Few brands are as well known among PC gamers as Razer. Its entire product line is targeted to non-casual gamers looking for hardware that offers an edge in terms of response time, reliability, and added features such as programmable macros. This philosophy extends beyond Razer's peripherals to entire systems such as its supercharged Blade Pro gaming laptop.
Razer's reputation is one of several reasons I decided to give the BlackWidow Ultimate mechanical gaming keyboard a try. The keyboard itself comes at a premium price of around $150, which is enough to make some gamers with even the deepest pockets think twice.
So, is this seemingly standard keyboard worth such a large investment? We've listed some important points to consider below.
Mechanical keyboards are an excellent choice for gamers. The additional tactile feedback, familiar sound of the keys clicking as you type, and ergonomic advantages make a strong case for mechanical keys over some of the more modern alternatives.
This is in addition to the common belief that mechanical keyboards are actually better for people with carpal tunnel, or various forms of repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
The BlackWidow Ultimate's keys have a 50g actuation force which provides a smooth, quick typing experience. After typing on it for a few weeks, I have discovered that my fingers are a lot less prone to accidentally mashing on the wrong keys than they were with previous chiclet-style keyboards I have used.
On-The-Fly Macro Recording
Being able to record macros without leaving the program you are in can put a gamer at an incredible advantage. For MMORPG gamers, this can mean the difference between a successful raid and dying a horrible death at the hands of a competing team, or an overpowering swarm of mobs.
The BlackWidow Ultimate comes with five dedicated macro keys which are easily accessible along the left-hand side of the keyboard. You can assign macro functions to just about any key, but having those dedicated keys makes life a little easier.
To add flexibility, this keyboard allows up to 10 profiles which can be switched between without accessing the driver software. You can have an unlimited set of profiles with the aid of the software. If you are the type of gamer that frequently switches between games and/or character types, this could be a very big deal.
Along the right-hand side of the BlackWidow Ultimate is a USB passthrough for convenient connectivity. This came in handy for me as my tower sits on the floor and I frequently attach and detach a USB headset.
Built-in microphone and headphone ports are also available, should you have an analog headset.
A braided fiber cable, with included audio and data ports, makes it very easy to avoid tangles. In fact, I tried to tangle it and found it quite difficult to do.
1000Hz Ultrapolling reduces the amount of time the keyboard's firmware reports key strokes to 1ms. So, unless you are Superman (or the Flash) you are probably not going to have a lot of issues in this area.
The BlackWidow Ultimate is an impressive keyboard. From its backlit keys to its impressive feature set, this is certainly a worthy choice for any gamer.
It isn't a small keyboard, by any means. It takes up quite a lot of space on my desk at 18.70" wide. If you are used to smaller keyboards, this might take a little getting used to.
Perhaps the biggest argument against picking up one of these is the price. There are a lot of great mechanical keyboards available for a lot less, but few offer the same zippy performance and feature set.
Is the BlackWidow Ultimate worth buying? If you are a hardcore gamer that needs a good, reliable keyboard with integrated macro capabilities, absolutely.
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