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Razer’s BlackWidow Chroma V2 adds a set of upgrades over the original Chroma including a different font, LED indicator panel, body and keycap coating, and finally a wrist rest. The font has a more professional look rather than the gamer font previously. The sturdy plastic body didn’t show any flex, and it will be able to take a beating to last you longer. The new matte coating on the chassis will keep oil stains away but the keycaps don’t do a good enough job. Speaking of keycaps, the stem isn’t thick enough and it doesn’t provide a snug fit on the switches. This resulted in the keycaps, apart from the alphabets, coming off after some rigourous typing. The final upgrade from the previous keyboard is the handy cushioned wrist rest that attaches with the keyboard through magnets.
Our review unit had the Razer Green switches underneath which are tactile and clicky similar to Cherry MX Blues. This keyboard also comes in the Orange and Yellow switch variants. Just like any other keyboard in this range, we didn’t notice any lag or ghosting while playing games. The extra buttons on the left are to assign macros and even shortcuts for daily usage. The new beta Razer Synapse software has a revamped interface, giving you easier navigation control over keyboard settings and lighting. At this price range, it’s natural to expect dedicated multimedia buttons which is absent on this keyboard. If that’s a deal breaker for you, then you could go for the Corsair K70 Lux RGB or K95 Platinum (more expensive). And if RGB isn’t something you crave for, the HyperX Alloy Elite is a great choice at a much lower price.
Razer has always been synonymous with expensive and premium products whether it’s their keyboards or mice or headsets. Their keyboard lineup targets enthusiasts, offering premium features they would want on a gaming keyboard. With the BlackWidow Chroma V2, Razer continues to offer those features that the gamers want by overcoming some of the flaws reported by the community on the original BlackWidow Chroma. We’ll be looking at all the tiny and major updates on the newer version and how the keyboard fares in terms of performance and build quality.
Xanova Juturna-U Review
Keyboard size: Standard, Numpad included
Keyboard backlighting: RGB LED
Switch type: Mechanical (Razer Green 80-million lifecycle)
Polling rate: 1,000Hz (1 ms)
Key-rollover: N-key rollover
Interface: USB 2.0
Dimensions: Width – 47.5 cm, Length – 17.1 cm, Height – 3.9 cm
Cable length: 2m
Weight: 1.5 kg
Features and accessories
The Chroma V2 has several changes from the previous version. Previously, the LED indicators were placed under the top cover of the keyboard and on the newer one, they have been given a dedicated area in the same spot. They used to be too dim on the original version but now they are much brighter. In terms of materials, the top cover of the chassis is more smudge-proof than the previous one while the keycap coating remains the same. The mic port has been removed while retaining the 3.5mm headphone and USB passthrough port. The original Chroma used to have gold-plated USB connectors which have been dropped on the Chroma V2. For those who are concerned about the font on keyboards, it has been updated to a more neutral one, moving away from the gamer-ish font on the original. This has also resulted in the backlighting to appear slightly dimmer than the original one. After launching the Razer Yellow switch (their answer to Cherry’s MX Speed switches), the Chroma V2 now supports the new switch whereas the original doesn’t. Finally, the Chroma V2 has a cushioned magnetic wrist rest that easily can be attached and detached. Magnetic wrist rests are highly appreciated and making it cushioned just makes it better.
Inside the package, you’ll find the keyboard, wrist rest and a keychain with a single Razer switch mounted on it. The type of switch is based on what you’re buying so, in our case, we received a Razer Green keychain. But it’s still surprising to see Razer not including a keycap puller, in spite of shipping the additional accessory.
Build quality and design
The build quality is impressive in almost every part of the Chroma V2. Right from the chassis to the thick braided cable, the entire frame of the keyboard didn’t display any flex at all. The standoffs on the bottom have a rubber lining that prevents the keyboard from slipping on your desk. Although they weren’t flimsy, it was too easy to flip them out. Because of the braiding on the cable, you don’t need to worry about damage for a long time unless you’re careless with cables. The company’s move of dropping the gold-plated USB connectors was a surprise and retaining them would have only kept the connectors more durable. The keycap stem thickness is low where we get to see thicker stems on high-end Corsair and G.SKILL keyboards.
Razer claims that their new switches have a durability or keystroke lifecycle of 80 million clicks. This is the highest claimed by any other switch manufacturer and the only switches with higher durability are optical mechanical switches. Only time will tell whether their claims are true since it’s impossible for us to test whether the keyboard can endure through even a million clicks in our labs. Typing on Razer Greens are closer to Cherry MX Blues but feel more clicky and every key register feels distinct. However, if you don’t have much experience with them, you wouldn’t notice the difference.
Gaming and typing performance
Razer started using their own mechanical switches in their keyboards. There’s a lot of debate surrounding the manufacturers of these switches. Earlier it used to be Kailh but now, there’s speculation that they are from Greetch and they aren’t only the sole suppliers. The new switches are branded with Razer. Nonetheless, Razer switches are custom-made according to their own specifications. For example, the actuation point of 1.9mm along with the actuation force of 50g will only be found on the Razer Green. Available in Razer Green, Orange and Yellow variants, we had received the Razer Green with the Chroma V2. The Greens are tactile and clicky, hence, more suited towards typing because of the satisfying bump and noise. But that’s a personal preference since some users can’t stand the noise.
We found no issues in gaming. The keyboard has 10-key rollover which should be enough since there’s no way you’re going to press more than 10 keys at once. In the Microsoft Keyboard Ghosting Demonstration, we observed that the keyboard could register up to 14 keys at once. The extra macro keys on the left are easily programmable using the Razer Synapse software. The new and updated software is easier to use and navigate around. Recording macros was a breeze, giving you an edge in MOBAs or even binds for CS:GO. The software also allows you to save additional shortcuts to any key which can be used along with pressing the “fn” or “Hypershift” key.
Not just gaming, the Chroma V2 can be used as a highly productive keyboard for typing as well. The same features of re-programmable buttons can be applied to shortcuts and tasks, freeing up the need to use your mouse too often while typing. There are several presets already added in the software such as mouse functions, launching programs, windows shortcuts, etc. So, you can assign one of the keys to launching your default browser, music player or calendar. You can also assign them lighting modes or profiles rather than going to the software and changing them. The software allows you to create an endless number of profiles. However, you’ll have to keep Synapse running in the background for all the lighting effects and key assignments to work. Although the new Synapse might look great and make things easier to fiddle around, it isn’t close to perfect. We experienced stuttering several times and the software used to freeze while navigating around the menu.