Razer’s BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate keyboards

What’s that? Speak up, I can’t hear you! Stop typing? Err, alright… Oh, you want me to take out the trash? Click click clack click. Sorry, I still can’t quite make out what you’re saying.

Clicky keyboards are very much a niche product category. Despite their obvious benefits, most people would rather spend $20 on a budget keyboard than lay down the cash required to drown out their problems in a torrent of clicks and clacks. Not very long ago, this clique of clicky enthusiasts was so small that most manufacturers completely ignored it. Clicky aficionados like myself were forced to purchase used Model Ms on eBay or shell out a couple months worth of coffee rations for a geek-chic Das Keyboard. I opted for the latter.

The good news is that keyboard makers are increasingly dabbling in clicky designs. Those that cater to gamers have discovered that mechanical keyboards have some appeal for their target audience, so we’ve seen new mechanical models begin to emerge from the likes of SteelSeries, Razer, Thermaltake, and even obscure brands like Qumax and Zowie. Today, we’re focusing squarely on what Razer has to offer: standard and Ultimate versions of the BlackWidow keyboard.

I went out and dropped my own hard-earned nickels and dimes for the privilege of tinkering with these boards. Acquiring both models wasn’t part of the original plan, however. I first sprang for the Ultimate edition with all of its backlit, USB hub-packing goodness. Issues with the backlight prompted me to swap the Ultimate for the lower-end standard model, which has fewer features and less to go wrong (or so I thought at the time). Consider yourselves lucky that my misfortunes have given rise to not one, but two heaping helpings of clicky keyboard deliciousness.

A crash course in mechanical keyboards

Before we get too far into this review, a quick refresher course on keyboard switches is in order. The vast majority of keyboards sold today use what is called a membrane key switch—an inexpensive and easy-to-manufacture design. Typically made from rubber or silicone, these membranes operate on the same basic principle as the lid of an opened jam jar. When the center of the lid is pressed down, you get a little pop as it drops into its depressed state. When downward force is removed from the lid, it springs back to its default position. The little rubber domes generally have a conductive post in the center. When pressed, the post makes contact with two electrical traces beneath it and completes a circuit.

Common mechanical switches eschew rubber domes in favor of springs and metal clips. The spring provides enough resistance to pop the switch back to its default position when you remove your finger, and the metal contacts provide the friction, circuit completion, and release points necessary to give mechanical keyboards their tactile feel and sound. (Model M fanboys might revolt if we didn’t give a shout out to buckling-spring switches. With these mechanical switches, a spring underneath the key buckles under pressure, essentially folding in the center, and springs back into place when your finger lifts off. Buckling-spring switches are rarely seen outside the Model M and newer lookalikes, though.)

Cherry and Alps are the largest manufacturers of mechanical key switches, and Cherry’s MX line seems to have found its way into a greater number of consumer boards. Members of the MX family are identified by a color-coding system. Blue switches lurk beneath the keys of both BlackWidow boards, but Cherry also makes black, brown, clear, and red MX switches. The primary differences between the various colors lie with the actuation force required to register a keystroke, the tactile feel, and audible “click” of the switch. In general, blue, brown, and clear switches are considered tactile typing models, while the blacks and reds are non-tactile, linear switches that are supposed to be better for gaming.

Switch Type Actuation Force Key Feel Target Market
MX Blue 50 g Tactile / Clicky Typing
MX Brown 45 g Tactile / Non-Clicky Gaming/Typing Hybrid
MX Clear 55 g Tactile / Non-Clicky Gaming/Typing Hybrid
MX Black 60 g Non-tactile / Non-Clicky Gaming
MX Red 45 g Non-Tactile / Non-Clicky Gaming

Given the chart above, you might be wondering why Razer opted for blue switches rather than alternatives more fashionable among gamers. Your guess is as good as mine, but keep in mind that a switch designed for typing isn’t necessarily bad for gaming—or vice versa. Something like key feel really comes down to personal preference. Besides, I enjoy playing games as much as anybody, and I’ve never encountered a keyboard that slowed down my “WASD + spacebar = death & respawn” routine.

A word of warning: simply knowing the color of a keyboard’s underlying switches doesn’t tell you enough about how it’ll actually feel. Despite the fact that the BlackWidows and my trusty Das Keyboard Professional both employ Cherry MX blue switches, each board has a distinctively different tactile feel and sound. Much of this can be attributed to the design of the key caps, the weight and thickness of the plastic, the small activation force variances between switches, and any coatings applied to the keys.

In-depth write-ups on switch technologies can be found all over the web, but I recommend this one at Overclocking.net to readers seeking more information on the subject.

Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate

We first bumped into the BlackWidow Ultimate at CES this past January, and it was a classic case of love at first keystroke. This is a top-of-the-line model that attempts to be everything to everyone by combining mechanical key switches with all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find on a high-end gaming keyboard. Having owned backlit gaming keyboards like the original Saitek Eclipse and Logitech G15, as well as no-nonsense mechanical keyboards like the Dell AT101W and Das Keyboard Professional, the BlackWidow Ultimate seemed like the perfect hybrid solution.

My first impressions of the Ultimate were positive. The box it comes in is colorful and well designed. The keyboard itself is a weighty 3.3 lbs, so it won’t go sliding around your desk. Rubberized feet also help to prevent unwanted movement, and another rubberized coating can be found on the keys. The key coating is comparable, albeit not identical, to the soft-touch skin of a ThinkPad. Above all, the keys feel great; keystrokes are extremely consistent, tactile, and pleasing at the same time.

The Ultimate’s blue Cherry MX switches have been, ahem, cherry-picked to maintain a consistent 50 grams of required down force, 2 mm of actuation distance, and a full stroke length of 4 mm. These attributes, combined with a 1,000Hz polling rate, purportedly allow you to enter commands in half as much time as n00bs using membrane keyboards. Picky typists will no doubt appreciate having a uniform button depression force across the entire keyboard, too.

Aspiring to create more than just another clicky keyboard, Razer decided to outfit the BlackWidow Ultimate with a few unique accoutrements. Each key is individually backlit by a blue LED, as is the Razer logo etched into the center of the palm rest. There are five lighting settings: off, max, medium, low, and a slow pulsation that fades the lights on and off. The pulse feature might turn heads in a demo capacity, but it’s extremely distracting otherwise.

Another feature that distinguishes this keyboard is the column of five dedicated macro buttons stacked along the left-hand side. With the Razer’s management software installed, hitting the “Fn + Alt M” (Alt M replaces right Alt) key combination will illuminate a red “M” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the board. Start typing out the macro commands, and when you’re finished, press the “Fn + Alt M” combo again. The red “M” icon will begin flashing, which is an indication that the next key you hit will be mapped to the preceding macro. Macros can be mapped to the dedicated buttons or to any of the alphanumeric keys.

Razer provides software to help manage macros, reassign keys, and define different macro profiles for various usage scenarios. Profiles can be used to define different sets of macros for individual games and everyday tasks. On my own PC, for example, I’ve built a profile that uses the five macro keys to launch frequently used applications like Photoshop, Chrome, Firefox, Pandora|One, and Notepad++. I have another profile for programming, which lets me quickly enter common code blocks at the touch of a button. The macro functionality is very versatile and useful once you get accustomed to the Razer management software.

The column of macro buttons can mess with your head a little, though. Having an extra chunk of keyboard under my left hand was a little unnerving at first, and I found myself hitting the tab and caps-lock keys instead of A and Q. The alphanumeric area doesn’t feel any smaller than on a standard keyboard, so this was more a matter of my hand drifting to the left rather than being cramped by appreciably smaller keys. I’m also coming from a Das Professional, which seems to be slightly larger than the average keyboard. It didn’t take me long to adjust, but after getting used to the BlackWidow, going back to the Das was equally awkward. The learning curve became a lot shallower after a few trips back and forth.

Another layout anomaly to be aware of is the Fn button, which replaces the right-hand Windows key you’d typically find on a standard keyboard. This isn’t a huge issue, but it may bother folks who rock the one-handed “Windows + L” combo to lock their terminals. The final deviation from a standard key layout is the F-key row, which has been shifted slightly to the right for some reason. The function keys are still arranged in groups of four, but the bunches are closer together, throwing the positioning off even more.

In a bid to assert its gaming pedigree, the BlackWidow allows you to disable its Windows key with a quick “Fn + F11” combo. Gamers will no doubt appreciate the option, since nobody likes inadvertently dropping into the Windows desktop during the heat of battle.

The Ultimate’s resume is rounded out by a USB 2.0 port, audio pass-through jacks for a headset, and media controls accessed using the Fn key in conjunction with various function buttons. The keyboard’s rather beefy cable branches out into a pair of USB connectors plus two 3.5-mm audio plugs, all of which are gold-plated. The cable is braided and designed to take some serious punishment without fraying or pulling out of the board.

Although the Ultimate’s tricked-out feature set makes it unique in the world of clicky keyboards, mine developed problems with its backlighting. From day one, the lighting behind the 4 key in the number pad was noticeably dimmer than the others at any setting. The V key decided to put its LED under a bushel, creating a distracting dark spot in the middle of the keyboard. I tried using the board with the lighting turned off, but since the keys are etched to allow light through, the text doesn’t show up as clearly in low-light conditions.

Annoyed and under the assumption that a high-end keyboard should still be fully functional after only a few days, I hopped in the car and headed over to Micro Center to make an exchange. Instead of simply swapping out the Ultimate for a replacement, I decided to give the standard model a whirl. Fewer features means less to go wrong, right?

Razer’s BlackWidow

Straight out of the box, the standard BlackWidow keyboard looks about the same as its Ultimate counterpart. It retains the five macro keys and backlit Razer logo in the palm rest, but the other keys aren’t backlit, and you’ll have to live without extra USB and audio connectors. The cable is substantially thinner as a result, but it’s still braided and decked out with a dash of gold bling. The only other apparent difference is the coating of the keys, which have a hard plastic finish rather than the slightly rubberized coating on the Ultimate.

Even though the standard BlackWidow is supposed to use the same MX blue switches as the Ultimate, the key feel is entirely different. If the Ultimate’s keys are cherry-picked for consistency, the standard model must get stuck with the table scraps. The tactile feel and clickety-clack were all over the map at first. Coming from the Ultimate model, the difference in typing feel was so great that I initially considered returning the standard board, as well. Fortunately, after hammering away for a few days, the keys started feeling a little better. The alphanumeric keys were the first to break in, and they feel pretty consistent now. The space bar and backspace keys still feel a little off, as do lesser-used keys like the brackets.

Continued use didn’t resolve a problem with the O key, which tended to stick when pressed in the lower left-hand corner. This issue was solved by removing the key cap and shaving down the inside corner that was catching, but such surgery shouldn’t be necessary with a brand-new keyboard.

In spite of the non-backlit keys, the illuminated logo on the palm rest retains the five LED settings of the Ultimate. The media functions also remain, as does the ability to disable the Windows key.

The standard model will set you back $75 at Newegg, making it quite a bit cheaper than the $115 Ultimate. Folks looking for a no-frills mechanical workhorse should find alternatives in the standard model’s price range, but the BlackWidow’s extra goodies (especially its macro support) add a little extra bang for your buck—if you can make it through the break-in period.

Conclusions

After spending some quality time with standard and Ultimate versions of the Razer BlackWidow, I can’t help but feel that my tried-and-true Das Keyboard Professional is a higher-quality product. While it lacks macro functionality, media keys, and backlighting, the Das hasn’t missed a beat over three years in the trenches. Except for some smoothing on the key caps, it’s every bit as good as the day I bought it.

In comparison, the initial build quality of Razer’s offerings leaves something to be desired. Perhaps it’s just rotten luck that two imperfect boards happened to land in my lap, but after reading other users’ experiences online, I think I’m not alone. Otherwise, the BlackWidow series comes very close to being the Holy Grail: a solid gaming keyboard that can be appreciated by fans of mechanical key switches.

Given the issues I encountered, recommending either model is a little tough. Of the two, the standard unit seems to represent the better value for your keyboard dollar. Losing some of the Ultimate’s extra perks is to be expected given the standard model’s $75 asking price, and the macro support and multimedia keys add a lot of value at that price point, at least versus mechanical rivals. If the out-of-box key feel mirrored that of the Ultimate, I’d recommend the standard unit any day.

The Ultimate’s superior key feel and other perks will cost you $40 more. Whether the audio pass-throughs, USB port, and backlighting are worth the extra scratch really depends on how highly you value them—and whether you’re willing to wade through what appear to be some quality-control issues.

If my Das Keyboard died tomorrow, I would unquestionably buy another one. If the BlackWidow died, I’d replace it with something else. I sincerely hope that the minor quality quirks can be ironed out in future revisions, because it wouldn’t take much to elevate the BlackWidow series from good to great. If anything, we should thank Razer for raising the bar on clicky keyboard features and functionality. For now, though, there are simply better mechanical fish in the sea.

Comments closed
    • Slipnot
    • 8 years ago

    Nice review… more and more I’m liking these mechanical keyboards.

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    As I’ve noted in the forums, I’ve been quite happy with my pair of Rosewill RK-9000 keyboards. They use clicky Cherry MX blue switches, and are supposedly rebranded Filcos. No frills, they just get the job done with impeccable tactile feedback. I actually prefer them to my Unicomp buckling spring ‘boards because of the lighter touch and smaller footprint.

    Minor nits: The lettering has a slightly rough surface that seems to attract and hold dirt. And the Backspace key on both of them very occasionally makes a squeaking noise, though this has become much less frequent as they’ve been broken in.

    FWIW Newegg expects to finally get more of them next month (they’ve been out of stock since early this year).

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    Here’s what I do, perhaps it’s wasteful and wrong:

    I buy a cheap-o Logitech keyboard for $10 about once every year or so. A fresh, no-frills keyboard seems to beat out anything else 5+ times the cost held for years upon years.

      • KorruptioN
      • 8 years ago

      Can’t argue with new, but it’s hard to beat the feel of a well-sorted mechanical keyboard.

      (Typing this on a Logitech Illuminated Keyboard, it’s not mechanical but I think it’s perfect)

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      If you like the feel of rubber dome (or scissor) keys, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that approach.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    For that kind of pricing, I can get a modern, USB-interface buckling-spring keyboard from Unicomp, who bought out Lexmark’s design (who got it from IBM) which adds the one thing I don’t get from mine (Windows keys).

    [url<]http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/keyboards.html[/url<] The Customizer 104 would be my choice if I am forced to retire my IBM Model-M.

    • dashbarron
    • 8 years ago

    I’m…a little amazed that so much…thought and effort goes into keyboard sounds/feel and a “higher quality” cost more. This article has opened up my world to a new level of [s<]anal-retentiveness[/s<] geekiness. I've always thought about keyboards in terms of what I would consider real features, back-lighting, macros, extra keys, LCD, connectivity, etc; the first few pages of this article makes me shudder. ...Although thinking about the last MAC I used, I never did like their low profile, quiet keyboards.

    • sleeprae
    • 8 years ago

    There is a surprisingly large community dedicated to mechanical keyboards. After over 2 years of trying, I gave up on finding a nice ergonomic replacement for the venerable original Microsoft Natural. My brother had keyboards with MX blues and Topre switches, and I bought a MX brown based board to try all 3 of the more highly regarded switch types. I fell in love with the MX blues and my next keyboard for my primary home workstation was based on that switch. After some time of using my MX brown at work and MX blue at home, I determined that I actually preferred the lighter 45g feel of the brown. So, I bought my 3rd mech: a Filco Majestouch-2 MX Brown. It was significantly better than the XArmor MX Brown I had, so I decided to get another Filco so that my work and home keyboards would match. Reading some posts and understanding how I was typing (the light tactile feedback was doing nothing to prevent me from bottoming out), I decided to try the MX red switch next–same 45g weight as the brown, but a linear, non-tactile pressure curve. My Filco MJ2 Linear R (MX Red) is now by far my favorite board.

    So here I am, 3 months later with 4 keyboards and more $ spent than I first anticipated, but don’t regret any of it. The moral of the story? If you are thinking of trying a mechanical keyboard but are concerned about the switch, it may very well take some time and experience to find what you really like, so I’d suggest buying some of the cheaper models first. The one I liked the most at first, the MX blue, is now my least favorite of the 4. None of them are wasted though–I’ve found good spots for each of them.

      • Thrashdog
      • 8 years ago

      I used to really like clicky keyboards, but ever since I bought a ThinkPad for college I’ve preferred a good low-profile scissor-switch design. After so long on a decent laptop keyboard, the travel on a standard keyboard just seems to go on for miles and miles.

    • cynan
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve had my Razer Black Widow Ultimate for a couple of months now and, I have to say, I’m quite content so far. But then I haven’t encountered any backlighting problems. It’s easily the best overall keyboard I’ve used, but then the only other mechanical keyboard I’ve used was the Model M

    When I first got it, one of the Alt keys intermittently collided with the Space Bar. When I discovered, after some research, that this seemed to be a common occurrence, my heart sank, as this pretty much ruined the otherwise fantastic fluid typing experience. I contacted Razer and they sent me some replacement key caps. But, lo and behold, by the time replacement keys arrived a couple of weeks hence, the issue had seemingly resolved itself – I guess it just needed some breaking in – and I haven’t had an issue since. Knock on wood.

    A bit steep for a key board, but, for the $90 I paid, the combination of typing comfort, macro keys, backlighting, etc, has left me satisfied with my purchase. I hope that the build quality holds out…

    • Ngazi
    • 8 years ago

    Why even argue about the layout when the F keys are in the wrong place and there are random keys on the left edge of the keyboard. Did they mention 2kro?

    Geekhack>>>>OCN.

    • Starfalcon
    • 8 years ago

    Still rolling my MS natural pro from 99, and still happy and ergo FTW.

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    The OCZ of keyboards.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Interesting boards, but they still don’t hold match up to the classical Model Ms and their modern incarnations from Unicomp. 😉

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    No over-sized ‘Enter’ key = no way you’ll pry my steelseries 6GV2 away from me…

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      It’s the magic of the US layout. Horrible.

      • David_Morgan
      • 8 years ago

      Over-sized ‘Enter’ key = deal-breaker for me. I have to have my ‘backslash+pipe’ key and wide ‘Backspace’ key right above the ‘Enter’ key or plastic breaks, keys go flying, and children in the vicinity have to cover their ears.

      It’s whatever you’re used to I suppose.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        I require my backslash to be around my left pinky, and I also have a wide backspace on top of the large Enter key. UK layout has a place above all else.

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          It is the same general layout, a few of the function/symbols were move around to accommodate the British Pound symbol. I suppose that if you were used to one layout and other would seem awkward. It is akin to being conformable with a full-desktop keyboard and then switching over a laptop-size layout.

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            HURRDY GURR KROG CAN NO DO GRAMER

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            Also, the GBP symbol is on key “3” of the numeric row, I doubt that needs a “new key” or any “moving around”. You’re just making crap up and talking out of your arse again.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Keyboard layouts are serious business!

            • Cyril
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t mind UK keyboards, but it still weirds me out that they switch @ and ” around. Having ‘ and ” on the same key seems to make more sense… and what’s wrong with leaving @ over the 2?

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            The quotes are over “2” on [i<]many (if not all) European layouts[/i<], and I'm guessing the UK layout just wants to fit in. I have no problem with that, because shift+2 for quotation is less of a chore to me (with two hands needed) than shift+ ' would be, and I just feel it fits in better with regular two-handed typing.

            • poulpy
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]The quotes are over "2" on many (if not all) European layouts[/quote<] Many but not all indeed, on top of my head at least the French and Belgian layouts have double quotes on key "3" and single quote on key "4". Their use is the other way around though as by default a single key press will give you the " or ' expected, while SHIFT + {key} will give you 3 or 4.

        • Hallucinosis
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, I can’t stand over-sized enter keys. Every keyboard I’ve used for more than 2 days since 1990 has had the smaller enter key. I’ve bought a few keyboards with large enter keys since then, but it totally slowed me down, hitting \ was more difficult and error prone. I’m pretty capable of hitting that small enter key without it taking up almost twice as much space.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    Ugh, US layout. Disgusting.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      It’s targeted for the USA market.

      Deal with it.

      • KorruptioN
      • 8 years ago

      At least it doesn’t have the stupid bilingual French-Canadian layout that most manufacturers are forcing upon English-speaking Canadians.

    • Voldenuit
    • 8 years ago

    I bought a thinkpad desktop keyboard a couple years ago, and returned it because it suffered from pronounced lag and N-key rollover issues, making it useless for gaming.

    I hear that they have fixed the N-key rollover limitation in their current models, but I have been leery of trying it again. Right now, I’m using a cheapo $14 MS keyboard and do most of my serious typing on my Thinkpad laptop.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    I had a Razer Blackwidow that the “Q” stopped working after about 2 months and the rollover never worked correctly. The RMA was such a hassle I ended up just throwing the keyboard away. I ended up replacing it with a ABS M1 a then later with a Steelseries G6v2 The ABS had a strange problem where I was constantly misspelling words and only on that keyboard it drove me crazy. I think it was because I was trying faster than the keys were being registered, that is the only thing I could think of.

    The Steelseries was a little over priced but I love it. The only issue I have is the strange palcement of the “|\” key. It’s in a really dumb area next the the right hand shift key (which is small because of the \| key) but other than that it’s been a really solid keyboard.

    Razor just seems to have to many QA issues that I will never buy a keyboard from them again. Never had a problem with their mice though.

    • tanker27
    • 8 years ago

    I have a Filco with Cherry Blue Switches and absolutely love it. As a gamer I find the Cherry Blue’s comfortable.

      • Slipnot
      • 8 years ago

      I have a Deck keyboard with blue backlighting. Love it too. Think it’s the last keyboard I’ll ever need.

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        …until you spill a drink into it!

    • RickyTick
    • 8 years ago

    Maybe it’s me, but why are the symbols on the keys flipped. For example, the key that has the comma (,) and the Less-Than sign (<) are flipped. The comma should be on the bottom and the < above it. Several are like that. Is that a design or style that I’m just not used to?

      • David_Morgan
      • 8 years ago

      Now that I look at it you’re right. Didn’t even notice that until you pointed it out, but now I can’t see anything else. Thanks. 😛

        • DancinJack
        • 8 years ago

        All the print is centered on the caps too. Weird choices by Razer.

      • cynan
      • 8 years ago

      I think I remember reading that this has something to do with the backlighting as only the top half of the key caps are lit up. But to me this has been a non-issue.

      Unless you are a “hunt-n-picker”, you probably should have a good working memory of which characters require a shift press. And if you are not at least a somewhat proficient typist, you’re not the target market for this product anyway.

      My biggest learning curve was occasionally hitting one of the macro button on the far left when hunting for the left Shift during games…

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I have a black widow ultimate and I love it. I do sympathize with your issues but I honestly wouldn’t pay any more than 130 for a keyboard because… ITS A KEYBOARD I could drool in it or spill a drink or drop crumbs into it and in the end it won’t last forever.

    I do appreciate that the das keyboard is a superior product but when reflecting on how hazardous a desktop can be and how expensive that keyboard is relative to my income I choose to save that money and put it into a dell 30 inch monitor.

    Edit: I for some reason thought a DAS keyboard was like 300 but it is in fact floating around the same price point as the razor ultimate competition. I must retract my prior price comparison statements.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Perhaps sir should not eat or drink over his keyboard. That’s the sensible thing to do.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t have time in my day to get up walk away from my keyboard, sip a drink then go sit back down at my computer every 10 mins. Food and drinks will be in proximity of my keyboard. Its a sad reality for me.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    :smug:

    Never had problems like this with my Unicomp Model M clone or any of the real Ms.

    They’re a bit noisy, sure, but in practice that doesn’t matter except for when my daughter’s lightly asleep in the next room.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    I have never owned or seen a Razer product that could be described as high-quality since my Razer Boomslang (not the 2007 one, the 2000 one…..)

    I since bought a Deathadder and a Lachesis.
    The Deathadders (all three of them RMA’d) suffered problems ranging from firmware, creaking when new, rubbing mousewheels, buttons getting stuck, soft-touch coating peeling off within a week.

    The Lachesis felt better, lasting a few months before it just wore out. The left click stopped clicking and the middle click started rubbing on the right mouse button.

    Before you consider me a destroyer of mice, I still have my original Boomslang. I must have used it for four years, including my entire coverage of Diablo-‘click harder’-II, and the majority of my Quake3 tournament days. I replaced the Lachesis with a Logitech G9x almost two years ago and it still feels like new.

    Razer have some good design and ergonomics, but their build-quality is unbearable. I am not alone, this is a sentiment shared by most of my clan and guild, many of whom have used and discarded a Razer for similar reasons.

      • squeeb
      • 8 years ago

      The only two razer products I have are my headphones (carcharias) and speakers (Mako 2.1). However, the volume control on the headphones is starting to act up, and it hasn’t even been a year since I got em. Shame, cause they sound good, and feel great (perfect for long gaming sessions).

      • traviswt87
      • 8 years ago

      I recently bought a pair of Razer Megalodon’s and a Razer Lachesis and I’m a more than a little unimpressed with both of them.

      The mouse rocks left and right when the buttons are depressed. So much so, I not only miss headshots, but targets all together!

      The Megalodons don’t live up to their virtual 7.1 mode hype, which don’t work correctly in 99% of applications.

      I Will not be purchasing another Razer product.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Yup, I’ve made forums posts on this over the years. Razer mice look and feel amazing, they also have a great theme going for them, but they have terrible longevity.

      I’ve had issues with buttons stop working or they double click when you click once, also had problems with the laser tracking going askew a few years after pulling it from the box. I’ve had to RMA a lachesis and a copperhead. The second copperhead started developing clicking issues again and my current lachesis is once again developing tracking issues. They simply seem to fill all of them with inferior componenets.

      I would like to jump ship for logitech, but I really love my razer mice. It’s a shame for how much they try to hold themselves in this shining beacon of gamer nirvana as far as gaming peripherals goes, they’re quite ugly on the inside.

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        I wouldn’t mind the low quality build if they were cheap and I could afford to replace them as regularly as is necessary.

        The problem is that they are as expensive (or more expensive) as the very well-engineered competition:

        In the case of their mice, Logitech’s G-series or Cyborgs R.A.T. series are made from higher-quality materials and manufactured to tighter tolerances.

        The same would seem to apply to their keyboards, the BlackWidow ultimate is a similar price to a DAS keyboard, but feels and lasts like a $30 Saitek. Perhaps that is a little unfair on Saitek, even – whilst they feel cheap, they do appear to work 100% out of the box and last a fair while.

          • StuG
          • 8 years ago

          I hear people say this all the time, but I have had such the opposite experience. My old Razer 5.1 Headset is still kickin, as well as my 3+ year old Razer Deathadder. The only thing I have ever had to replace was the keyboard, and that is because I broke it when cleaning due to not paying attention for the backspace key bracket.

          I have many friends that own Razer stuff. The people that have issues are the ones I would “expect” to have issues, where I wince when I see how they handle there electronics. The ones like me that have had their stuff for a very long time, all take really good care of their electronics. I feel there is a link there.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t throw my mice or keyboards across the room. I’m quite aware that taking care of peripherals makes them last longer. I’ve owned the original Boomsland, a Viper, a Diamondback, a Copperhead, and a Lachesis.

            The button and tracking issue is well known. You can read all about these on Newegg.

    • ThorAxe
    • 8 years ago

    I have a BlackWidow Ultimate and I love it. No problems yet and I’ve had it for months.

      • StuG
      • 8 years ago

      I agree. I had the “wear in” issue where originally my right Alt stuck to my Space bar due to the coating they put on the keys. In about a week whatever coating was catching wore off, and I just re-enabled the key. Other than that one little hickup, its been a joy to use. I prefer it over the Das (which I have now sold) because of the media keys and backlight.

        • esc_in_ks
        • 8 years ago

        I have a Das Keyboard at work (purchased first) and the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate at home. I picked up the Razer when Newegg was having a nice sale on it and it’s a good thing because I prefer the Razer. Primarily, it’s because of the rubberized coating on the keys. It just feels really nice. Secondarily, for the backlight. No problems with either keyboard so far.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    I really enjoy niche articles like this. Have you considered that you may have gotten two lemons? You should’ve actually returned it for another one when you had the key issue.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      Two lemons in a row?

      David points out that a quick search reveals plenty of other people complaining

      “the standard model must get stuck with the table scraps”

      YMMV, but on average, the mileage is very low and not particularly smooth.

        • ThorAxe
        • 8 years ago

        I’ve got an Imperator and the original DeathAdder, while my son has a Diamondback, we haven’t had any problems so far. I also have two Lycosa keyboards, both of which are fine.

        I’ve put in about 200 hours of BFBC2 with the DeathAdder and a bit less with the Imperator. You have just had bad luck or I could just be lucky.

        I’ve also had and still have a lot of Logitech mice dating from their first optical mouse to the MX518. So far only one of my MX510s has given me problems.

          • Chrispy_
          • 8 years ago

          Poor quality control means that some products are good and work just fine, you got lucky. The problem is that luck shouldn’t be involved – that is what quality control is supposed to be for.

          If you google “Deathadder build quality” you find tons of results, mostly negative. This is not true for other brands of mouse, which are largely a mix of positive and negative. It’s hard to be unbiased having bought their products and been stung, but (I hope) Google does not have such bias, and the results indicate a disproportionate number of dissatisfied Razer owners.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        It is possible, yes. I have a friend who refuses to buy from Newegg due a lot of his initial components for a build not working and having to go through three RMAs.

        Stuff like this happens, just like getting struck by lightning, more then once, also happens, even if unlikely.

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