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Razer BlackWidow Chroma (Origin PC Edition) And BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 Review

We review the full-featured Razer BlackWidow Chroma (Origin PC Edition) and the slightly less full-featured Razer BlackWidow Ultimate.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate (2016)

It would be tempting to give the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate (2016) its own review, but if so, we'd essentially just be copy/pasting the review for the BlackWidow Chroma and making some slight modification. For you see, they're almost identical.

Almost. There are a couple of key differences, which we've already written about somewhat, which include:

  • A slightly different pane for the Caps Lock, Scroll Lock and Num Lock indicators on the upper right side of the keyboard
  • The top panel is no longer soft-touch
  • There are no M keys
  • There's no RGB lighting—just green lights—and the backplate is green instead of white

And that’s about it, on the surface.

As previously noted, the soft-touch top cover looks lovely but tends to show shine, so although the harder, slightly textured plastic of the BlackWidow Ultimate isn't as sexy, it does hold up a little better in terms of displaying smudges.

The green backplate ostensibly enhances the green lighting, slightly moreso than a white one, but comparing the BlackWidow Chroma and BlackWidow Ultimate side-by-side, I can't discern any difference. Maybe you can. Here's a picture; correct guessers receive 50 points:

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Note that just because the BlackWidow Ultimate has no RGB lighting, that doesn't mean the Razer Synapse software is useless. You can still use most of the same lighting effects, just without color options, including breathing, reactive, ripple, starlight, static, wave or nothing at all. (Wait, starlight? You can't do that on the BlackWidow Chroma. On the BlackWidow Ultimate, starlight just makes a sort of twinkling effect as multiple keys light up and then quickly fade, like—well, like stars twinkling in the sky.) You can also dial the green-ness of the lighting up or down to get your preferred brightness and look.

The ability to do everything else in Synapse (map keys, create macros, check stats and so on) is virtually the same as on the BlackWidow Ultimate as on the BlackWidow Chroma. It has the same NXP LPC11U24F MCU, although on the BlackWidow Ultimate, there's just one chip for the lights instead of four (and it's not the P3917 3731—it looks to be Q0903 3731).

Also note that the BlackWidow Ultimate has two USB plugs like the BlackWidow Chroma, but just a single audio connector, and thus a single audio passthrough port on the right side of the keyboard.

The fact that there are no M keys means that the BlackWidow Ultimate is slightly narrower than the BlackWidow Chroma.

Under the hood, the first difference I noticed was quite minor—on the BlackWidow Ultimate, the assembly that holds the USB cable in place is one solid plastic piece instead of a removable part, like on the BlackWidow Chroma.

Finally, there's the price. Whereas the BlackWidow Chroma tops out at $169.99, the BlackWidow Ultimate is comparatively inexpensive at $109.99. For that, you lose the RGB lighting (but not lighting entirely, and not the Razer Synapse-enabled effects), M keys, and one of the two audio passthrough ports. You also get a hard plastic top panel instead of the soft-touch finish (which could be considered either positive or negative, depending on what you like).  

  • nycalex
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? rubbish.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!

    Language edited by moderator
    Please maintain a humble etiquette when on a family friendly site
    Moderator
    Lutfij
    Reply
  • ZippyPeanut
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? rubbish.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? what a hump of sh1t.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!

    Wait! nycalex is right: it's "cheap chinese plastic garbage"! We should all trust this guy, right? And not the professional reviewers at Tom's, PCWorld, TechRadar, PCPerspective, Maximum PC, overclock.net, AnandTech, the customers' reviews on NewEgg, and PC enthusiasts everywhere who praise Razer's keyboards for their excellence.

    -----------
    i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 500GB Samsung EVO 850 (boot) / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PSU / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor / Logitech Z906 Surround Sound / Razer Ultimate Stealth keyboard /Deathadder Chroma mouse
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    I've had a Razer Marauder Keyboard and that failed after 3 years of use. I can't say I wasn't disappointed but like almost everything electronics and pretty much anything in this world, some things don't last forever. Nice write up and a comprehensive write up on that! I just wished they didn't flood the market with their own reverse engineered switches. That just adds more confusion to the consumers who are eager to jump onboard the mechanical keyboard wagon.
    Reply
  • nycalex
    17658438 said:
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? rubbish.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? what a hump of sh1t.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!

    Wait! nycalex is right: it's "cheap chinese plastic garbage"! We should all trust this guy, right? And not the professional reviewers at Tom's, PCWorld, TechRadar, PCPerspective, Maximum PC, overclock.net, AnandTech, the customers' reviews on NewEgg, and PC enthusiasts everywhere who praise Razer's keyboards for their excellence.

    -----------
    i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 500GB Samsung EVO 850 (boot) / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PSU / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor / Logitech Z906 Surround Sound / Razer Ultimate Stealth keyboard /Deathadder Chroma mouse

    says the guy that needs to post his system specs as a signature on his posts. Do you need a self-esteem boost?

    Btw, it's called an opinion. I thought forums was all about reading eachother's opinions.
    Reply
  • nitrium
    "However, the noisy Green switches won't appeal to some users,"
    Razer of course does also offer the "Stealth" version of this keyboard that uses Razer's version of Cherry browns (not sure if there is a 2016 version yet, but you can be sure it's coming).
    Reply
  • Jay_29
    Having owned 4 Razer Keyboards, these ARE cheap plastic garbage. Filco, Topre, Corsair, Logitech, Steelseries all make much superior keyboards as far as quality is concerned.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? rubbish.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!
    what a bunch of cheap chinese plastic garbage.

    $169 for a 9 year old spaceship keyboard? what a hump of sh1t.

    LOOK MA! my keyboard looks like a spaceship and lights up in colors, i'm the coolest kid on the block!

    Wait! nycalex is right: it's "cheap chinese plastic garbage"! We should all trust this guy, right? And not the professional reviewers at Tom's, PCWorld, TechRadar, PCPerspective, Maximum PC, overclock.net, AnandTech, the customers' reviews on NewEgg, and PC enthusiasts everywhere who praise Razer's keyboards for their excellence.

    The problem with reviews is rarely can a reviewer play with a product long term. This results in things like Tesla cars winning car of the year rewards when by all counts they're one of the least reliable vehicles on the road. Razer keyboards generally look nice, but tend to be overpriced and unreliable. Will everyone get a keyboard that fails in a year? of course not, if that was the case Razon wouldn't sell anything. But their keyboards/mice do tend to break down in a very short period of time. Even this reviewer had a "dead key" issue, which as anyone who seriously games will tell you is a deal breaker. Frankly I'm not a serious gamer, but I would return or replace any keyboard which had a key suddenly stop responding, and I assume this happened in the first few hours the reviewer was playing with that keyboard

    If that's not a red flag then you've either got more $$ then you deserve to have or you simply don't care how you waste your money. All i know is i wouldn't spend a dime on a keyboard that stops functioning properly in a product review.
    Reply
  • Top Cooler
    I bought a Razer 3 years ago. After one week I bought a competitor and eagerly gave it away. The font is so cool that it's absolutely unusable. R is 2 lines? They put the numbers and symbols side by side instead of up and down. It was loud and felt cheap. Yeah, not a fan. Since then I've tried 3 competitors with various results. They all have one similarity: much better than Razer.
    Reply
  • Tbonius
    The worst thing about razer is being force fed synapse.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    Even this reviewer had a "dead key" issue, which as anyone who seriously games will tell you is a deal breaker. Frankly I'm not a serious gamer, but I would return or replace any keyboard which had a key suddenly stop responding, and I assume this happened in the first few hours the reviewer was playing with that keyboard

    It didn't. It happened when I was fiddling with the on-keyboard macros. (Emphasize "playing.") But it DID happen.

    Also, we spend as much time with each keyboard as possible. Bare minimum of a week, work and play (and we tend to work a lot of hours!), but often more, depending on X and Y and Z. (HWT: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-we-test-mechanical-keyboards,4400.html).

    This one, I ended up using for quite a while, as it happened.
    Reply