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Razer BlackWidow Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Aug 19, 2020 at 10:08 am
Razer BlackWidow Picture
7.4
Mixed usage
9.1
Gaming
0.9
Mobile/Tablet
6.9
Office
7.7
Programming
This keyboard was replaced by the Razer BlackWidow V3
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Razer BlackWidow is the entry-level keyboard in Razer's BlackWidow lineup. It's meant to be a more budget-friendly option to the Razer BlackWidow Elite and it doesn't come with a wrist rest or dedicated media keys. However, it's still an outstanding gaming keyboard with Razer's proprietary clicky Green switches, which have a low pre-travel distance, great for gamers. You can set macros to any key either through the Razer Synapse 3 software or on the keyboard itself, and it has full RGB backlighting. Sadly, it doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics and its high profile may lead to fatigue while typing. Lastly, this keyboard is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, but the dedicated software is only available on Windows.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed usage

The Razer BlackWidow is a decent overall keyboard. It's mainly designed to be a gaming keyboard and it's an outstanding choice for that. Every key is macro-programmable, it has full RGB backlighting, and the Razer Green switches have a low pre-travel distance. Unfortunately, it's not ideal for long typing sessions as the lack of a wrist rest may lead to fatigue quickly. On the upside, it's a well-built keyboard and the keys are mostly stable.

Pros
  • Low pre-travel distance.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics.
  • Synapse 3 software isn't available on macOS.
9.1 Gaming

The Razer BlackWidow is outstanding for gaming. The proprietary Razer Green switches have a low pre-travel distance, don't require much force to actuate, and they provide good, clicky feedback. It has full RGB backlighting and you can set macros to any key either through the dedicated software or on the keyboard itself. Sadly, it doesn't have a wrist rest, which may lead to fatigue during long gaming sessions.

Pros
  • Low pre-travel distance.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics.
0.9 Mobile/Tablet

The Razer BlackWidow is a wired keyboard that isn't designed to be used with mobile devices.

6.9 Office

The Razer BlackWidow is okay for office use. It offers a good typing quality with good tactile feedback, but the switches are too loud to be used in an open-office environment. It doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics, so you may feel tired typing on it for long periods.

Pros
  • Good typing quality.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics.
  • Razer Green switches are too loud for open-office environment.
7.7 Programming

The Razer BlackWidow is good for programming. All keys are macro programmable either through the dedicated software or the keyboard itself. It has a good typing quality, but without a wrist rest, it may feel tiring typing on this keyboard for long periods. On the upside, it has full RGB backlighting, great if you work in a dark environment.

Pros
  • Good typing quality.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics.
  • Synapse 3 software isn't available on macOS.
  • 7.4 Mixed usage
  • 9.1 Gaming
  • 0.9 Mobile/Tablet
  • 6.9 Office
  • 7.7 Programming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.6" (4.0 cm)
Width 17.7" (45.0 cm)
Depth 6.4" (16.3 cm)
Weight 2.8 lbs (1.2 kg)

The Razer BlackWidow keyboard is full-sized and it's about the same size as the Razer BlackWidow Elite. It takes up a good amount of space on your desk.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

Good build quality, but it's not as good as the Razer BlackWidow Lite. It has a plastic body with a textured finish and the keyboard does slightly flex. The ABS keycaps are fairly stable, except for the spacebar, which wobbles more than the rest. Oil may build up over time on the ABS keycaps, but Razer sells extra doubleshot PBT keycaps if you prefer those instead. The incline feet feel a bit flimsy, but the keyboard doesn't move around if you have the feet up. However, if you leave the keyboard flat on the table, it moves around a bit more. Lastly, there's a groove underneath the keyboard so you can pass the braided cable through on either side, instead of passing it through the top.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
2
Wrist Rest No

Okay ergonomics. You can place the keyboard on an incline, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest like the Razer BlackWidow Elite. It has a high profile, which can lead to more discomfort and fatigue while typing. If you'd like a keyboard with a detachable wrist rest, consider the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 or the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro.

10
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color RGB
Brightness Settings
Yes
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes

This keyboard has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, and it looks like the Razer Cynosa Chroma. It gets bright enough for even well-lit environments. You can adjust the brightness directly on the keyboard or through the dedicated software.

Design
Cable
Detachable
No
Length 6.4 ft (1.9 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) Not Detachable

The Razer BlackWidow keyboard comes with a long, braided cable that feels of good quality. Sadly, you can't remove it in case it needs to be replaced.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

This keyboard can't be used wirelessly.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes

This keyboard has a few extra gaming features. It has a 'Game Mode' hotkey, which acts as a Windows Key Lock, so you don't accidentally close your game. There's also a 'Sleep Mode' hotkey so you can quickly put your computer on standby. You can set macros to any key either directly on the keyboard itself or through the dedicated software. Sadly, it doesn't have dedicated media keys or a volume wheel like the Razer BlackWidow Elite.

Design
In The Box

  • Razer BlackWidow keyboard
  • Quick start guide

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Razer Green
Feel
Clicky
Actuation Force
53.2 gf
Pre-Travel
1.74 mm
Total Travel
3.94 mm

This has proprietary Razer Green switches, which are tactile and clicky, much like Cherry MX Blue switches. They have a fairly low pre-travel distance, they aren't very heavy to press, and they offer good tactile feedback, great for gamers.

Note: We tested four different keys because they felt different and had different audible clicks, but they all performed very similarly when we tested them. It's likely that it's just an audible issue, but if you experience the same problem, let us know in the discussions below.

If you want a keyboard with switches that have a shorter pre-travel distance, check out the Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE.

7.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

Good typing quality. The clicky Razer Green switches have a shorter pre-travel distance than the Cherry MX Blue switches on the Corsair K68 RGB. The fairly low actuation force helps deliver a light typing experience, but because the keyboard has a high profile and it doesn't have a wrist rest, you may get tired typing on this keyboard rather quickly.

Note: We noticed some keys felt different when we pressed them during testing. This may affect your typing experience if you don't like having different keys with a different feel. It may be an issue with our unit alone, but if you experience the same thing, let us know in the discussions below.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Loud

The clicky switches are loud and aren't suggested for an open-office setting.

Software and Operating System
9.1
Software and Operating System
Software
Software Razer Synapse 3
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
Yes
Backlight Programming
Yes
Macro Programming
Yes
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No

The Razer Synapse 3 software allows for a ton of customization. You can set macros, reprogram any key, and customize the RGB backlighting. You can save up to five profiles on the onboard memory, but you can only save macros and not backlighting settings, similar to the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. Luckily, there's a cloud sync option, which makes it easier to transfer your settings over to another computer.

7.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

While the keyboard is fully compatible with Windows, the 'Scroll Lock', 'Sleep' hotkey, and 'Pause Break' buttons don't work on macOS. Also, the software isn't available on macOS and Linux, although all keys work as intended on Linux; you just won't be able to customize the keyboard on those platforms.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Razer BlackWidow is an outstanding gaming keyboard but it's not very versatile for other types of use, and there are better options like the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2. Also, if you want to pay a bit more, the Razer BlackWidow Elite has more features like a USB passthrough and it comes with a wrist rest. Also see our recommendations for the best RGB keyboards, the best gaming keyboards, and the best Razer keyboards.

Razer Huntsman

The Razer Huntsman is better than the Razer BlackWidow. The Huntsman has Razer Optical switches which offer a quick and responsive gaming experience and a better typing quality, and it's also better-built. On the other hand, the BlackWidow has clicky switches that offer audible feedback.

Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE

The Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE is better overall than the Razer BlackWidow for most uses. The Corsair has a wrist, dedicated media keys, a USB passthrough, and it has a better typing quality. However, the Razer has onboard memory and it has full RGB backlighting.

Razer BlackWidow Elite

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is much better than the Razer BlackWidow. The Elite is available in three different switches, so you can get the ones you prefer, it has a wrist rest, it's better-built, it has a USB passthrough, and it has dedicated media keys.

Razer Ornata Chroma

The Razer Ornata Chroma is a better office keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow because it has a wrist rest. However, the BlackWidow is a better choice for gaming because the mechanical switches have a shorter pre-travel distance. Overall, they're similar keyboards that offer the same features, but the Ornata doesn't have onboard memory, while the BlackWidow does.

Razer Huntsman Elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite is better than the Razer BlackWidow for the most part. The Elite is available in two different optical switches, including the Linear Optical switches we tested. It's better-built and it comes with a wrist rest too. However, the Razer Green switches on the BlackWidow offer a better typing quality.

Ducky One 2

The Ducky One 2 is better overall than the Razer BlackWidow, mainly because the Ducky is more customizable since you can get it in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches. The Razer has dedicated software, and the proprietary Razer Green switches have a slightly lower pre-travel distance than the Cherry MX Brown switches we tested on the Ducky.

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

The Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is a better keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow. The V3 Pro can be used wirelessly and has a detachable wrist rest. On the other hand, the regular BlackWidow offers a similar typing quality and may represent better value for some people.

Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2

The Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 is a better, more versatile keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow. While both keyboards offer outstanding feedback for gamers, the V2 is a great choice for programmers and office use due to the impressive typing experience and programmable macros. That said, the original BlackWidow has onboard memory, which is great if you have to move between operating systems as the companion software isn't available on macOS.

Logitech K845

The Razer BlackWidow is better than the Logitech K845, although it's mostly geared towards gaming. The Razer has full RGB lighting, an extra incline setting, and it has outstanding software for customization. On the other hand, the Logitech feels better built and you may feel less tired typing on it.

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