For the PC gamer, and even the casual PC user, the keyboard is everything. While it may not be the component that processes your commands or stores your data, it is still crucial to a good experience.
The keyboard is the unit we rely on to give the computer commands. Along with the mouse (and the mic, for voice-command lovers), the keyboard is the most important component for making sure the user can get their device to do what they want.
Keyboards come in many forms. From the bulky and limited models of previous decades to the high-powered options of today, it is easy to see just how far things have come in terms of performance and design. Think back to how bulky keyboard used to be, and how plain they used to look. That certainly isn’t the case today, especially if you go through a company like Razer.
Razer’s keyboards are known for a few things. The first is their slim and portable design. The next is their sleek appearance complete with LED backlit keys. The final quality you can expect from a Razer keyboard is a holistic layout with enough key options to help you own your computing experience.
There’s nothing fun about having to work around a peripheral that limits you more than it helps you. Razer aims to help users get around that problem, especially when it comes to accessories like keyboards. And for gamers, it’s hard to find a better and more dedicated company than Razer.
Today we’ll be examining the Razer Blackwidow Chroma. We’ll check out the specs and features to determine who this keyboard may appeal to. Then we’ll go over the company’s background, public perception, and competition to determine whether this offering is worth it for the money.
Features of the Razer Blackwidow Chroma at a Glance
- Multi-Award winning Razer Mechanical Switches - Razer Green Switch with tactile bump and audible click for the best overall gaming performance
- Extreme Durability- Razer mechanical switches are rated up to 80 million keystrokes and come with a 2-year warranty
- Powered by Razer Chroma - Individually programmable backlit keys with 16.8 million color options
The Razer Blackwidow Chroma is a high-quality unit, and as the name suggests it uses Razer’s patented Chroma color technology. This lends it that unmistakable LED appearance to help you really add a lot of flare to your setup.
From a functional perspective, it is very similar to another popular keyboard in Razer’s lineup. That would be the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate. But for just an extra $40, users can now get the same set of features with a stylish LED backlit element.
As with most keyboards from Razer, the Blackwidow Chroma has a few key features you’ll notice immediately upon opening the box. It’s sleek, but durable. And while it may look like a basic black keyboard (which is stylish enough for some) you’ll see a world of swirling colors as soon as you plug it in and activate the backlighting.
It’s understandable who this keyboard is targeted to, given the creators behind it. Razer is one of the top names in PCs, laptops, and equipment for gamers. This means when you buy the Razer Blackwidow Chroma, you’re certainly capable of browsing, chatting, or word processing – but you’re likely aiming more toward leveling up, taking down bad guys, and playing in co-op with your friends.
Razer’s attention to detail can be seen in the keys they use on their hardware. Some keyboards require you to slam down on the keys in order to make them activate. This can be rough on both the hardware and your hands – causing unnecessary stress and even potential damage to both. The Blackwidow’s keys aren’t like this, making it easy for you to type whether you’re in the game or out.
Many companies have invested a great deal of time and effort into this issue. Being able to use a keyboard without having to apply too much pressure makes for a smoother and more seamless workflow. It can also help you land that super-accurate headshot or pull off those unbelievable dodges when facing bosses.
With five macro keys on the side, this keyboard gives gamers the option to customize their setup no matter what game they’re playing. A little bit of extra versatility like this can be great whether a person is gaming single player, with friends, or even streaming at the same time. Game mode and recording keys are nice touches, and great inclusions considering the target audience.
This keyboard is a great fit for gamers who want to shoot high in their aim for a versatile setup. A great keyboard can be the crowning achievement of any rig, and it is crucial to helping gamers and casual users have a great experience.
What Does the Chroma Lighting Look Like?
While it can be difficult to articulate the visual effects of a feature like this isn’t words, it is only fair to give some consideration to this feature. After all, it is the only factor that really separates the Blackwidow Chroma from the Blackwidow Ultimate.
Razer’s typical color scheme consists of black and green, making it a sleek looking design no matter what kind of setup a user has. But there is something to be said about versatility when it comes to colors, and PC users usually want the lights on their keyboard to match the lights on their computer. Or at the very least, they want a multicolor setup to help them enjoy a wide variety of colors.
Razer’s Chroma technology is one of their most popular features. They offer users the chance to see a spectrum that consist of millions of colors – 16.8 million to be exact. Whether in a solid configuration or in “breathing mode” that pulses a different color every seven seconds, Chroma enabled devices can offer some extremely gorgeous visuals.
Whether in short, medium or long durations, or whether in wave or ripple mode, the Chroma backlights back be useful for making your Blackwidow keyboard look the part. For gamers who enjoy the sleek looks of a keyboard that doesn’t skip when it comes to lighting, the Chroma is definitely worth it for an added $40.
If you lift off one of the keys (not advised, unless you’re an expert when it comes to assembling and disassembling keyboards) you’ll notice the MX stem design that makes for quick responses when you type. You’ll also notice there isn’t a ton of light leakage around individual keys, meaning you can enjoy a steady color pallet even with the blended effect – or in other words, your colors won’t run into one another and look like mud, which is known to happen on cheaper keyboards.
The Blackwidow Chroma has a lot to offer in terms of color programming – but how exactly do you go about programming it, and is it easy to do?
What Software Does the Razer Blackwidow Chroma Use?
Razer’s Blackwidow Chroma is bundled with Synapse 2.0, a highly responsive software program that can be used to control your key bindings, lighting effects, and more. Razer’s software is rated well, and even surpasses that of competitors in several key areas.
Upon plugging in the keyboard to an updated system, you should immediately see the software open up as well. You can start out by editing the default settings or creating a new profile. This is a useful feature if you want to create multiple lighting configurations and switch between them – after all, who doesn’t like a little variety when it comes to their backlighting?
To make things simple, Razer puts the lighting controls in a single panel, so you can cycle through your options with ease. In addition, you don’t have to wait around to see how your changes look – they take effect immediately and show you the impact of your new settings.
When you check out the presets, you’ll see five options: breathing, cycling, wave, static, and reactive. But what about if you want to map your key colors individually? There’s an option for that – you can change each key on your own, or you can even start with a template that preselects keys commonly used in gaming. This way you can set up your lighting for the games you’re playing. For example, if you’re playing a game that moves with the WASD keys, you may want to light those up and leave the ones around them dark.
What this software lacks in variety it makes up for in simplicity. It’s a great pick for those who want a high-quality gaming keyboard that they can rely on for both functionality and looks. The added perk of being able to plug it in and configure it without a large learning curve is also a welcomed bonus.
The One Major Downfall of the Blackwidow Chroma
The Razer Blackwidow Chroma has a lot going for it. The simple software interface, colorful design, and great setup for both gaming and typing make it an awesome choice for any PC gamer. But there’s one place where this keyboard is challenged – the price range.
You’ll find the keyboard retails for around $140-$200 on most sites. It is possible to find a cheaper option, even if you don’t go with refurbished models, but that requires either bargain hunting or coupon clipping.
While some gamers love to splurge and will spare no expense to complete their rig, others shop on a budget. There’s also the matter of buying this computer as part of a setup. Think about what the common gamer looks for – processing power, great graphical processing power, and plenty of storage space to install games.
If a gamer is looking to buy a keyboard along with their computer, it is easy for them to pass on this model. The thought process is simple – if you’re spending $180 on a keyboard, you could probably spend $100 less and still get a good model. That cash you saved can then be put into the main rig, potentially getting you a much better graphics card or processor.
While not the most expensive keyboard out there, the Razer Blackwidow Chroma is a little pricey even considering its vast array of color combinations. Chroma doesn’t have a ton of competition, so they’re asking price comes from the limited supply associated with their industry.
Now let’s take a look at some of the main competition for the Blackwidow Chroma. Since the Blackwidow Ultimate is so similar and many of Razer’s other models also have similar features, we’ll examine models from outside this brand.
What Does the Competition Offer?
Here are three primary competitors to the Razer Blackwidow Chroma, based on similar features.
- Rainbow of LED Backlit can switch among medium light,high light,breath mode and turn off by pressing Fn and Esc simultaneously.
- Simultaneous operation of up to 19 keys without conflict, 8 multimedia shortcut keys, interchangeable "WASD" keys and WIN keys can be disabled for gaming.
- 7 Cricular and Colorful Breathing LED Light Effect：Red, Green, Blue, Yollow, Purple, Cyan, Pink (Warm tips: cannot set in one specific color); Light-off mode: forward/back button+DPI for 3 seconds
Much like the Blackwidow Chroma, this model has a diverse pallet of colors behind the keys. It also has an ergonomic design with several macro keys to make your gaming experience that much better. It even has seven separate effects for the colors, and usually retails at only $30 – unless you have a great eye for telling hues and shades of colors from one another, you may not even notice the lack of options here when compared to the Blackwidow Chroma.
- UPGRATE GAMER TYPEER KEYBOARD EQUIPMENT---26 anti-ghost keys,compatible with more game than the ex-version keyboard.Soft keys,you need less power to press and you can feel comfortable when you are gaming and typing.
- UNIQUE ADJUSTABLE LED BACKLIT KEYBOARD DESIGN---Four level of brightness.Two Backlit Modes, Stable Rainbow and Circular Breathing Rainbow Modes. Can be on/off through ONE KEY.
- IMITATE MECHANICAL KEYS&ERGONOMIC TILT DESIGN---10 angle tilt,big and arcuated Double injection ABS keycaps design, effectively reduce hand fatigue, feel more comfortable
Sold in combination with a matching mouse, this $ keyboard offers a backlit design with stable rainbow and rainbow breathing modes. Enjoy a solid pallet of versatile colors of a constantly changing pallet – and switch between them easily. This keyboard’s color effects can be turned off through a single key, and the mechanical setup is great for fast and responsive typing.
- Custom mechanical switches (Cherry Blue equivalent) for ultimate gaming performance
- Red LED adjustable lighting and double-shot injection molded keycaps for crystal clear backlighting
- Metal and ABS construction, mechanical keys, and gold plated USB connector stand up to hardcore gaming
At only $ on most sites, this keyboard is a great choice if you want a keyboard with adjustable lighting. While it may not have the capability to offer you rainbow color pallets as stock, it is very responsive making it great for gaming and casual use alike.
The Bottom Line About the Razer Blackwidow Chroma
The Razer Blackwidow Chroma is no doubt a great gaming keyboard. Its main selling point is unquestionably the Chroma technology which offers you unparalleled color versatility. That’s also what causes the price to be so high.
If you value having enough color options to never see the same configuration or shade twice, go for this one. If you want to save around $50-$100 and still get a keyboard that is responsive and/or capable of rainbow backlighting, go with one of the competitors mentioned here or others like them.