Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 Edition

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1. Introduction

Razer Inc. is a company specialized in products geared towards the gaming segment. Razer was founded in 1998 by a team of marketers and engineers to develop and market a high end computer gaming mouse, called the Boomslang, geared towards the gaming segment. Razer’s slogan is “FOR GAMERS, BY GAMERS”.
The Razer products are geared towards the gaming segment, the Razer range includes peripherals such as keyboards, mices, audio devices (headphones, headsets], mouse mats & gamepads. Razer has also released a gaming laptop, The Razer Blade and a tablet, The Razer Edge.

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Official product link:

http://www.razerzone.com/gb-en/store/razer-blackwidow-ultimate-2016

2. Packaging and accessories

The keyboard is packaged in a black box with green & silver accents. On the front side of the box we have a picture of the product, its name and some features below. In the upper right corner is placed the logo of the manufacturer.

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On the sides of the packaging the name of the keyboard is printed alongside a few features of the product.

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The back of the box list the characteristics of the product in 4 languages and at the top there are printed a diagram of the keyboard and the used switch.

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Accessories

The product is accompanied by the following accessories:
–    1x Manual
–    2x Razer Logo stickers
–    1x Razer Certificate

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3. Specifications

Name: Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 Edition
Keyboard Type: Mechanical
Key Architecture: Razer™ Mechanical Switches (Click with 50g actuation force)
Backlighting: Yes
SBUI Compatibility: No
Anti-Ghosting: Yes – 10 key roll over
Gaming Mode: Yes
Fully-Programmable Keys: Yes
Synapse 2.0 Enabled: Yes
On-The-Fly Macro Recording: Yes
1000Hz Ultrapolling: Yes
Additional Game Keys: No
Media Jack Pass Through: Yes
Media Controls: Yes
USB Pass Through: Yes
Wrist Rest: No
Cable Type: Braided fiber

Features:

Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 50g actuation force
60 million keystroke life span
Razer Synapse enabled
Individually backlit keys with dynamic lighting effects
Gaming mode option
Audio-out/mic-in jacks
1000Hz Ultrapolling
Braided fiber cable

4. Visual inspection

The BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 Edition keyboard has an attractive design, the texture and color of the plastic being used is matte. Unlike the BlackWidow 2014 and BlackWidow Chroma models the BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 keyboard has reduced dimensions due to the lack of the macro buttons placed on the left side in the case of the BlackWidow 2014 and BlackWidow Chroma. Also the keyboard uses 5 rubber feet.

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On the right side of the keyboard we have two connectors, one jack and one USB connector, this hub is pass-through. The left side of the keyboard is simple and clean.

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At the top part of the keyboard there are the multimedia keys (F1-F12).

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In the middle of the frame below the keyboard layout we have the manufacturer’s logo which is illuminated by a LED.

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A major change from the previous models is the replacement of the Capslock/Numlock/ScrollLock panel. This panel is not transparent and has a glossy finish, on top of the three regular functions here we also find the icons for the Macro and Gaming Mode functions.

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Each key is individually illuminated, also the keyboard uses Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 50g actuation force.

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The keyboard uses a 2m long black braided cable, the connectors of the keyboard (pass-through hub and USB) are gold plated.

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5. Testing

The BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 uses the new Razer Green switches, these switches have a actuation point of 1.9mm (0.4mm reset). These switches offer a similar tactile feedback as the Cherry MX Blue switches. The same thing can be said about the noise produced by the keys when pressed, the sound being very similar with the noise of the keys using Cherry MX Blue switches.

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The illumination intensity using the three modes (Dim-Normal-Bright).

 Dim

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Normal

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Bright

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The keyboard has an exceptional build quality and the texture of the plastic is matte, however unlike the previous models, the matte texture is fingerprint resistant.

The keyboard does not have a set of dedicated multimedia keys, however those functions are activated using a key combined with the “FN” key. The keys & their functions are as follows:
–    F9 – Record Macro
–    F10 – Game Mode
–    F11 – Decrease Brightness
–    F12 – Increase Brightness
–    Pause/Break – Sleep Mode

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Software

The keyboard can be configured using Razer’s own software, the Synapse 2.0. This software features a intuitive interface thus being easy to use & to understand, the interface maintains the Razer colour scheme, black & green.

Synapse 2.0 Customize

Within the “Customize” tab we can select different profiles, set different functions & reassign every keyboard to a different function or link a application to a specific key.

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Lighting

Within the “Lighting” tab the user can personalize the illumination fof the keyboard. Here we can set the brightness level of the LEDs and select different profiles for games and applications or even make custom illumination modes.

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Gaming Mode

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Macros

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The BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 model was tested both in normal use & gaming.
Normal day to day use consisted of Internet browsing & a few writing applications (MS Word & Excel).
When it comes to games the keyboard behaved exemplary, being tested in multiple games.
The games used for testing are the following:
–    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
–    Battlefield 3 (multiplayer)
–    Rise of the Tomb Raider
–    Grand Theft Auto V
–    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
–    Fallout 4
–    Grid Autosport

 

6. Final thoughts

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 is a budget oriented keyboard while maintaining the quality and agronomy of the BlackWidow line. The build quality is good and the keyboard’s texture is fingerprint resistant.
The Razer Green switches offer very good tactile & audio feedback, similar with the feedback offered by the Cherry MX Blue switches, they have a life span of 60 million keystrokes.
The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 includes the same illumination system & modes like the BlackWidow Chroma however the keys are only illuminated in one color.
Razer’s software, the Synapse 2.0 is excellent using a fast, sleek and intuitive interface while offering numerous customizing and synchronizing options for Razer products.  In the case of the BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 each key can be modified, thus offering numerous customizing options.
The only drawback of this keyboard is the usage of a shared Jack port instead of two dedicated ports.

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