Razer BlackWidow Elite Keyboard Review — A Button Press Above the Rest
The Razer BlackWidow Elite gets you a lot for the asking price and shows that razer is committed to providing high-quality options for the average PC gamer.
Whether you’re a fan of mechanical keyboards or not, Razer’s BlackWidow Elite stands as a complete keyboard option for people who just like fancy lights or people who need the “military-grade” aluminum because they know they’ll put it through its paces. It’s hard to call something “beautiful” that just makes incessant clicky-clack noises all day, but that’s what this keyboard is. It provides comfort–both physically and aesthetically–while bringing a lot of functionality with some game-changing features.
I should start by pointing out that the BlackWidow Elite is, in some ways, an upgrade to Razer’s other recently released mechanical keyboard: the Huntsman Elite. While that keyboard does include the unique feature that is Razer’s Opto-Mechanical switches (which you should check out; it’s a nifty idea), the BlackWidow Elite costs $20 less at $169.99 US. That alone is a reason to respect what this keyboard is doing. If you haven’t already, check out our review of the Kraken TE. Razer is doing well to provide aspiring PC gamers with a respectable tier of hardware with its most recent releases.
Some of the most stand-out features for the BlackWidow Elite are the quality of the parts that make it up. I can’t say whether the metal that makes up this keyboard would actually be fit to see military combat, but it does feel sturdy as hell. It’s a really heavy keyboard. That is also, likely, because the BlackWidow Elite has onboard memory and cloud storage for your macros as well as the settings you can alter on Razer Synapse. There’s also enough room inside this keyboard for a USB and 3.5mm passthrough. I love this feature because it means I am not giving up a USB port by having this plugged in. You wouldn’t think that having enough USB ports is an issue, but then again you’re probably not the idiot who spilled coffee on his PC case and shorted the USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks on it.
Seriously though, from a cable management perspective, it’s nice to have one less wire running towards the back of your desk. If you’re using a wireless mouse, you can plug its receiver into the keyboard so that you have an all-in-one solution. I’ve also got to acknowledge the digital dial the keyboard has in the top right corner. It defaults to controlling volume but can be changed to modify gradient in Photoshop, or to change the camera distance in 3rd person games. It’s another tool that is given to the user that can go as far as their needs and imagination.
Next, there is the holy grail that is the included magnetic wrist rest. Razer has somehow managed to make a carpel-tunnel-preventing senior-citizen-style wrist rest into something I could use the word “sexy” to describe. It’s soft both concerning cushioning and to the touch. Though it covers up the cool-looking Razer logo on the base of the keyboard, there’s one embossed onto the material itself. If you’re doing a “my setup” video, removing it is as simple as picking it up. The magnets are strong enough to withstand some really unhealthily-long gaming sessions. That’s good because the mechanical switches are rated as being able to withstand up to 80 million keystrokes: an accolade I never want to earn. The keycaps are made of a smooth, yet sturdy plastic that is easy on the eyes.
Finally, I can’t talk about a Razer product without talking about Razer Synapse. In my opinion, it’s the best 3rd party peripheral management system on the market. In many ways, when I calculate the cost of one of their products, I remind myself that a portion of that price is going towards being able to use this software. Of course, it lets you control Chroma to be able to do some crazy things such as mimic your health bar and keybinds in Fortnite or PUBG. It even allows you (for whatever reason) to have Pac-Man appear to be eating blips on your keyboard as you type. It’s a level of excess I’ve grown so accustomed to. Synapse also lets you manage different profiles in case you want some keys macrod to others for certain games.
Razer has also implemented “Razer Hypershift” into this keyboard which allows you to designate a key that changes the function of other inputs. For example, if you want your mouse wheel to scroll left and right on a webpage, you can hold down your Hypershift key and change the function of the mouse wheel. It’s a cool feature, and if you get really into it, it can certainly change the way you play.
Ultimately, the Razer BlackWidow Elite defines itself as a well-built and well-executed gaming keyboard and its design justifies the price tag. If you’re looking for a modern take on the mechanical keyboard with a lot of functionality then the BlackWidow elite is a great choice, plus, since it’s a Razer produce, it’ll look pretty on your desk too.