Today, we will be taking a very close look at a very popular gaming keyboard, the BlackWidow X Chroma from Razer.
The company is known for manufacturing some standout gaming peripherals, and this keyboard is no exception. The BlackWidow X Chroma we have in front of us is their Mercury White version. Razer has crafted the keyboard out of military-grade metal and has incorporated their Razer Green switches into it.
Underneath the Mercury White keys, you will find full RGB lighting on offer as well. However, what you will not find is a USB pass-through, or a wrist rest included. Also, considering it was first released in 2017, is it still worth your hard-earned money? Let’s find out in our in-depth…
When it comes to a mechanical gaming keyboard, it is really about the switches on offer when it comes to performance and durability. The BlackWidow X that we are looking at features Razer’s Green mechanical switches.
For starters, unlike your typical mechanical switch, the Razer Green switches are much more durable. Your standard mechanical switch will only last for about 50 million key presses before you notice it becoming less responsive.
These Razer Green switches, on the other hand, last for up to 80 million keystrokes! This is because of just how well they are made. Each Green switch is surrounded by a plastic housing that will protect the switch from dust and other small debris. It aids in protecting the keys from liquids somewhat as well, but with anything electrical, it is best not to get them wet.
But that’s not all…
Inside this housing, you will find gold-plated contact points and a very durable spring for actuating the Green switches. When you press down on any of the BlackWidow X’s keys, you will hear the familiar click sound found on your typical mechanical keyboard. To actuate the BlackWidow X Chroma keys, you only need to apply 50 grams of force.
Each key has a travel distance of 4.0mm, but you only need to actually move them 1.9mm for a keypress to register. Once you press a key, you only need to let it rebound 0.4mm for it to reset as well. If you are used to using Cherry MX Blue switches, these Razer Greens will feel pretty familiar. You may think the Razer Green’s feel a bit heavy when you first use them, though.
Razer Synapse Software
Like with all gaming keyboards, you will want to use the manufacturer-provided software that comes included with them. With the BlackWidow X Chroma, you will want to install Razer’s Synapse 3 software available on both Windows and Mac.
If your PC is connected to the internet when you first plug in the BlackWidow X Chroma, you should see a Windows notification directing you to download the Synapse 3 software. If you do not see this notification, simply head to Razer’s website, and download it from there.
Once you have the Razer Synapse 3 software up and running, you can start customizing the keyboard to your liking. After you log in, you will be brought to a screen showing you all the Synapse 3 compatible devices you have connected. Click on the BlackWidow X Chroma, and in the following menu, you can start adjusting the functionality and lighting of each key.
You can also create custom one-key macros as well as adjust the keyboard’s Hypershift functionality. Razer Hypershift basically allows you to access a separate set of keys by holding down the designated Hypershift key. As far as RGB lighting is concerned, you will have a few preset lighting profiles like wave, spectrum, breathing, and fire to choose from.
As we mentioned…
You can adjust each key’s lighting individually or download custom-made Chroma profiles for the keyboard. Back on the main Razer Synapse 3 menu, you will find a button called Studio. In the Studio menu, you will notice the BlackWidow X Chroma and any other compatible Razer products displayed with their current lighting configuration.
Razer Studio allows you to quickly manage and coordinate all of the Chroma lightings among your devices. Over on Razer’s website, you can download pre-made profiles like Captain America that make the keyboard backlighting look like Captain America’s shield.
But how and where are they stored?
These Chroma profiles, along with game-specific profiles, will be stored in the Razer cloud. The BlackWidow X Chroma also has integrated memory, allowing you to store up to five profiles directly into the keyboard as well. This makes it easy to take the keyboard from place to place and still have all of your most important game profiles still at hand and ready to use.
Overall, Razer’s Synapse 3 is pretty outstanding, and it is hard to find a fault in it. As far as gaming keyboard manufacturer software is considered, Razer’s Synapse 3 is among the most reliable and easiest to use.
Once you have your lighting and key configurations, just how you want them, it is time to start gaming! We tested the keyboard out on a few first-person shooters like Overwatch and Fortnight and on some MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2. When it comes to quick-paced first-person shooters, the BlackWidow X Chroma certainly feels lightning quick.
Games like World of Warcraft feel smoother thanks to how quickly you can actuate the BlackWidow X Chroma’s keys as well. Everything from reloading to attacking just feels more precise. This is due to the 1000Hz ultra polling Razer has integrated into the keyboard.
This keyboard also has 10-key anti-ghosting as well. With the use of the on-the-fly macro key, you can set up new macros right in the middle of the game without having to tab out to the Razer Synapse 3 software and back.
Depending on the game you are playing…
You might find game-specific add-ons available in Razer Synapse 3. We tested out the Fortnight add-on, and it automatically adjusts the keyboard lighting based on the time of day or the weather. On games like Overwatch, you will notice your movement keys highlighted as well as certain keys lighting up when their ability becomes available.
This makes the overall gaming experience a bit more immersive. Throughout our tests, we honestly felt like the BlackWidow X Chroma had us playing at our best. You will not always be using this keyboard just for gaming. So, we also tested it out in the office to see how it handles answering emails, browsing the web, and even while writing this review.
But is it only for gamers?
The BlackWidow X performs well when gaming, and it also excels in the office, from our experience. The keys are just so responsive and bouncy. It sort of leaves you with the feeling that you are typing much faster than you actually are. The Razer Green switches are not that quiet, though. If you work in an open setting, you might find the keys a bit too noisy.
Since the BlackWidow X does not come with a wrist rest, your arms might be a tad bit tired after a long day at the office as well.
If you have a gaming console at home, you may wonder if you can hook this keyboard up to it. The short answer is yes. You can plug the BlackWidow X Chroma into your console, and it will work depending on the game.
Games like Gears 5, Fortnight, and Minecraft on your Xbox One work seamlessly with Chroma integration. On PlayStation, the keyboard is detected, but the Chroma lighting did not always work. It is also worth noting that for you to hook this keyboard up to your console, you will need to go out and buy a USB hub as well.
Pros And Cons Of Razer BlackWidow X Chroma
- The new design looks awesome.
- RGB lighting.
- High-quality Razer-made switches.
- Improved, exposed metal keyboard deck.
- Same quality construction as the standard BlackWidow.
- No USB pass-through.
- You can’t change the color of the status indicator lights.
- Basically, it’s just another BlackWidow.
Looking For More Great Keyboard Options For Gaming?
Razer BlackWidow X Chroma Review – Our Verdict
Should you buy the BlackWidow X Chroma?
Well, if you are an experienced gamer or just someone who is getting their first mechanical keyboard, the BlackWidow X Chroma is a good place to start. This keyboard is sort of a jack of all trades and performs just as well at gaming or in the office. The Razer Green switches are superb. And they provide that click sound you are already accustomed to while being some of the most responsive we have ever come across.
With the addition of Razer Synapse 3’s software, you can customize this keyboard pretty much however you like. From per key functionality to custom lighting profiles, the Synapse 3 software really is outstanding.
Given the BlackWidow X’s friendly price point, it is hard to find another keyboard at the same price that does everything this can, even though it is about four years old.