The updated BlackWidow Chroma V2 mechanical keyboard is the pinnacle of Razer’s engineering and marketing efforts, and the most recent keyboard in their range to date. It would seem that what else can be invented in such a simple device that has not undergone significant changes over the past two decades? But Razer, as «always», succeeded. Let’s take a look at the innovations in detail.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Specifications

Model Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2
Product page razerzone.com
Connection Wired
Interface USB 2.0
Polling frequency, Hz 1000
Type gaming
Number of keys 104
Additional buttons 5
Keystroke resource, mln. 80
Key type Mechanical
Switch type Razer MX Green / Orange / Yellow
Changing the angle of the body +
Built-in memory, KB
Ability to record macros +
Handling rollovers 10KRO
Backlight + (RGB)
USB cable length, m 2,15
Braid material Nylon braid
Built-in display
Material Plastic
Color The black
Software + (Razer Synapse 2.0)
Removable palm rest +
External interfaces 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x 3.5mm audio port
Dimensions (L x W x H), mm 484 x 182 (247 with stand) x 42
Weight, g 1 460 (1700 with stand)
OS Compatibility Windows 7, 8, 10 / Mac OS X (10.8 – 10.11)
Peculiarities Soft magnetic palm rest
Average cost, $ 165

Contents of delivery

In terms of retail product packaging, Razer excels. It turned out beautiful and surprisingly informative. On the front there is an image of the keyboard and a small window at the bottom right, allowing you to try how the mechanical switches installed here work. On the back side, the main, from the point of view of the company, advantages are noted — mechanical switches with a MTBF of 80 million clicks and RGB backlighting. In addition, there you can find brief information about the types of switches used here. And on the sidewalls are data on weight and size characteristics, compatibility with operating systems and the type of layout used.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

And the BlackWidow Chroma V2 comes with three types of mechanisms at once. There are classic green (analogous to Cherry MX Blue), yellow (something like Cherry MX Red in tactile sensations) and orange (tactile, but quiet, exactly like Cherry MX Brown). You can feel how they work without opening the box.

Inside, everything also looks quite nice. All documentation is packed in a pocket under the top cover of the box. The keyboard is protected from damage by soft dampeners on the sides, cardboard inserts at the top and bottom, and a transparent overlay (which is desirable to save and use to protect against dust when the device is idle for a long time). But the cutest and most interesting can be seen in the lower right corner.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

It turns out that the test mechanical key is actually a key fob. It can be taken out of the package, hung on the bundled string and, after the user takes out the battery gasket, can be used as an anti-stress gadget. The key fob is not only pressed like a real mechanical button, but also shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The package, in addition to the keychain, includes the already familiar congratulations on the acquisition from the president of the company, two stickers with the Razer logo and instructions for use.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Appearance and design

The appearance of BlackWidow Chroma V2 has not changed much in comparison with previous iterations of this keyboard. The sloping housing made of matt black plastic has a beveled front characteristic of the entire model range. On the left there are additional keys. In the center at the bottom is a glossy window with an illuminated company logo in the form of a three-headed snake. At the top right, a stylized indicator panel remained in its place. Seems like nothing new. But there has to be something “innovative” right?

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

No matter how ridiculous it may sound, but the difference is that the new keyboard received a soft magnetic palm rest. It is enough to attach it to the body, after which it pulls itself up to it and holds it very securely. And yes, it’s actually pretty damn convenient, and many Razer fans have long begged the company to do something similar. It would seem that this is a trifle. But it changes the ergonomics of the device dramatically.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Separately, I would like to pay attention to the quality of the palm rest. Its upper part consists of a high soft cushion with leather upholstery and a logo in the center. It springs under the palm, taking its shape under load and straightening back when the user removes their hands. The reverse side is solid plastic (other manufacturers often make it hollow inside) with six rubber feet around the perimeter and three mounting screw caps. Powerful magnets in the amount of six pieces are hidden under the reverse sloping edge, and it’s definitely not worth bringing bank cards close to them.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The layout of the keys is standard, «American». The left and right shift keys are long, F1 is located exactly on the number «2». Enter is single line and long. The Latin alphabet is applied by laser engraving on the top center. Cyrillic is in the middle right. Both fonts are poorly visible without backlighting, but when the backlighting is active, they are read perfectly. Unfortunately, additional characters under the numbers and on the function buttons are not highlighted. The caps have a cylindrical recess in the middle. To the right of the space there is an Fn modifier. The combination of the Fn key with the function F buttons serves to activate additional functions. In particular, Fn + (F1-F3) control the volume of the sound, Fn + (F5-F7) are used to control playback, Fn + F9 activates macro recording, Fn + F10 turns on the game mode, Fn + (F11-F12) controls the brightness of the backlight, Fn + Pause puts the PC to sleep. In addition, Fn in combination with ten numbers from «0» to «9» allows you to quickly switch keyboard settings profiles.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

In previous versions of the device, macros could only be assigned to the additional five buttons on the left. Now it is possible to record a macro on any buttons except Win and Fn through the driver or on the fly, directly from the keyboard. Since there is no onboard memory, the software must always be active in order to play macros. Recording from the keyboard is simple: press Fn + F9 — the M indicator lights up in red, the key backlight turns off. We type the desired command of any length and press Fn + F9 again. The M indicator starts blinking. Press the key where you want to assign the macro. The indicator goes out, the macro is successfully recorded, the backlight lights up again. Interestingly, not only commands from the keyboard are perceived, but also mouse clicks.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The set of keys on the right side is standard. In the upper right corner, on a glossy substrate, there are two rows of indicators. They glow white when activated. In addition to Caps, Num, and Scroll Lock, there is an «M» indicator that notifies you about the recording of a macro command (it glows red when turned on) and a G-indicator that signals the game mode.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

As mentioned earlier, three types of switches can be set in this keyboard. They are labeled as Razer (in fact, they are produced by Greetech on special order) and differ in color and, accordingly, in characteristics. Let’s go through them one by one, starting with the Razer Green, which are similar in tactile characteristics to the Kailh Blue. They have a non-linear course, a loud and sonorous click when triggered. The actuation force is 50 grams and the actuation occurs at a stroke height of 1.9 mm (+/- 0.4 mm). The dead zone between the activation and reset point of the mechanism (in which it is possible to cause repeated operation without a click) is a little more than 0.4 mm and it can only be felt on purpose, since it is floating in different instances. The stated time between failures of these mechanisms has steadily increased after the change of OEM and now stands at 80 million clicks, while most similar competitors offer a more modest 50-60 million activations. But let’s not quibble, because it is still impossible to develop this resource in two years of an official guarantee, and what will happen next is of no particular concern to anyone. Stabilizers of long buttons are ordinary wire, with a slight play in the horizontal plane. The base plate under the buttons is made of white reflective metal. The plastic of the keycaps is white, painted with black paint on the outside. The massive LED installed here protrudes noticeably from the switch body and in it, at low brightness, three separate light elements of green, blue and red are clearly visible.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Razer Orange mechanical switches are similar in behavior to Kailh or Cherry Brown style buttons. They are noticeably quieter than the Razer Green, but have a more pronounced tactile feedback, which is felt at the moment the switch is activated. The button travel is non-linear, the force required to activate is 45 grams, the actuation occurs at the same height as the Razer Green, but there is practically no dead zone between the moment of activation and reset of the switch. According to the degree of noise, these mechanisms can be called average. They don’t click like the green ones, but the overtone is due to the sharp return of the button cap to its place, even if the sound of hitting the substrate is excluded. In principle, this is a compromise option, equally well suited for intensive gaming and typing large amounts of text.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Most of all, as a lover of linear mechanisms, I liked the Razer Yellow switch option. They are analogous to Cherry or Kailh Red. The key travel is completely straight, with no tactile feedback. The pressing force is 45 grams, the dead zone between actuation and reset is completely absent. The actuation height is now at the 1.2mm (+/- 0.3mm) point, making these buttons one of the most sensitive on the market. In addition, the Razer Yellow is quiet enough to be used at home, at night, or while streaming. By purpose, they can be considered purely gaming, since fans of typing on mechanics may critically lack tactile feedback.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

In profile, one more difference between the new model and the previous ones becomes noticeable. The front bevel now rests completely on the table surface, in the manner of the metal panel in BlackWidow X. In previous versions, it ended at a height of 10 mm. All buttons are relatively flat in the first three rows, with the top three rows having a slight ergonomic slope. There are no external ports on the left side.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

But on the right side, a pass-through USB 2.0 port and a combined 3.5 mm audio jack, suitable for headsets, where the speaker and microphone contacts are connected to one common plug, remained in their place. In addition, in this perspective, you can also evaluate how the palm rest looks in profile if you attach it to the keyboard. The unfolded legs add 18 mm to the height of the case and the device is equally convenient to use, both with and without legs.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The signal cable is non-removable and enters the keyboard body exactly in the middle, in the place where the glossy plastic insert is made. The cord is located closer to the bottom edge and is equipped with a massive kink protection.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The USB cable has a total length of 2.15 meters, is completely covered with a nylon braid and actually consists of two parts — before and after the splitter box. The first part of the cord is thick and relatively flexible. And the last half meter is divided into three thin, but very rigid cables. The first of them is responsible for connecting the keyboard, the second is needed for a pass-through USB port, and the third is for connecting audio. USB connectors are green and covered with translucent protective caps. In addition, there is such a nice little thing on the cable as a reusable rubber tie, which makes it easy to collect its excess length.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The base of the keyboard is plastic and completely flat. In the corners and in the center there are small rubber feet in a total of five pieces. A tag with the serial number of the product is pasted in the center.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Folding legs have rubberized edges.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The keyboard has individual RGB backlighting of all keys and logo and a variety of lighting effects, as evidenced by the inscription Chroma in its name. You can fine-tune the LEDs through the driver. The brightness is adjustable from 33 to 100%, it is possible to completely turn off the backlight. All indicators are illuminated with a dull white color, they do not blind the eyes, and in a brightly lit room they are hardly noticeable at all. Color rendition is correct and beautiful.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Software

As software, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 keyboard traditionally uses the Razer Synapse 2.0 universal multilingual driver (version 2.21), which requires a constant Internet connection to save all settings in the cloud, but also has an offline mode. In the program settings window, you can check for updates, read the manual, or select the interface language (10 options are available, including Russian). In addition, it is possible to send a review about the product or follow the official web pages of the company in social networks.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

In the basic settings screen, you can remap all keyboard buttons, except for the Win and Fn keys, to any other commands or actions. Settings are stored in profiles, each of which can be assigned one of a dozen available hot key combinations for quick manual activation. Or associate automatic profile activation with the start of a specific program.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

In the backlight setting, you can select ten options for lighting effects, adjust their parameters and adjust the brightness of the glow in the range from 33 to 100%. For more detailed adjustment, you can go to the effects configurator.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

In the effect configurator, you can create individual light profiles for groups of keys or for each button individually. Even the glow of the logo can be customized separately. The number of parameters that can be adjusted is simply amazing.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The Game Mode setting allows you to turn it on or off and choose which keys or shortcuts will be blocked when it is activated. The Win key is always disabled by default, and Alt+F4 and Alt+Tab can be disabled if needed.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The macro editor is standard on all Razer devices. It can record keyboard commands and mouse clicks, taking into account time delays (their length can be edited). All recorded macros are stored in the PC memory. They can be given individual names.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Chroma Application Mode allows third-party applications to use the device to display lighting effects.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

To use third-party lighting control applications, they will need to be downloaded and installed from the official Razer Chroma Workshop page.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

The statistics module collects information on the use of Razer devices in quantitative terms. For the keyboard, statistics are collected on the number of button presses, the distance traveled by the keys, the number of profile switches and the activation of macros.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Ergonomics and testing

The Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2’s ergonomics are significantly more pleasing than previous models in the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 series, thanks to a new body shape and the addition of a padded palm rest. Using the stand allows you to spend up to 14 hours a day at the keyboard without feeling any fatigue in your hands, and this is just a godsend for both gamers and office workers whose work involves typing large amounts of text. The standard key layout will not take time to adapt to blind typing. However, the presence of a vertical row of additional keys on the left will require the user to get used to not to miss and not to press them from time to time. It took me about three days to do this. Provided that there is a stand, the keyboard is convenient to use with any position of the legs. If the stand is removed, then the option with folded legs will be more comfortable. The key surfaces are nice and non-slippery, although the case as a whole tends to pick up dust and fingerprints rather quickly. The resistance of the keyboard to slip is almost absolute — this is facilitated by both its very large weight and the presence of a large number of rubber stickers on the bottom. Pleasantly pleased with the build quality of the device — there are simply no backlashes and squeaks in it.

The use of additional ports caused me two complaints. They are located on the right, and when connecting peripherals with straight connectors, this can interfere with the free movement of the mouse, which, as a rule, is also located on the right. Moving these ports to the rear panel in the future, I think is a more promising solution. The second point is the use of a paired 3.5 mm jack. Headsets still have two separate microphone and headphone jacks, and if an adapter is not included, the user will be left without the ability to connect a microphone, or will not use this port on the keyboard.

Switching from mechanical switch OEM to Greetech has, at least on first impressions, had a positive effect on the tactile feel of using the device. About their reliability, of course, it is too early to say anything. The user has a choice among three types of switches — Green (loud and tactile), Orange (quiet and tactile) and Yellow (quiet and linear). Compared to the Kailh, they all fire to much tighter tolerances and have more pronounced tactile feedback. In addition, there is no parasitic ringing of the springs, which annoyed me in Green mechanisms even more than loud clicks. Therefore, at this moment, everything is just fine with BlackWidow Chroma V2. My personal preference for the range of switches is the Razer Yellow, although everyone has their own tastes in this regard.

The backlight looks great. All fonts are perfectly readable in the dark and in daylight. Although some characters are not highlighted, such as percent signs, brackets, etc. on the number line at the top. The software remained unchanged, and therefore without comments.

For the keyboard, the manufacturer declares the possibility of simultaneous operation of 10 keys in any combination. In fact, this statement was fully confirmed, although in some combinations the device controller is capable of processing up to 14 simultaneous commands, but no more.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Results

It seems that Razer managed to make a very decent keyboard that can compete with any analogues from competitors. The BlackWidow Chroma V2 received a slightly modified body shape and a chic palm rest with a magnetic mount. And, most importantly, updated three types of mechanical switches: Green, Orange and Yellow, among which fans of the brand can now choose those that they like in terms of tactile sensations and actuation patterns. All this is complemented by a well-assembled case and beautiful RGB lighting with a wide variety of effects.

The only drawback that the BlackWidow Chroma V2 has is the location of the USB and audio ports on the right, which is inconvenient for connecting wired peripherals. However, if you use a wireless mouse or audio with L-shaped connectors, then this disadvantage turns into a virtue.

In a word, if you are not embarrassed by the traditionally high cost of products from Razer, and your life is connected with constant work at the computer, consider the BlackWidow Chroma V2 as a gift to yourself. She’s worth it.

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