Keyboards aren’t thought about much, even though it’s one of the most used parts of a computer. Gamers, on the other hand, think about them all the time, so let’s see what life is like using a keyboard made just for the gamer.
In the past few years, we’ve seen the keyboard changed without many realising it. For instance, we’ve cut the cord, reduced the weight, introduced function keys, as almost all desktop keyboards rock keys for multimedia, lighter build, and are now wireless.
But not the Razer Black Widow Ultimate.
No, it seems to laugh in the face of these evolutions, going back to a time when computer keyboards were built to survive the thrashing of your fingers, with a heavy weight, and a cord that keeps you tethered to the machine you’re typing on because we all know that’s going to be faster and more reliable than without.
And while there are customised keys here, there are way more than per normal, with your regular function buttons also mapped to volume, multimedia control, and special gaming modes that make the keys respond more quickly, with extra buttons along the side for mapped macros used in games and apps.
After a few hours with the Black Widow, you may find that the keyboard is a different from what you’re used to.
Maybe we’ve spent too long away from a real keyboard, and maybe the surface area of the individual keys is just too small for our fingers, and maybe it’s that clack, clack, clack sound that we’re not familiar with hearing.
Perhaps we’ve changed, because the Razer Black Widow is a piece of yesteryear that has been modernised for today.
We’ll tackle this one by one, because it’s a very interesting piece of kit, but one that won’t necessarily appeal to all. The target here is obviously gamers, since Razer is a brand making computer peripherals for gamers, though it is beginning to expand on just the gamer market in general.
First we’ll deal with the feeling of a real keyboard, or rather a mechanical keyboard. That’s something most computers users don’t have anymore, with membrane keyboards taking over some time ago.
For instance, the keyboard that comes with a Mac, and the ones made by Logitech, Microsoft, and more or less any and every other company out there uses a membrane switch. It’s a little rubbery piece that needs the key to go down all the way, at least engaging in some contact with the membrane, before the key is registered.
A mechanical keyboard is different, however, relying instead on a switch under the key, providing more responsiveness, which is something gamers rely on. There’s nowhere near as much wait for the key to come in contact with the register mechanism, and it happens as you press the key, not on the way back up from the stroke.
While that might not seem like much, it’s this time — microseconds, basically — that can determine a difference in a video game title, and can even make the typing experience for a writer feel better than say typing on one of the membrane keyboards we’re all so used to using.
These switches have also been rated for as many as 60 million keystrokes, which means the keyboard should take a fair amount of beating. While we’re used to throwing out a keyboard every couple of years, the Razer Black Widow should survive a fair amount more, thanks to how much resistance it throws up.