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Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review: Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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The Good Cherry MX Blue mechanical-key switches offer one of the most satisfying typing experiences available; backlighting helps you game in the dark; on-the-fly macro recording; intuitive driver software.

The Bad Backlighting and a few spare ports don't justify the $40 premium over the non-Ultimate BlackWidow.

The Bottom Line At $125, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is a competitively priced mechanical gaming keyboard in its range. We just wish Razer had done more to set this "Ultimate" edition apart from Razer's more affordable standard BlackWidow.

7.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 9

To a certain extent Razer has made its own life difficult with the BlackWidow Ultimate. This $125 mechanical keyboard offers an impressively responsive typing experience, but we don't find its backlighting or spare USB jack and audio ports enough to justify the cost next to the otherwise identical standard BlackWidow that costs just $80. Without the $80 model, we would have few reservations recommending the BlackWidow Ultimate to gamers in the market for a luxury keyboard. As it stands, we can only suggest the Ultimate version if you find backlighting and a few extra inputs to be worth an additional $40.

Though the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate joins the standard BlackWidow and only two mechanical keyboards from SteelSeries in the gaming market, there's been an overall boom in mechanical keyboards in the past few years. You can find some recent reviews here.

Of the keyboards on that list, two of them, the Das Keyboard and the Rosewill models, use the same Cherry MX Blue switches as the Razer BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate.

The Das costs about $130, and the Rosewill comes in around $100. For the SteelSeries keyboards, the 7G will run you about $150, and the 6GV2 costs $100. Thus, the BlackWidow standard edition looks like the best deal going for a keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches.

Whether Cherry MX Blue switches are the best depends on your preference. They produce a satisfying clacking sound when you type, but they are also loud. If you share a dorm room or otherwise live in close quarters, you may want to consider a keyboard like the Das Model S Professional Silent keyboard, which uses the quieter Cherry MX Brown switches.

You can also find different switches in the $250 Topre Realforce 103UB or the $120 Matias Tactile Pro 3.0. Each switch offers particular characteristics in terms of key activation point, travel distance, resistance, and other factors, all of which combine to create the overall feel of a mechanical keyboard. We find that the Cherry MX Blues delivers exactly the amount of resistance, springiness, and solid feel we're looking for in a keyboard for typing or gaming.

Though we like the switches in the BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate, our one complaint about the keys has to do with their layout, specifically that of the Function keys. Rather than spacing them above the number keys evenly, Razer has squished them toward the center of the keyboard. The result is that the Function keys sit closer together than necessary, which can make it hard to single them out quickly.

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