I must confess, I am a huge lover of Razer’s products, they are usually designed with my favorite colour green, they look sleek as hell and work exactly how you want them too, all of this at a darn good price, so when I got given the opportunity to review one of their latest mechanical gaming keyboards, the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013 edition I literally jumped at it.
The BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 includes full mechanical keys that can be activated with just 50 grams of force, this means you can type a lot faster and more accurately, all of the keys are individually back-lit with green LEDs that can be adjusted with 20 different modes of brightness, this can be done easily on-the-fly with a simple press of the fn+F11/F12 key depending on whether you want to turn the brightness down or up, this can also be set to pulsate.
Along the top of the keyboard there’s the full set of Fn keys, these can be used as mentioned before to control various functions on your computer and on the keyboard, such as changing/ muting the volume, as well as skipping a track or even playing a new one/ pausing the current one, what makes this keyboard a little different from normal keyboards is the macro and gaming keys, the macro key as many of you can probably guess will allow you to set up new macros on-the-fly from the select of 5 macro keys situated on the left hand side of the keyboard, and the gaming mode will allow you to disable the windows, Alt+tab and Alt-F4 keys, making sure you don’t do something stupid whilst in the middle of a game.
The BlackWidow is in no way a small keyboard measuring 475 mm / 18.70” (Width) x 171 mm / 6.73” (Height) x 30 mm / 1.18” (Depth), you will defiantly need a somewhat large desk to fit this on. As the keyboard is also quite heavy weighing in at 3.31 pounds it’s certainly not going to slip and slide anywhere however, which is great if your one of those that types with a lot of force at great speeds, personally I have found other keyboards to fall of my desk whilst typing so that extra weight is something I prefer.
The reason for the increased height is due to the fact that Razer have now implemented individual key presses, this means that the BlackWidow will register a button press about half way before it gets to the actual base of the keyboard, Razer says that this will allow you to press buttons much faster which I would have to agree with personally, however if you are not used to these types of keyboards you might find it a little difficult to do at first, however as with anything over time it will get easier to use.
One thing I cannot have around my workspace is cables trailing everywhere, and is why I really like the cable on the BlackWidow as Razer have joined all of the four cables needed for this cable into one medium-sized braided cable, which looks great and means I don’t have four separate cables trailing from my keyboard to the computer, these four cables include the headphone and microphone extensions as well as the USB passthrough cable and the USB power cable, which will supply the keyboard with the power it requires as well as sending data to and from the keyboard itself.
You may have noticed that I mentioned the cable includes a USB passthrough, microphone and headphone extension, that is because on the lower right hand side of this keyboard you will find three separate ports for a USB, headphone and microphone, meaning you will no longer have to reach around the back of your gaming desktop to plug-in that pair of headphones again, you can simply load up a game and attach all the accessories you need, personally I plug a USB hub into the pasthrough and then plug everything else I need into that, such as a mouse, flash drive and even my portable hard drive, all of which works as you would normally expect.
As the cable is braided it means you can easily create bends in it to fit your set-up and where you would like the cable to go, it’s also extremely versatile and could probably withstand a bit of pull, however I would not recommend pulling the cord on the keyboard to try it.
What makes the BlackWidow great however is the new Synapse 2.0 software used to control it, I have found with far too many keyboards and mice that they either don’t include software at all or it’s something that isn’t worth using, Razer’s is completely different however, I found it extremely simple to get set up and ready to game, with easy to use controls and a great looking interface.
However there are a couple of things that might put a few people of about the keyboard, the first is the sound created by the mechanical keys which is extremely loud, and to often you will find other people within voice chat constantly asking about that loud clicking sound, personally I don’t mind this as it’s something I have come to expect, if you think you would however there is another version of this keyboard called the Stealth Edition available with or without the backlit keys it has been designed with silent mechanical keys, I can’t say how silent these keys actually are as I haven’t used one but if you think the clicking will annoy you, the Stealth is probably a better option.
Alongside this there is no wrist rest attached to the keyboard, which can sometimes be a real annoyance as you find yourself hovering over the keyboard, this can create huge strain in the arms and is probably worth looking into, alongside that I would have also preferred it if the macro and gaming keys were on the left rather than the right as the keys I use most are the media keys, which can sometimes be a pain to get to on this keyboard, however that’s a personal thing.
Overall if you’re looking to buy a gaming keyboard the first place you should defiantly look is Razer, the BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 Edition truly is an awesome addition to their lineup and will make for a great add-on to any gaming set-up.
The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 Edition is available for £124.99 from the Razer online store.
Disclaimer: We were sent this product for review purposes by Razer but all views and opinions were completely my own and will always remain that way.