Razer Chroma Review (Naga, BlackWidow, Kraken 7.1) - HardwareHeaven.comHardwareHeaven.com
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Razer Chroma Review (Naga, BlackWidow, Kraken 7.1)

Razer Chroma Review (Naga, BlackWidow, Kraken 7.1)

Last week we reviewed a new addition to Razers product catalogue, the DeathAdder Chroma. It took a design from some time ago and refreshed it, including some new lighting technology. Classic design plus new additions… easy award winner. Today we get a little deeper into that product range in our Razer Chroma Review featuring the Naga Epic mouse, BlackWidow Ultimate Keyboard and Kraken 7.1 headset.

Razer Chroma Review (Naga, BlackWidow, Kraken 7.1) – Packaging and Bundle

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Razer package their new peripherals in boxes which follow their familiar style. Of course there are tweaks to include the Chroma branding and we do get some images on the box to demonstrate the range of colours available. Inside all of the boxes we get some product documentation, a note from the Razer CEO and some stickers. No driver discs here, we grab them from the Razer site.

Razer Chroma Review – BlackWidow Ultimate

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The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma Edition has an all-black design. The top surface of the 475x171x39mm body has a soft touch matte finish and the sides and base are matt plastic. Each of the keys on the BlackWidow is programmable and we can switch between various profiles, configured to our liking. In addition to this each of the slightly rubberised keys, as well as the Razer logo at the front edge of the board, is backlit with the ability to change through brightness levels as well as pulsing, cycling 16.8m colours, wave, reactive, template (e.g. FPS) and off.

Over at the right side of the board we find 3.5mm connectors for a headset and a single USB port for plugging in devices. Finally for the overall design, the BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma Edition weighs 1.5kg.

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The key feature which makes this board stand out from the competition, other than Razers lighting, is the keys used. This is a mechanical keyboard and it uses Razers own switches (60million press lifespan) where as the original Blackwidow boards used Cherry MX. Razer set to use a 50g actuation force and 1.9mm activation distance. In addition to this they also provide tactile feedback when activated and have inbuilt technology to minimise ghosting (10 key).

Over at the left of the board Razer provide five standard gaming macro keys which can be assigned to common in-game tasks and we can record macros to these, or other keys, on the fly by pressing the FN+M keys. This function key which is found to the right of the space bar also allows us to access the secondary task for our F buttons which include media keys as well as enabling Gamer mode (disables the Windows key) and cycle through the LED levels.

Overall the Blackwidow Ultimate has a reasonably standard layout with numpad and command buttons to the right of the main board though the F keys have been moved slightly to the right to offer easier reach for gamers. Also, above the numpad we find a LED display which lights up with the standard CAPS, NUM SCROLL lights as well as illuminating when we enable gaming mode or start to record a macro.

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Flipping the board over we see that there is a reasonably plain underside to this product with a product information sticker in the middle and rubber feet round the edges to stop it slipping on our desk. Two feet can be found in the back corner which raise the board by around 1cm.

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The BlackWidow Chroma Ultimate connects to our system via two gold plated USB connectors which provide power for the board as well as USB pass-through capability. These share the same cable as the two 3.5mm pass-through audio connectors, splitting for the last 20 or so centimetres of the 2m length and all wiring is braided for extra durability.

Razer Chroma Review – Naga Epic

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The Naga Epic Chroma Edition is shown above and should be fairly familiar to anyone who has used a Naga before, of course with the new 16.8m colour lighting which includes spectrum cycling. We shall talk about the overall design shortly however before that it is worth noting that this is a dual function mouse. Either wired or wireless. So it arrives with a 2.1m braided USB cable which plugs into the front of the mouse, or the base which also acts as a charger.

For the mouse itself we have dimensions of 119x75x43mm, weight of 150g and it has received a body tweak from previous models. Now it is somewhere closer to the other Razer mice in its overall shape. The majority of the surface is a matt finish and of course we have the Naga thumb grid on the left side.

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The thumb grid used on the Naga Chroma Edition features mechanical buttons and each can be configured to a macro, function etc (All 19 buttons are configurable). Then over at the right we have an ergonomic design with rubber pad in the area where we would grip the mouse.

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The main left and right mouse click buttons are large and the scroll wheel in between them feels solid. It is now tiltable with left and right tilt clicks and rather than have two buttons on the end of the left mouse button as with the original Naga, Razer have stuck with more recent designs, keeping them behind the mouse wheel on the new model.

Flipping the mouse over we find that there are three low friction feet, our charge points and an on/off button for those who use the wireless configuration. The battery is rated for  20 hours continuous gaming. Then in the centre is our 8200dpi, laser sensor. Powering the mouse is a 32bit ARM processor and Razer state specifications of 200 inches per second, 50g acceleration and 1000Hz polling.

Razer Chroma Review – Kraken 7.1

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We have previously looked at the Kraken in video reviews however this is the first time in written content. So what do we get here? Well key to the headset is that it uses Razers virtual 7.1 audio engine to deliver 360 degree surround sound. As an added bonus, we can also tweak the surround through a software wizard to suit our hearing.

The headset itself uses the same design as previous Kraken models and because it is connected by USB, it can be connected to a Playstation 4. The headband uses a leatherette finish with Razer branding in green, the only part of the headset other than the lighting which isn’t black.¬†Each of the ear cups folds in for compact shape when travelling and a braided cable extends 2m from the left cup.

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On the outside of each closed ear cup is a mesh design and centred in that is the Razer logo. This is the Chroma part of the headset and can be set to breathing with 16.8m different colours, or cycle as with the other devices. Each of the cups which tilt to fit has a leatherette finish on the inside with fabric covering the speakers and as is shown above the legs extend by around 3/4 of an inch.

In terms of specifications we have 40mm neodymium drivers with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The Impedance is 32Ohms with a sensitivity at 1Khz of 112dB.

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The microphone extends from the left ear cup on the Kraken 7.1 Chroma Edition and can be pushed inside when not in use. It is on a fully flexible boom and unlike many headsets, this is a digital model. Razer have added a LED to the end of the mic for added style, also indicating mute which is handy. The specs are a frequency response of 100Hz-12kHz with sensitivity at 1kHz of -40dB to -4dB. Signal to noise ratio is 63dB with the pick-up pattern unidirectional. Razer handle noise cancellation through software.

Razer Chroma Review – Razer Synapse Software

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Like all other recent Razer hardware the Chroma peripherals use their Synapse control panel to manage the devices. To clarify, one shared panel for our keyboard, mouse and headset which is ideal.

Upon opening, and starting with the mouse, we find the button configuration, a nice simple screen. Moving through the tabs we find the performance option which allows us to configure DPI, acceleration and polling. Key to the Chroma product is of course the lighting and as well as having access to 16.8million colours we can have a mix of cycling through those colours, breathing effect or always on/off. Wireless mode is next up for the Naga Epic and after that Macros and Add-on. The first is pretty self explanitory, we add Macros and Add-on allows us to control game functionality. The Naga Epic for example has in-game control panels for the likes of World of Warcraft which allow us to configure the mouse from inside the game.

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Moving on the Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma Edition we find the first screen allows configuration of the keys. We then move on to the lighting and then can configure gaming mode. It is also worth pointing out at this stage that Razer also allow us to track our keypresses and mouse use within certain games, through the Stats panel.

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For the Kraken 7.1 Chroma Edition the first screen we see is the Calibration Wizard which walks us through a quick 2minute process to ensure the soundscape is correct for our use. The audio screen then allows us to configure volume, bass boost, normalisation (balances our extreme changes in volume), voice clarity form our team mates and their volume level. The Mic panel allows us to set the volume of that component as well as its sensitivity. Normalisation is also present here and we can enable ambient noise reduction as well as tweak its sensitivity. Moving to the Mixer panel we can tweak the setting applied to various apps, for example have our video playback software set to 7.1 and our browser set to 2.0 sound before moving into EQ and tweaking the sound further. Finally there is the Lighting tab and there should be no surprise that the 16.8m Chroma configuration options are present here.

The latest version of Synapse is available from Razer.

Razer Chroma Review – User Experience and Conclusion

Overall we have been impressed by the various Chroma products being tested today, but what are the main findings of each?

BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma:
The keyboard in todays review is in many ways similar to the board we have reviewed a few times in the past. For this reviewer it is however the first time I have tested the version with Razer keys, rather than Cherry MX. While my preference is the Stealth keys, this standard edition does feel good, responds well and is easy to adapt to. Certainly those moving from membrane for the first time will have some extra adjustment but otherwise, a nice typing experience. The quality of the body is decent, the board feels solid and the lighting is strong across the board. Interestingly, we have stated previously in reviews that key lighting tends to be lower quality when keys have more than one function, Razer get around that by only lighting the main function… it looks better but also can make those secondary functions harder to see in low light.

Naga Epic Chroma:
One of the first things which jumped out at us when we unboxed the new version of the Naga was the change in shape, closely followed by the realisation that the removable/changeable side panel is gone. Fortunately the shape feels great and this removes the need for the different panels. A great mouse to hold really. The left and right buttons also feel good and while the scroll wheel has also seen enhancements it is the number grid which has the most, now all mechanical which is a bonus. The lighting works well and the dual wired/wireless functionality is appreciated. Tracking/Performance? No issues there, the Naga performed exceptionally well for us throughout testing. Probably the best of the three products being tested today overall.

Kraken 7.1 Chroma:
First up with the Chroma, some negatives. Firstly we would tweak the design slightly to make the ear cups click into position when in use. They kind of fall into the compact shape during removal and if you are just removing them for a moment it can be annoying to unfold again, and again. A way to “lock” them would be great. This is of course a minor issue, our only major concern is the lack of controls on the headset itself. Yes we have plenty of options in the Synapse control panel (which is an awesome app) however in the heat of the battle it would be great to have hardware controls on the headset on a pod on the wire. Just an option for mic mute and headset volume are needed… at a push, a quick selector between 2.0 and 7.1 would be nice. Razer are however not alone in this, some of the the new Steelseries headsets lack this level of control too… it will be a shame if thats the way the industry is heading.

As for the listening experience. We were pleased with what the Kraken 7.1 offered. It has plenty of bass as standard and a wide range of volume available… plenty of scope to damage your hearing if you need. The headset holds tightly onto our head and keeps external noise out well, though we would like to see slightly larger ear holes on the pads. Razers implementation of virtual 7.1 is good, if not one of the best around and overall the headset offered a great, detailed listening experience in games, movies and music. Backed by a quality microphone.

Summary: There is nothing particularly new on show here but that said the three products being reviewed today are all top quality gaming peripherals. Some have beneficial design tweaks over older editions and all perform well. The Synapse control panel is packed with options while being quick/intuitive to use and the new lighting adds a touch of flair.

Gold Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

1 Comment

  1. Razer Synapse is one of the software that is able to rebind the control or configuration may define macros for your settings automatically to the cloud….

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