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Razer Cynosa Lite Review

Razer Cynosa Lite Review

cynosa_lite_2019_nor_0We’re used to seeing expensive and outlandish gaming gear from this company, but the Razer Cynosa Lite bucks the trend. It’s a gaming keyboard that only costs $45 in the US and £40 in the UK, and it looks more subtle and smarter than most Razer products we’ve seen in the past.

This isn’t the only affordable membrane keyboard we’ve seen recently, though: the Corsair K55 RGB costs a similar amount to the Razer. Can this budget gaming keyboard prove its worth at the budget end of the market, though? Read our Razer Cynosa Lite review to find out.

Design

The Cynosa Lite looks surprisingly subtle considering it’s from Razer. It’s made from matte black plastic, and it’s not littered with RGB LEDs. It’s got a Razer logo on the front edge that’s illuminated – and the keys have lighting too – but that’s it.

That shouldn’t be a problem: the Razer logo still helps this unit stand out, and the keys can still be impressively bright.

Razer Cynosa Lite 02In real-world use, though, that’s not the case. The lighting on the keys is not particularly bright or consistent – it’s dull and patchy.

The lighting is also only installed in the keys themselves. Unlike other keyboards, that means there’s no lighting in the membrane layer beneath the keys – which means you don’t get a welcome glow underneath the buttons.

If you want firmer lighting and a membrane glow with a Razer keyboard, you’ll have to pay $55 or £50 for the Razer Cynosa Chroma, which includes per-key lighting and a glowing section underneath.

The Razer also only has one lighting zone, which means that there’s little control when it comes to customising lights.

The Razer’s main rival is better here. The Corsair K55 RGB has lighting in its keys and underneath the buttons, and it’s brighter and more consistent. It also has three lighting zones, so its RGB LED buttons have more customisation options.

Elsewhere, the Razer has a relatively modest specification. It has no media buttons or macro keys – although on-the-fly macros can be recorded on the keyboard itself. It’s also possible to customise and save macros in the Razer Synapse software. That app can also be used for lighting customisation. On the outside, the Cynosa Lite has no wrist-rest, just a slanted front edge that makes no real impact.

This is where the Corsair is better. That unit did have macro keys and loads of media buttons, and it included a wrist-rest that was far more comfortable.

Razer’s device fights back with a spill-resistant design and 10-key rollover. The Corsair had no spill-resistant specification and only eight-key rollover. That makes the Cynosa Lite is a little better for frantic gaming situations.

There’s little to choose between the two when it comes to build quality. The Razer is made from plastic, just like the Corsair, with no metal to bolster it. That’s not a surprise at this more affordable end of the market. The Razer Cynosa Lite is strong enough to carry to gaming events, but there is still noticeable flex in its body. The Corsair is the same. If you want a sturdier unit, you’ll have to spend more.

The Razer Cynosa Lite does take up less space than its rival. The Cynosa Lite is 455mm wide and 178mm deep, which makes it relatively compact for a gaming keyboard – a boon of having no extra buttons. That’s in stark contrast to the Corsair, which is a beefy 480mm wide and 200mm deep.

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Performance

Razer Cynosa Lite 03The Razer Cynosa Lite uses membrane keys that are sunken into the body of the keyboard, which immediately makes this device stand out from the Corsair K55 RGB – that unit had taller buttons that stood proud of its illuminated membrane section.

That’s another area where the Razer is more compact – and therefore easier to transport – than its rival. Those keys on the Corsair will be far easier to snap off when you’re storing the keyboard or taking it out of a bag.

The Razer’s membrane buttons are consistent, comfortable and quiet – three important factors to consider when it comes to gaming.

Closer examination reveals key differences between this unit and the Corsair K55 RGB.

The Razer’s buttons are linear rather than tactile – so they don’t have the defined bump that you’ll find on the Corsair unit. They’re noticeably softer than the Corsair buttons, too, and they feel lighter. They push down with the same amount of speed.

The softer, quieter typing action means that the Razer Cynosa Lite has buttons that feel fluffier and lighter than those in the Corsair – the K55 RGB has snappier buttons that are closer to those you’ll find in a mechanical keyboard.

For mainstream gaming and esports, then, the Razer’s buttons are just as good as those on the Corsair – different, certainly, but no worse. A choice between the two will just come down to personal preference: some gamers will want the Razer’s lighter, quieter typing, while others will prefer the harsher, snappier experience of the Corsair.

As ever, the membrane-based Razer Cynosa Lite still can’t compete with a mechanical unit. Those keyboards are more expensive, but they’re still the best option when it comes to having the fastest and most satisfying typing experiences.

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Razer Cynosa Lite Review – Conclusion

Razer Cynosa Lite 01When judged on pure typing experience, our Razer Cynosa Lite review illustrates that this unit is a compelling alternative to the Corsair K55 RGB. The Razer’s buttons are just as fast, and their softer, lighter typing action will be preferable for many gamers and typists.

While the Razer offers a good typing experience, though, it’s inconsistent elsewhere. On the plus side, the Razer is smaller than the Corsair, has better rollover and is spill-resistant. Negatively, it has no macro or media buttons, poor RGB LED lighting and no wrist-rest.

If you want an affordable, small and focussed gaming keyboard with light, fast buttons, then the Razer Cynosa Lite is a good option. However, the Corsair K55 RGB has better features, better lighting and firmer, more satisfying typing.

The Razer Cynosa Lite costs £40 in the UK and $45 in the US. Discuss our Razer Cynosa Lite review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Razer Cynosa Lite review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Small, compact, spill-resistant design
  • Light, fast membrane keys
  • Very affordable

The Bad

  • Few extra features
  • Poor RGB LED lighting
  • No wrist-rest

The Specs

Connection: Wired, USB
Cable: 1.8m, unbraided
Material: Plastic
Switch type: Membrane
Backlighting: 1-zone RGB
Extras: Wrist-rest

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Razer Cynosa Lite

About Author

Mike Jennings

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