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Razer BlackWidow 2019 Keyboard Review

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The BlackWidow from Razer might be a cheaper alternative of a fan favorite, but don’t let that fool you. This is still a very accurate, highly responsive keyboard that ticks a lot of the right boxes. 

Razer are well known within the peripheral universe for their large arsenal of gaming peripherals including keyboards, mice, headsets, and pretty much every other peripheral you can think of when it comes to PC gaming.

Today we’ll be taking a closer at one of their premium keyboard offerings, the Razer BlackWidow (2019). It’s the latest arrival to the Razer family and is, for all intents and purposes, a stripped-back, price-conscious refresh of the hugely popular BlackWidow Elite. Now, not everyone is willing to lose out on premium features such as onboard media keys, USB/audio pass-through, and a comfortable wrist-rest, but for those that are, this keyboard is right up there with the very best.

We’ll be putting the Blackwidow through its paces to see how it stacks up in terms of build quality, performance, features, and value for money. So, with all that in mind, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it.

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Pros

  • Accurate Switches – The best selling point of this keyboard has to be the switches. They’re responsive, accurate, and durable
  • Pleasing Design – Even though this is a plastic board, it still looks the part, especially when under the full RGB headlights
  • Versatile Features – Features that include RGB customization, N-Key Rollover, On-board memory, and HyperShift, make this board extremely versatile
  • Excellent RGB – Extremely vibrant and attractive RGB

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Cons

  • Price – Considering the lack of premium features, I’d say this board is quite costly
  • Plastic Makeup – Primarily made of plastic, unlike the premium “Elite” version

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Keyboard Size & Weight

  • Weight: 1248g
  • Size: Full Size
  • Length: 448mm/ 17.6 inches
  • Width: 170mm/ 6.7inches
  • Height: 38.8mm/ 1.53 inches

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Keyboard Tech

  • Switches: Razer Green Switches
  • OS Support: Windows 7,8,10
  • Media keys: No
  • RGB: Full RGB
  • Passthrough: No
  • Connection: Wired
  • Cable length: 2m
  • Cable: Braided

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What’s In The Box

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As we’ve come to expect from Razer, the BlackWidow 2019 packaging is a wash of black and green. The box is fairly elaborate – something I always thought was a waste – showcasing the keyboard in all it’s glory on the front. There is a small cut out in the box so users can actually try-before-you-buy. You’ll be able to feel the switches and the noise they create by tapping the arrow keys through the cut-out. An interesting box feature.

Inside we get:

  • Razer BlackWidow 2019
  • Small Razer Booklet
  • Razer-branded Stickers

Design

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The BlackWidow 2019 is a full-sized keyboard (110 keys) that comes to the table offering a fairly basic design if truth be told. The design is predominantly black and is made entirely from plastic – unlike the aluminum used in the Elite version. On the plus side, the plastic does feel of decent quality and comes with a bit of weight behind it – always a good sign. We ran a quick robustness test to see how durable the plastic was, and to our surprise, it felt very sturdy. The plastic surrounding the keys has been finished with a slightly rough texture that I can only presume is a design trait for additional grip whilst gaming. The keycaps, on the other hand, have a smooth finish that feels pleasant for both gaming and typing.

As far as shape is concerned, the top two corners of the Blackwidow have been squared off, whilst the bottom two have been angled to give the keyboard a slight edge – certainly not uncharacteristic of Razer. At the very bottom of the keyboard, underneath the spacebar, you’ll find an RGB logo complete with a plastic window that works in complete harmony with the rest of the keyboard’s RGB. As you can see from the specs, this keyboard does not offer media keys. Razer has filled the space usually occupied by media keys with a simple Razer logo.

Obviously, this keyboard comes with a ton of RGB customization options that all look pretty damn good. However, we’re going to save that for the features section of this review. Those wanting a sneak peek though, this keyboard looks stunning when the RGB is in full flow.

Razer didn’t stop their either. As we look at the underside of this keyboard, the BlackWidow offers up a couple of cable routing options to allow users to cable manage to the left, right, or center – depending on their specific needs. The cable is around two meters long and is made of robust braided material.

Finally, like most keyboards, the Blackwidow offers pop-out feet to give your keyboard a slight slant – with options for two different heights.

Overall, even though this keyboard is a price-conscious version of the premium “Elite” model, it still feels like the design has been well thought out. So, fair play Razer.

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Features

Razer is the kind of brand that likes to pack their peripherals out with lots of features. This helps create that feeling of better value in many of their products. Well, the Blackwidow is no different. The following section will be taking a look at some of the standout features this keyboard has to offer.

Switches

So, design aside, let’s discuss one of the key aspects this keyboard comes equipped with – the switches. Razer is still one of the few companies making proprietary switches for their keyboards – moving away from their former partners, Kalih.

In the Blackwidow, Razer has used their gaming tailored mechanical green switches. They come to the table boasting an 80 million keystroke lifespan and newly implemented sidewalls to protect against dust build-up and liquid spills. These switches offer a light, clicky, and tactile feel – said to be the best of both worlds. To give you some context, Razer’s green switches provide a similar feel and performance style to Cherry MX blues, only with a lighter actuation force. So yeah, great for gamers.

Unlike the BlackWidow Elite, you don’t have the luxury of choosing between a selection of Razer switches when purchasing the Blackwidow. A bold move by Razer as it effectively tailors this keyboard to a specific type of user. Having said that, I really liked the mechanical switches on this keyboard, even though they were slightly on the loud side. If you work in an office that is quiet and tranquil, you’re probably going to want to steer away from this keyboard. Bringing the Razer Blackwidow into a quiet office is the equivalent of taking a JCB through a library. People will stare.

For more information on switches or to see which is right for you visit our switch guide.

Synapse III Software & RGB

One of the big features that comes with this keyboard is the Synapse III software package. Now, many of you have probably heard of Synapse, but for those that haven’t, its a great piece of software that allows users to fully customize their keyboard (or any other peripheral in the Razer family that allows it).

Let’s start with the RGB. As with all Razer products, one of the big selling points they like to shout about is the RGB support. Razer has been improving their Razer Chroma for a long time now, and it seems to be at a point where you can literally change every key’s RGB individually. Once inside the software, you have the option to choose between several presets which range from color cycles to reactive effects that change the RGB depending on your monitor’s background or music choice. That being said, if none of the presets take your fancy, why not jump into Chroma studio where you have access to an almost endless list of possibilities. Once you’ve set your keyboard to the desired RGB profile, you’ll be able to synchronize it with any other Synapse detectable peripherals. A bit gimmicky for me personally, but if you’re into this sort of thing, it works very efficiently.

HyperShift

Next up is Hypershift. This is another feature found within the Synapse III software package. It gives users access to, theoretically, double the number of available keys at any one time. Let me explain. Hypershift is a feature that allows you to set a button on your keyboard to toggle between two separate keyboard profiles. So, if you’re someone who plays games that requires numerous key binds or spell commands, you’ll effectively be able to double your keyboard functionality at the press of a button. It works in a very similar way to the function (Fn) button.

On-Board Memory Profiles

Another great feature found within this keyboard is the hybrid onboard memory. Strictly speaking, this isn’t a feature of Synapse, however, you do have to create your profile within Synapse. Once you’ve created your profile, you’ll be able to save it to your keyboard’s on-board memory. That means you’ll be able to take your desired profiles where ever you go. You’ll be able to store up to five profiles on-board but can increase that to an infinite number if uploading to the cloud.

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Hands-On Results

So, onto the hands-on results, how did this thing actually perform in a gaming environment? Well, if I’m being completely honest; pretty darn good!

I’m the sort of person that plays a lot of CS:GO, a game that requires the highest levels of actuation and responsiveness. Well, I was far from disappointed with the performance I received from the Blackwidow. Now, before we get too carried away, let’s be real. The difference in responsiveness between the main mechanical switches is not going to be noticeable by the human eye. However, when comparing this to a membrane or standard keyboard, the mechanical switch certainly has a huge list of benefits in its favor. It felt extremely responsive for the most part, and I didn’t experience any miss-clicks whilst gaming.

Whilst playing CS:GO, I noticed the N-Key Rollover feature kicking in on numerous occasions. This is a feature that, no matter how many keys are pressed simultaneously, makes sure every press is registered and activated. This is both good and bad, but mainly good. For players that do a lot of what I like to call, button bashing, this is a must-have feature – especially if you spend a lot of time in FPS sessions.

For the most part, I left the RGB in wave mode. However, I was bored one evening and decided to have a little play with the Chroma Studio. To my surprise, there were a lot of options to choose from and I actually set a custom profile using it. For people that love RGB, you can’t really go wrong with this keyboard. You can change the brightness of the RGB in Synapse if it’s a little too bright for your liking. Having said that, I just left it fully cranked. RGB never hurt anyone.

One complaint I did receive while passing this keyboard around the office, however, was the number of errors people were making while typing reviews and reports. Now, this is purely down to the actuation pressure and N-Key Rollover feature implemented in this keyboard. The switches are extremely light and very easy to actuate, making miss-types a real possibility.

Apart from that though, I was genuinely impressed by the performance this keyboard provided – across both gaming, video editing, and general use platforms.

Our Verdict

So, with everything fresh in our minds, we finally come to the section of the review where we have to decide whether or not this keyboard is worth your hard-earned cash. And to be honest, it’s a pretty difficult one to answer.

Let’s first, pretend that the Blackwidow Elite doesn’t exist. The Blackwidow 2019 is a great little board that offers some cool features, a nice design, and excellent switches that provide responsive and accurate gaming performance. All excellent features. However, when you compare that to other market leaders, such as Corsair, ASUS, and Steelseries, the BlackWidow’s value starts to come into question. Many of Razer’s competitors offer mechanical keyboards designed around aluminum frames and come equipped with dedicated media-keys. Something the Blackwidow simply does not offer. But that’s not to say it isn’t a decent keyboard at this price point.

So, my final thoughts. Ultimately, this is a keyboard that does the simple things very well. For those out there that love RGB and need highly responsive gaming switches for FPS titles, this keyboard could be exactly what you’re looking for. It really is excellent in this department. However, if you prioritize build quality, materials, and longevity, you might be better looking at something a little more high-end.

Product Specialist AT WEPC

Ben Atkins Chafer

Ben's interest in video games started as a result of his intense need to be better than his sister at something. It didn't work but it started a lifelong passion in gaming, which then evolved when he built his first PC. He completely botched it but it was fun and he hasn't stopped since. He's currently fighting an embittered battle to get even slightly competitive at Apex Legends. He has a particular interest in peripherals and loves messing around with his setup.