Razer BlackWidow (2014)

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Keyboard Specifications:
Dimensions in cm (Width x Depth x Height): 46.7 x 16.5 x (4 with feet extended, 3 not extended)
Weight: 1.48 kg

The “2nd gen BlackWidow” as I like to call it is Razer’s answer to Cherry’s own mechanical switch line-up. They’ve partnered with Kailhua to produce both the Razer Green and the Razer Orange switch. For this review, the focus will be on the Green switch. The new ‘Green’ switch resembles the Cherry MX Blue in a lot of regards.


Here’s the video review if you prefer watching content:

Build Quality: 8/10

It’s almost the same as the 2010 model, apart from a few ups and down. Firstly, the switches now wobble to an extreme amount making it feel like a few switches could break off if the keyboard is dropped at an angle. However, they added a thicker braided cable on the base model of the keyboard (which this is). Also, they ditched the glossy top plastic for a matt look. I much prefer this, and I hope they never go back to using glossy plastic on a keyboard.

Features: 8/10

There are some features they added to this board. Apart from the new Razer switches, the most notable is the addition of a USB port on the right side which is accompanied by a mic and a headphone jack. Good stuff. Smaller improvements included swapping the media controls on the F keys to be in the correct order and green backlighting for the lock lights and the logo on the bottom of the board (presumably to match the switches). Additionally, they also made all FN functions to be integrated on the F keys, which isn’t really an improvement, but it does make the board look a bit cleaner…I suppose.

If that doesn’t impressive, that’s because it’s not supposed to be. It’s just all marginal improvements. The main feature is the Razer Green switch. Razer claims it is an improvement from the Cherry MX Blue it is replacing as it offers a shorter switch travel, reduced actuation distance and reduced actuation to reset. However, in practice, the lower actuation and reduced actuation to reset aren’t noticeable from the experience, but the shorter travel is. I still doubt many people would feel this, unless they’re comparing the switches side by side.

Here’s the full feature list:

  • Razer Green switches
  • 5 dedicated macro keys
  • USB port + mic and headphones jacks
  • Integrated media controls along the F keys
  • “Gaming lock” (Windows lock) via FN + F10
  • Computer to sleep via FN + Pause break
  • Razer Synapse software

Just like the previous model, the base model is missing backlighting which the Ultimate has. Still, neither comes with a wrist rest!


The Razer Green switch.
Razer Green switches.

Daily Performance: 6/10

Compared to the 2010 model, this keyboard is much more usable in both gaming and typing as there are no keys that chatter or ghost. A big improvement. The wobbly keys mentioned earlier isn’t an issue here at all, but it is something to be aware of.
Apart from that, Razer still doesn’t allow you to use the ‘on-the-fly macros’ without the Razer Synapse software. Yes, the 5 macro keys are still useless. Booooo!


Razer Green switch vs standard switch comparison table.
Razer Green switch vs standard switch comparison table.

Reliability: 5/10

Given that is a young board at only 6 years old (at the time of writing), there is still time for it to develop potential weaknesses. It’s a keyboard from Razer after all, their reputation isn’t exactly great when it comes to the quality of their products. Though, I haven’t come across any major issues unlike with the 2010 model.

Value: 5/10

I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the original price of the board, but I did find pricing of the Ultimate 2014 which had the same price of previous models. We can assume the regular BlackWidow was sold with the same price.

Since these are more common than the 2010 model, I managed to pick one up for £16 on eBay. However, since it’s a slightly newer model, it tends to stick within the £25-30 range. It’s still worth picking up for sure, just make sure to get a clean example.

If you choose not to buy one, you can always get your hands on a brand new Chinese branded board with Outemu or Kailh Blue switches for around the same price. This actually might be the smarter option longevity wise.

Final Score = 32/50 (64%)

 

Places to purchase this keyboard:

eBay

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