This keyboard is a nice thing indeed. Really nice once you get used to and if you had the time and determination I’m sure it will stay that way. It takes a few days to get fully used coming from a flat keyboard (Logitech Illuminated) but once the threshold is cleared – it’s a nice nice thing. The BlackWidow is a straight forward keyboard, not that much extras – you get the standard keyboard with numpad and 5 macro keys. No extra USB hub, no audio pass through or anything. What you pay for is the Cherry Blue switches. Cherry switches is a hot topic right now, and blue are the ones that gives an audible click on their way down to be fully pressed to mark the recognition of a key stroke. The recognition is actually marked before – but the click adds to the feel of one keystroke being made. The other switches for gaming keyboards are the black cherry switches and these are harder and have a straight pull and no click. Preferences varies – for me – any mechanical is better then none mechanical and blue worked fine for me.
This keyboard is great to type on, but I bought the keyboard to mainly game on.
The keyboard and keys have a wonderful feel at first. The clicketi-clack is warming to my old school heart. It is nice to type, not numbing and not making me tired in my fingers or hand after playing a long session of FPS gaming. In FPS the WASD keys are constantly pressed and also the space key for jumping or whatever you may have bound it to. The problem – largely with the space key – is that the keys gnaw on each other and get stuck on the edges. This seems to be easily fixed by removing the keys and put them back or simply scratch the edges a bit to remove the sharp corners. Wear and tear seems to solve this as well. I had neither time, nor the distinct feeling I wanted to keep this keyboard – so I have tried neither but plenty guides on-line should everything else be your cup of tee…
I don’t use macro keys alot, and there are two things to say about the ones on the BlackWidow – they can be bound with really long leagues of commands and you will in the beginning at least – push them a lot of mistake. The key itself can configure several profiles, and more or less every key can be bound to several commands – very much like the Lycosa.
This is the weakest part, which is rather ironic coming from a gaming branded keyboard IMO, the keyboard only supports the new 6 key NKRO – or whatever – it is not full anti-ghosting. If you keep WA and Shift and CTRL down or something similar – you are shit out of luck trying to hit another key. When does this happen you may ask? Well take Crysis 2 for instance, you want to shift dodge and run not straight at the same time you want to activate your max armour to avoid being killed by an enemy having zeroed in on you. Judge to my dismay when I press the G or H key – and nothing happens…. Well something did happened, I died, alot and had the same troubled feel every time. I did press H to activate armour – it didn’t activate – it clicked and everything. the anti-ghost test showed my configuration shit out of luck – and for me – BlackWidow was doomed.
Drivers and software is top notch. Easy install and easy connect – you are up and running with downloaded new drivers in a few minutes. There is an auto-updater that checks for new software and drivers. Great.
Finally, the BlackWidow is a great keyboard for typing and even playing some games now and then. However, if you are serious gamer and know that you have to push down those keys ofter together, there are better keyboards and the gaming mechanical is the fad right now so you are in luck. The Mionix Zibal is out – Black Cherry Switches, there is the QPAD MK 80 – blue cherry switches and of course the old Steelseries 7g and 6g out there – both with black cherry switches. For backlit and USB2 ports – you have to go with QPAD and Minox – those and the 7G have audio pass through as well.
I wouldn’t recommend the Razer BlackWidow for a hardcore gamer – perhaps an MMO player – but still, the keybopard excels at typing as it is and for general use. If you are looking for an entry level mechanical keyboard however without whistles and bells – the BlackWidow is yours for a whole lot less then most of it competitors and offering you a solid product.
+ Keyboard feel
+ Adjustable height (not common on some mechanicals)
+ Easy installation and good software
+ Price – for a mechanical keyboard
– Anti ghostingen is bad – really bad!
– Placement of macro keys
All in all this keyboard gets a 3/5 because it is market for gamers – and I don’t think it can deliver on that. For a normal keyboard – this easily outdone most none mechanicals with ease.