Home Gaming Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 Review

Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 Review

6 min read

When it comes to specific gaming PC peripherals, there are two camps; those who think that the regular, non-fancy hardware gets the job done, and those who need the absolute best. This year’s version on Razer’s Blackwidow Ultimate keyboard is definitely for the latter, but it would be hard to call it an innovation.

The Razer Blackwidow is immediately recognisable. The trademark keyboard from Razer has been around for ages, with each year bringing a few refinements and adjustments to the table. The “Ultimate” suffix at the end just means that there’s a little more flair to the real hardware that you’re paying for, such as fancy green backlighting that is almost required in my taste for keyboards. The Blackwidow for this year has subtle, small changes that will only really make a difference to the hardcore online gamers.



On the surface, the Blackwidow 2014 is near identical. It’s a big, black piece of plastic that is more at home on a desk where it never needs to move. It also comes with an assortment of connection cables, which help power the keyboard and give it a few extra capabilities. You’ll be able to connect a USB and even headphones to the Blackwidow, something which has been a staple in the range for a while now. Despite the size, the elevated structure of the keyboard is extremely comfortable to use. There’s no palm rest, but that doesn’t really matter when your fingers feel at home as soon as they touch the surface of the keys.

As I’ve said, the Blackwidow is a large but comfortable keyboard. It’s comes packaged with a 10-key numpad and an additional row of Macro keys down the left hand side, with all the keys on the obese side. It’s takes a while to get used to, but once you’ve used it for a few minutes you’ll never want to go back to anything else. I’ve used my fair share of keyboards over the years, but the Blackwidow is by far the most comfortable I’ve ever used. I even think it helped with some of my nasty typo habits. (Ed’s note: Nope, it didn’t)


One thing that may take a bit more getting used to though is the noise. I’ve never used a mechanical keyboard before this, but I’ve always known that they’re far louder pieces of hardware thanks to the fully mechanical switches. That being said, nearly every keystroke on the Blackwidow sounds like a gunshot. You could opt for the quieter, slightly pricier Stealth Edition, but after a day or two I really didn’t mind the sound, and neither did those working close to me. It’s different, but the benefits of having mechanical switches is worth it. At least it is for the hardcore crowd.

Mechanical switches have faster response times and give you an edge in online games. Most mechanical keyboards go for the now popular Cherry MX mechanical switches, but even Razer isn’t completely satisfied with their performance. Instead of re-inventing the wheel though, Razer has decided to just tweak what already works quite well, creating their own brand of Razer Green switches. These aren’t meant to help your typing speed and words per minute, but rather make each and every click a little faster.


These new green switches are what set this year’s edition apart from last year’s. Razer’s own brand have a much shorter actuation, meaning that the take a shorter time to actually trigger a keystroke and return back up again. It’s a minute change that will go unnoticed on the regular gamer, but for those where a split second means the difference between victory and defeat it’s definitely important. It’s a switch Razer will probably stick with on future Blackwidow keyboards as well, but unless you’re competing in some seriously important eSports you’ll never actually need it.

What you will probably get out of them is durability. Regular Cherry MX switches are rated for around 50 million keystrokes. That’s an insane figure that you’ll probably never reach, but Razer wanted to make sure that you’d have some headroom if you ever did. That’s why their Green switches are rated for 60 million keystrokes, adding a bit more life to your keyboard should you ever use it that much. Unlikely, but it’s still there if you need it.


Funnily enough, the best part about the Blackwidow almost has nothing to do with the hardware itself. This year’s Blackwidow comes with Razer’s Synapse 2.0 software, allowing you to truly cater the keyboard to your every need. There might only be a limited number of dedicated macro keys on the keyboard itself, but literally every key is able to store a macro command using this software. Better yet, you’re able to store profiles for different games on your PC or in the cloud as well, with each profile launching as soon as you start a specific title. It gives the Blackwidow a whole new sense of flexibility, perfect for the gamer who has many different gaming needs.

There’s also other less useful features, such as setting the backlight to pulsate and ensure your descent into madness shortly after. You can customise the keyboard’s brightness to match certain saved profiles, but I found that I kept this setting at the same number for nearly every application. The green lighting makes the keyboard look stunning, but I was surprised that the alternate functions of keys were made completely opaque. That made finding a hashtag or percentage sign a bit confusing in the dark, something which would have been no issue if they had been a little transparent.


The Razer Blackwidow Ultimate is an expensive keyboard, retailing at close to R1800 at most places. The regular, non-ultimate version is a lot less but also sacrifices some of the smaller details such as backlighting. There isn’t any major reason to upgrade to this year’s version should you have last year’s blue Cherry MX switch model unless milliseconds matter to you. However, this is a solid, durable and comfortable keyboard that will gladly server you for years to come. If you’ve been looking for a reason to upgrade your old keyboard and want something that balances style, utility and purpose, then look no further.




  • Extremely comfortable
  • Improved actuation
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 is incredible
  • Expensive
  • Some opaque key sections

Last Updated: August 25, 2014


  1. R1.8k is not TOO bad. Still a lot, but not cruy cruy.

    *puts on Xmas list


    • FoxOneZA

      August 25, 2014 at 14:20

      By then there will be a special Christmas Tree Edition available with rainbow lights.


      • Charl van der Merwe

        August 26, 2014 at 11:31

        It’s called the Chroma , not the Tree edition 😛 and yes by Xmas it should be out 😉 hehe


  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    August 25, 2014 at 13:11

    Not for me – clacking mech kbs annoy me, not a big fan of green & it costs more than I spend on petrol in a month.


  3. Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

    August 25, 2014 at 13:14

    I can’t use mechanical keyboards. The noise gets to me if I’m playing without headphones. It breaks the immersion of the game by adding a sound that shouldn’t naturally be there. That CLACK CLACK CLACK is also really loud at night and just tends to bug others (read wife).


    • Matewis Jubilai

      August 25, 2014 at 13:21

      Hehe I read ya. In my case, many years ago before I moved into my own place, it was difficult to game after 00:00 without waking my parents with my mechanical keyboard 😛
      Summoning my mom’s wrath at 02:00 was unnerving and scary as hell…


      • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

        August 25, 2014 at 13:22



    • Rags

      August 25, 2014 at 13:51

      The Logitech with the MX Brown switches and o-rings are nice. And R300 cheaper too. 🙂


    • Matthew Holliday

      August 25, 2014 at 14:00

      I dunno, my corsair vengeance with the older cherry reds is quieter than the cheap R50 membrain keyboard im using at work.
      guess it depends on which switches the keyboard has.


      • FSR

        August 25, 2014 at 14:50

        Agreed. My K75 with Cherry Reds has no click sound, just the sound of the keys bottoming out.


    • Martinpr

      August 27, 2014 at 11:00

      Try a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX red switches and o-rings. It reduces the noise quite a bit. Also reduces the joint impact on your fingers if you keep bottoming out on the keyboard.


  4. Matewis Jubilai

    August 25, 2014 at 13:18

    The dealbreaker for me is : only 5 dedicated macro keys. My current keyboard has 10 (i.e. a second row of keys) and it’s comfortable to have all of them in one place. Nevertheless it’s awesome that you can program other keys with macro commands – I’ll certainly want to have that with a new keyboard.


    • Matthew Holliday

      August 25, 2014 at 14:05

      i cant stand macro keys.
      even if theyr not in a terrible spot, it still takes longer to reach than regular key binds like ctrl + 1.
      personally think that if macro keys mattered that much, I would rather get a cheaper keyboard and get something like the Razer Orbweaver instead.

      also, even with only having 5 macro keys, razer synapse is >>
      although Id be way too lazy to use that shit.


      • Matewis Jubilai

        August 25, 2014 at 14:13

        I suppose it varies from person to person, but I found the separate macro keys easier to use for control groups in rts than 1,2,…,0. Especially in Dawn of War which I used to play a lot, eg:

        M1.) Force Commander + Assault Terminators

        M2.) Chaplain + Grey Knights

        M3.) Librarian + Terminators
        M4.) Tactical squads
        M5.) Tactical squads
        M6.) Predators
        M7.) Whirlwind
        M8.) Landraider

        M9.) Scout squads (snipers)

        M10.) Servitors


        • Matthew Holliday

          August 25, 2014 at 15:26

          ok yea, for RTS games i can see the value

          and MMOs, now that i think of it.

          might have been comparing it to my personal gaming, dota and shooters.

          still think a orbweaver would be a better investment though, i really want one of those.


        • Sk3tz0

          August 25, 2014 at 15:37

          RTS.. Whats that.. tehre not been a Decent RTS in years.. so sad.. :;(


    • Guest

      August 25, 2014 at 18:16

      Is it just me or does using macros while gaming seem like cheating?
      It would seem that you would have a significant advantage when playing against someone using a standard keyboard.

      No offense intended to anyone who uses them, just my opinion.


  5. Sk3tz0

    August 25, 2014 at 13:48

    Cant Justify spending R1800 on a Keyboard.. guess i’ll do what i did last time.. steal one from work..


  6. Titanium Hyena

    August 25, 2014 at 17:44

    well, got kraken headset and mamba mouse, guess another 2k wont hurt


    • Alessandro Barbosa

      August 25, 2014 at 19:23

      <3 my Mamba mouse too


  7. August Kotzenberg

    August 26, 2014 at 06:12

    I made the worst mistake ever, and bought a Razer Lycosa.

    This supposed “gamer” keyboard has the worst sticky keys of any keyboard i have ever owned.

    It has the worst noise profile.

    IT has made me envy people with a simple R100.00 keyboard.

    Stay away from all Razer products, they are definitely not worth your money.


    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      August 26, 2014 at 06:56

      Many of the staff here adore Razer stuff – but I’m with you. I think their stuff is mostly style over substance, and the majority of it is poorly made. Some have had great experiences with Razer stuff, but it’s a bit of a lucky packet. There’s definitely a QA problem there, which Razer itself has admitted.


      • august kotzenberg

        August 26, 2014 at 16:43

        Just dont waste cash on anything by razer, dont even buy a mousepad from them.

        And amazed they have admitted to qa problems, but when a client complains, you basically are ignored, and fobbed off with crap excuses.


  8. DriveMagazine

    August 29, 2014 at 10:55

    My last-gen BlackWidow broke down after less than a year. Although I still swear by a Razer mouse (although I’ve had to RMA a couple of them too), the keyboards definitely don’t seem to last very well. So durable…. no.


  9. alcatraz5953

    September 4, 2014 at 11:17

    Wouldn’t mind one, but my Cyborg V7 is still serving me well, no need for a new keyboard yet…


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