While every keyboard feels different to use it’s hard to imagine that a mechanical keyboard makes much of a difference. Until you use one of course whereupon all other keyboards feel like a pudding-filled mess. It all comes down to how the keyboard registers your button press. Most keyboards (even fairly expensive ones) register the button press at the bottom of the stroke. The key hits a little rubber dome and presses a contact.
In the Razer BlackWidow the keys have internal mechanical switches and register a press after just 2mm of travel (about half that of a normal keyboard). It might not sound like much a difference but the keys are faster and easier to press and give a vastly improved feel. That said some people don’t like the increased noise of the keys and the distinct clicking feel.
In testing we found that after a period of adjustment the BlackWidow really did speed up our gameplay and seemed to give an extra tiny edge to our reaction speed. Going back to a normal keyboard felt clunky and slow in comparison.
The Razer has five programmable macro keys a gaming mode built-in media controls and a tangle-free braided cable. It’s also quite a thick heavy keyboard and at 1.5kg it doesn’t move around on your desk no matter how vigorously you play. By default the BlackWidow has a fairly large amount of tilt though you can up the angle even more with the fold-out feet.
While we tested the standard version Razer also sells an Ultimate version with fully adjustable backlighting audio I/O jacks and a USB port. Make sure you check out prices on StaticIce because despite the $229.95 RRP you can find the BlackWidow for under $120.
Available from Audion Innovision retailing for $229.95.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)