Pros:Back lit keys, the keys feel good on my fingers, macro keys
Cons:Poor quality, poor customer service from Razer
The Bottom Line: The keyboard is good, however, Razer customer service is very poor. If you need a replacement product be aware that they will send you a referbished item.
I knew nothing about this keyboard before I purchased it at Best Buy. I bought it because I had a $100+ gift card from an item I had returned that stopped working, so I felt like I could splurge on what I thought would be a really great keyboard. I've had a lot of problems with my keyboard, which I will get to later. First I will go over the specs.
Recommend this product?
In the box is a very nice looking, and very heavy, keyboard. It also comes with some documentation, a CD with some software you can use to program your macro keys to open programs, a certificate of authenticity, and some Razer logo stickers.
They keyboard itself is black, with blue back lighting. The official website claims it has five settings on the back lighting, but I can really only notice four. They are off, dim, brighter, brightest, and the fifth seems to be the same as the fourth, at least to me. The back lighting is very nice, I use the dimmest level, as the bright levels are very bright and could be distracting. I've never had a back lit keyboard before, but I really like it. You can change the brightness by holding the "FN" key located to the right of the right ALT key, the pressing F-12. Each time you do this the brightness will cycle through the settings.
The keyboard is mechanical, which means it "should" hold up for a very long time. It is meant for heavy use. They key presses are extremely loud, so if that is something that concerns you, you should not get this keyboard. The keys have a nice textured feel to them, and are easy to type with. The "F" and "J" keys have a nice nub (I don't know the official term for it) on them so you can easily find the home row. I find that I am more accurate with this keyboard than other keyboards I have had. The case around the keys is a smooth shiny black, and is prone to be smudged with sweat and/or grease from your skin.
There keyboard has a long cable with four connectors. Two are USB, and the other two are for headset and microphone. If you plug them all in to your PC you would be able to plug a USB device into your keyboard, as well as your headset/microphone. I have not tried plugging my headset into my keyboard, so I cannot comment on the quality of the connections.
One other thing I wanted to mention, was that the keyboard as a "Gamer Mode". Many gamers will tell you that they hate the windows key because it brings up the start menu and minimizes your game, if you activate gamer mode (FN + F-11) you will see a G light up below where the capslock/numlock/scroll lock indicators are. It has a little target around it. This tells you that gamer mode is active, and in this mode the windows key will be disabled. You can also disable keys in the software package that comes with the keyboard.
My Hardware Troubles
I paid a lot of money for this keyboard and expected it to be top notch, I am now on my third keyboard and am still not happy with it. I purchased the original just about three months ago.
The first keyboard I bought was brand new out of the box and it did work, but it had a problem. Sometimes when I would press a key it would press normally and come back up normally, but the key would still be active. So, say, I pressed W it would go down and come up just fine, but what I would get on my screen would be WWWWW, and it would continue until I pressed the key again. After a while I noticed it happen with all of the normal movement keys for games, as well as shift and alt.
I eventually submitted a ticket to Razer about the problem, the first person I got suggested that I update my firmware and explained how to do it. Ok, I did that and it didn't help. After about a month more of emails (first they wanted me to take it back to Best Buy, but it had been over 30 days and I couldn't) he gave me a RMA number (Return Merchandise Authorization) so that I could send the keyboard back to Razer and they would send me a replacement. I thought, "Ok, cool, I'll get a new one and it'll be good". I had to pay my own shipping, which was about $15 through UPS. In return for the new keyboard I paid 129.99 for I received a refurbished keyboard that worked for less than 1 hour.
First of all, I was not happy about getting a refurbished product when I paid for a new one. Secondly, I plugged in the new keyboard and within one hour the number 4 key became stuck. I pressed it a few more times and it came up, it would get stuck about 70% of the time I pressed it making the keyboard useless to me. I emailed Razer and told them (politely) that I was not happy about receiving a refurbished keyboard when I paid full price for a new one originally. I also told them the keyboard they sent me did not work.
They wanted me to mail it back to them again, I said I wasn't going to pay another $15 shipping. So, they made me cut the cord to the keyboard and take a picture of the cut cord along with the serial number. Then they shipped me another refurbished keyboard, I was not happy again. That is the keyboard I am currently using, and it's okish. The number two button kind of squeaks when you press it a bunch of times in a row, so I'm not sure how long it will last.
My Rating (see update section below for my new rating)
The keyboard is great, in theory, but I have received two, possibly three bad ones. Customer service is not good, I should not get a refurbished product when I paid for a new one. I should not have to pay my own shipping on a defective product. So, how do I rate the keyboard? I feel I have to rate it based on my experience, which has been negative. I am going to give it two stars, though if I had gotten a good one the first time I would have easily given it five stars.
In December of 2012 the number 5 key started getting stuck on my third Blackwidow. I emailed customer service and requested yet another replacement. They replied in a timely manner requesting more information, which I provided, and was then referred to a higher up in the customer service department. The new person informed me that warranty on the referbished replacements they send out are only 90 days, since it had been longer than that I would not be issued a new keyboard.
Needless to say I am very displeased by this. I am changing my rating to one star.
Please check out my other keyboard review here.
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Amount Paid (US$): 129.99