Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 Edition Review
The market for mechanical gaming keyboards has exploded recently. It didn't seem that long ago that everyone was trading in their Model M's for something sleek and low-profile. Now the mechanical keyboards are back with a rightful bang, and a whole new generation of users are discovering how good the alternative could be.
Understandably it takes more than a good switch to excite the hearts of the instant-gratification generation, and the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
Build quality is outstanding. It's a weighty unit and nice and thick, so it will withstand an almighty beating without flexing or wobbling. With the on-the-fly macro recording and five dedicated keys for customisation you can get some decent use out of it without needing to install the Synapse 2.0 software. Although you definitely should. It's a great looking piece of software, that's very easy to use and everything is laid out in a clear and concise manner. It might seem like those qualities are obvious but, as anyone who has dealt with any software at all knows, that isn't always the case.
We've often spoken about the glory that is to be found when typing on Cherry MX switches, and the BlackWidow is no exception. The noise from a mechanical keyboard is what usually puts people off, because they either remember the clicking of the old IBMs, or because it's seeped into the collective consciousness that is what they should sound like. Of course that's not the case at all usually, but with the BlackWidow it is. It's the first keyboard we've seen in some time to be equipped with the Cherry Blue variant, which provide an audible click when depressed. So as well as the slight noise you get from typing generally, there is also a deliberate click to aid in feedback. If this sounds like a deal-breaking issue, the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth is identical to the model we're reviewing today, but has the Cherry MX Brown switches which don't click.
So it's built like a tank, the software is excellent and the lighting is uniform and bright. Alongside the well-placed headset and USB ports and the reasonable £110 price-tag, there is nothing to stop the Razer from belonging on anyone's shortlist. Whether you want the quiet of the Stealth version, or the tactile feedback of the Ultimate, you'll be pleased with the Razer BlackWidow and it earns our OC3D Gold Award.