As a Yorkshire man, at one point in time the notion of me spending over £100 on a computer keyboard would have been met with a furrowed brow followed by hysterical laughter.
“There’s nowt wrong wi’ t’keyboard that came wi’ me PC!” I would have proclaimed, simply aghast at the thought. The truth is though, you get what you pay for, and it’s only when you’ve bit the bullet and experienced the quality and precision that a premium keyboard affords you that it all makes sense, especially if you’re a gamer. After all, you’re likely to be using that keyboard nearly every day, maybe for hours on end; why would/should you simply “make do” with a flimsy piece of plastic that looks dreary and just “works”?
The BlackWidow X Chroma by Razer is one such example of a keyboard that makes its price tag of around £140 seem negligible. Presented in Razer’s typically imposing black packaging, you can just tell it’s a quality product from the moment you begin to remove it; its heft reassuring you that it’s built to last. Comprised of a thick plastic bottom and a military grade metal top, its sturdiness ensures that it will endure all the heavy gaming sessions you can throw at it without having to worry about it moving out of place or showing unsightly signs of wear. Another nice touch that further compounds its exceptional design is its long braided cable, which can be routed neatly to extrude from either side of the keyboard or straight out of the back, ensuring your desk or playing area stays tidy and free of unnecessary cabling.
Build quality would mean nothing if performance wasn’t up to scratch though, and with its award winning Razer Mechanical Switches the BlackWidow X Chroma leaves little to be desired. The keys have a great feel to them and are extremely responsive, letting you display your true gaming skills without fear of missed or delayed inputs. The only bugbear may be that of personal preference; the satisfyingly meaty click that accompanies each key depression may be a tad noisy for some, but for those like me it provides invaluable audible feedback. What is less likely to be a cause for concern though is the BlackWidow X Chroma’s reliability. Obviously I can’t verify Razer’s bold claim that every key is good for up to 80 million keystrokes, but from my time spent using the keyboard I’ve got no reason to doubt it. It certainly feels like a product you’re going to get your money’s worth of use out of before it retires to keyboard heaven.
Not content with being just robust and responsive, the BlackWidow X Chroma looks the part too. Surprisingly compact, the understated aesthetics of the BlackWidow X Chroma make it a product you’ll be proud to have on display, unlike many of the more gaudy gaming keyboards out there. What makes it really stand out though is that every single key is individually backlit, and with 16.8 million customisable colour options available, you can make it as eye-catching or subdued as you see fit. Using the Razer Synapse software you can even go so far as assigning a unique colour and one of multiple patterns to each individual key, allowing you to get your creative juices flowing in order to personalise and optimise the look of the keyboard for your gaming endeavours. What’s more, profiles can be created or downloaded so that each and every game can have its own complementary lighting scheme. It’s all alluringly easy to do, and it truly makes the BlackWidow X Chroma a delight to look at, especially with the lights subtly illuminating the metal top.
For all the praise I can sing about the BlackWidow X Chroma however, there are a couple of disappointments to consider. Whilst the Razer Synapse software allows you to record Macros on the fly and assign them to any of the BlackWidow X Chroma’s keys for example, it’s devoid of any extra keys that are dedicated entirely for that purpose. It’s no biggie, but it could be a minor hindrance for those that are used to such luxuries or wish to use the keyboard for more than just gaming. Additionally, there’s no USB or audio pass-through, which is a minor inconvenience for sure, but one to take into account when assessing whether or not the keyboard will meet your needs nonetheless.
For me, the couple of features that the Razer BlackWidow X Chroma omits in pursuit of its compact design are far outweighed by its great build quality, highly responsive keys and understated looks; the glorious backlighting options just adding icing to an already delicious cake. This is a keyboard that is built to last and is a pleasure to use, enabling you to play your favourite games at the height of your ability whilst enjoying a pretty light show if you wish it so. That makes the Razer BlackWidow X Chroma well worth the asking price in my book.