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[Review] Razer Black Widow Stealth Edition

post #1 of 23
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Razer Black Widow Stealth Edition

Specs
  • Full mechanical keyboard
  • MX browns cherry switches - 45g actuation force
  • No clicky noise
  • Tactile feed back
  • 1000Hz/1ms Ultrapolling response time
  • 5 Macro Keys
  • Multi-media controls
  • Tested: 6 -7 key roller over
  • USB
  • Braided cable
  • Programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option for deactivation of the Windows key
  • 10 customizable software profiles with on-the-fly switching
  • Gaming optimized key matrix for minimized ghosting

Dimensions and Weight
  • Approximate Size : 475 mm / 18.70” (Width) x 171 mm / 6.73” (Height) x 20 mm / 0.79” (Depth)
  • Approximate Weight: 1400 g / 3.09 lbs

Initial review of previous owned keyboards
Coming from a user that had a dell aw101, this board is definitely a improvement. My first impression of the Dell AW101 was that i had a nice feel of linear depression to keystrokes. The force requirement for the Dell AW101 using the nickel method and had around a 60g requirement for key activations, and a 70g for bottoming out. This resulting in me bottoming out in every key press. which made the back plate a bit noise to hear. It was an overall good board but i definitely feel that it had its flaws.

After that i bought a Cherry G80 POS MX white/clear switch keyboard. This was a keyboard that i did not enjoy at all. However i did buy it used on ebay as they are hard to find new. The clear or white mx switches had around 50g force requirement for activation and 80g for bottoming out, This is most likely due to them being used. I'll be up front here I hated this keyboard the problem here was when the keys are being depressed the switches has a bit of a gritty resistance feel as they are being depressed they didn't have the same force requirement for all keys as the home row felt more resistance than QWERTY row. I'm referring to is the feel as keys are being depressed has a increasing gritty resistances that is very noticeable when you get close to activation point and when you reach activation as depressed further to bottom out it gives you a very mushy feeling like that as of rubber domes. You may be thinking is this not a good thing, well yes activation point and bottom out force requirement should be a bit far apart if you want to be a quiet typer. The problem here was the activation point was hard to distinguish and often times you can't feel the tactile bump once you reached the activation point. This made the keyboard overall feel very squishy, and when you depressed the keys and it never really bottomed out. While i was typing it made me often guess if i actually reach activation point in which i would press harder or often keys wouldn't register when i thought I had depressed them past activation point. Very annoying and horrible for gamers. I then sold this and went back to my Logitech Wave rubber dome keyboard.

Logitech wave rubber dome, felt like any rubber dome, You depressed the key, you bottom out and it would register. Activation point is reached when you bottom out the keys. If i remember correctly it was around 65g force requirement for bottoming out. It was a nice, but typing had no really fun to it is was a curved ergonomical keyboard with media switches. Noting special.

So, after hearing my story on my previous owned board here is my impression of the overall process

Shipping
First the shipping of the board was killer long, I got lucky and ordered the few that they hard in stock at 11/22/2011. I was charged and everything but the board didn't actually leave until 11/25/2011. Shipped from Southern California all the way up to Reno, Nevada then back down to me in Las Vegas, Nevada pretty oxy morn there. So i would not suggest those that do plan on order the board to go with any other option that is no razer's economic shipping.
The box came in on 12/01/2011. Packing was decent, but wouldn't know was my brother opened my box and threw it away. But he said it had plenty of space and was packed with the brown wrapping paper stuffed.

My first impression
My first impression of the board is that it looks nicer than the Black Widow Edition that has mx blue mechanical switches. The glossy shine of the original black widow ruined the board which was the main reason why i never bought it. What overall makes the stealth edition different is is a semi gloss matte feel and appearance to it, instead of fully mirror appearance that the original Razer Black Widow. Often i hear many people complain about the glossy feel to razer's keyboard and them being finger magnets, this stealth edition is one you won't have to worry if you have moist hands and hate finger prints. The next difference is that has mx browns that has a 45g activation force and around a 65g~ bottom out weight. This was tested out with the nickel method. MX browns are know for its tactile key depression and no audible clicky sound.

The first few key presses felt very natural and had the right amount of force behind it. During the typing of this review i have yet to feel finger fatigue so it has been a nice experience. The key depresses have a very smooth resistance feel from activation to bottoming out. This is the main difference i can point out from rubber domes. Rubber domes require alot of force requirement just to initially depress a key and gets lighter as you go down while feeling very mushy all the way though. However when you switch over to mx switches, specifically mx browns in this case you feel a slight resistance to every key press, no matter how far your finger is at during depressions. This in my opinion allow for keycaps to rebound quicker, which is probably why many state the switching over to mechanical switches allow for faster typing. My personal opinion on the switches itsel is that they are fairly light and easy in force requirement to reach reaching activation point on key depresses, however just coming from a rubber dome keyboard I find myself often bottoming out instead of quiet typing. If i do take my time i can feel the activation points very clearly, just needs a bit of practice. In comparing them to rubber domes there is not much of a different feel to key depressions as far force requirement that is you do feel the resistances of the spring which allows for quick key rebounds than rubber domes.Transitioning from rubber domes to mx browns should be easy.

The feel of the key caps itself has a bit to be desired. They have a bit of a rough bumpy feel to them. I assume this is to prevent wearing of the key caps as you see on many rubber domes. However upon inspecting and pulling the key caps off the switches, i can see that they are made cheap quality plastic unlike other mechanical keyboard that use higher end abs plastic. The letters are printed so i can expect them to wear off over time. I do wish that they were laser etched or at least engraved. So this is definitely a con for me but not a deal breaker.

Key layout is a bit close together but this is to be expected as my Logitech wave i was using for months had very wide keys and keys that were extended from a more natural hand placement. A gripe i do have is that there is no stepping in the cap lock key as the A and CAP LOCKS are fairly close together. I find myself often pressing cap locks instead of A. This could is most likely due to my unnatural typing style of not using my pinky very often. Other than that the board layout follows any stand US keyboard however the F keys are shifted to be alined with the WASD cluster which is a plus if you use your F keys in MMO's and such. Macro keys are a bit close to the keyboard layout. A smart move on razer would have been to space them a bit further apart. because you could find yourself pressing M5 macro key instead of CTRL. Overall not huge things that will make me reconsidering my decision to purchase the board. I just used razers software to macro ctrl to M5.

Media keys.. Ehh not much to say its nice to have since i actually use them. Some people don't want media keys so its really up to you. I find them useful.

MODS
As you can see from my pictures I w s in the process of modding my board by adding dental rubber bands. What this does is reduce the sound of you keyboard hitting the back plate. Therefore activation of of a key is easier and you don't hear that constant clacking clacking noise with every key. Some hate it some like it. I'm not sure on my opinion at the moment I just have them on the letters at the moment and so far i find that they do their job in reducing bottoming out noise. You actually need to try it to know how you feel about them.

Overall Conclusion
PROS
  • No clicky noise for key depressions
  • Little force requirement to reach activation point
  • Smooth and linear feel for key depressions
  • Macro keys are a plus for me
  • Force requirement for key depressions are not very different from rubber domes/ transitioning from one to the other is easy
  • Quick key rebound for quick mashing of keys for MMO's and RTS
  • Matte feel is a lot better than glossy as it prevents finger prints and your fingers wont stick to the board if you have moist hands.
  • 6-7 key roll over - actually tested

Cons
  • Cheap feel to key caps
  • Macro keys a bit too close to control key
  • Printed and not etched/laser engraved key caps
  • No stepping for cap locks

Upcoming review of wasd 40a durometer o-rings

360450450450450450700450450450
Edited by lilraver018 - 12/8/11 at 6:15pm
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post #2 of 23
You really think those dental bands are actually suitable replacements for o-rings or EK landing pads? They look like they fit on a little too loosely

Thanks for the review
post #3 of 23
I feel that Razer have cleaned up for the stealth edition. But I still prefer my Filco and Cherry keyboards more.

Full.jpg
Side.jpg
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Very nice pictures. Thanks for posting them.
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post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarebox View Post

I feel that Razer have cleaned up for the stealth edition. But I still prefer my Filco and Cherry keyboards more.
Full.jpg
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Where can you get those keys?
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post #6 of 23
signature plastics might have some.

shoot them an email, and ask them what rows they have.

another option:
http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?23872-Group-Buy-104-clear-keys-amp-many-kinds-of-Customized-key-caps-LAST-DAY-12-21
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by waar View Post

signature plastics might have some.
shoot them an email, and ask them what rows they have.
another option:
http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?23872-Group-Buy-104-clear-keys-amp-many-kinds-of-Customized-key-caps-LAST-DAY-12-21

How much would they cost for WASD and Arrows?
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post #8 of 23
Nice board brotha.
I like.
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post #9 of 23
i think i paid a dollar each for wasd plus shipping.

i can sell you mine if you want, i have wasd and esc key.
post #10 of 23
Hey all!Nice review,but i have a question.The blackwidow ultimate stealth edition have the key caps printed or etched/laser engraved?Is it any different or it is just the backlighting?

Thank you in advance!smile.gif
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