Razer is unabashedly a gaming brand, from its laptops to its peripherals, but with the Razer BlackWidow Lite, the company is focused on a slightly different crowd. Its release materials highlight how it’s ideal for the office, with a decidedly non-gamer look, “silent” (read: tactile but not clicky) Razer Orange switches, and extra sound-damping O-rings included in the box.
Your Dad’s Razer
The BlackWidow Lite (not to be confused with the BlackWidow Elite) bears Razer’s most chilled-out design to date. It has the top plate design that the company has been playing with for a while now with and refined with the Razer Huntsman. In fact, it looks like the BlackWidow Lite has the same matte aluminum top plate as the Hunstman, and likely the same bottom chassis. The layouts are different, of course; the Huntsman is a full-size layout, whereas the BlackWidow Lite is tenkeyless. (The bottom row is not standard.)
The chassis is austere, with a thin bezel and all black all around. In a further nod to the office crowd, and a stark departure from the gaming look, the BlackWidow Lite offers white LEDs only. Razer claims they’re “true white” and won’t have any reddish or bluish tint. Even so, the keyboard supports Razer’s Synapse 3 software that lets you make key assignments and program macros. It also supports some onboard controls like on-the-fly macro recording.
The New Crowd
At the risk of getting too far into the weeds, Razer’s reviewer’s guide materials indicate that the company is positioning the BlackWidow Lite not against other mechanical keyboards necessarily, but against laptop and membrane keyboards. In other words, the target audience is people who don’t yet have a mechanical keyboard and aren’t gamers. The guide is also composed mainly of curious elements such as:
- A brief history of mechanical switches
- A subsection titled “Why Use A Mechanical Keyboard?”
- A depressing infographic noting that we spend a third of our lives at work (and that’s why you need a good keyboard)
- Sections comparing the BlackWidow Lite to membrane keyboards and laptops
- An explanation about how these switches aren’t loud, so don’t worry about being noisy in the office
- Set up help for those unfamiliar with the Synapse software and definitions of basic terms like “bottoming-out”
- There’s even a link to a Razer typing test so you can check your accuracy and WPM
What that tells me is that Razer is not only focused on new customers, but it’s trying to reach new publications whose writers have never encountered mechanical keyboards before–or perhaps more accurately, have never had cause to write about them before. Razer doesn’t appear overly concerned about trying to compete in the non-gaming mechanical keyboard enthusiast space.
Whatever else you may think about the BlackWidow Lite, the price is right for a first mech. Razer has a knack for gulp-worthy prices that many feel are exorbitant, but the BlackWidow Lite is $90. You can buy one directly from Razer.