Review: Razer Blackwidow X Chroma

Based on Razer’s “Razer Green” mechanical switches, which are essentially an improved ‘gaming optimized’ version of Cherry MX Blue switches designed to have slightly quicker actuation while retaining the ‘clicky’ tactile feel of Cherry MX blue switches.

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Razer Blackwidow X Chroma mechanical gaming keyboard. Photo credit: Razer

Cherry MX Blue (and Razer’s ‘Green’ switches) are virtually my favorite switch type for any application. I love ‘em.

The Chroma X Blackwidow retains per-key, RGB illumination of its older siblings but eliminates the keyboard backplane (which is arguably an upgrade) and the audio and USB pass through connections. The result is a streamlined, (slightly) less expensive Razer Blackwidow keyboard that isn’t quite as bright as its predecessors but is also easier to clean.

Razer Blackwidow X Chroma features and specifications

  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 50g actuation force
  • 80 million keystroke life span
  • Customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options
  • Military grade metal top construction
  • Razer Synapse enabled
  • 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling
  • Braided fiber cable
  • PC or Mac with a free USB port

Performance

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Razer Blackwidow Chroma X (Photo credit: Razer)

I won’t waste a lot of words here because I’ve reviewed nearly every Razer Blackwidow keyboard ever made—all the way back to the original 2010 edition with Cherry MX Blue switches and blue LED lighting—and they’ve remained a persistent favorite.

Actually, it was the Blackwidow keyboards that converted me to a ‘mechanical keyboard snob’ and I’ve not looked back since. The Razer Synapse software is excellent, generally intuitive, and provides virtually all the software-driven features you could ask for (profiles, macro programming, lighting effects, etc.)

The Blackwidow X is essentially a ‘minimalist’ version of the Blackwidow Ultimate (Chroma edition). I actually prefer Blackwidow X’s ‘raised’ keys, which makes it easier to keep the keyboard clear of cat hair, dust, etc. even though it diffuses the LED lighting and reduces its brightness.

I personally prefer having a USB connector and some dedicated programmable macro keys on my keyboards—I don’t use them extensively but find them useful enough to prefer having them. (I’ve never used the 3.5mm audio pass-through connectors on keyboards so I don’t miss them at all, and I even question their overall usefulness as USB headsets seem to be more the norm in gaming.)

Otherwise the Blackwidow X Chroma performs exactly like a Blackwidow Ultimate, and if you’re partial to Razer’s Blackwidow boards and/or Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches (or Razer’s ‘Green’ variant), then the Blackwidow Chroma X may be perfect for you.

The only real issue I have to take Razer to task for here is their asking price. The press release for the Blackwidow Chroma X boldly stated “RAZER EXPANDS BLACKWIDOW LINE WITH NEW BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION”.

First of all $160 is not what I would call a “budget friendly” price.

The fully-featured Razer Blackwidow Chroma—complete with dedicated programmable macro keys, USB/Audio connectors, etc. and an otherwise virtually identical feature set is only $10 more than the Blackwidow X Chroma (as of this writing) on Razer’s own Web site. At the very least I would have expected a larger price gap ($20 or more) between the two if one is being designated as the ‘budget’ option.

Overall: Highly Recommended

Despite Razer’s fuzzy definition of “budget-friendly” I still love the Blackwidow X Chroma and the Blackwidow keyboards in general. I don’t hesitate to recommend one if your budget allows for one.

Feel free to hit me up directly on Twitter @BryanEdge_S for recommendations/questions.

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