The Razer Ornata Chroma is a keyboard tailored around two main features – Razer’s proprietary mecha-membrane switches and their forever evolving RGB – both of which feel and look superb.
Razer is a brand that has been criticized over the years for prioritizing RGB and features over build-quality and performance. Notoriously, their products perform well in the beginning, but soon find life too difficult and start to deteriorate rapidly. The Razer Basilisk being a prime example of this – but we won’t get into that one again.
Thankfully, Razer is finally starting to take claims of poor build quality a little more seriously, implementing better materials into the design of their mid and high-end products. Great news for consumers. With that in mind, today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Razer Ornata Chroma – a gaming keyboard that offers proprietary mecha-membrane switches for the “best of both worlds” experience.
We’ll be pushing it to the limit to see how it performs in numerous scenarios which include gaming, build quality, RGB, and value for money. Furthermore, we’ll see how it compares to keyboards within Razer’s own arsenal (BlackWidow & Huntsman) alongside some great alternatives like the Corsair K70.
So, with all that in mind, let’s dive straight into it!
- Wrist rest – A very comfortable wrist rest to say the least
- Hotkeys – Users have the ability to adjust media controls via functional keys
- Plenty of decent features – Including 10 key rollover, RGB, wrist rest, re-mappable keys
- Good value for money – Comes to shelves at a price point that is very competitive
- Build quality – Plastic design which isn’t the most robust
- Wrist rest easy falls off – Magnetic mechanism can fall off quite easily
Keyboard Size & Weight
- Weight: 950g
- Size: Full Size
- Length: 463mm/ 18.22 inches
- Width: 154mm/ 6.06 inches (+70mm with wrist rest)
- Height: 31mm/ 1.22 inches
- Switches: mecha-membrane
- OS Support: Windows 7,8,10
- Media keys: No (does include hotkeys)
- RGB: Full RGB
- Passthrough: No
- Connection: Wired
- Cable length: 2m
What’s In The Box
Like all Razer products, the Oranata Chroma comes in a black and green box that showcases the keyboard in full on the front, while displaying specifications and features on the back and sides. The box is fairly sturdy, meaning no damage should occur during transit, and it even has a little cut out in the front so you can try-before-you-buy. Nice touch.
Inside we get:
- Razer Ornata Chroma Keyboard
- Razer Manual
- Welcome Notes
Right out the box, the first thing you notice about the Razer Ornata Chroma is how it loses almost all the Razer branding – very much like the Razer Cynosa Chroma. The only sign of Razer’s branding is found on the very bottom edge of the keyboard underneath the spacebar, but even that is pretty difficult to spot. Speaking of the Razer Cynosa, there isn’t really a great deal of difference when comparing the two designs of these keyboards. They’re exactly the same size and almost identical in shape. On one (the Cynosa), you have a little plastic RGB Razer logo at the bottom and a slightly more angular shape, whereas the other (the Ornata) has Razer carved underneath the spacebar and a plastic indicator panel above the number pad. Apart from that, the two boards are very similar in design.
That being said, the Ornata comes to the table offering Razer’s classic all-black aesthetic which works perfectly with the vibrant, fully customizable RGB that we’ll touch upon in more detail later. This keyboard is made primarily from plastic, which, after some robustness tests (twisting and bending with some force), we concluded was of decent quality – but not the best we’ve seen. The plastic that surrounds the keycaps has been finished with a subtle rough matte texture which feels nice, for the most part. It doesn’t offer a great deal of grip or comfort, but I suppose that’s what the Ornata’s biggest pro provides – the wrist rest.
We’re going to discuss the wrist rest in more detail later on, but from a design point of view, it looks pretty nice. On the surface, it offers a leather-like look that feels great and offers excellent comfort. It does add a lot of depth to this keyboard, however. So, if you’re working on a small desk, you might want to consider this before purchasing.
One of the big changes that separates the Ornata from the Cynosa is the keycaps. Razer has equipped the Ornata with half-height keycaps, giving the board a much lower profile. I actually really like the way the low profile keycaps make the board look, and contrary to a few people’s beliefs, they do actually have a functional purpose as well. We’ll get onto that later though.
Moving to the back of this board offers very little in terms of design features. It comes with a robust braided cable that feels like it’ll stand the test of time while providing little to no abrasion on your mat which is a definite benefit. Underneath, users will be able to cable manage the Ornata in three different directions thanks to cable routing cutouts. Very handy. The bottom of the keyboard offers four small rubber feet that help hold the keyboard in place. It also offers two pop-out feet that raise the rear of the board for a more comfortable typing position. The only downside to these feet, apart from the fact they only offer one level of height, is that they offer no grip whatsoever. I have a glass desk, and the keyboard was slipping all over the place. So, for me, a little annoying.
Overall, I feel the Ornata’s design leaves a little to be desired. Considering the design is usually one of the big selling points of Razer products, you’d like to see a little more from the Ornata in this department. However, as we all know, the RGB usually makes up for any understated design flaws, so it’ll be interesting to see how the lighting will affect the design when it comes to the RGB test part of the review.
Next, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the features the Razer Ornata has to offer. Modern gaming keyboards now come packed with features and benefits that help separate the market dramatically. Razer is notorious for jamming features onto their boards, whether it be a budget mouse or high-end keyboard. So, after a fairly mundane design review, we were more than intrigued to see what this keyboard offered in the features department.
Let’s dive straight into it.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the switches this keyboard offers. The Ornata comes equipped with Razer’s new Mecha-membrane switches – a “best of both worlds” switch which displays the quiet actuation of a membrane dome, with the enjoyable tactile feel of a mechanical switch. Pretty cool.
The switches are a great feature of this keyboard as they can be used by both office users and gamers alike. As far as feel goes, these switches feel pretty damn good. I’ve tried plenty of hybrid switches before, with most falling in one camp or the other. However, Razer seems to have hit the nail on the head with their mecha-membrane switches. Add the half-height keycaps to the equation as well, and you have a really enjoyable typing experience.
Next up we have the RGB lighting. As we all know, Razer is famous for utilizing RGB in their peripherals to the maximum potential. A lot of their products rely on the quality of the RGB as one of the main selling points. So, with that in mind, we were extremely excited to see what a keyboard branded with the Chroma technology name had to offer.
Straight out the box, the Ornata showcased nice, vibrant RGB settings. However, the fun really began when we entered the Synapse III software package. Inside Snypase users have full customization of the keyboard and the RGB lighting, down to each individual key.
The Chroma studio is very user-friendly and makes customizing this keyboard’s RGB a real joy. Users have the ability to separate the keyboard into individual segments and customize each to their desired taste. You’ll be able to customize each section or key with a preset, while being able to choose between 6.8 million colors as well.
If that level of customization is a little too much for you, fear not, Razer also installed a number of presets to make life a little easier. Presets range from color cycles to (my personal favorite) the ripple effect and pretty much everything in between. They even equipped this board with a cool “audio meter” preset which adapts the RGB to the style of music you’re listening to. Very neat.
As mentioned above, this keyboard does offer a lower profile design thanks to the half-height keycaps Razer decided to implement here. These are slap bang in between chiclet and full-height keycaps, making them (once again) the best of both worlds.
Apart from making the keyboard look a bit more stylish, Razer says the mid-height keycaps actually help with gaming performance too. They’re said to be designed in such a way that actually promotes responsiveness while gaming. To me, that just sounds like marketing jargon, but one thing is for sure, the height of these keycaps was almost perfect for typing and office use. So big thumbs up there.
Anti-Ghosting & Key Rollover
Anti-ghosting and key rollover is nothing new in the keyboard industry; however, it’s still a very effective feature to have in a gaming keyboard.
For those that are unaware of what this feature is, ghosting occurs when several keys are pressed simultaneously, leading to one (or more) not being registered by the keyboard. To eradicate the possibility of this occurring, keyboard manufacturers started to implement the key rollover feature on their boards.
This allows the keyboard to register every single keypress no matter how many are pressed at the same time. Well, sort of.
Key rollover comes in a number of different forms, all offering a maximum number of keypresses before problems start to occur. Basic keyboards might offer between 3 and 5 simultaneous keypresses. More premium offerings might come with NKRO (N-Key Rollover) which means every single key on the board can be pressed and all will be registered.
The Ornata falls in the middle of this spectrum, offering 10 key rollover – more than enough for almost every typing and gaming scenario.
Ergonomic Wrist Rest
Next up we have the wrist rest. Now, we’ve had the pleasure of testing many keyboards that offer this feature in the past, that being said, this has got to be one of the best out there (at this price point).
Razer’s wrist rest offers fantastic comfort, a soft touch, and an easy to attach (magnetic) mechanism. Razer has embossed its snake logo in the middle of the wrist rest and has kept it all black – as you would expect.
The rest itself feels extremely soft, for the most part. The padded layer isn’t the thickest in the world, so you can feel the hard plastic underneath if you press down hard enough. That is just a minor gripe though, as overall it’s pretty good.
Synapse III Software Package
Finally, we have Razer’s Synapse III software package. Over the years Synapse has been slated for not being user-friendly or versatile enough. Luckily, Razer has taken this criticism on board, now providing a much better, more rounded software package.
Aside from RGB customization, Synapse offers a whole bunch of extras that make your peripheral a great deal more versatile. Users will be able to set a game mode – toggled using a function button on the keyboard – alongside numerous profiles tailored for different games and scenarios – with every key on the Ornata keyboard being re-mappable via the Synapse software.
So, we’ve discussed the design and some of the features that come with this keyboard, it’s time to put the Ornata to the test in a couple of real-world scenarios to see how it performs.
Let’s start with a few games.
I started off by playing my go-to game when it comes to testing keyboards and mice, CS:GO. This fast-paced shooter requires the highest levels of response and actuation, making it the perfect testing facility for a keyboard. The first thing I noticed, was the switches.
So, as we’ve discussed, the Ornata comes with proprietary mecha-membrane switches that are a hybrid between membrane and mechanical technologies. To my surprise, the switches actually felt pretty good in-game. I’d go as far as saying it was 60% mechanical to 40% membrane in terms of feel, which is a nice balance between the two. They felt responsive and accurate, and I’m not sure if that marketing jargon is corrupting my thought process, but the low profile keycaps actually seemed to help in-game.
The only issue I did find when using the switches, was that some of them felt a little slow to “bounce back” after being pressed. This is purely minor, but going from my Ducky Miya Sakura to this, it was definitely noticeable.
We played a couple of MMO titles after this, and the keyboard seemed to stand up to the test pretty well. Having the option of re-mapping each and every key certainly came into its own in these titles. I didn’t really see any key rollover feature kicking in, but then again, it’s not really something you take note of in modern keyboards.
Gaming aside, I really enjoyed just typing on this keyboard, if truth be told. It felt really nice, and I think a lot of that feeling can be contributed to the half-height keycaps. The switches were a definite plus in this department as well, offering a quiet experience for the most part.
Overall, I feel the Ornata did a pretty good job as far as performance is concerned. Razer seems to have left all the thrills and spills behind, taking more time to concentrate on important factors such as performance and features.
And with that, we come to the end of this comprehensive review of the Razer Ornata Chroma. Being honest, I didn’t think I’d enjoy this keyboard as much as I did. I was a little skeptical of the Mecha-membrane switches, not to mention the infamous build quality you usually find with Razer peripherals.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by what this keyboard brought to the table. Alongside a fairly basic design, Razer equipped this keyboard with decent features that really helped separate it from competitive alternatives like the Corsair K55 and Razer’s own Cynosa.
The wrist rest is one of the best I’ve used, and Synapse is now in a place that I would categorize as user-friendly. So, overall, well played on this one Razer.
If you’re looking for a mid-range board that has a ton of features, adequate build quality, good gaming performance, and rocking RGB, then look no further. The Razer Ornata Chroma has you covered.