I started reviewing the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro keyboard with my expectations set pretty high considering the $229 price tag. Especially since I knew it was feature-packed with per-key RGB lighting and wireless connectivity that is supposed to be indistinguishable from a wired one.
After having spent a little over a month of the BlackWidow V3 Pro as my primary keyboard, I have to say that it largely delivered on that promise. For a lot of gamers and typists alike, I think it is worth the price of admission thanks to the excellent build quality and robust feature set.
Particularly for people like me who are split between gaming and other computing tasks and don’t want separate keyboards for each, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is a strong contender with just a couple of issues that may steer some elsewhere.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro price and configuration options
There are two versions of the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro available and both go for $229. The lone difference between the two is the switches below the keycaps, which are either Razer Green or Razer Yellow.
Razer Green is the traditional option, which is most comparable to Cherry MX Blue with a 1.9mm actuation point, 4mm of key travel and 0.4mm reset point. Razer Yellow is a newer linear option that is similar to a Cherry MX Speed Silver with a 1.2mm actuation point, 3.5mm of key travel and 0mm reset point.
If none of that means anything to you, the Razer Green is considerably louder and better suited to general-purpose use with a mix of typing and gaming. The Razer Yellows are relatively quiet and more expressly for gaming requiring just a slight depression to activate and instant reset. Both will work in either capacity, so this largely comes down to personal preference.
My review unit features the Razer Yellow switches.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro Gaming Keyboard design
The overall design of the V3 Pro is actually quite understated with its matte black aluminum top frame and textured Doubleshot ABS keycaps. With the exception of the media controls in the top-right of the keyboard, there is little to immediately call it out as a gaming keyboard.
That is, of course, when the Razer Chroma RGB lighting isn’t fired up. I’ll touch on the specifics of what you can do with the lighting later, but the cascades of shifting colors certainly spices things up that staid black finish. The light show includes the Razer logo centered at the base of the keyboard. It’s an interesting placement as it’s obscured completely if you choose to use the included plush leatherette wrist rest, which is angled to align perfectly with the bottom of the keyboard.
The wrist rest does give things away with the Razer logo dead center, but like the rest of the keyboard, it’s black-on-black and quite subtle, even from a distance. And as someone who is typically annoyed by wrist rests, I found this one quite comfortable to use.
On the back of the keyboard is a USB Type-C port for either wired connectivity or charging using the included braided USB Type-A-to-USB Type-C cable. The left side features the switch to move between a Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wireless connection. The bottom of the keyboard is plastic with four rubberized squares at the corners to ensure it sticks solidly and quietly to your desk with two-stage foldable feet at the top to give you a comfortable angle for typing at either six or nine degrees. Finally, a panel at the top center conceals the 2.4GHz USB Type-A dongle for low latency wireless connectivity.
Returning to the top of the keyboard, the media controls include buttons for back, play/pause, forward and a volume knob with a mute toggle at its center. Personally, I like the somewhat split personality of the keyboard: shut down the lighting or restrict it to plain white and you’ve simply got a professional-looking keyboard, but just fire up the RGB and move away the wrist rest and it's game on.
Despite the fairly minimal design, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is still on the heavier side at 3.1 pounds, but it is otherwise comparable to other full-sized keyboards at 17.7 x 9.8 x 1.7 inches.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro keys
The BlackWidow V3 Pro has a 104-key layout, not including the additional four media keys at the top. The keys are doubleshot ABS keycaps that, after about a month of testing and tens of thousands of words, are showing no wear The doubleshot process is intended to prevent wear. Swapping the keycaps is simple enough if needed at some point and the switches are rated for 80 million keystrokes. While some may grumble at the lack of PBT, these don’t feel appreciably less premium.
The linear Razer Yellow switches may be the more gaming-centric option from Razer. However, I find them quite pleasant for typing with solid rebound and a nice clickiness without getting too loud thanks to the newly introduced silicon dampeners. Despite working from home and not having to worry about irritating my coworkers, it’s nice to type softly when on a conference call or simply listen to music.
Although these don’t feature the lengthy travel of the Razer Greens, the 4mm key travel and 1.9mm actuation point with 45g of force still feels luxurious coming from a laptop keyboard. I’ve been intermingling my testing of this laptop with the wired Razer BlackWidow V3 with Razer Greens. While it’s an excellent typing experience that ultimately makes it easier on my fingers than the Razer Yellows, I just find the Greens are too noisy. And as someone who is regularly testing laptop keyboards, the noise delta between them may just be too much for me.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro performance
While I find the BlackWidow V3 Pro more comfortable to type on than my laptop keyboard, it hasn’t offered me any speed improvements. My 10fastfingers.com results came in at my normal 86-wpm average. So if you are looking for a secret turbo typing unlock, I don’t think this is it, but fatigue from typing at your normal speeds should be better.
Turning to this keyboard's real intent, I tested it on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Here, it definitely shines. The linear Razer Yellow switches are quick to respond while giving you the ability to hover and depress slightly for a hair-trigger when necessary. They also handle the need to repeatedly hit the same key over and over without issue thanks to the instant reset.
Obviously, the various connectivity options will have an impact, but if you are simply typing or web browsing, Bluetooth will be just fine. But for gaming or if you simply value instant response, the 2.4GHz HyperSpeed dongle offers full 1,000Hz polling. You could also go with the standard BlackWidow V3 if you didn’t mind being wired all the time, but you do have the option to plug in the V3 Pro via the aforementioned 6-foot braided cable for a direct connection whether or not you need to charge.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro battery life
The battery life of the BlackWidow V3 Pro is highly dependent on your usage of RGB lighting. Razer boasts up to 192 hours if you forgo the lighting completely, but that drops considerably when the lights come on.
Using the default cycling rainbow lighting at maximum brightness should get you 13 hours according to Razer, and I saw slightly longer runtimes than that. Butthe performance of both the lights and the keyboard itself starts to get dicey at around 5% battery remaining, so you don’t really want to press the limits. Drop that to 50% and you can go considerably longer, at up to 25 hours based on Razer’s claims. That matched my experience.
If you are opting for a static color, that will drop it even more at roughly 14 hours when set at 40% and all the way down to just 5 hours if pushed to 100% brightness.
This is a little on the short side compared to some of its competitors like the Logitech G915, which offers up to 35 hours at full brightness. Whether this matters to you is going to depend on your setup. You can use the companion software for incredibly granular control over the lighting options that can extend your battery life well beyond the figures above if you lower the brightness further or change the inactivity settings. I did get caught a couple of times with the battery dying, but as I kept the cable plugged into my USB Type-C hub, it wasn’t a big deal to simply plug in for a couple of hours to top it back up.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro software
The BlackWidow V3 Pro depends on Razer’s Synapse app for all of its more advanced functions, including remapping of keys, creating macros, controlling the RGB lighting and the power settings.
Synapse can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be really as it’s entirely dependent on how much customization you are looking for with your keyboard.
Remapping of keys is dead simple and will allow you to customize every key with the exception of the Windows key and the right function key. Hypershift essentially gives you a second keyboard by allowing you to assign different actions for any key when holding down the right function key. Macros are easy to create as well in Synapse or you can import existing macros.
Lighting effects are another potentially deep well of functionality, but for those that are just looking for the basics, there are 11 different quick effects options along with controls for the brightness. Chroma Studio gives you full control of the lighting and effects on a per-key basis. These can be set to respond to sound, on-screen activity or to one of the many effects options. Synapse also allows for integration with Alexa, Philips Hue, Nanoleaf and more, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to RGB fun.
If your preferences differ depending on what you are working on, you can store up to four profiles on the keyboard that can then be cycled through directly from the keyboard rather than needing to dive into Synapse each time.
At $229, you have every right to expect a premium experience from the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro and it delivers on that promise. Viewed purely as a keyboard, it feels fantastic to type on thanks to its plush wrist rest, and it offers a full-sized keyboard experience with the added bonus of the media controls.
As I despise cable management, having wireless connectivity that feels no different than wired is amazing, and helps to further alleviate my feelings about the cost of the keyboard. That’s before you get into the fun with all the RGB lighting controls and the incredible customization available through Synapse.
And while I know it isn’t a selling point to everyone, I also appreciate its more subtle look when you don’t need or want to broadcast that it’s a gaming keyboard. The Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is an excellent option for those looking to step up their keyboard game as long as you can contend with doing some slight power management.