I have been using the Blackwidow Chroma V2 (hereafter the BCV2) by Razer for about a year now. You can see the keyboard in the image at the top of my website. I feel that I have put it through its paces at this point. Thus, it’s time for a review.
First of all, this is the first keyboard I have owned with mechanical switches under the keys. Normal keyboards come with a membrane activator under the key. Mechanical switches are far more rugged than membrane keyboards and will last about 5 to 10 times as long. That means a mechanical keyboard may well be the last keyboard you will ever buy. The switches in mechanical keyboards also activate before the key actually travels all the way down to the keyboard base. This results in you typing faster once you get used to it. Mechanical switches come in a variety of options. Some switches have a tactile and audible slight click to them when they activate. Others have no click or tactile bump to them. Thus, you can find a mechanical switch that feels the best for you and your typing style. Finally, mechanical keyboards have anti-ghosting technology in them that means you can press down keys with all your fingers at the same time and all the pressed keys will activate. That is not usually an option in standard membrane keyboards. The end result is that if you have been typing on keyboards for decades and you put your hands on a mechanical keyboard for the first time and start typing you will immediately be shocked at the feel, as I was, and a smile will spread across your face. It really is that noticeable.
So back to the BCV2 specifically. It comes in a standard keyboard layout with a numpad on the right side and a set of 5 macro keys on the left. The macro keys can be programmed to do whatever string of keyboard or computer commands you want them to do. For instance, I scripted a BAT file that launches my web browser and opens up tabs for each of the online tabletop gaming stores so I can quickly click through them and check the sales. I have other keys that launch apps I use. You can also assign a key to become a “hypershift” key. Hypershift allows you to configure those same keys with an alternate set of macros. The BCV2 actually allows you to take over the function of any key anywhere on the keyboard in order to make it do whatever you want. If you play games on your PC this can be very helpful.
Next, is the lighted keys. The keys on this keyboard are all lit up with LED lights capable of display any one of 16.8 million colors. The keys’ lights can be controlled individually. They can also be made to light themselves in various patterns. They can cycle through a set of colors or do different lighting effects when they are pressed. The end result is a near infinite variety of lighting effects that can be achieved. I really appreciate the lighting, because it allows me to easily type in the dark if it’s night time and I don’t feel like having the light on anymore. Also, you can assign different lighting effects to happen for each different application you launch. Thus, you can make special keys highlight themselves whenever you play a certain game or use a certain app. That is surprisingly helpful I have found.
The keyboard also has a very comfortable padded, detachable wrist rest that is magnetized so that it sticks to the Keyboard when you want it to. It also has a USB port and a headphone/ mic port on the side of it.
The software, Razer Synapse 3, that you use to control the lighting and macros is easy to use. However, it is still in beta form and constantly needs to be updated. That is a bit annoying at times, actually.
I love this keyboard. I got it with the switches that click (their green ones) and they have really helped my typing. The lighting is great, as are the macros. I always feel like I’m handicapped in my productivity when I sit down at keyboards now that don’t have all my customizations. The keyboard still works flawlessly after a year and I hope that it will continue on living up to its promise of a long life. The only thing I wish they would have changed is the fact that the shifted characters on the keys are not lit up like the main characters are. I don’t know why they didn’t light them up, but it would have been nice if they had.
All told it is an excellent peripheral to add to your computer if you use your computer a lot, as I do. I can’t see myself ever willingly going back to a membrane keyboard on my home computer again.