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

The brightness button lets you cycle through five different background-lighting settings.

The BlackWidow Ultimate's other features are fairly typical of higher-end gaming keyboards. The backlighting is welcome, as is the ability to cycle through five different brightness settings. The backlighting also sets the Ultimate apart from the standard BlackWidow, which has none. We appreciate the benefits of backlighting, but we still wish Razer had pushed harder to make the Ultimate edition stand out. An option to select different backlight colors would have helped, and the technology would presumably be easy to port over from Razer's own Naga Epic gaming mouse. That feature or some other extra seems more appropriate to a keyboard in this price range.

The Ultimate also features a single USB 2.0 jack and a pair of audio jacks along its right edge. The USB port is handy for connecting a mouse, a USB key, or a mobile device, and the audio jacks might make life easier if you have an analog stereo headset, but neither provides a critical advantage.

Another opportunity for improving the BlackWidow Ultimate's value comes with the dedicated macro buttons. Both BlackWidow models offer a strip of five dedicated buttons for mapping macro commands. Razer has added an on-the-fly macro-recording button, as well as the capability to activate various profiles and assign custom key commands through the included driver software.

The macro recording button is useful, but we wish the BlackWidow Ultimate also had a dedicated key for switching between macro sets.

The drivers are easy to use, but many gamers are obsessive about their macros, and the more dedicated buttons available for assigning commands the better. We'd rather have five than none, but Razer could have effectively doubled the number of available keys by dedicating a key to switching between macro sets. You can use the driver software to assign an existing key to that task, but you of course would need to sacrifice a key you could use for something else. Adding a purpose-built macro-switching key to the Ultimate edition would have been more convenient, and a seemingly easy way to differentiate this keyboard from others.