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Razer has introduced a stripped down version of its legendary BlackWidow mechanical gaming keyboard, simply dubbed the Razer BlackWidow. At $119.99 (See it on Razer’s site) it’s the most affordable mechanical keyboard yet from Razer, and aims to offer everything the BlackWidow line is known for at a bargain price.

Razer BlackWidow – Design and Features

The first thing you might notice when you get your hands on the BlackWidow is the distinct mechanical switches that the BlackWidow is equipped with. Sporting Razer’s Green mechanical switch, the BlackWidow keys also sport a better key design that was initially implemented in the BlackWidow Ultimate. They have an improved dual sidewall that allows for better consistency and stability in the keys, and should also result in less water and dust entering the gaps between keys.

While the BlackWidow Elite comes equipped with a volume wheel and media controls, the BlackWidow doesn’t come with any extras, opting for a more essential design that doesn’t include many of the features found on more expensive keyboards. The BlackWidow doesn’t have any dedicated macro or media controls, and also doesn’t come with the wrist rest found on the Elite version of this keyboard.

Despite the apparent lack of extras, there are a surprisingly large amount of customization options hidden within the BlackWidow. Like any product equipped with Razer Chroma, the BlackWidow can be customized to project nearly any backlighting design you desire. Most importantly, however, is the Hybrid onboard memory and cloud storage that the BlackWidow offers. Thanks to its connection to the Razer Synapse program, you can create a near unlimited amount of profiles to the keyboard, and along with the onboard memory, five of them can be saved directly to the keyboard in case you’re on a PC without Synapse.

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The BlackWidow also comes equipped with Hypershift, a feature that allows you to turn any key into a macro key. By enabling an often unused button (such as the tilde key or caps lock) as the Hypershift controller, you can quickly get to preset functions on the BlackWidow for anything you’d like. By pressing the Hypershift button in conjunction with a key, you can quickly trigger macros or reassigned keys, and it’s a nifty feature. Razer has implemented it in past keyboards, but on a basic keyboard like the BlackWidow, it totally transforms the keyboard into a much more useful device, especially if you’re looking to use it as a gaming deck.

Razer BlackWidow – Software

The BlackWidow utilizes Razer’s Synapse 3 as its primary software control, and it works about the same as you’d expect on any Razer device. You can manage your various keyboard profiles through Synapse, and also play around with the different backlight designs that you’d like to see when using the keyboard. Synapse is also the place where you’ll be programming your Hypershift keys and all of its various functions. If you’re familiar with a Razer product then you likely know how to navigate the program, but if you’re not, it’s still extremely easy to learn, although there are still some bugs to work out when it comes to how reliable the program is.

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At various times during my testing, the Synapse program refused to save certain key bindings, and while the solution was as easy restarting Synapse and saving things again, it’s still a bit disappointing that an otherwise snappy and responsive keyboard could get bogged down by sometimes buggy software

Razer BlackWidow – Gaming

The BlackWidow holds up incredibly well when it comes to gaming, or just as a keyboard in general. Those who aren’t a fan of mechanical keyboards and their notorious “clicks” might dislike it, but the feel of each key and how responsive they were to movements was as smooth as can be, especially when it came to actions that required multiple taps. During my time with the keyboard, I put the BlackWidow through a bunch of Apex Legends and Overwatch sessions, and the BlackWidow never held me back or caused any issues during long gaming sessions.

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Perhaps the most important tool, and the one that came in handy the most was the Hypershift feature. In Fortnite, for example, the use of Hypershift can be used to bind abilities, or in the battle royale portion of the game, to specific items on the weapon slots, so that I could quickly hit the Hypershift button and another key together and perform the action faster than I normally would.

In games like Overwatch or League of Legends, tying these keys to certain abilities went a long way to making actions smoother, allowing me to perform certain moves more easily. This also not only helped eliminate the potential for moving my hand to the wrong key, but it also kept my mouse hand free, meaning I never had to leave the mouse in order to activate an otherwise finger-stretching ability or function. One of the things that Razer had set up was for Fortnite’s Save the World mode and it basically took abilities/gadgets that were slotted on the 5-9 keys and allowed me to bind them to 1, 2, 3, q, and e. So instead of having to lift off the WASD keys (or the mouse) and go to press 9, I’d just press caps lock and e and it’d do the same job, making it a bit easier to switch weapons.

Purchasing Guide

The Razer BlackWidow gaming keyboard has an MSRP of $119.99 and can be purchased directly from Razer.

The Verdict

While the BlackWidow is the “value” option in the BlackWidow keyboard line, it certainly doesn’t act like it. It’s another quality mechanical keyboard from Razer, and though it’s missing some high-end features, for gaming it’s great especially given its affordable price tag.



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