Review: Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma

Great keyboard, compact functions

A few years back, Razer released the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 Elite, a mechanical keyboard that was well-received for its responsiveness, design, and functionality. With the newly released Tournament Edition Chroma, the company has essentially shopped a chunk off of the 2013 elite, made it a bit more portable, and tied it into its Chroma suite.

It’s a very good, if overly compact, keyboard.

Product: Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma
Manufacturer: Razer
Input: One USB 2.0+ Port
MSRP: $139.99

The Chroma is a mechanical keyboard, with an impressive build quality, customisable backlight, and Cherry MX Blue switches that have an excellent tactile feel. Its switches have two stages of actuation, which basically means they feel great to type on, for those of you not in on the lingo, and seem incredibly well made. This feels like a keyboard whose keys are built to last.

It also features some kind of anti-ghosting tech, allowing you to use up to ten keys at once without the keyboard starting to drop presses. This helps if you’re either doing fancy commands, or exploiting a glitch in a game where multiple keys held can have some kind of positive effect. The keys also feature fast response times with no lag detectable whatsoever.

The keyboard connects to your PC using a detachable USB cable, which adds to the idea that this is designed for portability without putting strain on parts. So, let’s address the elephant in the room: there isn’t a numeric keypad in order to keep the size and weight down. It’s not a huge issue to me, but it will be to many who use that section of their keyboard regularly.

The keyboard features a dedicated macro button, letting you set macros on the fly, which is a really nice touch. So, how are the fancy light settings on the BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma? Well, nice but not always practical. Much like the rest of the Chroma suite, the keyboard can be set to cycle through a spectrum of colours gradually, react in time with music, fade in or out, and more. The flashiest-looking effect by far is a mode where every keyboard stroke sends a ripple of colour out across the keys, but it quickly became obvious that this was a flashy gimmick more than anything functional, as it is exceedingly distracting in practice.

After several days using the keyboard as my default work and gaming keyboard, I have to say, it’s a remarkably strong gaming keyboard that is noticeably lacking the standard num pad feature. While that may limit its usefulness for some of you, for someone focused on text typing and gaming, it’s a very solid, responsive, comfortable keyboard.

[This review is based on hardware provided by the manufacturer.]

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Laura Dale
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