I love a good quality keyboard and over the last 12 months, I’ve had a great opportunity to check out a number of excellent keyboards. None of them has been perfect for my needs though, with features missing or more recently just a case of too much focus on the gaming world. What I (and I know many others) need is a keyboard that’s excellent to use in a productivity setting and very capable of gaming.
After far too long looking, hundreds of dollars spent and many hours of testing, the latest keyboard on the test bench is really close to perfect for my needs. What is it you ask? The latest from Razer is the Blackwidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed.
What’s special about it
There’s a lot to like about it because it ticks so many boxes. Compatible across multiple devices, it has multiple connectivity options:
- USB-C wired connection, this is also how the keyboard is charged.
- Razer HyperSpeed 2.4Ghz Wireless, provides connection to Razer Synapse
- Bluetooth for up to 3 devices
If you’re using it wirelessly, you’ll enjoy amazing battery life and — regardless of connection — mechanical (yellow switch) keys that won’t bug your family or workmates with excessively loud clicking. If you’ve got a compatible mouse, you can also pair Razer mice to the same USB receiver which means you free up a USB port on your PC.
Impressively with the wireless connectivity options, you will — with the right variables — potentially see over 200 hours of use. To achieve this you’ll need to turn the lighting off, and not be at the keyboard throughout the day. In my testing time, I’ve only had to charge the keyboard twice and even then it wasn’t urgent.
As an interesting design choice, instead of tenkeyless (just missing the number pad), Razer made the decision to go as a 65% form factor. What that means for users is the function keys — as independent keys, they’re still usable with the function button — and the number pad isn’t there. You’ve still got some of the other navigation keys and, unlike a 60% form factor, arrow keys for fast navigation.
The look and feel
The other design facet that I particularly like with this keyboard is that yes, it’s wireless, but they — Razer — have not followed the market trend with key profiles. This is a 65% form factor keyboard with full height keys and switches, which gives you the full keyboard feel with wireless and small form factor bonuses.
With the BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed, we’re still providing the same full-height gaming experience that our fans love, with Razer™ Mechanical Switches with a transparent switch housing for brighter Razer Chroma RGB Lighting
The Blackwidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed (a mouthful I know…) has Razer’s own designed yellow mechanical switches in it. The outcome of this for users is the familiar linear feel of mechanical switches, consistent pressure and feel to every single key and with the silicon sound dampeners – it’s a very quiet keyboard too.
The ABS keycaps add to that feel of quality with a really pleasing, gentle texture to the keys. There is a slight shine to the keycaps (ABS) that you don’t get with PBT keycaps, and for some users that (ABS vs PBT) decision may cause a little concern as the ABS keycaps are a little cheaper and recognised for “wearing out” faster. This is a point Razer have countered with “fade-proof legends” but in reality, if you do manage to wear out keys then that’s a lot of keypresses. Ultimately if that’s the case, you can purchase replacements through the Razer website.
Gaming experience the Synapse Software
I really shouldn’t surprise anyone that a Razer device is good for gaming. That’s a culmination of years of research, consultation and design coming together. In this case, that even included consulting with the Razer community, users who are passionate about the products and gaming.
That passion is clear in the continual evolution of the Razer Synapse software too. Synapse has continued to evolve over time, allowing integrations with dozens of Razer devices and controls via Alexa. But more specifically the ability to control use the function (Hypershift) key to trigger other features and functions including programmable macros makes Razer hardware and the Synapse software an absolute pleasure to use.
It’s not just the touch and presentation that makes this a good gaming keyboard though. I made a huge sacrifice and spent time gaming to test this as thoroughly as possible. While I clearly can’t make the claim to be able to measure the wireless response speed Razer make claim to, I can honestly say that I can’t pick a difference between the wired and wireless performance.
What’s the upshot?
What sort of keys you prefer from your keyboard is highly personal, but after years of trying many different keyboards, this is amazing. Razer has produced a great looking, lightweight keyboard that performs well in gaming as well as day to day use. The mechanical switches are smooth, have great linear movement and are so consistent in their feel.
I’m truly excited by the fact that this is capable of connecting so broadly to pretty much anything. Hardwired connection via the USB-C port also provides charging to the batteries which last a long time. The HyperSpeed Wireless is — in terms of performance — as good as being hardwired, even allowing compatible mice to connect to the same dongle. Finally, Bluetooth allows you to connect up to 3 devices. It feels like, at every step, the design of the Blackwidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed has been carefully considered to ensure the best user experience.
The 65% form factor won’t be for everyone, particularly if you regularly use the number pad for numerical calculations. The loss of efficiency just won’t be worth what you potentially gain in comfort and general enjoyment of use.
I can see this being a really attractive option for so many potential buyers. Gamers, minimalists or folk simply looking for some space-saving. If you spend a lot of time making prose, this could be a really good option for you too. To give an idea, since the review unit has arrived, almost all of the content I’ve produced on Ausdroid has been on this keyboard. This is for two simple reasons:
- Because it connects to all of my devices easily
- That gives me a consistent user interface and has improved productivity
Time to address the elephant in the room: The price
Razer makes really high quality, long-lasting equipment for gamers which is a market not generally shy of spending. So if you know Razer gear and looking at this review so far, you’re expecting a big price tag and you’re right. The cost for this is $299.00 and is available through your local JB Hi-Fi or the Razer Store.
Due to hygiene reasons in COVID times, the device has not been requested for return.