Razer has a long history in making mechanical keyboards now. The first BlackWidow launched in 2010, and it was arguably one of the first mechanical keyboards to really embrace gamers.
Having said that, Razer is looking to expand its reach to consumers who want the superior typing experience of a mechanical keyboard but don’t want the bells and whistles. Enter the BlackWidow Lite, a tenkeyless model that’s basically a stripped-down version of what Razer usually oﬀers. With its nononsense minimalist design, the Lite is built for the oﬃce, and Razer is expressly marketing it as such.
The keyboard is equipped with Razer’s own Orange switches, which are tactile, silent switches. They have an actuation force of 45g and a total travel distance of 4mm, so they’re pretty similar to Cherry MX Browns.There’s also only a 0.05mm diﬀerence between the actuation and reset points, so I didn’t really have any trouble with rapid key presses. All told, I like the feel of these switches, and they make a satisfying ‘clack’ sound when they hit the aluminum top plate.
However, even though Razer is branding these as silent switches, they’re really not all that quiet. They’re only silent because the switch mechanism doesn’t produce a click, but they’re quite diﬀerent from true silent switches like Zilents, which feature dampeners on the switch stem to help mute the noise of the stem hitting the bottom and top of the housing on its way down and back up.
To mitigate this, Razer has included a pack of matching, orange o-rings that you can install on the keycap stems. These still don’t compare with the approach of the Zilent switches though. While the o-rings stop the key stroke just short of bottoming out, thus reducing the noise produced on the way down, they can’t do anything about the stem hitting the top of the switch housing on its way up. Furthermore, they also slightly reduce the overall key travel distance and create a mushy feel.
If you’re super particular about noise, the o-rings will help silence the switches, but I personally prefer to use the keyboard without them.
Razer’s Orange switches are also based oﬀ the design of Cherry MX switches, but they feature dual side walls for reduced key wobble. In addition, the walls help protect against the ingress of dust and liquids, particularly useful if you’re in the habit of eating at your desk.
When it comes to design, the BlackWidow Lite may be my favorite BlackWidow yet. It’s simple and minimalist, sporting a clean, matte aluminum top plate. The base is still plastic though, and it would have been really cool if Razer crafted the entire base from metal. The floating key design is easier to clean as well, and you can blow out dust and detritus without having to remove all the keycaps.
A serious keyboard that looks good and works well for its price.
The braided micro-USB cable is detachable.