Razer’s marketing department must be running out of edgy-sounding reptiles and venomous arthropods, because their newest keyboard, the DeathStalker V2 Pro, brings back a line that faded out years ago.
The Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro is a full-size, low-profile, wireless optical gaming keyboard that looks and feels almost nothing like its predecessor — a term I use very loosely, given we last saw the DeathStalker line in 2016. Razer’s original DeathStalkers were chiclet-style membrane keyboards; I guess the new DeathStalker V2 Pro follows the very general theme of that line by being… flat.
But the new DeathStalker V2 Pro sports Razer’s low-profile optical switches, flat (but not chiclet-style) keycaps, and a design that’s new enough to deserve its own aggressive-sounding military codename. (I would personally call it the Hellbender, after those giant, goofy-looking flat salamanders in the Ozarks.)
Anyway, the DeathStalker V2 Pro is Razer’s new ultra-slim, flat, low-profile keyboard, featuring the company’s optical switches (linear or clicky), Chroma-infused per-key RGB, wireless connectivity via both 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth 5.0, and a whopping 40 hours of continuous battery life. It’s a good-looking, well-built, sturdy keyboard, which is (perhaps) why it costs $249.99. This is a pretty steep price for a gaming keyboard, not to mention one that isn’t technically mechanical (there are plenty of lower-priced mechanical gaming keyboards on our best gaming keyboards list), but Razer seems to be pretty confident and is calling the new DeathStalker V2 Pro its new flagship. Well, flagship low-profile optical gaming keyboard, anyway.
Razer will also be releasing a wireless TKL version — the DeathStalker V2 Pro Tenkeyless, for $219.99, and a wired full-size version — the DeathStalker V2, for $199.99, in Q3 of this year.
Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro Specifications
|Switches||Razer Low-Profile Optical (Linear or Clicky)|
|Onboard Storage||5 onboard profiles|
|Media Keys||Multi-function roller and media button|
|Connectivity||2.4 GHz wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C|
|Construction||Aluminum alloy, plastic|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||17.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches / 437 x 139 x 26mm|
|Weight||1.7lbs / 776.5g|
Design and Construction of the DeathStalker V2 Pro
The DeathStalker V2 Pro is an attractive keyboard, though it doesn’t have a particularly unique or eye-catching design. It’s a slim, low-profile board with a relatively small footprint, clean lines, and minimal branding. It’s housed in a lightweight plastic chassis, topped with a durable aluminum alloy top plate and finished in a satiny, fingerprint-resistant black. The only visible branding is a small, unobtrusive Razer logo at the bottom center.
The DeathStalker V2 Pro is full-size with standard navigation keys, a number pad and a machined aluminum multi-function roller and media key in the upper right corner. It manages to maintain a relatively small overall footprint, measuring 17.2 x 5.5 inches (437 x 139mm), and is just over one inch (26.6mm) thick at its thickest point. It has two sets of flip-out feet on the back for adjusting the tilt angle; the more dramatic of which adds about 0.25 inches (6.4mm) to the keyboard’s back height. The keyboard weighs 1.7 pounds (776.5g), but feels sturdy and solid with no discernible flex while typing.
The DeathStalker V2 Pro sports low-profile matte black ABS keycaps with laser-etched legends that allow the keyboard’s bright, per-key RGB lighting to shine through nicely. Razer claims the keycaps have an “ultra-durable” coating for “even greater longevity," but I tossed the DeathStalker V2 Pro in my bag (with another keyboard, a Razer laptop and my wallet) for a couple of hours, and a few keys came away with some small scratches.
The DeathStalker V2 Pro has connectivity controls along the top left edge: A power switch for toggling between 2.4 GHz wireless and Bluetooth 5.0, three buttons for switching between Bluetooth profiles and a USB Type-C port.
The keyboard comes with a six-foot braided USB-C to USB-A cable and a USB extender. There’s also a 2.4 GHz wireless USB-A dongle, which is stored in a small compartment (with a somewhat flimsy cover) on the back of the keyboard.
Typing and Gaming Experience on the DeathStalker V2 Pro
The DeathStalker V2 Pro features Razer’s low-profile optical switches, which are actuated via light (instead of traditional contact-based actuation). No physical contact means speedier actuation, made even speedier — Razer claims — when combined with the DeathStalker V2 Pro’s low-profile and shorter key travel. Razer’s optical switches come in two variations, linear (red) and clicky (purple). Our review unit came with the linear option.
Typing on the DeathStalker V2 Pro was pleasantly surprising. Not incredible, mind you, but better than I expected considering my general preference for extra-loud clicky mechanical switches. The linear optical switches feel fairly similar to other linear mechanical switches — they have an average force of 45 grams, so they still have some weight to them even if they don’t require physical contact to actuate. Like other linear switches, the linear optical switches are smooth and have no tactile “bump” during a keypress.
The linear optical switches have built-in silicon dampeners that are “carefully-tuned” to offer a quiet typing experience that maintains a satisfying key bottom-out, according to Razer. Well, the DeathStalker V2 Pro definitely still feels a little mushy, though much less so than the average non-mechanical keyboard. The keyboard’s low-profile, low-travel keys kept my typing speed up, but the slight mush and lack of tactile feedback hurt my accuracy — specifically, I accidentally hit the Shift key about 27 times while writing this review.
The keyboard is extremely quiet, though, which is a welcome change for those who can usually hear my typing from three blocks away.
Typing is very different from gaming. I like a tactile, clicky bump when I’m typing, but I don’t really need that kind of physical or audible feedback when I’m gaming. Razer’s linear optical switches are actually pretty excellent for gaming; The smooth, consistent feel, speedy actuation, and low-profile, shorter key travel are the perfect combination for games that need quick, accurate keypresses without any tactile hindrance.
Features and Software on the DeathStalker V2 Pro
The Deathstalker V2 Pro can be configured using Razer Synapse, which, while not my favorite companion software suite, offers a decent customization experience.
In Synapse, you can remap almost all of the DeathStalker V2 Pro’s primary keybinds (the Windows key, the “Razer HyperShift” function key, and — curiously — the multimedia button cannot be remapped), as well as most of the keys’ secondary keybinds in “HyperShift” mode. The DeathStalker V2 Pro’s small footprint means it doesn’t have any programmable macro keys beyond the usual Fn row, so Razer’s HyperShift, which gives you an entire second keyboard worth of programmable macro keys, is particularly handy here.
You can also use Synapse to tweak the keyboard’s lighting and power settings and access the HyperSpeed multi-device pairing utility (which lets you pair a second HyperSpeed-compatible device to the DeathStalker V2 Pro’s HyperSpeed dongle.
The Synapse software suite also features Razer’s Chroma Studio, Chroma Visualizer and Chroma Connect utilities, which let you customize the keyboard’s per-key RGB lighting with different colors and effects and sync said lighting with other Chroma-equipped Razer peripherals.
The DeathStalker V2 Pro can store up to five onboard profiles.
Wireless Experience and Battery Life on the DeathStalker V2 Pro
The DeathStalker V2 Pro offers three connection options: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, and wired (via USB-C). For gaming, and anything where latency and lag might be an issue, you’ll want to connect using the 2.4GHz wireless connection, which features Razer’s “industry-leading” HyperSpeed wireless tech, which is — according to Razer — 25 percent faster than any other wireless tech. (Of course, 2.4GHz wireless is already a pretty speedy, low-latency connection.)
Razer’s HyperSpeed wireless tech supports the HyperSpeed multi-device functionality, which means the DeathStalker V2 Pro’s USB-A dongle can support two compatible Razer peripherals (a keyboard and a mouse) simultaneously. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a HyperSpeed-compatible Razer mouse in house to test this with, but it’s a pretty useful feature if you’re short on USB ports. (Your other option for reclaiming USB ports is to use the keyboard’s Bluetooth 5.0 connection instead of 2.4GHz wireless. You can connect to three Bluetooth-enabled devices simultaneously, and switch between them using the Bluetooth profile buttons along the top of the keyboard.)
Razer says the DeathStalker V2 Pro gets 40 hours of continuous battery life with the backlight set to 50 percent brightness. I like a bright, flashy light show, so I ended up having to charge the keyboard several times throughout my testing. The DeathStalker V2 Pro is more power-hungry than you might expect (probably because it needs some of that juice to power its light-actuated switches), so you’ll need to keep a cable handy.
Razer’s new DeathStalker V2 Pro is a totally different animal from its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. It’s an attractive low-profile keyboard that has basically all the features you need — connectivity, customization and pretty lights, plus a surprisingly decent typing experience and an excellent gaming experience. It’s not exactly, as Razer claims, “built like a tank,” but it’s pretty durable for how small, slim and lightweight it is. But it’s not terribly exciting — and if you’re going to spend $249.99 on a keyboard, you should definitely be hyped about it.