The Anansi is Razer’s MMO keyboard, a companion to the company’s Naga MMO gaming mouse. Functionally, it’s very similar to the BlackWidow Ultimate—both have fully rebindable keys, with five additional macro keys along the left, backlighting, and on-the-fly macro recording. Unlike the BlackWidow, the Anansi does not have mechanical keys, instead opting for more traditional dome-style keys. They’re not as responsive as mechanical keys, but are definitely at the high end of the dome-spectrum, with a satisfying amount of resistance and travel.
It’s recently become popular for major PC game releases to be accompanied by their own line of branded peripherals, custom designed by big-name peripheral makers like Razer and SteelSeries. Frequently, these products are no more than a reskinning of a popular model, as is the case with the Call of Duty: Black Ops Stealth Mouse, which is essentially a rebranded Cyborg R.A.T. Other times, the tie-in is more substantial, as with the SteelSeries WoW mice, which feature unique, game-inspired designs as well as features and software intended to help you play the game better.
So, when we got the complete set of StarCraft II custom peripherals in for testing from Razer, we were curious to see whether they would be more like the former or the latter scenario. What we found out was surprising.
Razer, long known for its high-end gaming mice, has had sort of a slow start when it comes to gaming keyboards. Its offerings haven’t been bad, but the company hasn’t had a must-have product yet. The BlackWidow is Razer’s first.
Read on for the full review of Razer's first mechanical gaming keyboard!
Has it been 5 years already? Razer first released its DeathAdder mouse back in 2006, we reviewed it in 2008, and it was revamped with a 3.5G infrared laser in 2009. Here we are in 2011 and the DeathAdder is back, this time with an all black makeover.
Functionally it's the same DeathAdder as before, although the non-slip rubber has been extended to both sides, replacing the glossy plastic that adorns the traditional models. And though it retains the same form, gone is the glowing the logo. The white scroll wheel, which tends to gunk up over time, is now all black too.
The revamped DeathAdder sporting its new all black tuxedo is available now in the U.S. for $60.
Razer says "you'll be amazed that something so tiny can rock so hard," which describes their new Ferox Twin portable gaming speaker set, but we suppose could also double as a pick-up line (we don't recommend it).
"The Razer Ferox is our sophisticated, modern day boombox for gamers," said Robert Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "Its sleek and compact structure takes up minimal space but delivers the crystal clear sound quality perfect for gaming on-the-go or for music playback wherever you're at."
Razer says the Twin Ferox boasts a 360-degree omni-directional acoustics for a wider sweet spot than you'll get with front-facing speakers. Other features and claims include:
3.5mm audio jack
Up to 12 hours of playback (can play and charge simultaneously)
LED battery status indicator
The Ferox Twin speaker set will go on sale later this month for $60.
The first product from the line that we tested, the Spectre, almost immediately raised some red flags. From a design standpoint, the Spectre is a big departure for Razer. It forgoes the company’s trademark ergonomic, curved construction for a flatter and smaller-than-usual design. With hard, angled edges and a low profile, it’s surprisingly uncomfortable for a product from a company with a lot of experience making mice that feel good to hold.
Any decent StarCraft player can tell you the difference between a Diamond League pro and Bronze League scrub: It’s all in the keyboard. Although StarCraft can be played entirely with the mouse, a good player is going to be hammering away at the keyboard nonstop throughout the match—issuing attack orders, queuing units and buildings, and jumping around the map.
Remember that ugly plastic we keep mentioning? With the Banshee, it seems Razer ended up with some sort of surplus of the stuff, and just decided to see how much it could possibly slap onto a single headset. The individual ear cups are simply enormous—bigger than any gaming headset we’ve used. That’s OK though, as bigger cans theoretically means room for bigger drivers, and that’s a good thing. We also know that with this set, Razer has opted to store the external soundcard hardware in the set itself, rather than in a dongle on the cord, as is more popular, which would account for some of the additional bulk.
The new Onza Tournament and Standard Edition Xbox 360 controllers will give console a gamers a glimpse into the world of Razer, which up to this point has focused entirely on PC gaming peripherals and assorted gear.
Razer says the two new controllers are "built for the hardcore competitive gamer," but how do you do that with an Xbox 360 controller? The Tournament Edition offers adjustable resistance analog sticks that gamers can twist one way or the other.
Aside from that differentiating feature, both versions sport Multi-Function Buttons (MFB) on the controller's shoulders that allow remapping of buttons. Razer pitches this feature not only as a great way to increase efficiency, but also to make things easier for gamers with disabilities who might have trouble reaching specific buttons on a standard controller.
Other features include 4 backlit Hyperesponse action buttons, non-slip rubber surface, quick-release USB connector, and a 15-foot lightweight, braided fiber cable.
Both the Standard ($40) and Tournament Edition ($50) will be available for preorder starting January 17 and will ship later this month.
Razer, best known for its line of gaming mice, sometimes uses CES to launch a product seemingly out of the company's realm. One year it was the Mako 2.1 speakers, which is still the only speaker set in Razer's product portfolio. And this year? Meet the Switchblade, a "mobile PC gaming concept design."
The Switchblade is basically a netbook of sorts custom tailored for gamers and built around Intel's Atom platform, likely Oak Trail. The idea is to bring a keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen display to mobile gaming, a combo that doesn't really exist with today's handheld consoles.
"The main problem with mobile PC gaming so far is that no one has been able to port the full mouse and keyboard experience onto a small size portable solution," said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and Creative Director, Razer. "By combining adaptive on-the-fly controls and display, we managed to maintain the full tactile keyboard in a miniature computer while saving valuable screen estate."
Not just an everyday netbook, the Switchblade comes with an "intelligent user interface that adjusts the configuration and key layout on-the-fly based on game content and user requirements" (the key graphics change, somewhat similar to the Optimus Maximum OLED keyboard), and it sports a custom overlay on top of Windows 7.