Razer Orbweaver Mechanical Gaming Keypad Review
Razer Orbweaver Conclusions
Alright, 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.
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.
On 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