Razer BlackWidow Elite Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Updated Jan 25, 2021 at 01:29 pm
Razer BlackWidow Elite Picture
9.5
Gaming
2.7
Mobile/Tablet
8.0
Office
8.2
Programming
5.5
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is an outstanding gaming keyboard. This wired-only model feels very well-built and sturdy, and it has good ergonomics, thanks to the two incline settings and detachable wrist rest. The full RGB backlighting is amazing for dark room gaming, and it’s easily customizable within the Razer Synapse 3 software. You can also set macros to any key and create multiple profiles to keep your favorite settings. The tactile Razer Orange switches on our unit have low actuation force and short pre-travel, giving you a light and responsive gaming experience. It’s also available with clicky Razer Green and linear Razer Yellow switches to suit your preferences.

Our Verdict

9.5 Gaming

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is an outstanding gaming keyboard thanks to its short pre-travel distance and low actuation force. It's also very well-built, and gamers should appreciate its customization options, whether it's controlling the full RGB backlighting or recording macros. It's available in three different switch types so you can choose your preferred gaming experience.

Pros
  • Feels very well-built and sturdy.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
  • Available in three different types of switches.
  • Short pre-travel distance.
Cons
  • Customization software only available on Windows.
2.7 Mobile/Tablet

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is wired-only and isn't designed for mobile devices.

8.0 Office

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a great keyboard for the office. It has two incline settings and comes with a detachable wrist rest. The Razer Orange switches on our unit provide a very nice typing experience and are quiet enough for any open-office environment. However, the clicky Razer Green switches may be louder.

Pros
  • Feels very well-built and sturdy.
  • Detachable wrist-rest.
  • Excellent typing quality.
  • Available in three different types of switches.
  • Quiet enough for noise-sensitive environments.
Cons
  • Customization software only available on Windows.
  • Can’t be used wirelessly.
8.2 Programming

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a great keyboard for programmers. It has excellent typing quality, and you can choose between three different types of switches. It's comfortable to type on for long periods, and the board feels very durable, which is great. It's a very versatile keyboard that can be used on multiple OS and programmers should appreciate the ability to macro-program any key.

Pros
  • Feels very well-built and sturdy.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Excellent typing quality.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
  • Available in three different types of switches.
Cons
  • Customization software only available on Windows.
  • Can’t be used wirelessly.
5.5 Entertainment / HTPC

Pros
  • Feels very well-built and sturdy.
  • Available in three different types of switches.
Cons
  • 9.5 Gaming
  • 2.7 Mobile/Tablet
  • 8.0 Office
  • 8.2 Programming
  • 5.5 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Feb 04, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Jan 25, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  3. Updated Oct 08, 2020: We've updated the weight of the keyboard to not include the wrist rest.
  4. Updated Aug 18, 2020: The volume wheel has been added as an extra control, as per our methodology.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.7" (4.3 cm)
Width 17.5" (44.5 cm)
Depth
6.5" (16.5 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
9.1" (23.1 cm)
Weight
2.67 lbs (1.210 kg)

This is a rather large keyboard due to its full-size layout. It's heavy and takes even more space if you use the included magnetic wrist rest. If you'd like a small, TenKeyLess keyboard, consider the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The Razer BlackWidow Elite has excellent build quality. The front side of the keyboard is made of metal, while the back and sides are made of plastic. The overall design feels sturdy and doesn't have too much flex. The ABS keycaps don't feel too cheap, though they don't give the same high-end finish as the doubleshot PBT keycaps found on the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
4 °
Medium Incline
6 °
Maximum Incline
9 °
Wrist Rest Detachable

The Razer BlackWidow Elite's ergonomics are rather good for a straight board. While this isn't designed to be an ergonomic keyboard, it still has two different incline settings on top of coming with a detachable leatherette wrist rest, which is great. However, the wrist rest moves a bit when using it.

10
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Great
Effects
Yes
Programmable
Yes

The Razer BlackWidow Elite features full RGB backlighting that is bright enough for well-lit environments. It's also very good for darker rooms, and all the keys are easy to read. However, while the media keys are lit up all around, the legends aren't carved out, so you can't read those. If you want a keyboard with flashier lighting, check out the ROCCAT Vulcan 120 AIMO with its low-profile keycaps and transparent switch casings.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
No
Length 6.6 ft (2.0 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Not Detachable

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is wired-only. The cable ends in three different plugs. There are two USB plugs: one for the keyboard, and the other needs to be plugged in if you want to use the USB passthrough on the keyboard. The third connection is for a typical 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard has an audio jack on its side, where you can plug in your headphones if your computer is too far.

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

The Razer BlackWidow Elite can't be used wirelessly. If you'd like a keyboard with outstanding wireless versatility, consider the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Dedicated
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel Yes
USB Passthrough
Yes
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

The Razer BlackWidow Elite has nice extra features. It has dedicated media keys in the top right corner for music control, and there's a knob for volume control. The keyboard also has a USB passthrough to connect other peripherals, and there's an audio jack to connect your headphones. However, our unit's audio jack seems to have issues, as we can hear a lot of static feedback depending on how the cable is positioned. It doesn't have dedicated macro keys, but all of its keys are macro-programmable. If you prefer a keyboard with dedicated macro keys, check out the Corsair K100 RGB.

Design
In The Box

  • Razer BlackWidow Elite keyboard
  • Magnetic wrist rest
  • Stickers
  • Manuals

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Razer Orange
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
52 gf
Actuation Force
41 gf
Pre-Travel
1.7 mm
Total Travel
3.9 mm

Just like the Razer BlackWidow Lite, the BlackWidow Elite we tested has proprietary Razer Orange switches. These are designed to be fairly quiet but still provide nice tactile feedback. They can be compared to Cherry MX Brown switches, with a bump before the actuation point. The pre-travel is rather low, which is great for responsive gaming. It's also available in clicky Razer Green and linear Yellow switches. If you would like mechanical switches that feel a bit smoother, like membrane switches, check out the Razer Ornata Chroma with its mecha-membrane switches. You can also check out Razer's optical switches on the Razer Huntsman.

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Razer BlackWidow Elite provides an excellent typing quality. The spacing of the keys is good, which helps to reduce typos, but the low pre-travel distance could cause more unintentional keystrokes if you're not used to it. The ABS keycaps don't feel too cheap and are nice to type on. Most keys are very stable and the keyboard uses Costar stabilizers, though the space bar on our unit is a bit wobbly. The Razer Orange switches give great feedback, but if you prefer another type of feel, it's also available with linear Razer Yellow or clicky Razer Green switches.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Loud

Our Razer BlackWidow Elite is quiet enough for an office environment, but different switches may result in different typing noise.

10
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
2.4 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A
Software and Operating System
9.6
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name Razer Synapse 3
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
Yes
Macro Programming
Software and Onboard
Ease Of Use
Easy
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No

The Razer Synapse 3 software is fantastic and gives you control over a lot of settings. You can create plenty of profiles and save them on the onboard memory, although the lighting settings don't seem to stay, but keybindings will. If you want a companion software that's compatible with macOS, see the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT.

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 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. If you want something fully compatible with macOS, check out the SteelSeries Apex Pro.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The BlackWidow Elite is available in tactile Razer Orange, clicky Razer Green, and linear Razer Yellow switches. We tested the Razer Orange switches, and we expect our review to be relevant for the other variants, except for the overall typing experience, which should be different with other switches.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is one of the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested. It sets itself apart thanks to its proprietary Razer switches and some of its extra features, like the USB passthrough and the audio jack to connect your headphones. It's also very versatile compared to other gaming keyboards, as it performs very well for programming and office use as well. All in all, this model should satisfy most people. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards, the best RGB keyboards, and the best mechanical gaming keyboards.

Razer Huntsman Elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are very similar in terms of build, comfort, and extra features. The biggest differences are that the BlackWidow has a USB passthrough, and the Razer Orange switches provide a much better typing experience than the Linear Optical switches on our unit of the Huntsman. That said, both keyboards offer multiple switch options.

Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is better than the Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE for most uses. The Razer has a much better build quality and full RGB backlighting. The Razer Orange switches on our Razer provide a better typing experience; however, the Cherry MX Speed switches on the Corsair are more responsive and require less force to initiate a keypress. The Razer has a few switch options you can choose from, but the Corsair only has one option.

Razer BlackWidow

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 V2

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a much better keyboard than the Razer Ornata V2. It features optical switches from Razer, which have very low pre-travel, which is great for gaming. The Elite is also much better-built and feels a lot more durable than the plasticky V2. It's also better suited for an office thanks to the Razer Orange tactile switches, which aren't as noisy as the mecha-membrane switches on the V2.

Razer BlackWidow V3

The Razer BlackWidow Elite and the Razer BlackWidow V3 are both outstanding gaming keyboards. The Elite has a more comfortable wrist rest, USB passthrough, three dedicated media keys instead of just one, and it's available in Razer Orange tactile switches, unlike the V3. However, the V3's linear Razer Yellow switches have a lower pre-travel distance, which provide a more responsive feel.

Razer Huntsman

The Razer Huntsman and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are fairly similar when it comes to their overall design, but the switches are quite different. The Huntsman uses optical clicky switches while the Elite uses Razer's Orange tactile and silent switches. The Elite also comes with a comfortable wrist rest and dedicated media keys.

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition

The Razer BlackWidow Elite performs better than the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition if you want a full-sized keyboard. The BlackWidow comes with a comfortable wrist rest for those long gaming sessions, and it's available with tactile, clicky, or linear switches, so you can get the one you prefer the most. On the other hand, the Huntsman is a smaller TKL keyboard, which is good for FPS gaming, but it's only available with linear switches. Both have full RGB lighting and each key is macro programmable through the Synapse 3 software.

Logitech G513

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better keyboard than the Logitech G513. The Razer has two incline settings, a volume control wheel, and all of its keys are macro programmable. It also has on-board memory, unlike the Logitech.

SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is better than the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It's available in a variety of mechanical switches, including linear, clicky, and tactile, providing a much better typing experience. The SteelSeries has hybrid switches, which provide good feedback but could get tiring to type on. The SteelSeries Engine software is available on macOS while the Razer Synapse 3 isn't.

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a slightly better keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. The Elite has USB passthrough and brighter RGB backlighting. That said, the V3 Pro can be used wirelessly over Bluetooth or its proprietary receiver.

Corsair K70 RGB MK.2

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is better overall than the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2. It's a better-built keyboard with a comfortable wrist rest, and the Razer Orange switches we tested offer a better typing quality. On the other hand, Corsair's iCUE software is available on macOS, while Razer's Synapse 3 isn't.

Razer Ornata Chroma

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better keyboard than the Razer Ornata Chroma. It's a full-size mechanical keyboard that's noticeably better built and offers a better overall typing quality. It features dedicated media keys and Razer Orange tactile switches. On the other side, if you don't like mechanical switches, the Ornata has mecha-membrane switches that feel like rubber domes, but they still have the clickiness of mechanical switches.

SteelSeries Apex Pro

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a slightly better keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow Elite. The Apex Pro has customizable pre-travel distance on each key, delivering a responsive gaming experience. It's also fully compatible with macOS, while the Elite isn't. However, the typing quality is better on the Elite, plus it has a cushion-like wrist rest and two incline settings.

Corsair K95 PLATINUM

The Corsair K95 PLATINUM and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are two very similar keyboards, but the K95 has one of the lowest pre-travel distances we've measured so far. Its RGB lighting also bleeds a lot more throughout the board than the Razer's lighting. On the other hand, the Razer overall build quality seems a bit more durable and comes with a plushy wrist rest.

HyperX Alloy Origins

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is slightly better than the HyperX Alloy Origins. It's available in a variety of switches, but the unit we tested had Razer Orange switches, which perform almost exactly like the HyperX Red linear switches, except with a slight tactile bump. Both keyboards have excellent build quality and full RGB backlighting, but the Razer comes with a wrist rest.

Logitech G910 Orion Spark

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better gaming keyboard than the Logitech G910 Orion Spark. All of its keys are programmable, rather than just a few dedicated macro keys. Also, it comes with a very plushy and comfortable wrist rest, and the board feels noticeably more durable. On the other hand, the Logitech's key pre-travel distance is shorter and quicker to actuate.

Corsair K100 RGB

The Corsair K100 RGB and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are both exceptional gaming keyboards, but the Corsair has dedicated macro keys, a multi-function wheel, and it has a lower pre-travel distance. However, the Razer is available in more types of switches.

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL

The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are two amazing gaming keyboards. The SteelSeries doesn't have a NumPad due to its TKL design, while the Razer is a full-size board. The pre-travel distance is shorter on the Razer, but the keys of the SteelSeries feel lighter. Also, the RGB lighting of the SteelSeries bleeds a lot more than the Razer's.

Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better gaming keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2. The Elite is a full-sized keyboard that feels sturdier and while it has two incline settings, it does tend to slide around more. The Elite also has onboard memory, but both keyboards offer similar typing experiences and outstanding RGB backlighting.

Razer Pro Type

The Razer Pro Type is marginally better than the Razer BlackWidow Elite overall; however, they're very different keyboards. The Pro Type is a wireless keyboard designed for productivity with multi-device pairing capabilities, while the Elite is a wired-only keyboard intended primarily for gaming. The Elite has more features, such as full RGB backlighting, dedicated media controls, onboard memory, and a wrist rest. Also, the Elite is more customizable because it's available with different types of switches. The Pro Type is only available with Razer Orange switches.

Razer Huntsman Mini

The Razer BlackWidow Elite and the Razer Huntsman Mini are very different keyboards. The Elite is a full-size keyboard and has more features, such as dedicated media controls and a USB passthrough. It's available with Razer Orange, Green, or Yellow switches. On the other hand, the Mini is a compact 60% keyboard and is available with Razer Clicky Optical or Linear Optical switches. The Clicky Optical switches that we tested on the Mini provide a better typing experience than the Razer Orange on the Elite, but they're also much louder, making them less ideal for quiet environments. They have a shorter pre-travel distance and a lower actuation force than the Razer Orange switches, making them easier to actuate and more responsive. The Elite comes with a wrist rest; the Mini doesn't.

Razer BlackWidow Lite

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better gaming keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow Lite. It has lower click latency, better overall ergonomics, thanks to the nice wrist rest, and it features full RGB lighting, while the Lite only has a white LED backlight. The Elite also has dedicated media keys, but its cable isn't detachable like the Lite.

Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a much better gaming keyboard than the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT. The Razer is slightly smaller, the keys require less pre-travel distance, and offer a better typing experience. On the other hand, the Corsair has six dedicated macro keys, and the software is compatible with macOS computers.

Corsair K60 RGB PRO Low Profile

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is much better than the Corsair K60 RGB PRO Low Profile. The Razer has a better build quality, dedicated media controls, a USB passthrough, and it includes a wrist rest. The Razer Orange switches on our unit provide a much better typing experience, and you can get it with a different type of switch to suit your needs. However, if you're on an Apple computer and want full customization options, only Corsair's iCUE is available for macOS.

Ducky Shine 7

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is slightly better than the Ducky Shine 7. The Razer has more features, such as dedicated media controls and a USB passthrough, but the Ducky offers a better typing quality when comparing the Cherry MX Brown against the Razer Orange switches, though this depends on the type of switches you like. The Ducky has a better build quality, but Razer's Synapse 3 software offers more options.

Das Keyboard X50Q

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is better than the Das Keyboard X50Q in most uses. Typing and build quality are both significantly better on the Razer, and the Synapse 3 software has many more options to choose from. Razer's included wrist rest is more comfortable, and it has a USB passthrough and a headphone jack for convenience. The Das has its 'applets' feature, but it's only accessible for Windows users.

HyperX Alloy FPS RGB

The Razer BlackWidow Elite performs better overall than the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB, but both options are fantastic for gaming. The Razer feels better-built and more comfortable. It has a wrist rest and more extra features like dedicated media keys, a volume wheel, and a USB passthrough. It also provides a better typing experience and is available in more than one switch type. On the other hand, the HyperX takes a bit less space on your desk and the Kailh Silver Speed switches it uses have shorter pre-travel and should feel a bit more responsive.

Das Keyboard Model S Professional

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better keyboard than the Das Keyboard Model S Professional. The Razer has full RGB backlighting and all keys are macro-programmable. That said, the Das Keyboard is compatible with Cherry MX Brown and Blue switches, while the Razer uses proprietary switches.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is much better than the Das Keyboard 4 Professional for most uses. The Razer has better build quality, and its ergonomics are better because it offers more incline settings and includes a wrist rest. It has backlighting, programmable keys, and software for customization, all of which the Das Keyboard lacks. The Razer provides a better typing experience and has much lower latency than the Das Keyboard.

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