Razer Blackwidow X Tournament Edition Chroma Keyboard Review
In which I review an old keyboard because why not.
I’ve owned exactly two mechanical keyboards in all of my computing time:
The Corsair K75 RGB (Now the K65 Lux), and this Razer Blackwidow X Chroma Tournament Edition I’m reviewing right now.
Oh, and I also dabbled with the Razer Ornata.
I just wanted to give you my keyboard history so that you can inevitably call me out in the way you see fit.
The Blackwidow X Chroma TE is great for gaming…and for typing I can’t really decide if I love it or if I hate it.
Here is the keyboard sitting on my keyboard tray, complete with part of my mouse mat, part of my pants, and a lot of dust.
I got the Blackwidow X Chroma TE for about $99. It used to cost more, but it’s being slowly phased out in favor of the Blackwidow Chroma V2, which launched last month.
The exposed backplate makes the keyboard very easy to dust and clean out…should I ever actually decide to do it.
That’s one of the things I like about the X lineup over the newer Razer Chroma line. In the newer keyboards, the backplate is partially covered with a bit of translucent material that can glow with the light of the RGBs. This looks cooler, but it’s a bit harder to maintain.
The Razer Green keyswitches are clicky and a touch stiff. They feel more or less like Cherry MX Blue switches. They’re very responsive for gaming. I probably feel more in control of computer games than I ever have before.
The quirks come in the typing experience. Sometimes I have a good time with its loud springy feel…and sometimes I can’t stand it at all and want to stop.
The bottom of the board is really thick. Incomprehensibly thick.
The thick bottom, combined with the height of the keycaps and the open backplate, means that the keys float pretty darn high off of the desk. My Corsair keyboard had a recessed area for the keys to live in. Most modern gaming keyboards have lower-profile bases…like the Logitech G413, and the HyperX Alloy, for example.
While this height is great for gaming…it’s not the most ideal for typing. Unless my posture and ergonomic position at the desk are perfect all the time. They rarely are though. I fidget.
The RGB lighting is very easy to control through Razer’s software. However, unlike their newer models…the RGB lighting only comes through the main function on each key, and not the secondary function. I don’t have to look down at these functions very often since I’m an experienced typist, but it does make the integrated media key functions much harder to use since they’re embedded in the Function row, and not lit up.
You’re going to have to memorize where the extra functions are so you don’t have to squint for them each time.
I think the keys are very loud. I know that loud clicking is part of the fun of the tactile mechanical experience, but sometimes it can get a bit grating. The Razer Green switches have a borderline hollow sound to them that’s not always consistent across every key on the board, and sometimes I just don’t love the way they sound. Cherry MX Blue purists will notice that the sound isn’t quite “right.”
And folks who like a quieter switch will be put off entirely.
Depending on my mood, the sound of the keys is tolerable at best. It’s like someone made a copy of what they expected a keyboard to sound like.
So why did I even buy this then? It sounds like I’m just being a whiny whiner. Well, it was relatively cheap since it’s no longer top dog, and I have never owned a clicky switch before. My old K75 used a Cherry MX Red switch, which is linear and doesn’t have any kind of click.
I do most of my typing these days on a 12-inch MacBook keyboard, which couldn’t be further from the highly-precise, loud, tactile experience of the Blackwidow X. I think I generally prefer the feel of typing on the Macbook, as it’s responsive and clicky without calling too much attention to itself.
In spite of my issues with the sound, the lighting, and the thickness…there’s still quite a bit to like with this keyboard.
I like the tenkeyless design because I have a stupidly small keyboard tray. The response of the keys is exceptional for gaming. The software makes controlling the lights really easy. The extra media functions are quite useful, and I love that the board has a native key combo to quickly put my computer to sleep.
This is the most “in-the-middle” I’ve felt on a peripheral in a long time. Usually something either totally gels with me, or it doesn’t at all. If this board sounded just a bit better and more consistent across its keys, and had lighting inside the secondary functions, I’d probably recommend it to you over the newer iterations if you could deal with the thickness of the base.
For me personally, the keyboard hunt might resume shortly.