Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Review

Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Review Darryl Linington
Functionality
Comfort
Build Quality
Price
7.7
Great, but pricey
User Rating: 7.4 (1 votes)

Razer sent us a review unit of their latest mechanical keyboard, the Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2. This is the successor to the previous model, the Chroma. Razer has packed a fair amount of upgrades into the unit like improved lighting, more keyboard switch choices and it’s greater size.

To add to the upgrades, the V2 comes with a foam-filled wrist rest which attaches via a magnet onto the keyboard. There’s also a sample keychain on the outside of the box which allows potential buyers to test the feel of the keyboard’s switches inside. There are three types of switches available with the Chroma V2: green, yellow and orange. We received the green switch version. The yellow switches are tactile and silent while the orange variety are tactile and linear. We, unfortunately, didn’t receive the others to test, though that would’ve been great to allow comparison.

Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Review

The keyboard itself comes in typical Razer black, and lights up a bright green by default. You can use the Synapse software downloadable on www.razerzone.com if you want to customise the lighting. There’s more on that later. Razer opted to use braided cable, and is quite stiff as a result. Cable management became a bit of a chore because of the combined size of the device and tension of the cable. The fact that Razer included pass-through cables for USB 2.0 and 3.5mm audio made the Chroma V2’s footprint bigger as well. For those who prefer smaller input devices, you’d best be looking elsewhere. Razer designed this keyboard for large desks… That or your lap. While not too heavy, if your working space isn’t generous, expect to unclutter your desk to accommodate for its size, especially if you’re using the wrist rest.

Since the device is so large, Razer was thoughtful enough to implement extra connections on the right side of the keyboard. The USB port is USB 2.0 as stated above, and the 3.5mm jack is a 3-prong connector. This’ll allow you to connect your mouse and headphone into the keyboard instead of through your PC. Don’t expect to use your external hard disks or flash drives to full capacity, though. It’s a neat little touch that made my use of the device a little easier, given that I’m the type of person who does prefer smaller devices.

One of the major selling points of the Chroma V2 is its lighting. Razer has emphasised that each key is backlit. This allows you to light up specific keys such as the WASD combination and other in-game hot keys. I could specify other profiles for working in the dark, for example, or even demo mode which cycled through the keyboard’s claimed 16.7 million colours. While the backlights are quite bright, you can dim them via a function key on the keyboard. If you’re finding the illumination distracting, turning off the lights is an option, which defeats the purpose of buying a Chroma V2. I respect that there is a choice to do so anyway.

Let’s talk about the keys. I stated earlier that we got the green switch version. When Razer uses the word clicky, they mean loud. This version of the Chroma V2 I tested is notorious for the noise it makes. Simple tasks such as typing out emails can be an ear sore at first. Once you get to use the device, though, it’s not an issue. Whether other people around you do is another question. In environments where you’re required to work in silence, though, this is not the type of device you want to use. There are the other versions with yellow and orange switches which are far quieter. That said, though, key response is brilliant and repeating keystrokes are no chore at all. Anyone who types a fair amount will attest to this.

There are function and macro keys available for things that one doesn’t do often. The Fn key which allows you to change tracks, reduce volume or even dim the lighting suits those used to laptop keyboards. Others users who need separate buttons will find the Fn key combinations frustrating. The macro keys, placed as is usual on the left will cater for MOBA, MMO or RTS players. While not a commonly used keys, some users will appreciate Razer including them. The wrist rest makes using the Chroma V2 much more comfortable by reducing the bend of your wrist as you type. Since it attaches via a magnet strong enough to hold it, but weak enough to take off with little force, it does make the keyboard feel quite premium. Cheaper keyboards would have you attach their wrist rests via clips, in other words a pain to remove and easily damaged.

Last, and most importantly, how much is the Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2? It starts at R3200. Let’s put this into perspective. Logitech’s premium G710+ keyboard costs somewhere between R2500-R2700. You can pick up a Steelseries Apex M500 for around R1000 less than the Logitech, and still have backlit keys. If this is a feature that truly compels you, then the price tag of R3200 isn’t an issue. Yet, for most users, I would recommend cheaper alternatives. The lighting felt like a novelty that would wear off over time, despite great key performance and comfort.

Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Review

Conclusion:
To conclude, I liked the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2. It was comfortable, worked quite well and had a high degree of customisation. I even liked the way it looked, with that classy matte finish, and magnetically locked wrist rest. The only major snag after using it, though, was the price. I couldn’t justify paying R3200 for a keyboard, backlit or otherwise. There are plenty of alternatives that come at a much better price, which serve the same function – keyboard input. The only real appeal I see in the device at its current price point is its lighting, which I suspect through long-term use will become quite novel.

The Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 was reviewed by Zubayr Bhyat

Editorial Contact: Darryl Linington
Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za
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Follow @DarrylLinington on Twitter

Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.