Whether you’re a PC gamer or just a normal human being, you probably spend a ridiculous among of time employing mouse and keyboard throughout the day. However, not all keyboards are the same – there is a ton of variety out there, although the Razer Deathstalker might just be my new favourite.
Wanna touch it?
As the device my hands rest on more than anything else throughout the day, my mouse and keyboard comfort are paramount to me. I have an ergonomic mousepad, but keyboards can be a trickier matter. However, the Razer Deathstalker provides fantastic support thanks to a fixed wrist rest that has a carbon-fibre finish to make it feel smooth. The keyboard rests at an angle that puts the keys at a comfortable height while ensuring that your wrists are kept in carpal-tunnel preventing position.
Thanks to the low-profile Chiclet style key caps, the Deathstalker is a pretty quiet keyboard. While some people prefer something clunkier when typing, I like the way the keys are quick and responsive (without being overly sensitive) – I was able to keep my typing speeds up without it sounding like a furious pounding of keys. The low profile keys and membrane infrastructure are ideal for faster movements. The actual feel of the individual keys is smooth while still matte enough to make them comfortable and modern.
Size does matter
Unlike the big brother keyboard, the Razer Deathstalker Ultimate, the plain old Deathstalker is just the right size. Unlike other “smaller versions” of keyboards, the Deathstalker still includes a number pad, making it a full sized experience without taking up your entire desk. The keyboard is also extremely light and thin, making it perfect for packing up and taking with you if you attend LAN events or simply like to have your keyboard of choice with you when you travel.
Unfortunately, you might need a USB hub if you intend to take it with you on the road. Unlike other popular keyboard, the Deathstalker doesn’t have any extra USB ports built in. This means that it takes up USB without letting you plug a mouse or headset into it. I see no design reason why they did this, except to maybe keep the keyboard light and slim. However, this was a major flaw for me – I already struggle with having enough ports and I don’t like when keyboards don’t help in that department.
The spacing on the keys is fairly standard, although I did find the size of the keys slightly different to what I was used to, leading to some unintended typos and imperfect smiley face emoticons. Of course, every new keyboard takes some adjustment and within a few days I was back to touch typing without those errors.
Make it your own
Thanks to compatibility with Razer Synapse 2.0, the Deathstalker has some cool customization. First of all, I greatly appreciated that it had two modes – normal and gaming mode. This means that when I’m just doing my day to day typing and work, my normal macros are set. However, switch on the gaming mode and I can get all the anti-ghosting and programmable macros that I need. Razer Synapse 2.0 even lets you adjust the brightness of the lights or put them to pulsate, something I have no understanding of why anyone would want. As usual with Razer products, there is no choice of color for your backlighting, but at least it’s green instead of the usual red or blue that other PC components tend towards.
I am truly sad at the thought of giving back this keyboard. I want to keep it forever and ever, but with an RRP of R2 499 for the one with the embedded LCD acreen, and R1000 for this vanilla version, I will have to hum and haw a bit more before I dish out that kind of cash. It is probably worth that money, but it still seems like a lot to pay for a standard gaming keyboard.