If you are looking to get that competitive edge in the PC gaming world, you are going to need the right tools. Your skills will carry you along way but sometimes you need to improve the tools that you are using in order to get that extra leg up on the competition. I have a decent machine and a few months back picked up a nice gaming mouse
; now I need to get a decent keyboard. After spending the last couple of weeks with Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Gaming Keyboard, I think that I have found the final piece to the puzzle that is my PC gaming toolset.
The BlackWidow is a sleek and responsive piece of hardware perfect for fast paced FPS and RTS games. Each key features mechanical architecture that is silent and ultra-responsicve to the touch. The actual key press itself is dead silent though you can here the sound of the button hitting the actual body of the keyboard while typing. The keys are designed to recognize input with only 45g of actuation force; what that means is that the buttons barely need to be depressed in order to register a keystroke. According to the specifications on the keyboard such a keystroke is recognized after being pressed merely 2mm. You won’t have to worry about your key presses not registering but rather inadvertently registering unwanted key presses.
In terms of actual in game performance, this isn’t an issue. Most of the inadvertent key presses that you will trigger are usually buttons that have no effect on the controls in the game. It does become noticeable when using the keyboard for actual typing functions though. If you combine the button sensitivity with the decreased width of the buttons you end up hitting a lot of keys in error. Perhaps the biggest culprit in this issue is the CAPS LOCK key which I ALWAYS hit when reaching for the “A” key. Even after extended usage of the keyboard, this is something that I still urn into repeatedly. Perhaps users with smaller (thinner) fingers won’t find this to be as big of an issue as I do. Then again, I consider this a small price to pay for the incredible performance that the keys offer.
Another one of the strong benefits of the keyboard is its ability to recognize up to 6 keystrokes simultaneously. This is extremely beneficial when trying to maneuver while you are on the run in your favorite FPS game(s). Each key on the keyboard is also individually lit by a bright backlighting which can be set to one of 5 levels. This is extremely useful when gaming in the dark as many gamers, such as myself, prefer to do. Aside from being extremely useful for those nighttime gaming sessions, the crisp blue lighting also looks extremely cool.
The BlackWidow is ready to go almost instantaneously upon plugging it into your system. The keyboard requires no specific drivers in order to function, however, you will need the appropriate software if you intend on taking advantage of some of its more robust features. First off, gamers can program and store up to 10 different gaming profiles on the keyboard, allowing you to switch between them with the simple press of a button. Perhaps your gaming involves a variety of genres varying from FPS to RTS and maybe a few fighting games in between; you can customize your keybindings specifically for each experience and not have to reprogram them upon launching each different game. Along with the profiles, the keyboard also allows you to program and store commands to one of 5 macro keys which are located on the left side of the layout. Their positioning takes a little getting used to from an actual typing perspective but there are in the perfect position for gameplay sessions.
In addition to the included macro keys, the keyboard also features numerous multi-media keys for controlling your various functions of your PC such as volume controls and your typical media functions such as stop, play, and forward / back. All of these keys function through the keyboard basic drivers which are included in Windows itself and do not require the additional software available for the keyboard.
Physically speaking, the BlackWidow is sleek and simple. There really isn’t much to see as it looks fairly simple in its design. The smooth black matte finish of the keyboard proves the perfect background for the bright lighting of the keys and it is when the backlights are at their brightest setting that the physical beauty of the keyboard truly comes to life. While the finish on the keyboard eliminates the collecting of fingerprints, I do notice that it picks up marks from oily fingers after repeated usage. This doesn’t wipe away easily either. You will likely want to refrain from handling greasy items and snacks during usage in order to keep the surface area clean from the smudges.
The keyboard is also remarkably solid as well, clocking in at around 3 pounds. You won’t have to worry about unwanted shifts on your desktop thanks to the extra heft. That same solid design is visible throughout the lengthy braided cable running out of the top for connection to your PC. The think cable is quite sturdy and contains 2 gold plated USB connectors on the end as will as pass through cables for your audio input and output. The first USB connector serves to power and connect the keyboard to your PC while the other acts as a pass-through for the powered USB slot on the right edge of the keyboard. The inclusion of the powered USB slot as well as headset and microphone jacks on the side is a great bonus, giving you easy access to ports for your other gaming accessories.
The BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Edition keyboard has everything that you could want in a gaming keyboard. The solid, hefty keyboard is built to last and has all of the bells and whistles to satisfy all of your gaming needs. It is the perfect gaming keyboard for PC gamers looking to take their game to the next level; that is if you are willing to pay the price. If you are looking for a quality keyboard to take your gaming to the next level, look no further.