Last December, I reviewed one of Razer’s BlackWidow Stealth Ultimate Edition keyboards. I experienced numerous technical difficulties with the keyboard, which resulted in its low score. However, after some discussion, we determined that I may have, in fact, received a damaged unit, and Razer was gracious enough to supply us with a replacement for re-review. What follows is an assessment of the functions we previously took issue with: sticking keys, persistent headset buzzing, and clunky setup.
To avoid any possible hardware conflicts, the only peripherals used in tandem with this keyboard were the Razer Imperator Mouse and Nostromo gamepad. My initial installation revealed no errors, and there were no sticking keys to speak of. The BlackWidow Stealth requires the use of two USB slots, one mic, and one headset jack, should you choose to connect your headset to the keyboard. With my previous BlackWidow, I wrestled with cables to make sure I fit everything into the proper ports. This time, with a brand new PC, I had little difficulty with the connection, but ran into trouble when trying to use the mic and headphone jacks. These ports are currently located on the top of my PC case, next to two USB ports. I would have preferred to connect this keyboard via the back of my case, but the split between the USBs and the mic/headphone jacks was simply too short to allow me to rearrange the cables. I just had to plug everything into the top. I don’t fault Razer for this, but I would have liked more malleable cables to work with (though its braided cables are sturdy and appreciated), as not all PC cases are the same. I just happen to have a particularly odd one with no rear mic jack.
Once I had everything set up and began to enjoy the soft glow of the blue LEDs again, I plugged my Turtle Beach PX21s into the headset port to the right of the numpad. The buzzing was gone, and I was satisfied, though still left wondering why I even really needed a side port for my headset, as it didn’t exactly free up any ports on my PC case, nor did it offer me any organizational benefit. Perhaps if you’re gaming a great distance from your monitor with the keyboard in your lap, it makes sense. No matter its intended function, it operates well and the sound quality is excellent.
With all of the technical issues resolved, I was able to dive into a few PVP sessions within Star Wars: The Old Republic. My experience was smooth, responsive, though not entirely remarkable. There’s no fear of a double key strike when you’re using the BlackWidow Stealth Ultimate Edition, and its solid performance won’t disappoint. However, I still don’t believe that it really lives up to the “Stealth” portion of its description, as it’s still a fairly loud, and very heavy keyboard, despite the improvements that have been made to quiet it. It does, however, serve as a reliable keyboard.
Not only that, but it glows. It just looks really, really cool. Its matte finish and serene blue glow make me forgive the fact that it lacks a wrist rest or… drink holder. It’s just an impressive piece of hardware that gets the job done. You’ll just have to decide if you’re ready to throw down $139.99 for this experience. If you’re particular about your keyboard gaming, it may just be worth the cost of an upgrade. If, however, you can’t tell the difference between a laptop keyboard and a typewriter, you might just want to stick with what you’ve got.
Despite the issues I had with the first keyboard sent to me, the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Edition is an impressive piece of hardware that delivers a solid performance. I would have preferred it had it been slightly more stealthy and required fewer ports to function, but it’s definitely worthy of inclusion into the Razer arsenal.
8 and 8.5 represent hardware that is a good experience overall. While there may be some issues that prevent it from being fantastic, these scores are for products that you feel would easily be worth a purchase.