There are gaming keyboards that focus totally on efficiency, or dimension, or wi-fi comfort, after which there are gaming keyboards that attempt to be every thing and extra. Razer’s BlackWidow line of keyboards has all the time been the latter (and is all the time, subsequently, someplace on our listing of finest gaming keyboards) — customizable RGB-infused mechanical gaming keyboards filled with options. And the BlackWidow V4 Professional is all of that… and someway extra.
The Razer BlackWidow V4 Professional — that’s proper, that is Razer’s first V4 product — is a full-size wired mechanical gaming keyboard that pulls out all of the stops. It’s bought a quantity curler and 4 devoted media keys, in addition to eight devoted macro keys/buttons (5 keys and three aspect buttons), plus a tactile, multi-function “Razer Command Dial,” that may be programmed with as much as 100 customized modes. It additionally comes with a removable, plushly-padded wrist relaxation that extends the keyboard’s underglow with 20 further RGB zones when hooked up.
The BlackWidow V4 Professional is obtainable now, with a premium (however anticipated) $230 price ticket.
Design and Development of the BlackWidow V4 Professional
The BlackWidow V4 Professional is a full-size wired mechanical keyboard with a matte black aluminum alloy prime plate and a plastic chassis. It comes with a removable padded wrist relaxation in textured black leatherette, with Razer’s iconic triskelion snake brand embossed within the heart. It’s bigger than your common full-size keyboard due to a row of devoted macro keys, in addition to a programmable “Razer Command Dial” (extra on this later), positioned on the left aspect.
The BlackWidow V4 Professional measures 18.25 inches (464mm) lengthy by 6 inches (152mm) deep, and is about 1 inch (25mm) tall at its thickest level, not together with the keycaps (it’s about 1.75 inches/44.5mm tall with the keycaps). The removable wrist relaxation is about 3.25 inches (82.6mm) deep, making the keyboard 9.25 inches (235mm) deep with the wrist relaxation hooked up. This isn’t for somebody with restricted desk house — nonetheless, it’s simply half an inch wider than the BlackWidow V3 Professional (and simply over one-tenth of an inch deeper, with the wrist relaxation hooked up), which has no macro keys.
Within the higher proper nook, the BlackWidow V4 Professional has a textured metallic quantity curler and 4 machined aluminum media keys — earlier monitor, play/pause, subsequent monitor, and mute. The quantity curler and the media keys can all be reprogrammed in Razer’s Synapse 3 software program. On the left aspect of the keyboard are 5 devoted macro keys, labeled M1 – M5. Above these keys is a notched metallic “Razer Command Dial,” which is a multi-function dial that can be utilized for quite a lot of issues — it comes with eight presets (only some of that are turned on by default), which you’ll cycle by means of by clicking the dial, and you may create new dial modes in Razer’s Synapse 3 software program.
Additionally on the left aspect of the keyboard are three further programmable macro buttons — that’s eight macro buttons whole. Whereas I did like the truth that Razer is bringing again devoted macro keys, I’ll say that this keyboard did take a bit of getting used to — I stored misjudging the placement of my far-left keys (such because the tilde key, which is a key I exploit usually — coincidentally — as a macro in video games). I additionally unintentionally hit the aspect macro buttons a number of occasions when repositioning the keyboard on my desk, which is one thing I apparently do… pretty usually. This wasn’t an excessive amount of of a trouble, nonetheless, because it solely took every week for me to get used to the brand new format (and I disabled the aspect buttons till I discovered the place I wished my keyboard to take a seat, completely).
Picture 1 of 3
The underside of the BlackWidow V4 Professional options eight small rubberized anti-slip pads, although this can be a fairly heavy keyboard — it in all probability isn’t going wherever (except you’re grabbing it by the edges and shifting it, like I used to be). The keyboard alone weighs roughly 2.26 kilos (1027g), whereas the wrist relaxation weighs an extra 13.76 ounces (390g). The keyboard has two units of flip-out toes, each with rubberized anti-slip pads, for angle adjustment.
Picture 1 of 3
The removable wrist relaxation positively seems to be and feels premium with its plush, padded, leatherette-covered floor. It attaches to the keyboard magnetically, and has a 5-pin connector that interfaces (through a connection level on the underside of the keyboard) for seamless, Chroma-infused RGB underglow.
The BlackWidow V4 Professional has each underglow and per-key RGB. Alone, the keyboard has underglow on its sides solely, with 18 programmable zones (9 on both sides). Attaching the wrist relaxation provides one other 20 programmable zones to the edges and entrance (three to every aspect, one to every nook, and 12 to the entrance).
Picture 1 of 2
Along with the wrist relaxation, the BlackWidow V4 Professional additionally comes with two 6.5-foot (2m) USB-C to USB-A cables — the keyboard solely wants one cable for energy, however would require a second cable if you wish to use the keyboard’s USB 2.0 passthrough port.
|Switches||Razer Inexperienced / Razer Yellow|
|Onboard Storage||5 Onboard Profiles|
|Media Keys||4 + Quantity Curler (Programmable)|
|Extra Ports||1 USB-A|
|Development||Aluminum alloy, plastic|
|Software program||Synapse 3|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||18.25 x 6 x 1 inches / 464 x 152 x 25mm|
|Weight (sans equipment)||2.26 kilos / 1027g|
|MSRP / Value at Time of Overview||$229.99 / $229.99|
|Launch Date||Feb. 16, 2023|
Typing and Gaming Expertise on the BlackWidow V4 Professional
The BlackWidow V4 Professional comes with Razer’s in-house mechanical switches — both Razer Inexperienced (clicky) or Razer Yellow (linear). Razer Inexperienced switches actuate at 1.9mm with 50g of drive, and have each a tactile bump and an audible click on when pressed, whereas Razer Yellow switches actuate at 1.2mm with 45g of drive and don’t have any tactile bump or audible click on (Razer contains silicon sound dampeners for further silence). I unabashedly love loud clicky switches, so I requested a evaluation unit with Razer Inexperienced switches.
As anticipated, the Razer Inexperienced switches on the BlackWidow V4 Professional had been extra-loud, with a (barely hole) plasticky click on. The case has two layers of inside sound dampening foam, which did a reasonably first rate job of reducing down on case ping and reverb — although it doesn’t sound almost as refined because the Asus ROG Azoth. Nonetheless, that’s not essentially the worst factor, as I’m an enormous fan of obnoxiously-loud clickiness in keyboards (even when a few of that comes from the case and never the switches).
The spacebar on the BlackWidow V4 Professional sounds and feels barely extra steady than the spacebar on the BlackWidow V3 Professional, however it’s not vital sufficient that I’d name it an enchancment — the spacebar and bigger keys equivalent to backspace and enter give off extra of a uninteresting thud than a quick click on.
Like its predecessor, the BlackWidow V4 Professional has doubleshot ABS keycaps with engaging, shine-through legends. The keycaps are full top and have a lightly-textured, matte end, and will in all probability be mistaken for PBT keycaps at a look. The keycaps feel and look good, however it actually comes all the way down to how they’ll maintain up in the long term: the keycaps on my BlackWidow V3 Professional began exhibiting put on after lower than six months of every day use, and nothing signifies these keycaps will put on in a different way.
Though Razer Inexperienced switches aren’t my absolute favourite clicky switches — they’re just a bit too stiff to be good — they nonetheless rank fairly excessive. I did a few rounds of typing exams on 10fastfingers.com and averaged 123 phrases per minute (WPM ) with 97.32% accuracy — which is true according to how briskly I usually sort on an obnoxiously-loud clicky keyboard.
The BlackWidow V4 Professional additionally presents a wonderful gaming expertise, although some avid gamers might choose the linear Razer Yellow change variant. It’s particularly good to see the return of devoted macro keys, that are disabled by default however might be turned on and programmed in Synapse 3. The macro keys, like nearly all the keys (apart from the Home windows key and the Fn key), might be remapped to do absolutely anything: from keyboard/mouse capabilities to multimedia controls to launching packages or activating Home windows shortcuts. They can be mapped to further operate keys (F13 – F24), when you simply need further keys that may be remapped inside a recreation.
I examined the V4 Professional throughout various video games, together with my go-to MMORPG (the Elder Scrolls On-line) and FPS (Overwatch 2), in addition to my favourite arcade spin-off (The Typing of the Lifeless: Overkill). The additional macro keys positively give it a bonus in MMOs, though I needed to suppose for a bit about which keys I wished to remap — I’ve lived with out macro keys for thus lengthy that I’ve nearly forgotten methods to use them. The macro keys gained’t be as tempting for FPS gamers, however this keyboard remains to be a fantastic selection: it’s wired, so lag isn’t a difficulty, and it additionally has an extra-high polling fee (as much as 8,000 Hz). Whereas polling charges above 1,000 Hz are so negligible that the majority avid gamers gained’t discover a distinction, elite gamers seeking to eke out further pace wherever potential will recognize the choice.
Options and Software program of the BlackWidow V4 Professional
The BlackWidow V4 Professional, like all Razer merchandise, works with Razer’s Synapse 3 software program ecosystem. Synapse 3 is much from my favourite peripheral software program program, however it’s not my least favourite, in order that’s… one thing. The V4 Professional largely works out of the field, with none software program — largely. The quantity curler and media keys are pre-programmed, as are the three aspect macro buttons: the highest aspect macro button opens the screenshot menu, the center aspect macro button opens the Xbox recreation bar, and the underside aspect macro button opens Home windows Activity View.
The Razer Command Dial can be pre-programmed, with 4 of its eight preset modes activated: keyboard brightness, home windows zoom, change functions, and monitor jogging. You possibly can change between these modes by clicking the dial to advance or holding down the shift key and clicking the dial to go backward. The present mode is indicated by mild coloration (inexperienced, pink, blue, and yellow). The opposite 4 preset modes — monitor selector (cyan), vertical scrolling (magenta), horizontal scrolling (white), and change browser tabs (orange) — will must be turned on in Synapse 3.
You can too program as much as 100 customized Command Dial modes, full with customized backlight colours, utilizing Synapse 3. The catch is that you simply’ll must be operating Synapse 3 to make use of customized modes (they are often saved to the keyboard’s onboard profiles, however they gained’t run with out Synapse 3). The eight preset modes, as soon as turned on, might be accessed with out Synapse 3.
You’ll additionally must run Synapse 3 if you wish to use the 5 macro keys, that are disabled by default (which is ridiculous — they need to ship as further macro keys). As I discussed earlier, you’ll be able to program these keys to carry out quite a lot of capabilities and duties, or you’ll be able to program them as further Fn-keys if you wish to do your remapping in-game.
Synapse 3 can be the place you’ll be able to modify the keyboard’s polling fee, document macros (although the V4 Professional additionally presents on-the-fly macro recording), and remap keybinds — Razer presents a full secondary layer of keybind customization known as “Razer HyperShift,” which is activated through the Fn key (one of many solely keys that may’t be remapped. You can too use Synapse to modify up the keyboard’s lighting, both with preset “fast results,” or with customized results created utilizing Chroma Studio (which is a complete different headache, however I gained’t get into that). You possibly can sync the V4 Professional’s lighting with different Chroma-infused Razer peripherals for that hard-to-resist ultra-cohesive gamer look (don’t fear — I get it).
The Backside Line
In the event you’re on the lookout for the last word gaming-and-everything keyboard, the BlackWidow V4 Professional is it. The additional macro keys are considerably of a rarity on full-size keyboards lately, as everybody appears to have moved towards maximizing desk house effectivity — fully-programmable secondary keybind layers are helpful, however they’ll by no means be as handy as devoted macro keys.
The multi-function Razer Command Dial can be a really helpful inclusion — it capabilities quite a bit just like the multi-function dials on streaming decks such because the Elgato Stream Deck+ and the Loupedeck Stay S, which makes it good for these of us who don’t want a complete streaming setup however might use some of that stream deck performance. I arrange some customized dial modes for a handful of Photoshop duties equivalent to altering brush sizes, zooming in/out, and undoing/redoing an motion. Whereas I’ve even have these actions coded to dials on the Elgato Stream Deck+, I positively choose the Razer Command Dial as a result of I don’t have to maneuver my hand (and I don’t use so many dial-type actions that I would like visible illustration, such as you get on the Stream Deck+).
The BlackWidow V4 Professional is a wonderful keyboard for each productiveness and gaming, assuming you have got a desk large enough to suit a full-size keyboard and wrist relaxation. Its wrist relaxation is certainly a step up from earlier bundled Razer wrist rests — however whereas I recognize the underglow and the way in which Razer implements it, it’s nowhere close to as fairly because the Roccat Vulcan II Max’s lower-tech lightshow.
MORE: Finest Gaming Keyboards