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Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro Review

Razer's venture into wireless gaming is a bit hit and miss.

Verdict

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If you’ve been yearning for a wireless BlackWidow, then Razer has answered your calls. It has some great features, including Green keyswitches and sturdy construction – but issues with software integration and battery life drop-off mean it’s hard to justify that high price tag.

Pros

  • Military-grade construction
  • Green switches: Light under finger with a satisfying click
  • Brilliant software

Cons

  • High price
  • Battery life drop-off is a cause for concern
  • Device/software integration needs improving

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £229.99
  • Additional software – Synapse 3
  • 3 connection modes – 2.4GHz, Bluetooth, Wired
  • Battery life – 192 hours (No RGB), 13 hours (Full RGB)

As people yearn for clutter-free desk spaces, many have been turning to wireless peripherals to make their setups look tidier. The new Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro brings the wireless format to one of Razer’s most popular gaming keyboards, but it does come at a price.

There’s no doubt that with the BlackWidow V3 Pro’s £229.99 price tag Razer is targeting the high-end market, challenging the likes of Logitech’s flagship G915 Lightspeed. But does it include enough luxury features to push ahead of the competition and justify its high price?

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Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro design – Cutting the wire makes it look even better

At first glance, the Blackwidow V3 Pro looks to be an absolutely huge keyboard. Even next to some rival units, it appears to be one of the biggest. Of course, this works in Razer’s favour: its almost military-grade construction translates to a metal top plate and it suffers no deck flex at all.

Of course, for such a high price this heavyweight construction might be expected. However, it’s important to note that one of the BlackWidow V3 Pro’s main competitors, Logitech’s low-profile G915, features some deck flex by comparison. There is a downside to its sturdy construction, however: the BlackWidow V3 Pro weighs nearly 1.5kg, so despite being wireless, it isn’t the most travel-friendly board available.

This BlackWidow V3 Pro sports the classic looks associated with this line of keyboard for a number of years now – and getting rid of the wire has only made it look even better. With these now timeless styling, the model is definitely one of the better-looking keyboards out there, being both sufficiently “gamer” to please the masses, yet classy enough to work in an office.

Its all matte-black colouring is offset by the RGB backlighting. And to add to the already premium feel, the BlackWidow V3 Pro carries double-shot ABS keycaps that are especially hardwearing. On these, Razer uses it usual capitalised typeface, which makes it look even better.

Not all is rosy, though. Unfortunately, the keyboard doesn’t come with any additional macro keys; the only ones available are those programmed through Synapse 3. However, on the bright side, there is a volume knob in the top-right corner along with some taller buttons that act as multimedia keys. These are some distance away from the smaller, mushy ones included on Logitech’s G915, as well as Logitech’s splinter-inducing volume roller.

Also, the BlackWidow V3 Pro comes with a really nice-feeling leatherette wristrest to aid with comfort. However, unlike even cheaper keyboards such as CHERRY’s MX Board 1.0, there’s no way to attach it to the keyboard – which, in my opinion, seems a little counterproductive.

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Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro performance – Great switches, poor battery life

When it comes to keyswitches, Razer have opted for its tried-and-tested clicky Greens, which have become synonymous with the BlackWidow line. As a result, it offers a familiar typing experience that’s likely to sit well with Razer’s traditional user base.

Compared to their optical counterparts, the Greens do offer a much more defined keypress that to me, as a typist, is welcome. If I can’t get hold of MX Blues, Razer Greens are my go-to. Sure, they aren’t as smooth, but for a set of clones they still feel decent, especially with the slightly heavier keypress thanks to a 50cN actuation force.

For both gaming and everyday use, they’re a joy to use, offering the best of both worlds with an audible click and lighter-than-expected actuation force. The issue they present is their level of noise – if you’re on your own in a bedroom or office, it won’t be a problem, but if you’re in an office full of people, then expect some complaints pretty sharpish.

There are plenty of other gaming features on tap – such as full NKRO and anti-ghosting, as well as programmable keys – through Razer’s Synapse 3 software. As mentioned, the BlackWidow V3 Pro does lack any dedicated macro keys – but Razer expects the functionality of its accompanying software to go the distance, and although it may require some patience, it delivers.

The BlackWidow V3 Pro connects to your PC in one of three ways – via the provided 2.4 GHz receiver, Bluetooth, or a good old-fashioned wire in the form of the USB-C port for charging on the back-left hand side. Setup is easy, with the BlackWidow V3 Pro being plug and play, especially with Bluetooth. It’s really just a case of turning the unit on, turning on Bluetooth, and pressing “Connect” when the board shows up.

However, since this is a wireless keyboard, battery life is a bit of an issue. Sure, without RGB lighting it will go the distance, up to 192 hours – but this tails off dramatically to just 13 hours with the flashy lights shining at full blast. While a degree of drop-off is common in wireless keyboards with the lights turned on, a drop of nearly 90% from on to off is a cause for concern.

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Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro software & lighting – Synapse is great, but integration needs work

As with pretty much all of Razer’s peripherals, the BlackWidow V3 Pro makes great use of the unparalleled brightness associated with Chroma, and even with an open housing, the backlighting remains as sharp and crisp as if it were closed.

The overall experience with Synapse 3 continues to be great, especially given the raft of options available. However, the marriage between device and software has led to some unfortunate hitches. When switching devices with Synapse running, which includes plugging and unplugging the keyboard for the sake of changes, the software can forget the keyboard momentarily and then freezes.

For a wireless keyboard that’s designed to make life easier, and such a fiddly troubleshoot to an otherwise minor problem, this is something Razer needs to address. Sure, it isn’t a deal-breaker in day-to-day working or gaming, but it does make you think twice about the effectiveness of Synapse when teamed with a £230 keyboard.

Otherwise, all is as you’d expect, with some innovative backlighting features and integration with other devices outside the traditional office setting that help to make the Razer experience wider than just the peripherals on your desk.

Should you buy the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro?

The BlackWidow V3 Pro is a brilliant bit of kit. It builds on the standout features of its wired counterpart, bringing with it a freer experience, multimedia functions and some tried-and-tested keyswitches, alongside the ability to connect to multiple devices.

However, it’s £230 price is hard to ignore. Whilst there’s no doubt that the BlackWidow V3 Pro offers a great user experience overall, its issues with the software, a dysfunctional wristrest and battery drop-off mean that it doesn’t wholly live up to that price tag. The rival Logitech board, certainly through my tests, didn’t suffer the same plague of issues – and while this is Razer’s first attempt at a wireless keyboard, part of me had expected better.

All that said, if you’ve been yearning for a wireless BlackWidow keyboard then Razer has answered your calls. It still includes some great features – such as those Green keyswitches and a super-sturdy construction – but issues with software integration and battery life drop-off mean it’s hard to justify that high price tag.

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