Razer Orbweaver Mechanical Gaming Keypad Review

Posted February 7, 2013 by Sam Chen in Reviews
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Razer Orbweaver Conclusions

razer-orbweaver-mechanical-gaming-keypad-custom-pc-review-4Alright, so after spending about 2 weeks gaming on this thing, I’d have to say that the Orbweaver (and I think the gaming keypad in general) is pretty cool, but it’s a very niche product designed for a very specific set of gamers out there. From the games I tested the keypad on, I didn’t see much of an improvement in my gameplay at all when compared to the good old keyboard. At least the Orbweaver can do everything a keyboard does and a bit more so if you’re willing to experiment, I think you might find a key combination or macro that would help improve your game.

That said, I could see scenarios where the keypad could be superior. While I no longer actively play MMOs, I could definitely see the d-pad for example be a great WASD replacement for walking around the map while still allowing the rest of your fingers to continue casting spells on the move. I’m also sure there are a ton of people out there much more creative than I on setting up macros and finding better uses for the Orbweaver, so I’ll just leave it at that.

razer-orbweaver-mechanical-gaming-keypad-custom-pc-review-11

Alright, so with that out of the way, let’s talk about the Orbweaver itself. In terms of the design and comfort aspect of it, I think the Orbweaver slightly misses the mark – at least for me personally. As you can see above, my fingers have very difficult time reaching the top row of buttons, especially the 1 and 5 button which is nearly impossible for my smaller hands. While the Orbweaver can be adjusted in length by adjusting the wristrest, it’s still too long for me at its default length. Those with larger hands though, this may not be an issue. As with any gaming peripheral, your mileage may vary I guess.

razer-orbweaver-mechanical-gaming-keypad-custom-pc-review-10On the thumbrest, I also had a difficult time using the d-pad along with the buttons there as well. The problem with the thumbrest is that the piece is too far out and while you can adjust the thumbrest, it only allows you to extend it further at an angle. For me, I had to either stretch my hand in order to use the keypad or shorten the thumbrest to use the keypad. Unfortunately by shortening the thumbrest, it’s very difficult to press the bottom button and it’s difficult to move the d-pad, so it’s quite awkward for me to use as well.

Speaking of the d-pad and the bottom button, I feel like the bottom button needs to be a bit stiffer. As it is currently, I feel that it’s way too easy to accidentally press the button as it’s simply too light. As for the d-pad, I think an analog joystick would be a lot better here, but I can see how having a d-pad can be useful in some applications that require higher level of accuracy such as switching weapons in game, so I guess it’s just a personal preference more than anything.

Pricing on the Razer Orbweaver is $129.99, which definitely makes it one of the most expensive gaming peripherals on the market. Even a full sized, fully backlit mechanical gaming keyboard like the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2013 is priced at $139.99, only a mere $10 more than the Orbweaver. Those who don’t yet have a mechanical gaming keyboard, I’d definitely recommend picking one up first prior to picking up the Orbweaver. You just get so much more bang for the buck.

So to answer my original question. Is the Orbweaver reason enough to forget about the keyboard? Personally, I say no – not yet at least. At this point, my reservations are simply comfort and cost rather than utility though. That said, I’m going to give credit where credit is due and mechanically, I think the Orbweaver is fantastic. I also think the concept of the gaming keypad is a good one as well. The Orbweaver really makes a lot more use of the thumb, which to me seems underused when gaming on a regular keyboard. After all, not all games even use the spacebar to begin with.

Hopefully with a couple minor tweaks, the next Orbweaver could finally be a compelling reason to ditch that silly old keyboard. Today, it’s only reason for a very specific crowd.

 

 

Sample provided by: Razer

Available at: Amazon


About the Author

Sam Chen

Editor-in-Chief

  • Russell Robinson

    tooo expensive! It costs more than my full mechanical keyboard

  • Alex Potts

    i’ve got one of these from the early 00’s before razer aquired nostromo, still use it to this day. one of the best periferals around in my opinion.

    that said, it doesn’t work with the new drivers (or the synapse software from my experience) and the price has gone waaaay up

  • HughJundys

    Thank you for the information. Despite not being a user of the device it was informative, I’d love to see this reviewed by a Nostromo user. It is fun to see a review from someone who always uses a k/b mouse combo but it is more helpful to me to get one from someone who regularly uses this type of device. Kinda like, but not the same as, a review from someone who doesn’t drive cars isn’t a useful as a review from someone who has.

    I love the nostromo and rarely play without it. If I couldn’t use it I’d probably leave computer gaming. I love that thumbpad for many different games. At this point it feels so much more natural for me to use that thumbpad to move around than the 4 keys on my kb.

    This new device is interesting to me because of the mechanical switches. I wonder if this makes the thumbpad better than the older devices I have here, They did not need the extra row of buttons and I think addition impacted the look of the device in a negative way.

    • Talon

      I don’t mean to Necro but this needs to be said. As a nostromo user i could instantly tell that the orbweaver was much more precise and faster. with the Nostromo there was a chance you could press a button and not get a response, with the orbweaver the keys are very easy to touch and use. especially the space bar. The nostromos space bar sometimes felt like it was grinding and hard to press, the orbweavers is a huge upgrade. To comment on your ” extra row of buttons”. coming from the nostomo, i think the extra row is what makes this a winner. it was very hard for me to touch the 12 and 13 key on the nostromo, the orbweaver feels very natural, no matter what i button i press. And really the look isnt what im worried about on the game pad, its the practicality and usefulness over a gaming keyboard. The orbweaver is a game changer. I would recommend it over a Nostromo. But do not forget, people are not kidding when they say this thing is loud. I was surprised. Get the stealth version if possible if not either way you’ll love it.
      by the way. who cares about the cord anyways? its rubber. just like everything else i have, i don’t need it for a survival mission like everyone else who complains its not braided. hope this helps future buyers/researchers.
      As far as cost goes. i would buy this over a top dollar full keyboard everyday all day.
      Make the switch you wont reget it.