Razer BlackWidow

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Razer BlackWidow
Rbw2014.jpg
Branding Razer
Manufacturer iOne
Features Backlighting, macro keys, media functions, Windows key lock gaming mode
Layouts US-ANSI, US-ANSI for Mac. ISO for UK, ES, DE, IT, FR and Nordic
Keyswitches 2010–2013: Cherry MX,
2014–2016: Razer switch,
2016-: Cherry MX, Razer RGB
Interface USB
Weight 1.5 kg
Introduced 2010
Price ~50–160€

Razer BlackWidow is a range of mechanical gaming keyboards made by Razer.

The key switches were Cherry MX Blue or Brown until 2014 when Razer switched to using Razer-branded clones manufactured by Kaihua and later Greetech. In mid/late 2016, Razer started going back to using genuine Cherry MX switches except for the Chroma variants with RGB backlighting.

Layout

The keyboards have a PC layout with 1.5u-sized Ctrl and Alt keys on the bottom row, with 1u Windows, Fn and Menu keys, as well as a 6u Space bar.

A unique "feature" of the full-sized BlackWidows is that the function keys are shifted slightly to the right, so that they are parallel to the WASD cluster. BlackWidow X and BlackWidow Chroma V2 don't have this.

The regular BlackWidow line has also five macro keys on the right side.

Variants

Form factors

The keyboard range comprises three form factors:

BlackWidow
The classic Razer BlackWidow line has a full-sized PC layout with 5 additional macro keys on the left-hand side.
There is a version with US-ANSI/Macintosh layout but with otherwise the same physical keys.
BlackWidow Tournament Edition
Tenkeyless keyboards intended to be (more) portable, e.g. for bringing to LAN parties.
The USB cable is detachable and there is no passthrough for USB and audio.
The function keys are in the conventional position with the F1 key above 2 and there are no macro keys.
BlackWidow X
The BlackWidow X keyboards have a case design with an exposed plate and "floating" keys.
Unlike the regular BlackWidow line there are no macro keys on the left-hand side.

Feature variations

In each form factor there is at least one variation with one or several features. A regular BlackWidow or BlackWidow Tournament Edition has clicky switches and no backlighting.

Ultimate
Has blue (-2012) or green (2013+) backlighting. Often has passthrough of USB and headset (earphone/microphone)
Chroma
Has configurable RGB backlighting.
Stealth
Has non-clicky tactile switches (Cherry MX Brown or Razer Orange) instead of clicky (Cherry MX Blue or Razer Green).
Ultimate Stealth
Has backlighting and non-clicky switches

List of models

This list is very incomplete.

Model Known revisions
BlackWidow 2010,2013 (late 2012),2014
BlackWidow Ultimate 2010,2013 (late 2012),2014,2016
BlackWidow Stealth 2014
BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth 2011, 2013 (late 2012)
BlackWidow Chroma 2015 (Dec 2014)
BlackWidow Chroma V2 2017
BlackWidow Tournament Edition 2012, 2014
BlackWidow Tournament Stealth 2014
BlackWidow Ultimate Tournament Edition
BlackWidow Tournament Chroma
Blackwidow X Ultimate 2016
BlackWidow X Chroma 2016
BlackWidow X Tournament Edition 2016
BlackWidow X Tournament Chroma 2016

History

The range has been revised multiple times.

Early in the summer of 2010, Razer announced that it was planning to introduce a gaming keyboard with Cherry MX switches. Razer set up a online poll in which the public could vote for their favourite Cherry MX-switch.

2010: The BlackWidow and the BlackWidow Ultimate were introduced in the fall of 2010. Instead of a diode per switch and 6-key rollover, the keyboards had only a gaming-optimized matrix. The surface finish was gloss black, which was known to show fingerprints very well. The Ultimate had passthrough of USB and earphone/microphone, but the standard BlackWidow did not.

2011: The BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth was introduced with non-clicky Cherry MX Brown switches. It was the first BlackWidow to have a diode per switch for 6-key rollover over USB. It also had a matte black case. The other keyboards in the line were largely unchanged.

2012: The "2013 editions" were announced in the summer of 2012 and introduced later in the year. The backlight for the Ultimate models was changed from blue to (Razer) green and the switch mounting plate was recoloured from black to green to better show off the backlight. All full-sized keyboards now have 6-key rollover, matte rubberised case and passthrough for USB and ear phone/mic. The tenkeyless Tournament Edition was also introduced.[1][2] It featured Cherry MX Blue switches only.

2014: Razer changes switch from Cherry MX to Razer-branded clones manufactured by Kailh. A switch with light Razer-green key stem replaces the Cherry MX Blue and a switch with orange key stem replaces Cherry MX Brown switches.[3] The keyboard case has a dark grey rubbery coating. Razer advertises the Ultimate 2014 as having 10KRO. Testing reveals that it is capable of 14 keys pressed at the same time, modifiers excluded.[4]

2015: Razer introduced the "BlackWidow Chroma" and "BlackWidow Chroma Tournament Edition" with full-colour backlighting. The Razer switches in these keyboards each has a wider slit on each switch housing for a matching RGB LED with all four legs in one row. Razer switches are no longer manufactured exclusively by Kailh.[5]

2016: In mid-2106, Razer introduced the BlackWidow X line in Ultimate, Chroma and Tournament Edition models. Razer also announced that it would be shifting back to using Cherry MX Blue switches for its BlackWidow Ultimate, BlackWidow X Ultimate and BlackWidow X Tournament Edition. The Chroma models continue to have Razer switches.[6]

2017: at CES 2017, Razer announced a linear yellow switch (similar to Cherry MX Speed Silver) as an option for the new BlackWidow Chroma V2. The Chroma V2 has a thinner keycap font, classic spacing on the function-key row and a soft wrist rest with magnetic attachment.[7]


Reception

The keyboards have been widely popular but it could be argued that that is largely because of availability and low price.

Gallery

References

  1. Geekhack — Razer catches up a bit for 2013. Dated 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  2. Gamespot — Razer's Black Widow Keyboards Get a Much-Needed Face-Lift. Dated 2012-08-10. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  3. Geekhack — List of Keyboards using Kailh switches. Dated 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  4. Custom PC Review — Review: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 (Razer Green Switches). Dated 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  5. Tom's Hardware: Razer Green Switches: Don't Call Them Kailh. Dated 2016-12-29. Retrieved 2016-12-22
  6. Bit-Tech: Razer reveals BlackWidow X, improved switches and Cherry MX models. Retrieved 2016-10-23
  7. Tom's Hardware: Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 Keyboard, Hands On. Dated 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-02-02.