Rating: ★★★★½

Gazing upon my workspace, I can only imagine the grief my 6th grade summer school English teacher would feel. Disorganized, unorderly…madness, in a sense. She might even be too taken aback to notice two keyboards connected simultaneously to my computer, instead focusing on clutters of yellow papers and very little visible wood for such a large wooden desk.

But there is some order in that madness. You know, in the way that we all know where to walk when the floor is just too unclean, or how the too-full refrigerator is still so easy to navigate so long as no one but you touches anything. We just know where things go, until someone else needs something. No, the interesting part of the above image is the second keyboard. The Razer Blackwidow.

I wrote a fine review of the Blackwidow but didn’t publish it. I blame divine intervention, so that I may write this instead. Perhaps it’s because I needed Pandora to publicly debut comedy channels, where I heard a magnificient line about being wary of the word love. The comedian – who’s name I dare not remember – claimed saying “I love you” all the time loses it’s meaning. Considering the strength and power of the word, it’s a fair statement to make. Likewise, I’m hesitant to say that I love the Blackwidow.

This arachnid is phenominal. It’s better than any mechanical keyboard I’ve tested, including the Das Keyboard Model S and Matias Tactile Pro. The keys are the best I’ve ever typed on, without reservation. The absolute power of typing, of the written word, is brought to life with this keyboard and not stained with overbearing sound – the TACK TACK TACK of hail in your head normally reserved for mechanical keyboards – nor is it tarnished with poor design, maligned keys or cut corners. There is so much to love that, as a matter of fact, I’m having trouble saying that I don’t love the Blackwidow.

Furthermore, this model is not even the more expensive “Ultimate” model, just the standard, non-macro, no-backlighting, no-extra-jacks standard fare. Even without these bells and whistles, I haven’t had this much fun and true enjoyment from typing since the Das Keyboard. But as great as it is, I’ve still got my older, familiar Sidewinder X6 plugged in, and insanely for just two functions: the quick media keys and the volume knob.

I can say that without a doubt I love the volume knob. I’m not the only one who would rather change the stereo volume while driving with a knob rather than a button, right? That tactile feedback, the turning motion…it’s really primal, but more importantly it’s an easy tool to navigate. I can easily press the wrong button…but it’s much harder to turn a knob the wrong way accidentally.

Incidentally, I have several available options to adjust volume. That volume knob, my Razer Mako speakers directly, the media controls on the Blackwidow…but that knob is just so easy, so deliciously tactile. It doesn’t do the Blackwidow justice that the media keys are shared with the function keys, and that the FN key itself is lodged between the right alt and Windows key.

That is to say that I’m a picky bastard. Because even though I loved the X6 when it came out (and it still is a wonderful keyboard), the typing experience on the Blackwidow is kickass. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I love it.

The Razer Blackwidow is available for purchase from Amazon for $73.12. The Razer Blackwidow Ultimate is also available from Amazon, for $155.99.



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.