Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth: The Kotaku Review

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth: The Kotaku Review

It's getting harder and harder to believe there was once a time I made fun of Razer products. They used to be the worst. The most prominent example of everything wrong with PC peripherals. Silly designs, ridiculous and garish colour schemes, ugh. So many bad memories.

The last few years though have seen the company really get its shit together. It's making stuff that's not just competent, but desirable. And while I've never reviewed anything like a gaming laptop, I did spend the last week with the 2014 edition of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth mechanical keyboard.

It was great. Sort of.

The best way to describe it is that it's solid. A solid performer, but also solid to the touch. In keeping with Razer's recent design touches on stuff like the Blade, it's surprisingly nondescript; a simple black box with keys. No weird flourishes, no gimmicks, just all the keys you need in a stylish form-factor.

I like it. It looked good on my desk, it felt great to type and game with. The whole thing has a soft matte finish to it that, while picking up fingerprints and grease a little too easily, is also nice and comfortable.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth: The Kotaku Review

The only thing I didn't like was, again, the absence of dedicated volume controls. Having the FN key at one end of the keyboard and the volume controls underneath the F1-3 keys makes changing it a two-hand job.

I'm also dubious of the "stealth" marketing here. Razer has tried to dampen the "clicking" effect you get in some mechanical keyboards by swapping out the type of keys used, using their own design (ie, not the more universal colour system of blue, brown etc) that promises much of the same firmness of the standard BlackWidow Ultimate, only with less noise.

On a press release, it sounds great. In practice...there's still an audible click there. It's not as loud as on my regular mechanical keyboard (a Corsair K60), I'd make a guess at maybe half the volume, but there's still a clear and definite thud as key hits board, so if you were hoping the "stealth" name would mean truly silent mechanical keyboard gaming, nope, you're not getting that here.

With the Stealth going for the same price as the regular BlackWidow, then (and sharing the same matte finish), I'd say it's really only something to look for if you're sharing a room or living in close quarters with someone who might kill you if they hear one more god-damn click or clack from your keyboard. Your new keyboard may not be silent, but hey, they might...appreciate the effort?

Otherwise, if you were swayed by the clean design and solid build, the standard BlackWidow Ultimate would be the better choice.


Comments

    I've been tempted to get Razor products from time to time, but judging from the comments on Amazon their stuff seems to have a really hit and miss build quality.

      Yeah "hit & miss" pretty much sums it up. I It took them 3 attempts at rebuilding the once-amazing Belkin Nostromo to get it finally right, with the latest rendition. I also dropped a fair amount of cash on a Razer Ouroborous as it was the closest thing to the Saitek RAT 9 in terms of customization, and being wireless, but was $60 cheaper. So ffar both have been great.

      I used the 2012 model of this. well, not the STEALTH one, just the blackwidow ultimate. it had the absolute worst gloss finish imaginable on it. it'd get fingerprints on it just by THINKING about touching it. Yet two years later, these ones are pretty good.

        I've got the 2013 model. For all intents and purposes it seems exactly the same as this except that it uses Cherry MX Browns rather than whatever this new design they've come up with is.

        It's fairly quiet but definitely still has a "clackiness" to the keys.

        Overall, it's pretty good though - it's very solid and has served me really well for a year plus or so.

      Honestly, if you're after a mechanical keyboard, don't buy a Razer or even a Steelseries. Get something like a Ducky, Majesco, Das or any other more reputable mech keyboard makers. Reason being with a Razer, you're confined to the type of keys they give you. The other makers let you select the kind of keys you want. Let me start you off: http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/official-mechanical-keyboard-guide

      Personally, I have a Ducky Shine 2 (cherry browns, with white LEDs) that's a roughly two years old and I don't think I'll be replacing it until some major breakthrough in keyboard tech or I want a different LED colour haha. It sure as hell isn't breaking on me any time soon. My experience with Razer has been exactly what you read on the internet, hit and miss.

      Last edited 18/07/14 8:58 pm

    Razer's hit and miss. I love their 'Death Adder' mouse to bits. My mum even got me to go out and buy one for her after she used mine, not because she's a gamer (she hasn't ever played a video game), but because she has very bad arthritis in her hands and found it to be very comfortable. I suppose it makes sense that a properly ergonomic mouse designed for extended use would work for someone with arthritis, or carpal problems (which I myself have), and the'Death Adder' does.

    That said, I purchased a couple of Razer 'Onza tournament' 360 pads. They were awesome for about a week, and then they broke.

    They push boundaries, and sometimes it leads to fail. Sometimes it leads to win. You throw down yer cash and take yer risks.

    I purchased last years model of this. poor build quality the keyboard doesn't sit flat on my desk . Frustrating when the whole keyboard moves when you press on the wsad keys. Other issues is the space bar kind of sticks ever so slightly whilst I also have a back lit light problem on my number 1 key as well as it getting stuck down at times.
    Not to mention my naga mouse with the numerical keys 1-5 on my thumb area that I have disabled but still seems to function in bf4 causing me to throw grenades instead of shooting (shakes fist)

    Razer actually make some decent mice, but their keyboards ..... shudder. Filco Majestouch all the way.

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