Razer’s flagship BlackWidow gaming keyboard has received yet another refresh, but has Razer’s latest efforts managed to stack up against the competition?
Razer’s BlackWidow line of gaming keyboards has quickly become the go-to for many gamers around the planet, thanks to its general availability. With a brand-new model that’s packed to the gills with old-school macro functions, a full-size layout, and a healthy dose of Chroma RGB. Is the BlackWidow V4 worth the price?
- Switch type: Razer Green, Razer Yellow
- Keycaps: ABS
- Connectivity: Wired (USB-C)
- Form factor: 100%
- Lighting: RGB lighting per-key
- Features: Aluminum build, Macro functions, magnetic wrist rest, 8000Hz polling rate, foam dampening, command dial, volume rocker, media keys
- Price: $229.00
Right out of the gate, the Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro might not seem too different from previous iterations of the board, but it now houses several vital features. Firstly, you get dedicated media keys, which were previously notably absent on the original Razer BlackWidow V3 underneath a familiar volume wheel. Then, you also have the addition of five macro buttons on the right-hand side of the keyboard. This is all housed beneath a rotary knob.
Rotary knobs are a flash-trend in keyboard manufacturing, with enthusiasts going wild over them. However, Razer’s implementation hooks into their fully-featured software experience, making it much easier to tell the dial what to do, and when. This can come in handy when wanting to switch between macro profiles, or even while using content creation applications like Photoshop, After Effects, and more. Around the left side of the board, you get an additional three buttons on the board, which is great for any additional macros you might need to bind in a pinch.
Razer has also seemingly been privy to further modern keyboard design trends, with the addition of foam padding inside the board to keep it nice and quiet- not that it will be much help with the clicky, Razer Green switches on our unit.
The bottom of the board also houses some magnetic pins. which attaches to the included plush wrist rest, which also has a healthy dose of RGB around it, to boot. Missing from this board, however, is any wireless functionality – not very “Pro” of the BlackWidow V4 Pro.
Soldered switches in 2023
While we attended a swanky product presentation reveal as a part of the review process for the keyboard, Razer boasted about just how customizable the BlackWidow V4 really is. Sure, with the addition of macro keys, the rotary knob and more on the table, the keyboard sure is nice. But, for whatever reason, the company has also stuck with soldered switches on the board, so it’s actually not quite as customizable as the company would have you think.
This appears to be particularly backward, while other companies such as ASUS are releasing keyboard kits that come with their own lube. We can’t help but feel like the BlackWidow V4 Pro feels a little outmoded by comparison to other, more modern solutions despite the tech it houses under the hood.
The Razer Green switches that we used were lightly clicky, and actuated at a slightly lighter distance when compared to the traditional Cherry MX Blue. For those looking for a clicky switch, it feels like one of the more attractive options out there, thanks to its sharp and satisfying clicks.
Features: USB passthrough & more
The Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro has an 8000Hz polling rate for gaming, which is utterly fantastic and is in line with some of the company’s other high-end products.
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Though, the USB passthrough that’s housed on the board feels like a clunky solution. You can pop in another USB accessory into the keyboard, but you’ll then have to run another cable out of the board for it to actually function. It’s a strange implementation, especially since USB-C should be able to handle plenty of bandwidth, depending upon its standard.
The Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro is perfectly suitable for gaming, especially for those who are already used to a full-sized keyboard. In particular, the board’s macro functions can be used to bind complex functions. One thing we used this for is to set markers on the ground in Final Fantasy XIV during a raid, and for each of the different macros, we just had to program the software to do our bidding. It’s incredibly simple and turns complex functions into a simple button click.
Outside of those functions, macros can come in handy during specific use cases, but there is a reason to have them present. We found it particularly useful in MMOs, though its real strengths lie in creative and productivity applications.
Should you buy it?
At a relatively expensive $229.99, the Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro is a good keyboard with oodles of functions for those who need them. Sadly, we think that despite how fully-featured the package is, there are better gaming keyboards out there. The place where the keyboard instead excels is with applications suited more toward content creation, rather than gaming. The 8000Hz polling rate is nice, but we think that it is just wasted on a board of this size, especially since many esports professionals prefer a smaller layout.
The verdict – 4/5
The BlackWidow V4 Pro is an expensive keyboard, but despite its price, non-swappable switches, and less-than-premium keycaps, the features that it houses within are more than good enough for those looking for a board that feels like a jack of all trades, yet master of none.
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