Introduction and Packaging

Several months ago, we had a quick look at the BlackWidow Ultimate from Razer, a company very well known for their focus on gaming-related products. A few weeks ago, Razer announced that they have developed their own all-new mechanical switches, upgrading most of their keyboards with them in the process. The upgrade involves the BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard, and we have the new "2014" version that we'll be reviewing today. Razer has made plenty of noise about their new switches, and while we'll have more to say on that in a moment, let's start as usual with a look at the packaging and included items.

 

We received the BlackWidow Ultimate in a nicely designed cardboard box, with a small opening allowing you to test the keys. We especially liked that idea and we wholeheartedly recommend, given that it is possible, that you should visit a retail store and test the switches yourself before purchasing a keyboard. No amount of text can fully describe the feel of a mechanical switch, especially if you have no previous experience with any mechanical keyboard.

The bundle is well presented but minimal; there is a nice envelope with a quick start guide, warranty information and product registration cards, as well as two large stickers, but that is about it. There is not even a disk with the keyboard's software; an internet connection is required to download it.

Software

The Razer Synapse software is, in our opinion, where Razer should have focused their marketing attention. With it, several profiles can be programmed into the BlackWidow Ultimate and the user can switch between them on the fly. It is also possible to link a program to each profile, a very handy feature if you want to link each profile to a specific game or application. It would be even better if the software would reset to the previous profile once the game/application has been closed though.

Aside from the programming of macros, the software allows every single key of the keyboard to be reprogrammed, a feature that can be highly useful. You can easily change the functions of any key -- and not just reprogram it to perform a single keystroke; the keys can be reprogrammed to execute macros, perform multimedia functions, launch applications and more. The combinations are practically infinite and this feature can be extremely useful, especially in games that do not allow the remapping of certain keys.

Furthermore, the backlight brightness can be adjusted and linked to certain profiles It can also be set to pulsate, which we do not recommend, as the brightness will essentially blind you every several seconds. When online, the Razer Synapse even allows the user to save the profiles to a free online account and import them into other Razer keyboards.

In short, the Synapse software has plenty of good features, and it's one of the highlights of the BlackWidow.

A Closer Look
POST A COMMENT

64 Comments

View All Comments

  • tbhatia4 - Sunday, October 12, 2014 - link

    Got the keyboard yesterday, Awesome Built quality, Mechanical Keys with Backlit Illumination Looks Cool
    Ali i can say that good quality
    Anyways got a good deal from an indian website offered me Cash On Delivery and they charged me Rs 1000/- lesser than all big players Hats OFF!!!!
    check yourself here
    http://www.martnext.com/razer-blackwidow-ultimate-...
    Reply
  • LanderLawrence - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    I got the "Razer Black Widow Ultimate Stealth Edition" just over a year ago. Such a long product name. Mine's from the first line of these keyboards - since then they've lengthened the name even more by adding a year to it.

    Mine's been a solid keyboard so far. Feels solid and after a year's use, all of the blue LEDs are still fine. The thick braided cable is herniating a bit just after it comes out of the back of the keyboard. I'm planning on reinforcing that somehow, but don't have a plan yet.

    I do have a few gripes about it though. It doesn't have the layout I'm used to (turns out that's the US ANSI one [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout#Mech...]) and I miss that SO much. To the right of the spacebar there's no Windows key and the Function keys across the top are shifted right a bit.

    I also miss having dedicated media keys. To adjust volume you have to hold the FN key in the bottom right and hit the Function keys in the top left. Sounds silly, but that takes 2 hands and if you're trying to mute the PC while answering a phone, it's a pain.

    Razer also has some ideas with their software that bother me. This is before they started "big brothering" their Synapse software and requiring you to create an online account, but it seems they were already thinking along those lines.

    The keyboard has onboard memory for storing macros and it has a physical key for starting "learning mode" (FN + Right Alt I think). Because all of that is in the keyboard itself, I thought I'd be fine using the keyboard without the Synapse software. Not so. When the keyboard "boots" it waits for the Synapse software to send the "all clear" signal before the keyboard will respond to the record macro button! If you have an OS that doesn't run Synapse or you don't want to install their software, you can't record macros.

    Note this brilliant fellow's done something involving USB snooping software and a low level USB driver to make it work on Linux [http://www.finch.am/projects/blackwidow/]. If you're hoping to record macros while hooked up to an XBox 360 or something even more obscure, it's going to be harder than you think. Does Synapse run on MacOS?
    Reply
  • GraXXoR - Sunday, November 16, 2014 - link

    Khail? greens might not be worse than Cherry Mx Blues, but the QC certainly is. My Ultimate chroma has gone back twice. Once with an E key that lost its clicky sound within a week and the second replacement had a lousy delete key.
    Ok, so it serves me right buying a gimmicky in, I suppose. However, I have a very poor memory, so color coding is perfect for remembering different keys' meanings.
    Reply
  • ss1980 - Friday, February 12, 2016 - link

    BEFORE YOU BUY, I would like to share my story dealing with Razer "customer support" and you will decide for yourself.
    1. Recently bought the keyboard -- Razer BlackWidow 2014 Mechanical Keyboard in particular.
    2. Keyboard happened to be missing one leg that raises it up and one rubber foot.
    3. Naturally, I contacted Razer "customer support" to see if they could send me the missing parts (the missing leg and missing rubber foot), as without them I could neither raise the keyboard, nor I it was steady enough (it was actually rocking) when typing.
    4. Razer "customer support" says they don't send or sell parts but can replace the whole keyboard.
    5. In order to replace the whole keyboard, they needed all the whole gamut of information -- the serial number, model, etc. I provided.
    6. A day later, they come back to me saying this -- "We will make an EXCEPTION for you and will replace it for you but you have to CUT THE CORD and send us a picture of it." I was like "WTF?!!! An exception? The keyboard is on warranty, I don't need any EXCEPTIONS. And cutting the corn on my $120 keyboard will render is useless. How soon will I receive the replacement keyboard?!!"
    7. So I send them the picture of the keyboard with the cord cut and you know what Razer say???!!! "The photo looks photoshopped, so you're not getting any replacement!"
    8. So I am left with no functioning keyboard, no replacement, and I can't even sell it now because the cord is cut!!!

    Now you decide if you want to deal with the company that treats you like crap!
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now