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Razer BlackWidow Ultimate review

Raking in the green

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate

Our Verdict

While it’s lacking some of the features we’d love to see, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is an incredibly responsive gaming keyboard perfect for eSports. Just don’t go in expecting the flashiest keyboard on the block.

For

  • Affordable
  • Fantastic mechanical switches

Against

  • No RGB
  • No dedicated media or macro keys

At this point, Razer has made some of the best gaming keyboards of the last decade. This is mainly due to its continued attention to detail, using high-quality switches and fantastic RGB implementations throughout its product stack. 

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate, then, kind of stands out. It’s a relatively simple, stripped back peripheral that combines Razer’s trademark switches with simple, green LEDs and no extra buttons to create a no-frills mechanical gaming keyboard. And, well, it kind of achieves everything it’s really trying to do. 

However, at its $110 price point, the lack of RGB and any other premium features that stand out. Sure, it’s liquid resistant, and you won’t need to worry about ruining it after frantically spilling Mountain Dew in the middle of an Overwatch match, but we’re left wanting more. 

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate

Price and availability

Right now you can pick up the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate for $109 (£109, AU$169), with regional sales sometimes knocking it down below $100. Now, for the price, it’s not a bad keyboard, but it lacking some frills we’d normally see in a keyboard in this price range, namely RGB and dedicated media keys.

Compared to competitors like the $139 (£129, AU$184) SteelSeries Apex M750 and the $119 (£119, AU$179) Corsair K68 RGB, the unique switches give it an early lead, but again, the lack of any real features sells the Razer keyboard short. 

For instance, both of these keyboards feature RGB lighting and dedicated media keys. The Corsair board is even water resistant, taking away a unique selling point from the BlackWidow Ultimate. Yeah, both of these keyboards are more expensive, but at just $30 and $10 respectively, its a price that we’d be willing to pay to have more customization. 

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate isn’t that bad a deal, it’s a quality keyboard, no doubt about it. It’s just that we’d like to see a little more from a keyboard we’re paying just over a hundred bucks for.

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Design

For a manufacturer that usually makes a point of its design flair, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is a very plain looking keyboard. If it wasn’t for the green LEDs and the Razer logo, you would have a hard time even figuring out that Razer was behind this keyboard. However, we’re not complaining. 

Sometimes, it’s nice to not have a keyboard that so faithfully follows the ‘gamer aesthetic’ to a fault –  some people think it’s a bit obnoxious, and we totally get that.

The entire keyboard feels extremely plasticky, which is partly because it is, well, all plastic – but we were surprised at how much it felt like a toy, rather than a premium gaming keyboard. Even the keys have this artificial feel to them, which reminded us of the much cheaper $59 (£64, AU$99) Razer Cynosa Chroma that features membrane keys. The only saving grace is key switches on offer here are of much higher quality. 

The overall chintzy feel really isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but it was something that we noted when we first started using the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate.

The most notable thing here, though, is the lighting. We get that not every keyboard out there needs RGB lighting and you can set some pretty dazzling effects with its green LEDs, but  Razer arguably has some of the best RGB keyboards on the market today. It’s just a shame that it couldn’t work some of its Chroma magic into the BlackWidow Ultimate.

As we mentioned before, plenty of other keyboards at this price point offer RGB lighting and mechanical switches like the $89 (£74, AU$179) Cooler Master CK550 and $99 (£109, AU$159) Logitech G512.

And, man, we would have loved to see some dedicated media keys. It’s one thing that the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate doesn’t have Macro keys, but not even a skip button? We know that most people probably don’t listen to as much music as we do, but it’d be nice if we didn’t have to fumble around with the Fn key to skip a bad track. 

A lot of this probably sounds like nitpicky, and it is, but there’s not much interesting to say about the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate. It’s a competent keyboard with a mid-range price, and we’re largely ok with the shortcomings here. Especially considering its great performance.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate

Performance

We have to give credit where credit’s due, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is a great keyboard where it counts. While there were some design elements we weren’t huge fans of, playing games on this thing was a delight. 

Because this reviewer just built the best gaming PC of their lives, they were playing all kinds of PC games, ranging from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to Crysis 3 – and yes, before you ask, it can run Crysis. No matter what game we were playing, whether it was a single player RPG or a fast-paced shooter like Overwatch, we were amazed by how well this keyboard worked. It felt tactile and responsive throughout, and is a strong contender to become our daily driver, even among more premium keyboards.

You just need to look at the specs on paper to find out why it feels so great to use. The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate uses Razer’s own proprietary Green switches, which have a fantastic 50g actuation force. This makes it an extremely responsive keyboard and runs like a dream in pretty much every scenario we ran into. 

If all you care about is performance, then the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate should serve you well. With its phenomenal Razer Green switches and a lifespan of 80 million keystrokes, you’re definitely getting what you’re paying for – even if you’re missing out on epic RGB lighting.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate

Verdict

In our mind, the best gaming keyboards are the ones that can strike a golden balance between price and performance, with some features thrown in for good measure. And, while the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate is a bit light on the features, its performance more than makes up for it. If you’re looking for a great keyboard and you don’t care about anything fancy you can’t do wrong here.

It’s not the most price effective keyboard we’ve ever reviewed, or even the most price effective Razer keyboard we’ve reviewed. But, it’s hard to find flaws that stop it from getting a recommendation. It would be nice to see macro and media keys, and some RGB lighting would be awesome – but, the BlackWidow Ultimate does what it needs to do, and for that it gets our recommendation. If only just barely.