With Christmas around the corner Razer has decided to make their Chroma Collection available to South Africa. A big box arrived on my doorstep last week and I opened it with glee. All the awesome things! I like to game. I enjoy bashing buttons and struggling through Indie titles. Sometimes I even review them for Spliced Magazine or GES. But when it comes to serious gaming there is no one whose opinion I value more then that of my little brother (his name is Darryn and you can follow him on twitter).
You see, said little brother is a serious competitive gamer. He has played in the Telkom Do Gaming League and was sponsored for most of last year. The kid’s pretty serious about his gaming. Now he has a full time job (what a pity) and has put competitive gaming on the back burner. I’m telling you all of this because I didn’t review these products. I didn’t get a Tech Girl to review these products. I didn’t ask resident gamer Marco to review these products (he was busy reviewing a few others for us – expect that post in the new year). I asked my brother to review them. I figured if there was one person who was going to give them hell and truly put them through their paces it was him….
This is what he had to say:
The Razer BlackWidow Chroma (the keyboard) – $169.99 so locally expect to pay between R1800 – R2000
The Razer DeathAdder Chroma (the mouse) – $69.99 so locally expect to pay between R800 – R1000
The Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma (the earphones) – &99.99 so locally expect to pay anything between R1200 to R1500
This is what you need to know… well I think you do:
Christmas is upon us sooner then some of us might like but it also means Razor is releasing their new range of keyboards, mice and headphones! Say hello to Chroma!
“Our new range of peripherals that feature Chroma customizable backlighting is another step towards full personal customization and to interconnect our gaming tech,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “Chroma represents more than just multicolour, it opens up limitless personalization options for gamers to play with and we even have a Chroma Software Developer Kit for game developers to integrate their games to provide even more customization in the future.”
Let me start by saying Razer never disappoints with their packaging. Sometimes it looks so good you don’t want to take the gadgets out of the box (my sister wanted me to type goodies, but that sounds terrible. So I didn’t.) With the Chroma range it is no different. A small feature, which most of you wouldn’t even notice, is how easy it is to get the sealing stickers off the boxes because Razer has designed them to have a little flap for easy removal. Small things like this make me happy.
So what is Chroma?
Chroma brings new customisation to Razer products in the form of back-lighting, which allows you to make your peripherals/gadgets/goodies uniquely your own. All the Chroma enabled devices come with distinct lighting effects and then synchronise perfectly with each other. You can run a spectrum cycle so the colours change, you can pick one colour, you can customise individual buttons (for the BlackWidow keyboard only) or you can set the gadgets to a wave…. Which is a bit like having a nightclub in your room if you switch the lights off.
Possibly the coolest thing Razer has done with these Chroma products is the introduction of Chroma SDK.
Is your base being destroyed? Your keyboard will flash red. About to score that clutch or rampage? All your Chroma devices could be synchronising and cycling through the variety of coloures related to the game. Complete customisation – it’s really awesome.
So what did I think of the Blackwidow, Deathadder and Kraken Chroma?
The keyboard is great but the colours are actually quite distracting. I just wanted to keep looking at them.
The Razer mechanical click is nice but it takes some getting used to. The feedback from the kyes is perfect, not too hard and not too soft. Personally, I don’t like the “click” however Razer has announced that you can get the orange variant when you order the keyboard which is still mechanical that has the feedback but its silent, so no “click”.
Features of Black Widow Chroma:
All-new Razor Mechanical Switches – Designed for gaming
Greater Durability – Compared to standard mechanical switches
Chroma customizable backlighting – with 16.8 million colour options
Inter-device colour synchronization – on all Chroma enabled devices
Fully programmable keys + 5 addition gaming keys – with on the fly macro recording
Easy access media keys – for convenient volume control and media playback
10 key roll-over – for extreme anti-ghosting
Audio-out and microphone-in jacks – for easy cable management
USB pass through
Here’s my thing – awesome mouse but crap software. It fits nicely in your hand, the clicks are smooth and the buttons are responsive. BUT, you can’t change the dpi (sensitivity) without software, so you’re stuck trying to find the cursor while it blitzes across the screen at 10 000 dpi… in my opinion, huge mistake.
Once you’ve downloaded the software you can adjust it to exactly what you want, which is cool, but it takes a bit of trial and error to find the sweet spot.
Lighting matches up with your keyboard and gives it a very cool effect while gaming, but this is also distracting.
Features of DeathAdder Chroma:
Ergonomic right-handed design with textured rubber side grips
10,000 DPI optical sensor
Chroma lighting with 16.8 million customizable color options
Razer Synapse enabled
5 Independently programmable Hyperesponse buttons
1000 Hz Ultrapolling
On-the-fly sensitivity adjustment
200 inches per second / 50 G acceleration
Gold-plated USB connector
2.13 m / 7 ft., lightweight, braided fiber cable
Approximate size: 127 mm / 5 in. (Length) x 70 mm / 2.76 in. (Width) x 44 mm / 1.73 in. (Height)
Approximate weight: 105 g / 0.23 lbs.
Kraken 7.1 Chroma
So the headphones look really spiffy. The Microphone was crisp and clear when using Teamspeak/Skype. However, any other form of sound didn’t work: music, game sounds, Windows startup… I had no sound in Dota at all. I’m a plug and play headphones type of guy. Turns out these aren’t those headphones. I had to sit and mess with the settings to get the sound working which I thought was a bit of a hassle.
Let me tell you though, once I’d done my fiddling the sound quality is awesome. 7.1 surround sound. Niiiice. The wire does give a scratching sound that resonates into the headphones and there is no volume control on the cans’ wire (yup, they aren’t wireless). To counter this you can adjust the volume from the keyboard if you plug the headphones in there.
Features of the Kraken 7.1 Chroma
Advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine
Personalized audio calibration
Enhanced digital microphone
Chroma lighting with 16.8 million customizable colour options
Synchronises with other Chroma devices
So I’m pretty tough on stuff in general. Despite some of my moaning above, the Chroma collection is lovely. Just kidding, only my sister uses adjectives like lovely. The lightening set up is awesome as is the customisation. Despite these being review units (meaning they have to go back) I’m yet to unplug them.
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