One of the cool products we got to test out clear back at PAX West with Razer was their new gaming keyboard, the Blackwidow Elite. A lot of the Razer keyboards to come our way perform well, but they also provide different types of gaming experiences depending on what you're looking for. So what does the Blackwidow Elite provide compared to others in the line? We got ourselves one and tested it out as best we could.
So let's start with the design, which this one has a slightly thicker shell to it than others, as well as a much sturdier set of keys. Basically, this keyboard was meant to take a beating for the hardest of hardcore gamers. The biggest change in style is the media buttons at the top, which have a much more defined set of keys that you can tap in a hurry. I also loved the change to the volume controls as you have a volume dial built into the board with a mute button right in the middle. You also have the added benefit of a USB port and a 3.5mm input on the side so you don't lose a USB slot plugging it in and you can pull the audio directly from the board if you choose.
The system operates with the same Chroma software as the others, so you can program your keys how you'd like as well as the coloring options that light up all the keys. This particular unit also came with a leather wrist pad that was soft to the touch. It served will as a guard, but it also got a little warm after a couple hours of use. It would be nice to have these come with a cooling gel inside like you see in their headphones. Performance-wise, it responded well with no drawbacks to performance. We ran the gambit as best we could with a couple FPS titles, some text games, a couple action titles, all with no issues. And day-to-day tasks went off without a hitch.
The Blackwidow Elite is a fine choice in gaming keyboard and a good upgrade if you're an obsessed Razer fan who needs the best of the best as soon as it comes out. But it's not cheap as it'll run you $170. DO keep in mind that this was designed with esports-level competition in mind, so this is currently what the company is putting out there for pros to practice with. So if you do sink money into it, you'll have something top-grade that you won't need to replace for a long time.