Five Mechanical-Switch Keyboards: Only The Best For Your Hands

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate: Test

Detailed test results

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Razer BlackWidow

Single keys:

Cherry MX Blue

- Cylindrical key design - Good traction against slippage- Coated, laser cut- Blue illumination - Typography with slight defects

Distance to actuation point:- 2 mm from starting position- 4 mm HubOperating force:- 50 g to overcome spring resistance- Approximately 60 g top value to exceed to the actuation pointCharacteristics:- Tactile switches- Clicking pointOverview of test results

Assessment:The BlackWidow from Razer is good all-around with the loud acoustics typical of the MX Blue switches. However, this is mitigated in part by the great functionality of the device. The BlackWidow is the only keyboard in the test that has additional programmable keys and a good, useable, macro recording function. In addition, there are up to 10 different user profiles, for which one can configure each and every button. No additional drivers are necessary for basic functionality, but if you want to use the additional features, you must install software as well.The adjustable brightness of each key is a tiny bit better than the illumination of Ione's U9BL because the spaces between the keys are a bit smaller here, allowing less irritating light to leak through.The only drawback is the strikingly bad typography. The specially-designed font mixing upper and lowercase letters may be considered "stylish" by some, but it is a typographical blunder of the first order. A lowercase "r" the same size as the adjacent uppercase "T" is confusing; the "5" and "6" are likewise difficult to distinguish thanks to the pseudo-digital type. The lack of ergonomics alone unfortunately contradicts all common typographic standards, resulting on the only major point deduction.Comparison:AdvantagesDisadvantages- Good for gaming- Very precise tactile keys with clicking point- Good, adjustable illumination- Solid appearance, no slippage- Additional function and macro keys- Built-in USB Hub x2 - Headphone/microphone connections- Relatively loud design - Hard to read lettering - Keyboard lacquer sensitive to finger marks and scratches - No PS/2 Mode - Thick and stiff connection cableOverall rating:

Excellent184 of 200 Points

(Diagram Source: Cherry)

  • "You will find keyboards even pricier than these, but that's a consequence of built-in special functions and gimmicks, not better quality or suitability."

    That's a bit ignorant, since you didn't test them. Try a Topre Realforce and tell me it's a gimmick.
  • skaz
    Great write up! I have a tenkeyless Leopold cherry brown and love it.
  • leather_daddy
    Where is the Filco Majestouch in the product list?
  • steve11
    Poorly done overview. A lot of keyboard missing in action.
  • stiehl
    Hmm looking at those keyboard's layouts make me wince. I don't think I could stand a huge enter key, a nonexistent "\", Y and Z being switched, and a funky shift key. I'm happy with my blank das keyboard, thank you very much.
  • michaelahess
    I actually went away from mechanical keyboards about 7 years ago. I really prefer a solid rubber dome keyboard. I currently use a Logitech MX5500 for gaming and a Logitech Wave for typing. Never had any issues with either for their purposes. I do miss the tactile feel, but honestly the 5500 is a MUCH better gaming board, plus the noise doesn't drive me crazy.

    For all of you with exotic keyboards, you must be extra special picky ;) I type 110 wpm without error and have no trouble with the wave or 5500.
  • Stardude82
    My Model M is too cool for this review.
  • fakie
    wheres the das keyboard model s ultimate?
  • mortsmi7
    I kind of wished they had compared them to some mainstream keyboards like the cheapy walmart logitech, dell keyboard, or ibm. Sure they work great, but compared to what. I'm not a fan of loud and clicky ibm, but thats as far as my interest in key-presses goes.

    I bought my G110 for the extra macro keys that I never use. In fact I use the onboard volume control more often.

  • Where is the Model M? Is it too cool for this review?
    And it's "buckling spring", not "bent spring"