux (old old keyboard) that is in that halfway range (very clicky membrane keyboard, almost a mechanical).

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t know how I feel about this.

      • pranav0091
      • 3 years ago

      You should feel clicky with a soft-cushioned landing.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This