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Razer BlackWidow Elite Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 03, 2020 at 08:59 am
Razer BlackWidow Elite Picture
Test Methodology v0.8
8.1
Mixed usage
9.3
Gaming
1.0
Mobile/Tablet
8.0
Office
8.2
Programming
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a great keyboard. It's mainly designed for gaming thanks to its low pre-travel distance before actuation and overall design. It has a full RGB backlight and is very well-built. It comes in three different switch styles, so be sure to check out the variants and choose the one that's more appropriate for your needs. You can easily program macros and control music thanks to dedicated media keys, which are very useful.

Our Verdict

8.1 Mixed usage

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a very versatile keyboard for multiple uses. While it's designed for gaming thanks to its overall design and mechanical switches, it's a great option for the office or for programmers as well. You can choose between tactile or linear switches too, and can even get clicky switches too. Most people should find a variant of this keyboard that suits their preferences and needs.

9.3 Gaming

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is an amazing gaming keyboard thanks to its short pre-travel distance and low actuation force. It's also very well-built and should last you years. Gamers will appreciate its customization options, whether it's controlling the RGB lighting or recording macros. It's also available in three different switches so you can choose your preferred typing experience.

See our Gaming recommendations
1.0 Mobile/Tablet

The Razer BlackWidow Elite 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 very nice plushy wrist rest that's comfortable. It also provides a very nice typing experience and isn't too loud for an open-office environment. However, the variant with clicky switches might be too loud, although we haven't tested it.

See our Office recommendations
8.2 Programming

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a great keyboard for programmers. Its typing quality is great and you can choose between three different variants 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 will appreciate the ability to program macros.

See our Programming recommendations
  • 8.1 Mixed usage
  • 9.3 Gaming
  • 1.0 Mobile/Tablet
  • 8.0 Office
  • 8.2 Programming
Pros
  • Very well-built design.
  • Very comfortable wrist rest.
  • Excellent typing experience.
Cons
  • Slightly unstable wrist rest.
  • Customization only available on Windows.

Check Price

Black BlackWidow Elite
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

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)
Weight 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg)

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a rather large keyboard due to its full-size layout. It takes even more place if you use the included magnetic wrist rest.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

Build quality is excellent. The overall design feels hefty and doesn't have too much flex. The ABS keycaps don't feel too cheap, but don't feel as high-end as the double shot PBT keycaps found on the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. The keyboard comes with a nice and plushy magnetic wrist rest, which feels very comfortable.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
2
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 very comfortable leatherette wrist rest, which is great. However, it does move a bit when using it.

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

The Razer BlackWidow Elite's backlighting is excellent. It features full RGB lighting that is bright enough for well-lit environments. There isn't much light bleed, but the lighting is still very nice in the dark as well and all keys are easy to read. However, while the media keys are lit up 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
Detachable
No
Length 6.6 ft (2.0 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) Not Detachable

This keyboard is wired-only. The cable ends in three different plugs. There's 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
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

This keyboard can't be used wirelessly.

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

The Razer BlackWidow Elite has nice extra features. It has dedicated media keys in the top right corner for music control, and you have a nice knob to reduce, raise, or mute the volume. The keyboard also has a USB and 3.5mm ports. 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.

Design
In The Box

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

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Razer Orange
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
43.1 gf
Pre-Travel
1.82 mm
Total Travel
3.94 mm

Just like the Razer BlackWidow Lite, the Elite keyboard has proprietary Razer Orange switches. These are designed to be fairly quiet but still provide nice tactile feedback. These can be compared to Cherry MX brown switches, with a bump before the actuation point. However, this keyboard doesn't come with O-rings, as the BlackWidow Lite does, to reduce the typing noise and total travel distance. Note that this keyboard is available in Razer Green and Yellow switches, which are tactile and clicky, and linear and silent, respectively. If you would like mechanical switches that also 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 keys are very stable and the tactile feedback is great. It uses Costar stabilizers, but the space bar is a bit wobbly. The spacing of the keys is good, which helps to reduce typos.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The Razer BlackWidow Elite's typing noise is rather low. It's quiet enough for an office environment as it doesn't have clicky switches.

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

With Razer Synapse 3 and the BlackWidow Elite, you have control over a lot of settings. You can create a lot 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 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 on those platforms.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

This keyboard is available in Razer Orange (Tactile, Silent), Razer Green (Tactile, Clicky) and Razer Yellow (Linear, Silent) switches. We tested the Orange switches, and we expect our review to be relevant for the other variants, other than the overall typing experience, which should be different with other switches.

Compared to other keyboards

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is an excellent gaming keyboard that sets itself apart by its proprietary switches and the fact that it comes with a very comfortable and plushy wrist rest. It's very nice to type on for long periods of time and still performs very well with video games. The BlackWidow Elite is a jack-of-all-trades that should satisfy most users.

Razer Huntsman
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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 BlackWidow Elite uses Razer's Orange tactile and silent switches. The BlackWidow also comes with a comfortable wrist rest and dedicated media keys.

Razer Ornata Chroma
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better keyboard than the Razer Ornata Chroma. It's a full-size mechanical keyboard that is 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.

Corsair K95 PLATINUM
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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.

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

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

Logitech G910 Orion Spark
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

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 pre-travel distance of the Logitech G910's keys is shorter and quicker to actuate.

SteelSeries Apex Pro
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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 on macOS, while the BlackWidow Elite isn't. However, the typing quality is better on the BlackWidow Elite, plus it has a cushion-like wrist rest and two incline settings.

Razer BlackWidow Lite
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a better gaming keyboard than the Razer BlackWidow Lite. It has better overall ergonomics, thanks to the nice wrist rest and it features full RGB lighting, while the Lite model 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
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

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

Das Keyboard X50Q
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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 X50Q has its 'applets' feature, but it's only accessible for Windows users.

Ducky Shine 7
Unavailable
B&H

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.

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