razer-chroma

After seeing the announcement for Razer’s Chroma line of peripherals, I was very interested in getting my hands on some of them to evaluate. Razer’s new lighting system allows for a possible 16.8 million color combinations and is capable of some really pretty animations. My biggest fear in using the BlackWidow Chroma was that all of the eye candy dancing around my keyboard would distract me from playing my game.

Official Specifications & Features

  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 50g actuation force
  • 60 million keystroke life span
  • Chroma backlighting with 16.8 million customizable color options
  • Razer Synapse enabled
  • 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • 5 additional dedicated macro keys
  • Gaming mode option
  • Audio-out/mic-in jacks
  • USB pass-through
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling
  • Braided fiber cable
  • Approximate size: 475mm/18.72” (Width) x 171mm/6.74” (Height) x 39mm/1.54” (Depth)

In terms of design, the BlackWidow Chroma is practically identical to the new BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard on which this variant is based. The keyboard cables are of good construction, being of the braided variety, and the keyboard features the same audio ports and USB pass-through as well. The keyboard’s 10 key rollover anti-ghosting capabilities mean that you won’t be able to jam up the keyboard buffer anytime soon, and the additional 5 macro keys allow you to expand the keyboard’s capabilities quite a bit with pre-programmed button sequences recorded into them.

The big draw of this new BlackWidow gaming keyboard is, obviously, its Chroma lighting system. This lighting system is a sight to behold, with a huge array of possible colors. Even better, though, is that you can have the Razer BlackWidow Chroma cycle through these colors in a variety of animation patterns. The most eye-boggling is the Wave animation pattern where cycling colors drift across your keyboard. As beautiful as the BlackWidow Chroma looks, I was concerned it would prove to be too great a distraction while you are using it to focus on the game at hand and I was right. I simply could not keep the wave pattern activated while playing games. Anytime I glanced down at the keyboard to press a button, my eyes had a tough time locating it and then going right back to looking at my computer’s display.

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Thankfully, the Wave pattern is not the only animation in the BlackWidow Chroma’s arsenal. The keyboard also gives gamers the options of Static or templatized key lighting configurations. Static is the most widely-used in the backlit keyboard world, being a single color backlight option. This was easily the most user-friendly, without distracting the user. Templatized configurations were very intriguing. The basic templates include options for FPS, RTS, etc. Each of them light up only the most widely-used keys for those kinds of games. Of course, you can also create your own templates, so the system is expandable. They also have a Reactive mode in which the keys you press glow bright for a configurable amount of time, then fade out. While I have seen most of these lighting schemes in other keyboards – I have never seen them all together in one product.

The keyboard has a full number pad as well as Additionally, the Razer BlackWidow Chroma is Synapse 2.0 compatible so your profiles will travel with you without having to set them on each computer you use the keyboard on. The Synapse system is really proving its worth with all of their latest peripherals making full use of it – including their software applications like Razer Surround. The Razer BlackWidow Chroma features a $169.99 MSRP, which is in keeping with the BlackWidow lineup. Of course, being that it is the flagship model, it is the most expensive.

The Razer mechanical keys are excellent and, in the model I reviewed, had a tactile, clicky response. These were the Razer green mechanical keys, and I loved how they felt – whether I was playing a shooter or just typing this review. These new mechanical keys are truly something that have to be felt.

Overall, the Razer Chroma gaming keyboard is welcome addition to Razer’s gaming keyboard lineup. While it shares the same feature set of the BlackWidow Ultimate, its new lighting system makes it a perfect choice for gamers looking to buy a new keyboard. If you already have the BlackWidow Ultimate featuring Razer’s new mechanical key switches, however, I would not run out right away to buy the Chroma unless you absolutely need the 16.8 million backlight colors. The Razer BlackWidow Chroma is out now and is available in both “clicky” green and “stealth” orange mechanical key versions.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com