The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a Luxurious Keyboard for Gaming Enthusiasts

Razer sets the bar high with the latest entry in its long-running BlackWidow series.
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Just look at this thing. Even when sat next to a tricked-out $2,500 gaming PC setup, the new Razer BlackWidow Elite mechanical keyboard is just about the sexiest thing in the room. It’s so nice to look at, and its keys so satisfyingly clicky that it makes me want to sit down and press buttons even when the PC is off. Not that I actually did that (ahem).

I own this keyboard’s predecessor, the 2017 BlackWidow Chroma V2. And in my eyes, that was pretty much the perfect keyboard until the 2018 BlackWidow Elite arrived on my desk. Razer has managed to bring improvements and extra refinements to just about every part of the new Elite model, which absolutely justifies its $169.99 price to gamers looking for a premium experience.

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is currently on sale at Best Buy for $134.99 for a limited time. 

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Let's take a closer look at how the BlackWidow Elite enhances your gaming and productivity efforts.

Special thanks to Razer for providing a BlackWidow Elite for this review!

Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard

Reviewed by Mike Jackson
4.8
    Design 4.8
  • Build Quality 4.9
  • Performance 5.0
  • Cost 4.5
  • Overall Value 4.6

Pros

  • Premium metal construction
  • More stable, quieter switches
  • Convenient media keys
  • Completely reprogrammable
  • Superb wrist rest

Cons

  • No dedicated macro keys
  • Lower RGB brightness vs. 2017 models
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Razer BlackWidow Elite Specifications

  • Razer Green Switches
  • Fully reconfigurable keys with Hypershift
  • Razer Chroma full RGB Lighting
  • Dedicated media controls
  • USB2.0 and headphone pass-through ports
  • Rated for 80 Million key strokes
  • Leather wrist rest included

It's All in the Details

The BlackWidow Elite is the latest in Razer’s line of high-end mechanical keyboards that stretches all the way back to 2010. That’s almost a decade of revision, tweaking and refinement from a company known for placing a heaving emphasis on premium aesthetics and high-end specs. It’s not surprising, then, that this is one sleek device.

Right out of the box, the weight of this keyboard is striking. The BlackWidow Elite features a solid metal finish, which replaces the plastic surfaces from last year’s BlackWidow. That makes for a decent amount of heft, which along with wider rubber feet, help keep it planted firmly in place during the most intense gaming sessions.

New channeling carved into the underside of the board offers improved desktop cable management, and unlike the more expensive Huntsman Elite keyboard, the BlackWidow Elite also maintains the highly useful USB 2.0 and headphone pass-through ports, now located on its left edge underneath the ESC key.

And to round out the premium fit and finish, the Elite model comes with a lush, padded leather wrist rest, which can be attached magnetically to the keyboard. It doesn’t have the surround-RGB effects of the Huntsman Elite's attachment, but it’s quite possibly the most comfortable wrist rest on the market.

Razer Green Switches

The keys of the BlackWidow Elite really catch your eye, sitting atop the new gorgeous flat-plane design with a full array of RGB LEDs illuminating each one with a flush of color. And while the Chroma lighting doesn’t pop as much when compare to the older keyboards (it lacks the white reflective material under the keys), it is as extensively customizable as you'd expect via the Razer Synapse software.

The keys themselves utilize Razer’s well-known green switches, which offer a perfect balance of clicky feedback and just the right amount of resistance without being overbearing. This year’s green switches have also received a slight design tweak, with new sidewalls that hold the keys more firmly in place and reduce key chatter, resulting in a tangibly quieter, firmer-sounding key stroke.

Also new this year is the addition of media control keys: three buttons and a circular rotating dial carried over from Razer’s flagship Huntsman Elite keyboard. By default, the rotating dial offers convenient volume control, but with Razer Synapse, you can configure it to do a wide variety of other things, including zooming, panning (video editing) or any number of productivity-enhancing inputs.

Do You Even Macro, Bro?!

Programmability is a particular strong point for Razer as the company has always been fairly comprehensive with its treatment of macros (the ability to bind a set of custom keystrokes to a single button).

But now it goes further with a new so-called "Razer Hypershift" feature, which lets you map a secondary function to any key on the keyboard, and activate them with the press of a user-defined "Hypershift" key. It’s like having an additional Shift button that offers a fully-customizable keystroke or series of actions to every button on the board.

Essentially, you can map anything to any key — everything that moves has macro potential. Your custom setups can then be saved either locally on the keyboard’s internal memory, or uploaded to the cloud via Synapse. That way, you can take your custom key bindings with you everywhere.

This isn’t exclusive to the new models, though. Hypershift was added as part of Razer Synapse 3.0, and works with any number of compatible Razer devices, new and old. But if you’re looking to join the "cult of Razer," this open key binding feature is something to consider.

That said, the new BlackWidow Elite ditches the dedicated macro keys found on the older model, which won’t be a big deal for most people, but gamers who rely on the extra buttons will miss their utility. On the plus side, their omission shrinks the width of the keyboard for a more compact look.

Should You Buy the Razer BlackWidow Elite?

Yes, you should. I loved the 2017 BlackWidow, and the new Elite model improves on it in almost every way. It’s hard to find fault with this keyboard, but if I’m forced to nitpick, maybe the cable is a little too thick, making it awkward to manage/thread through the crevices of my desk. But then again, it's beautifully braided and feels incredibly durable. See? I can’t even criticize it without resorting to a compliment.

If you can’t live without dedicated macro keys, perhaps you’d want to consider the previous generation BlackWidow. Or, if you’re crazy about RGB lighting, you might want to go for the Huntsman Elite, with its fancy "4-Side underglow."

But if you just want a high-performance keyboard with slightly less frills, the BlackWidow Elite is the optimal pick. With a retail price of $169.99, it definitely skews on the more expensive side, but the good news is that you get what you pay for. It's pretty much the best keyboard you can buy if you want to have something that lives up to your high-end gaming PC setup.

The Razer BlackWidow Elite is currently on sale at Best Buy for $134.99 for a limited time. 

Buy Now from Best Buy

See more deals and discounts on gaming peripherals by visiting Slickdeals' Razer Store Page.

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About the Author
Mike Jackson Contributor

Mike Jackson has been writing for high-profile publications for 16 years, primarily in the video game industry, but also covering tech. Mike is an obsessed video game hoarder with hundreds of games spanning a 30-year collection. An entire room in his house is dedicated to Super Mario, and he thinks the Nintendo Switch is “the best invention in human history.” Counseling may be necessary.


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