Razer Cynosa Chroma Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Updated Jan 23, 2020 at 09:16 am
Razer Cynosa Chroma Picture
7.9
Gaming
3.2
Mobile/Tablet
6.7
Office
6.7
Programming
4.7
Entertainment / HTPC
This keyboard was replaced by the Razer Cynosa V2
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
No

The Razer Cynosa Chroma is a decent gaming keyboard with full RGB backlighting and programmable keys. Its rubber dome switches feel light to type on, but may be too mushy for those who prefer mechanical switches. While Razer's Synapse 3 software has a good amount of customization options, it can be unstable at times and the keyboard doesn't have on-board memory to save profiles. Overall, although there are a few gamer-oriented features, the keyboard is fairly basic, and the typing experience is hard to differentiate from your average, run-of-the-mill office keyboard.

Our Verdict

7.9 Gaming

The Razer Cynosa Chroma is decent for gaming. Although the rubber dome switches feel mushy and aren't as responsive, every key on the keyboard can be set to a different function or a macro with the Synapse 3 software. Unfortunately, it lacks dedicated macro keys for MMO games, but the full RGB backlighting is great for those who like to game in a dark room or to highlight important keys.

Pros
  • Customizable RGB backlight.
  • Programmable keys.
Cons
  • Mushy rubber dome switches.
  • Mediocre ergonomics.
3.2 Mobile/Tablet

The Razer Cynosa Chroma has no wireless capabilities and can't be used with mobile devices.

6.7 Office

The Razer Cynosa Chroma is mediocre for office use. The keyboard is fairly easy to type on and doesn't make a lot of noise, but the mushy feeling of the rubber dome switches and high actuation point can cause a bit of fatigue over time. Sadly, it doesn't come with a wrist rest and compatibility with Linux and macOS is limited, as the Synapse 3 software is only available for Windows.

Pros
  • Customizable RGB backlight.
  • Programmable keys.
Cons
  • Mushy rubber dome switches.
  • Mediocre ergonomics.
6.7 Programming

The Razer Cynosa Chroma is okay for programming. It provides a fairly light typing experience, but the high actuation point can be tiring and feel less responsive overall. Although it lacks dedicated macro keys, every key on the keyboard can be reprogrammed. The full RGB backlighting is a nice addition for those who code in the dark, but Linux and macOS users won't be able to customize it in any way.

Pros
  • Customizable RGB backlight.
  • Programmable keys.
Cons
  • Mushy rubber dome switches.
  • Mediocre ergonomics.
4.7 Entertainment / HTPC

Pros
  • Customizable RGB backlight.
  • Programmable keys.
Cons
  • Mushy rubber dome switches.
  • Mediocre ergonomics.
  • 7.9 Gaming
  • 3.2 Mobile/Tablet
  • 6.7 Office
  • 6.7 Programming
  • 4.7 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Apr 16, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.2" (3.1 cm)
Width 17.9" (45.4 cm)
Depth
7.1" (18.0 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.76 lbs (0.800 kg)

The Razer Cynosa Chroma gaming keyboard is fairly large, as it's a full-size keyboard. It doesn't come in a TKL (tenkeyless) variant.

6.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The Cynosa Chroma's build quality is passable. The keyboard is made entirely out of hard plastic, but it exhibits some flex. The doubleshot ABS keycaps feel smooth and shouldn't have any issues with key legends fading or chipping over time. The keys are stable, but the spacebar does rattle a bit. If you want a similar keyboard with a better build quality, check out the HyperX Alloy Core RGB.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
2 °
Medium Incline
3.5 °
Maximum Incline
7 °
Wrist Rest No

The keyboard's ergonomics are mediocre. There are two incline settings; however, it doesn't come with a wrist rest. If you prefer a keyboard with a wrist rest, then check out the Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard or the very similar Razer Ornata Chroma.

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

This keyboard has full RGB backlighting and it can be customized on a per-key level via Razer's Synapse 3 software. It's good for those who like to game in the dark or want to highlight important keys.

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

The keyboard's wire isn't detachable.

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

The Cynosa Chroma is a wired-only keyboard.

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

The Cynosa has hotkeys for media control, backlight brightness, and 'Gaming mode', which locks the Windows key to prevent accidentally minimizing your game. You can also customize the keys you wish to lock with the Synapse 3 software. If you prefer having dedicated media controls, the SteelSeries Apex 3 is a good alternative, or if you want dedicated macro keys, look into the Corsair K57 RGB Wireless Gaming Keyboard.

Design
In The Box

  • Razer Cynosa Chroma keyboard
  • User guide
  • Razer stickers

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Rubber Dome
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
58 gf
Actuation Force
40 gf
Pre-Travel
2.7 mm
Total Travel
4.0 mm

The Razer Cynosa Chroma uses rubber dome switches that don't require a lot of force to actuate, however, the tactile bump feels quite heavy. Furthermore, the pre-travel distance is higher than most mechanical keyboards, requiring more distance before a keystroke is registered. This can lead to better typing accuracy, but can also feel less responsive, especially for gaming. If you want to venture in the mechanical keyboard world but aren't quite sure yet, check out the Razer Ornata V2 with its hybrid mecha-membrane switches.

6.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing experience on this keyboard is mediocre. Although the keys are easy to press due to the low actuation force, the rubber dome switches have a fairly heavy tactile bump, and the keys feel rather mushy and not as responsive, which can cause fatigue when typing for a long time. The keys are mostly stable, except for the spacebar having a slight rattle. Overall, it doesn't feel any different from the average office keyboard.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

Typing noise on this keyboard is quiet, but can be quieter for those who don't bottom out the keys. However, the spacebar has a slight rattle to it. Overall, it's quiet enough to be used in an office without being bothersome.

7.2
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
12.4 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A
Software and Operating System
7.1
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name Razer Synapse 3
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
Yes
Macro Programming
Software
Ease Of Use
Easy
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No

The Razer Cynosa Chroma has good software support. The Synapse 3 software lets you customize the backlight of each key individually and every key can be programmed or remapped to a different function. The keyboard doesn't have on-board memory, so all profiles and macros are saved within the software. This makes moving the keyboard to another computer somewhat inconvenient, but there's a cloud sync option available, though it requires an account. Unfortunately, we had some issues getting Synapse 3 working, as it's currently in Beta, but we were able to resolve the issue with a quick computer restart. If you need a keyboard that has software support for macOS, check out the Logitech G213 Prodigy.

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

This keyboard has decent compatibility. It works with all desktop operating systems; however, Synapse 3 is only available on Windows, so Linux and macOS users won't be able to customize the keyboard. Additionally, while all keys function on Linux, Scroll Lock and Pause don't work on macOS.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Razer Cynosa Chroma doesn't have any variant; however, there's a Pro version that is nearly identical but with RGB underglow lighting beneath the keyboard.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Razer Cynosa Chroma is a decent gaming keyboard, but for around the same price, there are much better options, such as the  Logitech G413. The Logitech is a mechanical keyboard that provides a much better typing experience, and its customization software is available for both Windows and macOS. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best cheap keyboards, the best gaming keyboards under $100, and the best gaming keyboards.

Razer Cynosa V2

The Razer Cynosa V2 is a slightly better keyboard than the original Razer Cynosa Chroma. The V2 has dedicated media keys, but that aside, offers a near-identical experience.

Razer Ornata Chroma

The Razer Ornata Chroma is better than the Razer Cynosa Chroma. It features switches that are a mix of membrane and mechanical switches, while the Cynosa simply uses mushy rubber dome switches. The Ornata is better built and comes with a magnetic wrist rest, which makes its ergonomics and overall typing experience much more comfortable.

Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

The Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard and the Razer Cynosa Chroma are both full-sized gaming keyboards that have rubber dome switches and keystrokes with very similar pre-travel distances. The Corsair has a detachable wrist rest for better ergonomics, while the Razer has individually-lit keys.

SteelSeries Apex 3

The SteelSeries Apex 3 is significantly better than the Razer Cynosa Chroma in most uses. The typing experience and build quality are much better on the SteelSeries, and it comes with a wrist rest for better comfort. However, the Razer has individually lit RGB backlighting, but its customization software is only available for Windows users, while the SteelSeries Engine software is available for Windows and macOS.

Razer Ornata V2

The Razer Ornata V2 is a better keyboard than the Razer Cynosa Chroma if you want to try mechanical keyboards. The Ornata V2 isn't really a mechanical keyboard, but it has hybrid mecha-membrane switches that have the softness of rubber dome switches and clicky feedback from mechanical ones. It also comes with a nice wrist rest and feels higher-end than the Cynosa Chroma. The V2 also has dedicated media keys and is more comfortable to type on. On the other hand, if you don't like clicky switches, the Cynosa Chroma is much quieter.

HyperX Alloy Core RGB

The Razer Cynosa Chroma and the HyperX Alloy Core RGB are similar keyboards in most uses, as they're both budget membrane keyboards with RGB backlighting. The only real difference is that the Razer has more customization options due to its software support, and the HyperX has dedicated media keys instead of hotkeys.

Corsair K57 RGB Wireless Gaming Keyboard

The Corsair K57 RGB Wireless Gaming Keyboard is better than the Razer Cynosa Chroma. Both use rubber dome switches and have full RGB backlighting, but the Corsair is wireless, has dedicated macro keys, and comes with a wrist rest, while the keys on the Razer are a bit lighter to press. 

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