Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth 2013 Edition Keyboard Review
Keyboard software can be particularly vexatious. However, Razer’s software impressed me by being incredibly straightforward.
There are no animations, no sound effects, no fluff. The theming is easy to work with and sharp – befitting the brand name.
Synapse 2.0 adds a twist to the standard formula for peripheral software. Not only does it allow for the expected flexibility in configuring the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Edition, it also allows for device profiles to be accessed from any computer outfitted with the Synapse 2.0 software. This should be very useful for tournament gamers on Razer peripherals with custom layouts and macros if the tournament PCs use Razer hardware as well.
Razer provides a way via Synapse 2.0 for most keys on the BlackWidow line of keyboards to be customized with the same extensibility as the macro keys. Custom mappings can be assigned to profiles that are accessed on the fly by pressing combinations of the BlackWidow line’s built in function key – which replaces the right hand Windows key - and numbers 1-9, or they can be configured to activate when the software detects specific programs.
Remapped “A” to “S”. Ever wanted to play around with a Dvorak layout?
Additionally, the driver software allows one to toggle on a ‘gaming mode’ that can be configured to disable Alt+F4, Alt+Tab, and the Windows key. This gaming mode is toggled by pressing Function+F10. A green targeting reticle lights up on the keyboard to indicate that gaming mode is enabled.
I rarely have trouble with accidentally hitting these keys, but when I do it’s always right in time to inadvertently chuck a grenade into my teammates.
The lighting controls are self-explanatory and easy to work. I did have a bit of trouble with the setting to turn the keyboard’s lights off when my monitors were off.
The pulsate and the brightness functionality work as expected. The software may be struggling to detect the power state of both of my monitors’ on my SLi setup.
Gamers are able to record macros on the fly by pressing Function+F9, pressing the key combination for the macro, pressing Function+F9 again, and then pressing the key to bind the macro to. The macro is then immediately available for use. A red indicator light on the keyboard indicates the macro recorder is on when it is activated by hotkey.
The macro recorder is straightforward. It includes the ability to import/export profiles and macros underneath the ellipses
The Synapse 2.0 software shows a degree of polish that some peripheral drivers lack. Additionally, I see update notifications frequently enough to remind me that the software is installed and that development is active. It is minimally obtrusive, easy to use, lightweight, completely functional, and refreshing to use.