The first thing which will be evident to those who try or buy the BlackWidow Ultimate is that this is an incredibly sturdy board. This is partially down to a nice, solid casing but mainly due to the significant weight that the keyboard has. At 1.5kg it is significantly heavier than most boards and this combined with the rubber feet means that it sits incredibly still on our desk, never moving during intense or heavy gaming and typing use. We were also happy with the location of the 3.5mm connectors at the side of the board, allowing wires to travel naturally down the edge of the keyboard rather than across the main keys.
It is also fair to say that another initial impression will be that the BlackWidow Ultimate looks lovely, the overall shape and finish look great with a particular highlight being the way LEDs such as num-lk seem to hover just below the surface. Speaking of LEDs, we were pleased to see that the status area on this board doesn’t suffer from the same dull/patchy illumination we have seen on some other products and overall, each key on the board with its own individual backlight looks great. That said we would have preferred that Razer also backlight the secondary functions on keys as it can be a little difficult to see each symbol in low light conditions or maybe offer different LED colours.
As this is a mechanical keyboard the major feature has to be the keys and their overall feel and in this regard we could not be more impressed with the BlackWidow Ultimate. Requiring just 2mm to activate, at which point they provide a tactile click, the keys on the BlackWidow Ultimate significantly increase typing speed and the quick return further enhances this. As expected though there is a certain amount of noise generated by the keys due to their design and for the first day or so, until our fingers adjust to the low travel distance required we create even more noise as keys are fully pressed, hitting the body of the board. After that short adjustment period though the noise is more than acceptable. To give some idea of the noise and LED quality, the videos below give an indication of each.
In terms of software Razer provide their standard control panel, tailored to the BlackWidow Ultimate and so we have an application which is simple, effective and intuitive. Firmware updates are the same, ensuring that any minor issues which crop up can be quickly and easily fixed and although not exactly a software aspect, the creation of Macros on the fly is also an easy process.
So that brings us to value. On the face of things we get a quality product which has a great feel to it and lovely typing experience. The finish is excellent (if a bit of a fingerprint magnet) and we get the essentials such as USB pass-through port and 3.5mm audio connectors in addition to nice to haves like the braided cable and gold plated connectors. For these reasons the BlackWidow Ultimate feels well priced at £110/$130, though the inclusion of a microfiber cloth wouldn’t have hurt. For those who don’t quite have that budget for a keyboard Razer do offer the standard edition (no key LEDs, ports) for $79.99/£69.99.
As with most new keyboards there will be a period of familiarisation with this product, more so due to the mechanical keys and layout tweaks, however after that short adjustment the typists will find their keying speed greatly enhanced. Gamers will find the on-the-fly macro recording and profiles of great benefit, mixed with the same great tactile feel.
Overall the BlackWidow Ultimate offers industry leading build quality, a great set of features and an exceptional typing experience.