For an IT professional, Having a good quality keyboard is critical. I spend most of my day at my desk, banging away at the keyboard. It’s like any profession and their primary tools.
A $15 hammer from Walmart is perfectly suitable for the average person around the house, but totally unsuitable for a carpenter… the same is true for us computer geeks and our tools.. in this case our keyboards. I have tried many cheap keyboards over the years and they frustrate me to the point my hair went grey. (Disclaimer: Not really) Cheep keyboards don’t respond well, the keys have a tenancy to, what I would call, misfire where you hit they key and it only half presses and doesn’t register. If you don’t strike the key are just the right angle, then you get either the wrong key, or no key, or multiple keys… this is amplified by my lack of actual typing skill… yes after nearly 30 years in the industry I still need to look at the keyboard to type.
For the past three years I have been using a combination of various priced keyboards around the house. Some have been the $20 cheep varieties, some have been the $50 - $60 wireless desktop varieties, one was a genuine Apple USB wired keyboard. (The best of the lot until I had to clean it… and that didn’t go well.) Well, this week I finally took the plunge and bought a top rated, expensive keyboard.
This is the Razer: Black Widow Elite keyboard.
So far, this has surpassed every keyboard I have owned.
It’s not cheep, either in price, construction or performance.
List price on Amazon is $169.99 I was able to buy it on special for $99.
Construction: The typical keyboard with all plastic bits weighs next to nothing. (Nothing + batteries for a wireless) This keyboard weights nearly 4 pounds. This is due to the solid construction. The keys are all individual mechanical switches. Typing on this keyboard feels good. Cheaper keyboards typically require you to exert a lot more effort into hitting the keys. This results in the misfires that I mentioned before, as well as you hands hitting a lot more tired when you are typing.
Do not buy this if you are looking for a keyboard to throw into a backpack and take with you. As I mentioned it’s heavy. The USB connector cable is quite firm and of good quality as well. It has the feel of a piece of kit that will last a long time. Which is good, given the price tag. But you wouldn’t want to move it. You could, if you needed extra exercise at the end of the day use it for weight lifting. I have been typing on this keyboard all day and it has not moved from it’s position unless I have specifically picked it up to move it.
Backlighting: This is an RGB backlit keyboard. That means the lights on the keys can be multiple colors. The default setting is for the light to cycle through the various colors. The quality of the lights is very good. My office has downlights which have washed out the backlighting on my first keyboard and made it unusable for me… given the need to look at they keys as I type. The lights are right enough to see clearly for all the color combinations under the direct light. The only down side is that the shift characters eg !@#$% are not illuminated, while the numbers are. This makes them slightly harder to read.
The box that I ordered called out the switches as being “Orange Tactile and Silent” for keyboard manufactures they typically call out the color of the switches to indicate the specific qualities. How loud the keyboard is, rather it is mechanical or membrane, etc. Silent, the keys are not. There is a clear and distinct click click click as I an typing this. I would suggest that it would probably be loud enough to be annoying in a small office.
Software: This is billed as a “Gaming” keyboard. Unfortunately the software for the keyboard and tuning it is Windows only. I spend my life swapping between Windows, Mac and Linux. So tuning the lights is something I need to look further into. Though this is a minor issue at best.
So end of the day how would I rate this?
I’d have to give it a clear 5* rating. It is, so far, and exceptionally good keyboard. It is good at what it does. The minor issue of the software isn’t really of consequence for me, and won’t interfere with the primary use… banging on keys for 8 hours a day. If you spend a couple hours a day surfing the net and answering the occasional email, then it’s probably not worth your wile to spend the money to invest in this keyboard. However if like me you spend a significant amount of time attached to a keyboard, it is well with the money. Buy your tools to fit the use case.