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The best gaming keyboards of 2020

  • September 18, 2020

A standout member of Razer’s LED-happy “CHROMA” brand, the BlackWidow is expensive for a reason. Not only is Razer a leader in gaming peripherals of all types, but the company also wields the advantage of branding/manufacturing proprietary keys (or “mechanical switches”) for its keyboards. This means the BlackWidow Chroma is available with either “tactile and clicky,” “tactile and silent,” or “linear and silent” keys depending on the customization you favor. The company also claims that, regardless of which mechanical switch you go with, you’ll get 30 million more keystrokes out of them than the standard switch.

A big part of the test process for each gaming keyboard (and the sister gaming mouse roundup) involved playing games, one of which was StarCraft. The game presents an excellent opportunity to test out features related to micro/macro management and unit directive skills. The BlackWidow excelled in this area, partially due to the sheer size/key quality of the keyboard, but also due to the unique elements present in the “CHROMA” line. Among the staggering amount of LED backlight customization options here, there’s even specific settings for different games—FPS, RTS, MMO, MOBA, and StarCraft, specifically.

The latter setting automatically highlights the relevant keys to help players maximize their APM (actions per minute), which is an economical measurement (in mid- to late-game) for ensuring you aren’t wasting time or resources.

But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Where features go, the BlackWidow packs pretty much everything and the kitchen sink into its hardware and software. A handsome braided cable, multi-bracket positioning feet, five extra macro keys along the left side, USB pass-through functionality, and even audio out/microphone jacks are included for the staunchest power users. The V2 also includes a very comfortable wrist-rest, which smartly magnetizes to the bottom of the keyboard, making it very easy to attach and remove on the fly. While there is evidence that these kinds of wrist rests are not actually good for preventing wrist fatigue or carpal tunnel, we’re not complaining about its inclusion.

The BlackWidow is a serious product, but it’s also a great performer, and has a huge array of special features and extras that should please gamers of all stripes. That said, if you don’t need the whole kit and caboodle, there are much cheaper options that might suit your needs.

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