[section label=1. Introduction]
Full Spectrum Gaming
At CES 2014 earlier this year, Cherry Corporation and Corsair made a huge splash in the world of gaming peripherals by introducing the world’s first RGB LED backlit mechanical gaming keyboard. At the time it was quite revolutionary since prior to the introduction, mechanical keyboards only came with either one or sometimes two single color LEDs which just doesn’t give users much choice when it comes to color customization.
While Corsair and Cherry took the spotlight at the beginning of the year, it really didn’t take very long for competing companies to catch up, with Razer first introducing their first RGB backlit peripherals back in August, just in time for the holiday season.
Razer DeathAdder Chroma Specifications
|Sensor||Avago S3988 Optical|
|DPI Range||100 – 10,000|
|Switches||Omron D2FC-F-7N (10M)|
|Polling Rate||1000 Hz|
|USB Cable||7ft Braided|
|Weight||105g (0.23 lbs)|
|Check Pricing||Click Here|
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma Specifications
|Model||BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma|
|Key Switch||Razer Green|
|Backlighting||All Keys Except Spacebar and Fn key|
|Polling Rate||1000 Hz|
|USB Hub||1 Port, USB 2.0|
|USB Cable||6ft Braided, Gold Plated Connector|
|Dimension||18.72 in x 6.74 in x 1.54 in|
|Additional Features||Game Mode, Media Keys, Macro Keys, RGB LED Backlit|
|Check Pricing||Click Here|
Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma Gaming Headset Specifications
|Speaker Driver||40mm Neodymium Magnets|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz – 20000 Hz|
|Check Pricing||Click Here|
Razer’s latest RGB gaming peripherals are all marketed under the Chroma brand, which started off with the Razer DeathAdder Chroma, the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma, and the Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma. Razer recently also announced the Razer Naga Epic Chroma as well so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple more Chroma products in the coming months.
In terms of specs, most of the Chroma peripheral lineup seem to be identical to the non-Chroma peripheral lineup with the exception of RGB LEDs which allow users to choose between 16.8 million different colors for their backlighting. There are also a few more subtle changes for some of the Chroma products such as the Razer DeathAdder Chroma which we’ll be discussing in the rest of the review.
For now, let’s go ahead and take a closer look at what we’ve got.
[section label=2. A Closer Look (DeathAdder Chroma)]
A Closer Look at the Razer DeathAdder Chroma
Here’s a look at the packaging for the Razer DeathAdder Chroma.
Included we get the usual set of documentation, a set of Razer stickers…
… and the Razer DeathAdder Chroma gaming mouse which is pretty much identical in physical design to the new DeathAdder we reviewed early last year.
Switches on the Razer DeathAdder Chroma is a combination of Omron D2FC-F-7N (10M) switches for the left and right mouse buttons which are rated up to 10 million actuations along with less durable Kailh switches for the side buttons.
The biggest change according to Razer’s specifications is that the DeathAdder Chroma has a maximum DPI of up to 10,000 whereas the standard DeathAdder has a maximum DPI of up to 6,400. Since this is the first time I’ve seen an optical sensor with a 10,000 DPI, I had to crack open the DeathAdder Chroma to take a look at the sensor.
Unfortunately rather than finding a brand new sensor, it appears that Razer is still using the exact same Razer exclusive Avago S3988 sensor used in the existing DeathAdder. Considering the S3988 sensor is designed with a maximum DPI of 6,400, it’s most likely that Razer is achieving a 10,000 DPI using interpolation or some proprietary algorithm. Either way, the increase in DPI is mostly a marketing move.
Of course, you also get to choose between the entire RGB spectrum of color for your mouse lighting. There’s also different lighting effects to choose from via the Razer Synapse software which we’ll get into a bit later.
[section label=3. A Closer Look (Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma)]
A Closer Look at the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma
Here’s a look at the packaging for the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma.
Included we get some documentation along with a couple Razer stickers.
Like the Razer DeathAdder Chroma, the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma is pretty much a carbon copy of the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 reviewed previously.
In terms of switches, the Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma is very similar to its non-Chroma cousin. The switches here are Razer Green switches which are manufactured by Chinese manufacturer Kailh. While Kailh switches don’t necessarily have the same rock solid reputation as Cherry switches, I personally still use the Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 with the exact same Kailh supplied Razer Green switches with great results so far so no complaints here, but it’s still too early to tell. We’ll see in the next few years how these switches fare.
The biggest difference between the Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma and the non-Chroma Blackwidow Ultimate is the lighting. Each key (other than the spacebar and Fn key) is individually backit with a RGB LED which can be configured using Razer’s Synapse software. There are also some cool pre-programmed lighting effects which we’ll get into a bit later.
[section label=4. A Closer Look (Kraken 7.1 Chroma)]
A Closer Look at the Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma
Here’s a look at the packaging for the Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma.
Included we get a set of documentation along with a couple stickers.
Like the rest of the Chroma peripherals, the Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma is practically identical to the Razer Kraken 7.1 we reviewed previously with the exception that the LEDs on the earcups are now RGB LEDs rather than single color LEDs.
[section label=5. Razer Synapse Software]
Razer Synapse Software
Since the Razer Synapse software on the DeathAdder 2013, Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 and Kraken 7.1 has been covered in their respective reviews, I’ll be covering just the new features introduced with the Chroma lineup. For the most part, other than the maximum DPI increase in the DeathAdder Chroma, it’s just the lighting menus that have additional features.
Razer DeathAdder Chroma
As previously mentioned, the Razer DeathAdder Chroma now has the capability of up to 10,000 DPI sensitivity.
Here’s a look at the lighting menu for the Razer DeathAdder Chroma. you can switch between static, breathing and spectrum cycling lighting modes. In static mode you choose a single color for the LED, in breathing mode the LED turns on and off to simulate a breathing effect, and in spectrum cycling mode the LEDs transitions colors using a breathing effect.
Also cool to note is that the same LED lighting mode can be applied to every other Razer Chroma device simply by clicking the “Apply to other Chroma-enabled devices” button.
Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma
By far the most customizable of the Chroma peripherals is the Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma, thanks to the fact that every single key is illuminated by its own RGB LED. Like the DeathAdder Chroma, the BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma has static, breathing, and spectrum cycling, but it also has the additional wave, reactive, and custom lighting modes as well. Wave mode creates a wave effect with different color LEDs which constantly waves though the entire length of the keyboard, reactive mode lights up keys briefly as you press them, and custom mode allows you to individually choose the LED backlighting on any key.
The video below gives a pretty good highlight of the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma’s lighting effects.
Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma
Here’s a look at the lighting menu for the Kraken 7.1 Chroma. As it only has a single LED on both earcups, so we get the same lighting options as the DeathAdder Chroma – static, breathing, and spectrum cycling.
[section label=6. Conclusion]
Razer Chroma DeathAdder, Blackwidow Ultimate, Kraken 7.1 Conclusions
Alright, so most of you are probably wondering what happened to the performance testing section that I usually have and after spending about two weeks testing this setup, I can tell you right now that the performance between the Chroma and non-Chroma peripherals are identical. Since writing something I’ve already written before is a big waste of time, I’d direct you to the reviews for the Razer DeathAdder 2013, Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014, and Razer Kraken 7.1 instead. That said, what I will say is that these specific peripherals are what I consider to be among the best in their respective categories and I’m quite glad these are the peripherals Razer decided to put RGB LEDs in first.
The only peripheral with a major spec difference is the DeathAdder Chroma which has the ability to reach a 10,000 DPI sensitivity, but I don’t think most people use their gaming mice at anything over 6,400 DPI anyhow. At under 6,400 DPI, there’s no noticeable difference between the DeathAdder 2013 and the DeathAdder Chroma. After all, both the Chroma and non-Chroma DeathAdder use the same exact sensor hardware.
As for the lighting, there’s really nothing to complain about with Razer’s implementation of RGB LEDs. The lighting is nice and bright, and it’s extremely easy to configure with Razer’s Synapse software. This does mean greater reliance on Razer Synapse, but I think Synapse is fairly bug free these days and shouldn’t be a problem for the majority of gamers. One thing I like about Razer’s Chroma setup is that it’s available in an entire peripheral set and that the lighting can be synced across all devices – a feature that doesn’t exist for many competitors’ RGB backlit peripherals. Razer has also promised an SDK for developers who wish to add custom functions to the backlighting system which should make Razer’s Chroma lineup an even more compelling buy although Razer hasn’t released a timeframe when that would be released.
The Razer DeathAdder Chroma carries a MSRP of $69.99, the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma carries a MSRP of $169.99, and the Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma carries a MSRP of $99.99. As usual for Razer products, these are priced at a quite a premium even for RGB backlit peripherals, but prices do tend to drop after supply stabilizes and these are no doubt quality gaming peripherals that have gone through years and years of refinement. Those who are fine with single color LEDs or no LEDs should probably save the extra dough and opt for the non-Chroma editions, but if you must have the coolest looking mice, keyboard, and headset at your next LAN party, you really can’t go wrong with the DeathAdder Chroma, Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma and the Kraken 7.1 Chroma.
Sample provided by: Razer
Available on: Amazon