At Tom’s Hardware, we have a hard stance on mechanical keyboards: Either it is or it isn’t, and if it isn’t, then it isn’t for us. Razer and other vendors, however, have fought to find a sweet spot between mechanical keyboards and membrane/rubber dome models. Hoping to appease those who have long used membrane keyboards, perhaps on laptops, the Razer Ornata V2 (opens in new tab) listed today is Razer’s latest attempt at making the best gaming keyboard through use of its Mecha-Membrane switches (opens in new tab).
Razer’s description of a “soft” typing feel might make someone who prefers the tactile sensation of something like a Cherry MX Brown (opens in new tab) or Cherry MX Blue (opens in new tab) switch, feel nauseous. But in materials shared with the press, the company also promised the "positive clicky feedback of a mechanical switch.” Basically, Razer’s using a membrane layer but offering a tangible bump feel during travel and audible feedback.
Updated from the original Razer Ornata Chroma (opens in new tab), the Ornata V2 looks a bit more premium, with dedicated media controls--specifically play/pause, fast forward and rewind buttons--and an infinite scroll wheel, which are smushed in atop the numpad.
This isn’t your typical mechanical gaming keyboard, but Razer still equipped the Ornata V2 with features fit for long battle sessions, like Razer Chroma RGB, a leatherette and magnetic wrist rest, the ability to make custom profiles, key binds and macros and even cable routing.
When we went hands-on with the original Razer Ornata Chroma in 2016, we noted that one might actually mistake Razer’s Mecha-Membrane switches for mechanical switches, especially more so than with mechanical-membrane rivals of the time, like the Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite L. But that was only if you weren’t a mechanical switch loyalist.
With the prior Ornata, we heard inconsistent sound among the switches and a lighter clicking feeling than experienced with Cherry MX Blue or Cherry MX Green switches, so it’ll be interesting to see how the updated keyboard compares.
Still, at $99 (available today) and with rivals like Corsair (opens in new tab) and Logitech (opens in new tab) offering alternatives for under $50 (as of this writing), the Ornata V2 is set to have competition that’s much stiffer than its cushiony typing experience.